A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Beautiful Turkeys

One of the favorite wildlife visitors around here are the turkeys. We have three males and several females that pass through. They are here for a week or two and then we don't see them for a week or two and then they are back. I love seeing them:

Friday, May 25, 2018

They're Baaccckkkk.....

Oh my goodness - I am so happy that my little zoo is complete once again.  We picked up the puppies from school this morning and I am thrilled to have them home. This first week is going to be tough with trying to acclimate them back into our environment under a who new set of rules. Here are the primary focuses we have for the next week:

  1. No paws on people, no paws on stuff - this means no jumping, scratching at the door, getting on the furniture, etc.
  2. No teeth on people (play biting) and no teeth on stuff that is not theirs - this means no chewing up shoes, paper, etc.
  3. Dogs under human control at all times - this means on a leash or in a crate 100% of the time this week - ugh.
  4. CALM - the theme of the week is calm - don't stir them up - don't talk to them in a crazy, excited 'dog voice', don't yell at them - just conversational corrections and interactions.

So - I didn't love the idea of that much crate time so luckily the kitchen is large enough that we can have three 'dog stations'. Each gets a dog bed, toys, a bone, a water bowl. They are connected to a leash that is connected to something stationary.  For instance - Juliett's leash is hooked to the leg of the kitchen table. They are far enough apart they can see each other but cannot interact. So far it has gone well.

In addition, I am keen to get them better at going in the car so I have decided that my Starbucks run will have a dog in tow each time. Today I took Charli (because she hates the car the most). She did okay, she did not get in trouble for being afraid and the return trip was much calmer than the way there. We will keep working on it.

All in all - the change in the dogs is remarkable. They are much more calm. They were always fairly mellow, but they are calm as well. Their leash manners are amazing - they had none when we started as we were terrible and never leash trained them. Obedience has vastly improved. If you tell them to do something or stop doing something they listen. Now, there are still times they need corrected and they are only three weeks in to training so its not perfect but its great.

All in all - so far so good.  Thankfully I have a long weekend and can spend a good bit of time doing dog things over the next few days. In the next 7 - 10 days we will head back to training center with all three pups to do another session and expand the scope of their world slowly but surely.  By August - they should have a good amount of freedom and be in the beginning stages of maintenance mode.

Emma is thrilled they are home.  Winston hasn't seen them yet - that is a few weeks away....

I will keep posting as we make progress - I will try to get some pictures over the weekend as well.  Happy Friday!!





Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Blogging Hiatus

Gosh  - its been forever since I blogged.  I needed a bit of a hiatus I guess. This is the longest I have gone without blogging since I started in 2011.

Lots and not a lot has been happening around here. The humans have been far too busy as of late. The critters have been pretty status quo.

  • Emma is doing well. Having an older dog definitely has some challenges but we are fortunate that she is in good health and going strong.
  • As you probably know - the puppies (who aren't really puppies anymore - can you believe that they will be two in September?) are off to school. They come home on Friday, the 25th of May. I can't wait to get them home - I have missed them so much!!
  • Winston the pig is enjoying his dog vacation. He is doing fantastic - loving the warmer weather and the time outside.
  • Violet - the insulinoma ferret continues to do well!  She is bright, happy and active.
  • The rest of the ferret gang are all doing just great. They are all in the process of losing their winter coat and blubber and thinning out with less weight and thinner hair. All of them are full of energy.
  • The kitties are all doing just great as well. Aggie continues to do well at 22. Oliver and Phoebe seem to be quite stable on the hyperthyroid front and they are all happy and engaged and enjoying some time in the sun in their outside playspace.

I haven't checked the camera traps in a bit so I will make my way down there and find some good shots to share with you guys in the coming days. Additionally - I will provide a full report on what it's like with pups once we get them home.

June is busy - parties, visitors, vet visits for the pig and the ferrets - whew - there is always so much on the plate.

Hopefully I can get back on a more regular blogging schedule as well...fingers crossed!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekend in Review

It's been a good weekend so far.  Midday on Sunday and I just got done running errands. I am pleased to report that I can leave the puppies unattended for short stints now without them tearing things up or getting into things they shouldn't.  In fact, when I got home today, I returned to find Charli and Juliett sound asleep in their crates which was totally voluntary as they were snoozing on the bed when I left.  Tango and Emma were napping on the bedroom floor.  Nothing out of place - such good dogs. I got them new toys at Costco and they seem to be a hit - all three are playing away as I type. They also got new banana peanut butter cookies which Winston has taste tested and approved.

Everyone seems happy and healthy. Violet continues to do well and Oliver is lively and ornery as ever - showing no signs of anything being amiss. Winston is a happy piggy in that we have had much nicer weather and he is spending the bulk of his days outside.  Today - not so much - its raining.  He did go out for a bit and get some grazing in before it started to sprinkle.  The rest of the ferrets and kitties are well.  This week I hope to tackle some spring cleaning in their rooms - getting rid of old, torn up toys, doing a deep clean to include windows, baseboards, etc and rearranging their rooms - they do love it when things are a bit different than the same old thing.

Next up for vet visits will be Charli and Tango next month - I haven't scheduled them yet. Then we will get the home visit for Winston and the ferrets - everyone but Madison needs their adrenal disease prevention pellet updated.  Since she has active adrenal disease she already got hers updated a couple of months ago. Then it will be time for a checkup for Aggie and Emma - it never stops!

I never posted the camera trap photos from the past week - there was one bird pic and a BUNCH of deer photos - they are prolific this time of year.  I will only post the good ones. It's also been windy - I the camera captured the windy leaves in kind of a cool shot - I will post that one as well.  While I am in critterland this week I will try to take some shots of the kitties and ferrets and post them as well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Vet Visits and Other Stuff

As I type - Charli is barking wildly at the ferrets who are playing in their room - she watches them through the sliding glass door and wants to play so bad.  They are all chasing each other through the dryer tube having a grand time. Winston is 'bitching' at his bedroom door - he wants to be outside but it's rainy. The puppies are outside - they don't care if it rains - in fact, I think they kind of enjoy it.

This week has been crazy so far for the humans.  Phoebe and Oliver had their every six-month vet visit on Monday.  We did all the regular stuff - physical, fecal, blood work, etc.  Both of them look pretty good considering that Ollie will be 16 and Phoebe will be 13 (my zoo is getting old).  We didn't get the bloodwork results back until yesterday. 

Phoebe is perfect - not one number out of whack.  Her thyroid number was perfect - no need to adjust her medications and we got her prescription renewed.  Oliver wasn't quite perfect - but nothing was too whacky.  His white blood cell count was one digit outside of normal.  Last time he was at the top of the range so its basically no change and the vet wasn't all that concerned.  His BUN number was elevated - top of the normal range is 37 - he was 41.  BUN is associated with the kidneys and can indicate the start of kidney disease when elevated - but - his Creatinine was low - 0.9 is the start of the normal range and Ollie was 0.8.  So - since both kidney numbers were not elevated - it's likely not kidney disease.  His calcium number was also slightly elevated - 11.2 was the top of normal and he was 11.5.  There is a second calcium test we can do to get more details.  I will take Oliver along in April when I take Tango and Charli in for their annual stuff and they can do a quick blood draw.  Until then we are going to watch him closely.  Inflated calcium can be a sign of something more serious - but typically the number would be much higher than .3 above normal if we had something icky going on.

In the meantime - we are going to keep Ollie from stealing the ferret's raw diet cat food because it is very high in calcium and just keep an eye on him and make sure he is not showing any signs of illness.  At the moment his is his same ornery, active self.

Here are a few pics from the vet:

That's about it from here - I feel like this week has been 17 days long already...happy hump day!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Month in Review and Camera Traps

I can't believe its already March - I know I say this every month but geez - I swear last Tuesday it was Thanksgiving week.  February was a pretty good critter month.  Violet is well - as are all the little ferrets - crazy little bunch.  Kitties seem to be doing pretty well. Piglet seems happy and healthy.  The puppies are well - we did have the lump on Juliett's head - which turned out to be a hematoma.  It's much smaller, albeit still present, but getting better.  Healthwise - we are good to go I think.

We also had the dog on pig violence incident.  Tango went after Winston in the house.  Since then we have had no issues. Of course - they have not had much opportunity to have another incident.  They are on super lockdown and closer than every supervision.

We set up the camera traps in February and are really enjoying the results.

Looking forward to March - the kitties go to the vet on Monday.  I would also like to get Tango and Charli in for their annual stuff (Juliett's was done when she got checked out for the lump).

Here are the latest pics from the camera traps - I still think that is a fox and not a coyote - based on the blogs I have checked out and of course - the deer...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Camera Trap Shots

So - there is lots to share this week for a couple of reasons.  First, the weather here has been amazing so there has been lots of activity. Second - somehow the camera in the meadow reset itself and its internal date. I knew something was funky because I could never find the shots after I downloaded them.  Took me a few days to figure out that the photos were being saved in January of 2017.  So - enjoy - there are some fun ones in there:

Wild collies in their natural habitat - Tango (closest) and Juliett




Fox again


Again with the fox

Love this one