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!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Morning at the Zoo

So it's Monday morning here and the list of critter activities is long this morning.

Activity 1 - find all the ferrets and make sure everyone is good to go.  I accomplished this with the exception of Violet who is my late sleeper.  She will make an appearance around 11:30.  I saw her about midnight last night so I am pretty sure she is all good.

Activity 2 - make sure I think Bash is okay.... he is still not as active as I would like but he did play with me this morning.  His weight is steady and he is interested in his ferret vitamin, ferretone and gravy.  I didn't think he ate enough gravy so I grabbed a syringe and offered it to him....I think I might have created a monster. He laid in my arms like a baby and ate a bunch of gravy.  I stopped at the max amount you can feed a ferret at one sitting - if I would have kept going so would he.  So - lets just say there is nothing wrong with his appetite either!  :)

Activity 3 - get Emma and Phoebe downstairs - sounds like an easy one but not so much.  Emma is neurotic about the hallway floor and it takes her about 13 tries before she is brave enough to get all four feet on the hardwoods.  Phoebe is a pain in that she will not jump over the gate - it has to be opened for her or she has to be lifted....crazy cat.

Activity 4 - feed the piglet and the dog.  Its an incredibly beautiful morning outside so Winston got his breakfast in his treat ball.  He is out there playing now having a grand old time.  Emma thinks I am a cool mommy because I let her have a handful of small dog cookies for breakfast.  She gets treats throughout the day and then her large meal of dry and wet food in the evenings.

Activity 5 - get Harlow up, fed, medicated and let her have some play time while the pig is outside.  This morning she weighed 692 grams - woot!!  I got her out and let her play while I got her food and meds ready. We have moved from syringe feeding to offering her the gravy in a cup - she likes this and she eats a ton!!  I let her get some food in her belly and then gave her the prednisone - she is pretty good about taking it.  Then I did give her a few syringes of gravy to get the medication taste out of her mouth.  As I type she is running and playing and having a grand time outside of her cage.  So happy she is still doing so well.

There are additional activities I haven't yet gotten to:

  • Kitty ear meds - that one is next on my list
  • Cat box scooping - that one should be illegal on Mondays
  • Harlow's cage cleanout - that one is easy - just remove the potty pad, put in a new one and freshen up her food and water
  • Emma and Winston outside to potty - its interesting - Winston will not go potty on the deck - he will only go on the gravel in the front yard - so after he finishes playing with his ball and Harlow finishes running about I will let him in and take them both out.
  • Call the vet and reorder Harlow's prednisone.  She is down to the bottom 1/3 of her bottle.  Time for a refill.
Hope your Monday isn't too filled up with chores....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Runaway Treat Ball

Earlier this evening Winston was playing outside on the deck.  I put his dinner in his treat ball and he was happily doing his thing.  We have a pet fence that stretches across the opening to go down the stairs and the fence is secured in several spots so he can't tip it over.  Somehow he pushed the fence out over the first step a bit.  There wasn't any way for him to get off the deck but - his treat ball was a different story.  Poor little piglet watched in horror as his beloved ball bounced down the stairs and then proceeded to roll down the steep hill in the back yard - all the way into the drainage easement.  Not a happy little dude.  I got him inside and went to retrieve his ball - when I came in the front door holding it he was making happy little grunts.  All is right in his world....  silly piglet.....

The rest of the gang is doing just great!  Can't believe it's already Sunday night....boo....

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Night Roundup

So - its been a crazy week!!  Very glad its Friday!

Harlow has had an amazingly fantastic week - I couldn't be happier.  I pulled her off the anti nausea meds mid week and she has done just fine without them.  She is bright and happy and active and I am so pleased!!  The rest of the ferret gang is doing great - although I have been keeping an eye on Bash.  He is a bit less active than he has been so I am keeping a close eye.  So far I can't really find anything wrong with him - he is eating, going potty, and will play when coaxed.  He is not losing weight so there is technically nothing wrong.  I may take him into the vet next week if I am still worried.

Winston had a good week - he is back on his regular schedule which makes him a happy piglet.  He has enjoyed some outside time this week.  He and Harlow visit through the cage and they are fascinated with each other - they meet nose to nose and sometimes Harlow gives Winston kisses on his snout.

Emma has had a rough week - we have had almost daily thunderstorms which make her so upset and nervous.  She is doing well otherwise though - no complaints.  I need to schedule her for another puppy haircut - this hot weather is crazy!

Kitties are all doing great - lots of sun sleeping!!  They are so spoiled - I am jealous of the cat life!

All in all this was a good critter week!  Looking forward to a couple of down days before we do it all over again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Back in the Swing of Things

Today is the first day since I returned from traveling that I feel like I am back in the swing of things - sort of.  I feel like I am making some headway on chores, work, etc.  I also feel like the critters are back into some sort of routine.

Winston had a great day - he spent a good bit of time outside even though it was very warm - I put his waterbowl out there with ice water to make sure he had a way to stay cool.  He was a pretty good little piglet today....

Emma had a rotten day - she was on the naughty list from the time she got up this morning til just now when she finally went to bed.  Not sure what her deal was - surely tomorrow will be better.

Harlow had a great day - full of energy.  She had out of the cage time this morning while Winston was outside.  The good news for today was that I pulled her off of the anti - nausea medication.  She is not showing any signs at all of nausea so I don't want to medicate her unnecessarily.  I kept an even closer watch on weight today to see if she would eat less dry food.  So far so good.  She also ate two large feedings this morning and evening when I gave her her medication.  As of right now she is only on the prednisone!  :)

My herd of ferrets is fantastic - they are all out and about playing this evening.  I think they are all feeling fine!  I do adore them.  Kai and Theo visited me in the tub and almost everyone has visited the gravy bowl.

Kitties are all well - happy and healthy.

All in all I am feeling like things are slowly but surely returning to normal....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Stories of the Day

Today was an interesting critter day...  Emma and Winston kept me on my toes as they decided to tip over the garbage and spread it all over the kitchen floor - FUN TIMES.  The kitties were pretty good today - no trouble to report for them.  They have had their ear medication and are all sprawled out in various parts of the house.

Ferrets are well - the seven upstairs ferrets are all happy and healthy and active.  I have seen everyone but Violet and Fiona - which I am not terribly concerned about because I saw both of them earlier this evening.  Harlow is doing so great - she is snoozing away in her cage.  Around 9 I gave her meds and a supplemental feeding.  Today I gave her around 70 ccs of syringe fed food.  The rest of the day she was on her own eating her dry food.  When I weighed her tonight before meds she was up to 674 grams - a 10 gram gain since this morning!  We will take it.  I love that we are inching closer and closer to that 700 gram goal.

Tonight its been pretty mellow.  Winston has had his nighty cookies and has settled into bed.  He was a very patient piggy this morning and let me sleep in til 8:30.  Usually I feed him around 7 - 7:30.  He also got his dinner a bit late - around 6:30 this evening.

As I type - little Miss Fiona has come up on the bed for some lovies...just Violet remains unseen which is not unusual at all....

I am feeling like I am starting to get back to normal after my trip.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a clam critter day and I can get caught up on some chores...hope you had a happy Saturday.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Status Updates

I am back with my furries after a long, exhausting but very successful week.

Harlow is doing exceptionally well.  She is gaining weight, eating dry food on her own, drinking from her water bowl and is quite active.  At the advice of the vet who cared for her while I was gone - they suggested that we keep her in a cage until we get her weight to where we want it.  When she has free run of a large area her food becomes an after thought but when she is in a more confined spot she seems to eat on her own much more regularly.  I set up Clooney/Nigel's old cage downstairs for her.  She has 4 sleeping spots to choose from, toys, tunnels, etc - its quite the hangout.  This weekend will be about finding a new normal.  Since she is eating on her own she likely doesn't need as much food via the syringe and she likely doesn't need it quite as often.  Today I have only given her about 75 ccs vs the 140 I usually do.  I am hopeful that we can move into more of a supportive feeding role - just supplementing what she eats with the syringe three or four times a day.  If this is successful then I can maybe go all night without a feeding which would be great.  So happy that she did so well while I was gone and so happy to be with her again.

Winston is great - full of piss and vinegar.  He got a great bill of health from the vet in his boarding exam and he got lots of outside time while he boarded.  I think he had fun but I also think he is happy to be home.  I know I am happy to have him home.

Emma did great with her boarding as well - she is always happy to come home though.  She is not thrilled with the afternoon thunder boomers we have been having.  Her health seems great - we are having extremely hot weather though so I need to take her into the groomers to get shaved again so she will be cooler.

Hubs did a great job caring for the other ferrets and the kitties.  Everyone seems happy and healthy.
I am hoping to have a low key weekend, not doing much and catching up on some much needed rest....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Second Drop Off

So today it was all about Harlow and getting her ready to go to the vet hospital for her medical boarding.  I dreaded taking her all day long.  She had excellent feedings all day and was bright and active and alert.  About 3:30 I gave her a quick shower and got her all squeaky clean.  I packed her bag - good golly - the tiny critter has a lot of crap.  Off we went....

They got her checked in and set up in her spot for the next few days.  She has a little bed and her blanket.  She also has some of her toys.  Then there is her food, meds, chicken broth, Pepto Bismal, syringes, etc....geez.  By the time I filled out paper work and went through the feeding instructions it was about 4:30.  They did her first feeding at 5:30 and according to the vet tech it went very well. Harlow was cooperative and happy afterwards playing with her ball.  They were going to do her 9:00 feeding - that one had all her meds so I hope it went okay.

I will call and check on her in the morning on my way out the door....  Miss her, miss Winston - ready for this trip to be over...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Preparations Underway

I have to travel for business next week - while I am excited to see everyone and attend upcoming meetings - I am dreading being gone.  I stress when I am away from the critters - especially when one of them is not feeling well.

Today it was all about Mr. Piglet and getting him to the boarding facility.  Winston hates the car so we decided to take him in the SUV this time.  It took some coaxing but we finally got him positioned right and the hubs was able to lift him into the back of the truck.  I sat in the back seat and gave him some pets and some comforting words while the hubs drove us across town.  I have to say the at times the husband can be quite the pig whisperer.  Once we got to the boarding place we were wondering how we were going to get him out and voila the pig whisperer came up with the idea of using the tarp we spread across the floor of the back of the car as a sling to lift him down.  It worked like a charm and Winston didn't even squeal.  We got him inside and coaxed him onto the scale - HOLY HECK - he is a big boy.  Are you ready for this???  Piglet weighs 82 pounds - gulp.  The good news is that we were chatting with the vet and she confirmed that he is not overweight for his frame.  We don't want to go much heavier with him but she doesn't think he is too big.

We got him settled - he will be showered with attention and have outside play time so he will be a happy piglet.  His mommy, however, already misses him and our household - while quiet - is incomplete.

Tomorrow evening we will drop Harlow off at an great 24 hour animal hospital we have used multiple times.  She will go in for what they call medical boarding and she will have around the clock care where they can feed her every four hours and give her medications twice a day.  While I know in my head that there is absolutely no better place for her to be while I am gone - in my heart I am stressed and anxious and sad about being away from her.  I can't help but feel like if my time with her is short I don't want to miss a minute.  Her Friday morning unhappiness stressed me out even more.  Thankfully the rest of Friday and the bulk of today have been great.  Fingers crossed she will continue to do well tomorrow so I can drop her off feeling okay about her state of health.

On Monday morning on his way to work the hubs will drop Emma off for her boarding.  She could probably stay home while I am gone but the husband tends to work long hours and it will be too long of a wait each day so she will go to the vet and be showered with attention and taken out multiple times a day so she won't be uncomfortable.  Getting them ready to go is crazy - I swear I am packing more for them than I am for myself.

The rest of the ferret gang will be at home - along with the kitties.  Hubs will be in charge of gravy for the weasels in the mornings, kitty ear meds morning and evening and making sure that everyone is accounted for each day and that they have food and water.

I know that everyone will be fine without me - I just don't feel fine without them.  Ready for this trip to be over and for us to get back to a normal routine....

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Roundup

It's been a crazy Friday at the zoo.  Harlow went to an emergency vet visit this morning because she had an episode of dry heaving.  No throwing up but going through all the motions so I took her in to see if they wanted to add/change medications.

She had a very thorough examination and we are leaning towards the cause being a symptom of her FIP - or perhaps a bacterial bug because after she started the antibiotics she started to get better.  The last time she had the heaves was 8:30 this morning.  We have eased back into her feedings and she will be a bit short on ccs for today but not terribly.  All in all her day wasn't that bad - once she got to feeling better mid morning she was quite active and playful.  Tonight she took her medications and ate a fair amount.  I will do another feeding around midnight and then one at 3 am.

The other ferrets are all well - wild children as usual.  I am pleased with their level of engagement, appetite, outputs and general health.  I have been watching them very closely since Harlow got sick to ensure no one exhibited any signs of illness.  So far so good.

Kitties are doing great - everyone is lazy and laid back.  My thyroid kitties have all had their medicines today and Aggie - my only non thyroid girl is snoozing on the back of my chair as I type this.

Winston was an exceptionally good piglet today - he didn't get in trouble one time today.  It was nice this morning and he was able to get some outside time with his treat ball on the deck.  He is usually really well behaved after he gets outside time.  Emma was a good girl today as well - partly because it was rainy for a minute and she went under the bed - there is not much trouble to get in under the bed....

So - with a bit of a rough and worrying start to the day - we quickly moved to a not all that bad kind of day. Here is hoping tomorrow has no rough patches at all.....

The Sounds of the Zoo

It's bright and early here and as I sit in the bedroom typing this I am smiling at all the different noises I hear:

The crunch of Madison eating her dry kibble
The sound of Theo and Bash wrestling in the bathtub
The happy dooking of Tabitha, Violet and Fiona as they chat with each other under the comforter on the bed
Phoebe purring as she lays on our pillows
Emma getting a drink
Winston chomp chomp chomping his breakfast
Aggie softly snoring
Pitter patter of Kai feet on the hallway floor

Harlow has had her breakfast this morning - it took a bit of coaxing to get it all in but she did it.  Soon I will head downstairs for kitty ear medication and trips outside for the dog and the pig.

Happy Friday....

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

First Aid for your Pets

When it comes to pet first aid, preparation is the key

Most people are well aware of first-aid, and probably have a first-aid kit readily available at home, and in the workplace. But as a pet owner, it’s important to make sure you have at least basic first-aid supplies for your pets accessible to you in your household should an emergency occur. Luckily, many of the items in a standard human first-aid kit can do double-duty for pets!
Sick dog.
First of all, it’s important to have all information about your pet available to provide to a medical professional in the case of an emergency. This includes your pet’s species, breed, age, sex and weight. You’ll also want to have contact information for your pet’s primary veterinarian, as well as a local emergency veterinary clinic. It’s important to have this information on-hand and accessible before an emergency occurs, so you’re not rushing around during a time of high-stress. These details can make all the difference when it comes to getting your pet the fastest, most effective first aid treatment.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends having the following items on hand in the case of an emergency:
  • Gauze for wrapping wounds or for muzzling an injured animal that might be distressed and prone to biting
  • Nonstick bandages or towels to control bleeding
  • Adhesive tape to secure the bandages
  • Milk of magnesia or activated carbon for absorbing poisons (Note: always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before attempting to induce vomiting or otherwise treating your pet for poison)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – for inducing vomiting (see above note!)
  • Eye dropper to administer oral treatments or to flush out wounds
  • Always have a leash on-hand to safely transport your pet, especially if he can’t be safely crated
  • A stretcher – or a door, blanket or other sturdy surface – can be used to transport your pet if he is not capable of walking without causing further injury
For less serious injuries, Pet Solution is a great product to have available. It’s an all-natural, first-aid support formula made with electrolyzed oxidizing water, which helps pets’ wounds heal faster. It can be used to treat a variety of common problems, such as minor cuts and scrapes, larger abrasions, hotspots, insect bites, skin irritation and more.
A little preparation can go a long way when you’re faced with an emergency. Don’t get caught rushing around for supplies. Have everything organized and in one place so you can provide the best care for your pet when he needs you most.
Source:  http://www.marshallpet.com/blog/

I have some additions to my kit just based on the types of critters I have and experience:
Syringes - 1 cc, 3 cc and 10 cc - for feeding, giving water or meds
Cornstarch and Wonder Dust Wound Powder - have you heard the expression bleeding like a stuck pig - yeah - they mean it
Colloidal Silver - I use this for a bunch of different things - handy to keep in the kit
Tubes of glucose - these are left over from Clooney's insulinoma days but good to have for a blood sugar emergency
Eye ointment - this is left over Rx ointment but with this many critters who play like crazy and poke each other in the eyes it sure comes in handy
Vetasyl - fiber for pets - this is great for intestinal upset - works for both scenarios - not going or going too much
We also have carriers for everyone as well as a large pet stroller that could support Emma or Winston should they get injured and not be able to walk

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a whirlwind....I can't believe it's Sunday night!  All in all it was a great critter weekend:

We spent time with Emma - long walks for her - she loves that.  Winston had inside play time and outside.  We have been letting him outside to go potty without his harness and leash - so far that's been working well - he stays close by and comes in when he is told.

Kitties are doing well - they have been enjoying the warm weather - basking in the sun and general lounging.  Health wise they are doing very well - quite pleased with kitty land these days.

The ferrets are doing fantastic:

Harlow is eating like a champ and FINALLY - she is starting to gain some weight!  I weighed her a few minutes ago and she was up from 609 to 664!!  Hooray.  Her energy levels have been fantastic and all in all I am happy and relieved with how she is doing.

Theo - my sweet boy is doing so well.  He is loving having 2 rough and tumble brothers and can often be found playing with the girls as well.  Kai is still a lovebug - full of kisses and cuddle and then in an instant wild boy who wants to wrestle and bite on you.  Bash - he pretty much wants to bite on you all the time - ah the joys of a young male ferret!  Violet has been quite engaged and happy lately - she has finally made friends with the other girls and can often be found playing with them which makes my heart happy.  Madison is her same happy and joyful self.  Tabby has been playing with the boys this weekend - she gives them a run for their money.  Last but not least Miss Fiona - she is doing amazingly well and is so sweet and affectionate.

Off to do another feeding for baby Harlow - then heading to bed.....

Friday, June 05, 2015

Not Enough Time

Here it is - the 5th of June and I am just writing my first blog post for the month.  I guess with work, walking, gym time, house stuff, caring for 13 healthy critters and feeding and caring for Harlow every few hours something had to give and this was it.

Things at the zoo are good.  Harlow continues to hold her own - she is eating, has good energy levels and seems to be feeling well.  She is not gaining any weight but she is not losing either.  I am pleased that she feels well enough to play with her toys and run through her tunnels.

The rest of the ferret gang is doing well - everyone seems to be feeling good.  We are on heightened vigilance with them watching them very closely to make sure everyone is okay.  The little boys - Theo, Bash and Kai are rambunctious!!  The girls - Maddie, Violet, Fiona and Tabitha are hanging out together and can often be found playing or snoozing with each other.  Violet, who was quite stand offish with Bash and especially Fiona, has warmed up and those two often play together.

The kitties are doing great.  Everyone seems to be happy and healthy and they are just my go with the flow gang.  I am thankful that they are pretty independent and self entertaining.  They aren't asking much from me at the moment - a few snuggles, clean boxes and a full food bowl.

Emma is doing well.  She hasn't been walking quite so much because we have had a string of days of rainy weather.  She hides under the bed during the rain and doesn't want to go outside.  She seems to be good though.  Winston is doing great - he has found himself in trouble the last few days because he is bored and can't go outside due to the weather.  Bored piglets spell trouble.  He tries to be good but.....  we continue to have carpet eating issues, he broke into his bag of food and over ate yesterday, just stuff that happens when they are bored.  Hopefully the weather will clear up and he can enjoy some outside time soon.

All in all things are going well around here - there is just not enough time in the day to get done with everything that needs to happen.