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!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nigel has a Snack

Hedgies need a very varied diet so in addition to his combination of dry cat food and dry ferret food he also gets protein from meal worms, and supplemental nutrients via fruits, veges and some dairy products.  He is a very choosy little guy - and he changes his mind frequently - liking something for a couple of days and then not so much.  So far - he consistently likes his worms and yogurt which is what he is munching on in the video below:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who Knew?? - 2nd Edition

How about a few ferret fun facts:

  • The word ferret comes from Latin and means “thief"
  • Ferrets have weak vision, but their senses of smell and hearing are strong
  • Old paintings and tapestries reveal to us that ferrets have been domesticated for thousands of years
  • The third most popular pet in the US is the ferret
  • There are 8-10 million pet ferrets in the US
  • An unspayed female ferret is called a jill while a spayed female is a sprite. An intact male is a hob and a neutered male is called a gib. Baby ferrets are called kits.
  • After kithood (6-8 weeks of age) ferrets make very few sounds.

How do these fun facts stack up against Clooney?  Well:

  • He is a thief - steals all kinds of stuff
  • He is rather "Mr. Magoo - ish" and does not see well
  • 8 - 10 million ferrets in the US but none as cute as my guy
  • Clooney would be a gib - he was neutered and descented at the ferret farm where he was born
  • Ah - noise - I would in general agree with this - although.....when playing with Oliver or sometimes while making the bed (his favorite chore) he does make a sound.  It's called dooking.  We call it the happy noise.  It's hard to describe - kind of a throaty clucking noise - I am attaching a link so you can hear - this is not Clooney but he sounds very similar.....  Ferret Happy Noise
Bags - LOVES bags - playing in them and taking stuff out of them!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Making of the Bed

Monday's are bed changing days around here.  Making the bed is truly a favorite chore for the critters.  I usually have lots of help.  Clooney especially loves making the bed and makes this a very entertaining undertaking....

Monday, March 28, 2011

All I Really Need to Know I Learned from my Dog

This has been out there on the Internet forever - never associated with a particular author though. It's so true....

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on affection and let people touch you - enjoy back rubs and pats on your neck.

When you leave your yard, make it an adventure.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout - run right back and make friends.

Bond with your pack.

On cold nights, curl up in front of a crackling fire.

When you're excited, speak up.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Photos

When we lost our sweet Isabel last year with not as many pictures to document our time together as I would have liked, I decided I really needed to make an effort to capture images of the little ones.  Here are some of the snaps I took in March:
Emma has decided that even though I have been taking her picture for almost 8 years she is now afraid of the camera and she hides under the bed.....

Ummm sleeping - do we have to do this now?

I never thought I would see the day - Zoey and Clooney together in the chair


Happy Ferret Boy - cuddling with his sister

Phoebe looking decidedly Siamese
Must we?
Don't hate me because I am beautiful
Hate the flash part mommy.....
Tongue sticking out...
Hanging out - sleeping on a speaker
Nigel's half hearted attempt at being scared - his nose is still out.....
Cuddling with his dad on the couch
Sleeping under the TV cabinet
Ferret butt crawling under something....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Pet Peeves"

My critters are adorable angels and I do love them with all my heart but there are those rare occasions when they make me a little nutty!!

One major issue in our household is food:

Emma wants to eat cat food
Cats want to eat dog food
Ferret has food that the cats and the dog are nuts for - too bad the ferret hates the ferret food

So - here's what they do eat:
Nigel - eats a combo of ferret food (he likes it) and cat food - supplemented with his worms, fruits, veges and yogurt
Clooney - eats cat food mostly and some dog food - this is fine as ferret food is somewhat new to the market and high grade cat food was the way to go before it was available
Kitties - eat cat food - occasionally snack on dog food
Emma - eats dog food and steals the cat food whenever she thinks she can get away with it

Here's the thing that makes me nuts - for Nigel - I will grab a handful of cat food when we are downstairs and put it in his pen. The cats go nuts - they HAVE to have it from the pen.  Somehow it doesn't matter there is a gigantic feeder full of the exact same food 10 feet away.  Grrr - critters....its a good thing they are cute!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Simon's Cat - TV Dinner

I love Simon's Cat - have you ever seen it?  Simon Tofield's short films and comic strips capture the "joys" of being a cat parent purr-fectly!  This one really reminds me of Oliver - he is always standing on me, meowing for attention or treats and blocking my view of the TV or the laptop.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nigel in Motion

Many requests for videos of Nigel - so I put together a few clips for your viewing pleasure:

Warning - I am a terrible videographer and not much better at movie editing so view at your own risk and go in with low expectations....  :)

A bit about Anointing - you will see the little critter do this in the video.  Sometimes when he smells a new smell that he likes he does this anointing which amounts to licking his quills to spread a foamy saliva.  No one knows for sure why hedgehogs do this - one theory is to create a scent similar to his surroundings to aid in protection. Another is that the saliva has some sort of "poisonous" property that irritates the skin or mouth of a predator.  Not sure what the real answer is - he has only done this a couple of times since we have had him.

Lastly - if 5 minutes of hedgehog viewing is more than you desire - fast forward to around 3:20 and watch the cutest clip of Nigel and Emma together.


Who Knew?? - 1st Edition

So - since I have funky critters I thought it might be fun to share funky critter facts.  Here's an interesting hedgehog fact:

Did you know that hedgehogs are extremely temperature sensitive? They need a room temperature between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If the little prickly guy gets too cold he can start to go into hibernation.  This can actually be a fatal condition. On the flip side - too hot is bad as well.  Overheated hogs go into a condition called estivation (also known as "summer sleep") which is similar to hibernation and not good for them either.

Our little Nigel has a space heater for each room he plays or sleeps in.  One that keeps his cage warm, one in the bonus room that usually points towards the TV cabinet since he loves to sleep under there, and one downstairs for when he plays in his pen.  We also have emergency kits prepped for those just in case times and we have the heat pads that you unwrap and snap to start the heating process - at least we can tuck these into a blanket and keep him toasty warm.  He has many layers of blankets in his cage as well so he can choose how warm he wants to be.  I discovered a few days ago that he also enjoys the hair dryer - he stands at your feet and lets you warm him up - very cute.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Agatha the Shy Girl

Agatha - or Aggie as we call her - my shy girl.  She hails from Atlanta and is considered a trailer park chick as that is where she lived before she came home with me.  Aggie (along with the late great Isabel) were predecessors to my husband so he got the three of us as a package deal.  My mom actually named Aggie - not sure where she came up with the name.

Aggie is cautious and timid and she is very shy.  She's not a big fan of strangers and in general, change kinda freaks her out.  She gets stressed when you rearrange the furniture.  She is the one who gets picked on - chased by the dog, beat up on by Oliver so I think that may have something to do with the reason she is mean to Phoebe.  She is the observer of the family - pretty much always where you are but only watching.  Aggie is the self petting cat - hold out your hand and she will walk back and forth - no effort on your part is required.  She loved Isabel - they were together for 14 years and when Isabel passed I think it did have an impact on my sweet girl.  She would wander the house calling out for her friend.  Very sad.  Now - almost a year later she has really bonded more with Zoey and those two spend part of every day together curled up snoozing or bathing.  She has become a but more social with her humans as well - wanting more attention and even laying in laps which previously was highly unusual.  Still no progress on being picked up - she really is not a fan.

As I post these I am reminded that Aggie hates getting her picture taken - I don't have many pictures of her - I will be working on that.  She is now my oldest girl - the one who has traveled from Atlanta to Raleigh with me, the one who has been single and married with me - she is my happy, shy girl and we love her much.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Zoey the Once Cranky But Now Not So Much Kitty

Zoey - the white kitty?  Huh?  She was white as a baby.  At the time Zoey was adopted we had Isabel the gray kitty and Agatha the black kitty - it made perfect sense that we needed a white kitty.  In May we went on a major road trip and ended up at my parents house.  Wouldn't you know it - their neighbors had kittens - white kittens.  The bad thing was that Zoey was already promised to another family.  We were at my parents for a few days and soon it was time to head home.  The kitten owners still had not been able to reach the family that had reserved Zoey so we left with no kitty.  4 hours and 250 miles later a call on the cell phone..."the kitty is yours if you want her".  Without missing a beat my sweet husband turned the car around and we drove all the way back for her.  Zoey's name was decided on because we had Aggie (starting with an A) who was black so we went with a Z on the other end of the spectrum since Zoey was a white kitten.  It was the most popular name for girls in the year she was born.

She went from being the white kitty to a beautiful marmalade Persian.  We call her the orange kitty.  When Zoey was a kitten she was affectionate and cute.  Then she went through a "phase" (that lasted several years) of being a total crabass.  She hated Oliver and if he came within 5 feet the screeching and howling would begin.  It wasn't much better with the dog.  Pretty much the same with the additions as we brought them into the family.  She has always loved Aggie and the two of them spend lots of time together.  She was also mean to the humans.  Never to me - her mommy and rarely to her daddy but everyone else was fair game for snarling, biting, hissing and general ugliness.  

Fast forward a few years and we have a pretty sweet girl.  She is friends with her arch enemy Oliver and can occasionally be seen snoozing or bathing him.  She has been grudgingly receptive to the ferrets attempts to make nice and the two of them coexist peacefully.  She appears to have no opinion either way about Nigel the hedgehog.  As for humans - she has mellowed considerably.  She likes laps and pets now from pretty much anyone.

Zoey loves cantaloupe - it is her all time favorite.  She also loves the milk left over from a bowl of cereal.  She is a big fan of getting brushed and wants to be in your lap as much as possible.  She also has another nickname - Bath Kitty.  She bathes everyone and everything and she has an instant bath on switch if you pet her by her tail she will immediate start bathing and if you stop so does she.  Zoey also likes to be vacuumed - she wants you to use the hose attachment with the lint remover and give her a good rubdown (will work on a video of this one too).  If only all the other critters liked that I would have a lot less hair to deal with!  Zoey has spunk for sure and we adore her - even when she is cranky...  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Emma the Beauty Queen

Our beautiful girl Emma - the border collie/black lab mix.  She came to be a part of our family when an evil coworker brought puppies to the office where both my husband and I work.  Even the strong and manly hubby couldn't resist the power of a puppy.  Emma is named after Emmitt Smith - running back from the Dallas Cowboys.  She is sweet and loyal, smart and she tries so hard to please.  Her vocabulary list is amazing and if I worked with her more she could add many tricks to her list of the standard sit, down, lay down, etc. She is definitely a herder and likes to know the whereabouts of all family members.  When I am downstairs and my husband is upstairs she lays on the stairs so she can see both level and keep her eye on what's going on.

Her hearing is off the charts which results in some noise related anxiety - fireworks are the worst.  Thunder (we call it the T word because if you say thunder she hides under the bed) is a close second. In fact - she has made the connection between rain and thunder so even if its just an uneventful rain shower - under the bed she goes. She loves her toys and is smart enough to know the difference between the ball, rope, dog, giraffe - its pretty cool.  She is not an outside dog - outside to her is only for walking and going potty. Being raised in a household of cats has results in a few cat like traits as well - she does wash her own face with her paws like the kitties.

Emma gets along well with all the members of the family.  She does have the need to chase Aggie the black kitty for some reason which is not all that popular.  She is a patient and gentle dog who lets kitties bath her, ferrets climb all over her and hedgehogs stand on her snout. She is gentle with her siblings as if she understands she is significantly larger than they are.  She loves my husband - they have a very special thing going.

Emma is a lovely girl.  There are times when we come back from a trip but have not yet picked her up from the kennel that we experience the huge void in our house when she's not around.  She is the source of much love and a good laugh and I am so lucky to have a dog that is laid back and not demanding.  She is happy to let us sleep in and is pretty independent about entertaining herself with her toys and her brothers and sisters.  We are very lucky to have her.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ornery with a capital O - Oliver

He's my all boy kitty - full of mischief.  The epitome of the saying 'curiosity killed the cat' - but I wouldn't have it any other way. Oliver was a stray who wandered up on our porch.  We were experiencing extremely, dangerously cold weather for our area so I managed to talk my husband into letting him come in overnight for a couple of nights.  Oliver loved the dog and the two of them were fast friends.  Then came the quest to officially make him a part of our family.  Hubby made me jump through hoops - call local vets, put up flyers, run an ad in the paper.  Nada - no responses - Oliver was officially an orphan.  So - of course we kept him.  When I took him in to the vet she estimated his age and that he had been outside on his own for at least a couple of years due to his paw condition and his weight.  He came to have the name Oliver because we had an A (Aggie), E (Emma), I (Isabel), and we decided we needed an O or a U. Umberto just didn't fit him so Oliver it is.....  :)

So in to the family it is.  3 older girl kitties not all that happy about it. 1 dog excited about it.  There were some interesting transition things to go through with him.  First - we had a terrible time getting him to understand there would always be food - and getting him to stay out of the garbage (which had most likely been his food source for a good bit of time) was difficult.  Oliver is really one of the most affectionate cats I have ever encountered.  He loves everyone and demands attention from us and any visitors.  He loves to cause trouble with his siblings - chasing, pestering, teasing and generally frustrating the girls.  He is bestest buds with Clooney the ferret - the two of them have endless sessions of rough and tumble play.  He is also very kind and patient with the hedgehog - trying to engage him in play and understanding somehow he has to go slow so Nigel won't be scared.  He has a true love affair with Phoebe - the two of them are inseparable.  Oliver is also very close with Emma - the two of them frequently perform grooming tasks on each other - Oliver cleaning Emma's eyes, ears and paws and Emma "massaging" the cat with her front teeth.  Oliver absolutely loves this.  We call it corn cob rubbies as it looks like Emma is eating an ear of corn.

Oliver came to us as a stray (which equals scavenger) and therefore loves people food.  There are some definite favorites - peas - I know - it doesn't seem like cats should like peas, pudding and ice cream - loves it.  I think his favorite is egg nog though.  Since its only a holiday thing sometimes we indulge him.  If you aren't careful he will get in your lap and proceed to dip his paw in your glass regardless of whether you intended to share or not.  He wants loves - all the time.  And - he wants to be on you while pets occur - it is a requirement.

While occasionally naughty Oliver keeps our household young and fun.  He is such a wonderfully affectionate cat and I am happy every day that he showed up on my porch all those years ago.  He is incredibly smart, agile and has such a swagger - he was a high school jock in his last life - cocky and getting all the girls.  He is patient and kind - takes the chin bites from the ferret and the full on face washing from the dog in stride.  In fact - he is polite enough to wait for Emma to leave before he washes the dog slobbers off his face with a vengeance.  He makes me laugh out loud more than once every day.  Kisses to my boy kitty.....

The Zookeeper

Friday, March 18, 2011

Phoebe the Baby Kitty

Ah - Phoebe.... my beautiful and delicate girl.  Phoebe came to be a part of our family when I convinced my sweet husband that Oliver needed a kitten - the older girls would not play with him - that's so sad...  (just for the record - we got Oliver to play with Emma and we got Nigel to play with Clooney - do you see a theme here?)

It was a day in late October when I drove a really long way - not sure exactly to where - to a farm out in the country to pick her up. When you add a new cat to an existing cat household - wow - talk about drama.  The older girls were none too pleased but Phoebe and Oliver did hit it off right away. Eventually she became a part of the family.  She gets along with all her siblings with the exception of Aggie.  Not sure what the deal is with those two but they just do not feel the love for each other.  This results in cat fights - hissing, growling, general ugliness.  Oh if I had a nickel for every time I have said "be nice".

Phoebe was an adorable kitten:
She has grown into a beautiful adult cat:

She is quite a chatty cat - I think its the Siamese in her.  She talks to us, her siblings, her toys - always has something to say.  Speaking of toys - she truly loves them.  There isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't play with them and its not unusual to wake up to a hallway full of 10 or 12 different things she has dragged out overnight.  Pheebs also plays a mean game of fetch - she is more consistent about bringing the ball back than Emma is for sure.

She is one of those cats that is always with you - wants to be where you are.  She doesn't demand attention - she just wants to hang out.  Oliver and Phoebe are best friends - they love each other - playing, wrestling, bathing - they are together pretty much all the time. Phoebe loves to run and she frequently engages the ferret in a fantastic game of tag that covers the entire layout of the house.  If she were a person - she would be that girl who was amazingly beautiful but so sweet at the same time.  Don't pick her up please - really not a fan of that.  Do give her face a little rub with a warm washcloth when you are done with your bath - she loves that.  She does like things that make noise - she has hung up many a call on the speaker-phone.  She heads over to see what the noise is an ends up standing on the button.  Phoebe is my gentle and lovey cat - I adore her and am so thankful she is a part of our crazy family.

The Zookeeper

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clooney the Ferret

Have you ever just known?
There is a local pet store in our little town - a mom and pop shop.  They have pocket pet critters - you know - gerbils, bunnies, a few fish and ferrets.  They are conveniently located right next door to my grocery store. Needless to say - I visit my friends - both 2 legged and 4 legged often.  Ferrets often cycled through the store - I would come in and visit, get them out to play, put them back in their cage and not think much about it.....other than the fact that I thought it would be much fun to have a ferret.  One day in April I followed my old routine and visited only to find the most adorable, perfect, sweet ferret ever.  I knew the second I took him out of the cage he must come home with me.  I told Jean - the pet store lady not to let anyone near my ferret - I would be back for him once I had convinced the hubby.  Well - that was easier said than done and thankfully the demand for ferrets wasn't all that high.  My husband should have known when I came home from the pet store and informed him that Clooney was there that he didn't have a fighting chance - I mean really - I had named a pet that wasn't even mine yet.  I visited him every day and after 3 weeks finally the green light. That's how Clooney came to be a part of the family and he has kept us laughing since day one. Yes - he is named after George Clooney - but actually he is much cuter than George ever dreamed of being.

I have read many horror stories about ferrets - how they can be mean, bite, cause damage to your stuff and put a dent in your pocketbook by getting into endless trouble resulting in vet visits.  I can dispute all of these - none are true in our case.  Clooney is such a social and sweet animal.  He loves us and other people and is not fearful of strangers at all.  As for biting - I am his primary caregiver and he never, ever bites me - ever.  He does occasionally bite my husband - this occurs after much excitement and rough play and even then is rarely too hard.  On those rare occasions when he gets a little exuberant - we have to break out the N word (ummm yes - that would be Naughty - what kind of ferret do you think I am raising?).  When you use the word naughty the world has ended - ferret boy flops down and pouts - his heart broken.  As for damage to your stuff - the critter does love some Velcro - I have caught him nibbling on a pair of shoes but in the grand scheme of things - not much to report here.  He will steal your stuff - all kinds of stuff - hats, anything in a bag, candy, cereal bars, soap, keys - little things, shiny things, things that make noise.  He hides these things in crazy spots as well - and never the same spot twice.  As for vet visits.....other than the regular check ups - 2 extracurricular activities.  The first was diagnosed as a dietary indiscretion -  in layman's terms ferrets should not eat red licorice.  The second was actually a bite he received from the late wonder kitty Isabel - he was chasing her and she bit him right on the tail.  As for denting the pocketbook - pet insurance, people!

So - a bit about Clooney's world - he loves his siblings.  It fascinates me that he changes his approach to interfacing with the cats to match their demeanor - all boy, rough and tumble with Oliver and slow and easy when dealing with Miss Crankypants Zoey.  He loves the dog.  He loves the hedgehog too but he is just a bit  exuberant yet.  He does visit frequently - watching Nigel play in his cage and he likes to lay on Nigel's blankets.  His days are full of four main components - sleep (up to 18 hours a day sometimes), play with other critters, food and attention from his humans.  Not a bad life if you ask me.  He loves getting treats - they make these rawhide sticks for ferrets - a daily favorite.  He also (thankfully) thinks his supplement he needs every day is a treat as well.  He is supposedly a carnivore in the wild - he has no interest in any kind of meat - raw, cooked, nothing.....  He does like some people foods - peanut butter (creamy not chunky), Fig Newtons (word to the wise - only let him have a tiny bit of the cookie part - the fig part - well you can imagine the effect).  He also LOVES honey.  This treat is reserved for when he has a hairball (yes they get them too) or a snuffy nose as it has some healing properties.  You have to be careful as ferret diabetes is very common.  I have created a monster when it comes to drive through cups - he loves to lick the ice when you are done - he is rather impatient while you get to done and he has no problem flipping over your full drink to assist in getting to done quicker.  He has a stuffed cow - a cat toy he found somewhere in the pile of a zillion cat toys on his first day here.  He hoards it in his latest and greatest spot and occasionally you see him streaking down the hallway with his little cow in his mouth.  He also loves making the bed - it is his absolute favorite thing to help with and its hilarious - I will try to capture a video of this some time and post it.

It is my official position that you absolutely cannot be anything but happy when the ferret is around.  He is a true source of laughter and joy.

The Zookeeper

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nigel the Hedgehog

Nigel - our newest addition - secretly named after (Nigel) John Taylor - bass player from Duran Duran.  Don't tell my husband - he thinks it was the only name that happened to come up on both of our lists.  And - yes - I am still a proud fan and not afraid to admit it (11 live concerts so far).  And - yes - it would make more sense for me to name a critter after Simon (my childhood heartthrob) but that has long since been an off limits name as I had sweet, cute Simon LeBun the bunny in high school (RIP Simon).  All my "kids" have people names - and we don't reuse - which became quite challenging when I had 3 aquariums full of fabulous fish - maybe I will dedicate a post to them sometime.

Back to Nigel - what a curious little creature.  A total departure from any other pet I have had before.  So - I guess a bit about hedgehogs in general.  In all my research the best descriptive quote I have come across is something like a gentle beast cloaked in a coat of swords.  Hedgehogs are shy, independent, solitary creatures (sorry Nigel, you came to the wrong place).  They are active in the very early mornings and around dusk.  When in the wild they eat bugs and plants and they roam for many miles each night checking out the countryside.  They have quills - 2 sets - baby and adult that are not at all like the quills of a porcupine which have barbs and can be launched in self defense.  The quills feel kind of like a hairbrush and lay flat when all is well.  When frightened, angry or grumpy - quills come out, huffing ensues and in some cases the famous rolling in a ball occurs. Their underside is soft and fuzzy and their legs and feet are little and almost clubbed in appearance.  It seems that they would have a hard time getting around but they are actually quite fast.

Specifics for our little guy - I find he is quite fickle.  Some days he likes things, some days not so much, some days he runs on his wheel, some days - nothing.  He is supposed to be fed a varied diet - bugs (ugh), fresh fruit and veges, meat and a base diet of a mixture of high protein ferret food and low fat cat food.  Nigel is a good eater when it comes to the dry food.  Fresh fruit and veges - um, no.  Baby food fruit and veges - hit and miss....he loved banana baby food for a few weeks - now not interested.  He does LOVE his worms.  Not really my favorite thing as I am the person who scoops bugs up on paper and takes them outside so they will not get squished.  Luckily the worms live in a container in the fridge and when you take them out they are kind of in a hibernating state so they don't wiggle.  I can pretend they are dead.....whatever you gotta do right?  He loves yogurt which he can have once a week or so.  I also let him check out pretty much everything we eat.  He is a junk food fan for sure (fits right in here) and likes baked goods, soda, chips - pretty sure that wasn't the variation they had in mind.  Supposedly hedgehog obesity is a big problem so we are careful that its only a tiny taste of bad things.

We are going to the vet soon for his first checkup.  Should be an interesting experience all around.  Nigel is doing well with interacting with both myself and my husband but he is not a fan of strangers.  Additionally, our vet is not super familiar with hedgehogs.  We have decided to approach his care with general wellness done by my vet and any specialized care to be referred to a friend of his who is a hedgehog expert.

A day in the life of a hedgehog?  Here it's probably much different than everywhere else because he is in a pretty active household.  So - for example - on a weekend day I usually check in on him when I get up (he sleeps in Clooney the ferret's old cage).  He sleeps til mid morning - then up and into whatever room we are in.  More sleeping - completely oblivious to noise - phone, dog barking, vacuum cleaner - nothing seems to disturb him.  He is awakened many times over the course of the day - me checking on him, cats poking at him, ferret trying to get him to play, etc.  Then early evening we give him a snack - worms and baby food usually.  Then play time - some days he is more active than others.  I think this depends on how much he ran on his big blue wheel the night before.  The days following minimal running the previous night result in him being active - running around, climbing on things, interacting with the cats and the dog.  He is totally fearless of everyone except the ferret.  Clooney is dying to play - Nigel is afraid - huffing and quills.  It's getting better - still a ways to go but I am very hopeful they will become friends.

He is adorable - a great addition to our family and I enjoy spending time with him each day.  We have made some great strides towards him getting accustomed to being handled.  I am happy with our progress in just under 2 months.  There will be many pictures and updates to come so stay tuned.....

The Zookeeper

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inspirations for starting a blog....

Why would you start blog?  Will anyone read it?  Do you have anything to say - really?  These are all the questions I asked myself when I started contemplating starting my own blog.  The inspiration to finally take the plunge into the crazy world of blogging came from two very different and very unexpected sources.

The first - a friend from high school - someone I haven't talked to or seen in years who has two adorable little girls who like seeing my Facebook updates about my critters.  The second - a friend of a friend - someone I have never met who recently experienced a major medical event.  Her blog was posted by a mutual friend on Facebook and I have been reading the updates on her progress daily.  Her blog links to other blogs that link to other blogs - the tangled web is endless.  Perfect strangers posting interesting things about their lives, experiences, about whatever.  I figure I can post about whatever - I have lots of critters who are excessively entertaining and I am certainly not short on opinions - so there you have it - the makings of a blog.

So here we go - my first post.  Introductions to those most important in my life - my wonderful, kind, handsome hubby.
Since I am being a brave blogger and making this public to perfect strangers - in an effort to protect the privacy of the humans involved with this blog you will have to use your imagination.  Take my word for it - he's a keeper.  He is an entrepreneur who works far too hard.  He is kind and patient and he lets me keep seven critters which is a lot to ask.  Don't get me wrong - he loves them to pieces but there are some sacrifices one makes when sharing your abode with a bunch of furry friends.

The "children" - youngest to oldest:

Nigel the Hedgehog - our newest addition:
Clooney the Wonder Ferret:
Phoebe - the youngest kitty:
Oliver - the ornery boy kitty:
Emma - the beautiful Border Collie/Lab:
Zoey - my cranky orange girl:
Agatha - my shy black kitty:
That's them - my crazy beautiful family who brings me great joy, much laughter and many wonderful life lessons.  I hope you will tune in for future updates......

The Zookeeper