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, July 27, 2015

One Year

I can't believe it's been one year today since we lost our sweet Clooney.  Then again - in some ways it feels like forever since I saw his handsome and sweet face.

Clooney was my first ferret - he was patient and gentle and sweet and he is the reason we have eight now - I fell in love with those little weasels because of him.  Clooney was an only ferret for a long time - then Madison came into the picture and then Vi, Finn and Theo.  Theo and Clooney finally became friends and at the end of his life he was the center of attention from his little ferret family.

I take comfort in the fact that he had a long and lovely life that was filled with happy and healthy days right up until the end.  I miss him so much - I think of him every day.  I know he is playing with Finn, Isabel and Nigel at the rainbow bridge.

As a baby

With his brothers - Finn on the left and Theo on top - I love that he made ferret friends

With his favorite toy - his sacred cow 
In his ball pit

Handsome little devil

Playing on the porch - curled up in the watering can

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Superhero Kai Saves the Day

The ferrets and the pig really hate it when I have something on me that shouldn't be - for instance, a bandaid, a blister or cut, a new piece of jewelry...they will try everything to get whatever that is off. Sometimes it can be painful - a blister or scab getting ripped off by a pig can hurt.

Anyway -  today I was taking a relaxing bubble bath before getting ready to head out to dinner.  I decided it would be nice to do a facial mask so I grabbed one - a cucumber sheet mask.  Basically you take a piece of material out of a pouch and unfold it and put it on your face.  There are pre cut eye, nose and mouth holes....

I get it out and get it put on and then relax - eyes closed - waiting my 10 - 12 minutes - or so I thought. About 8 minutes in Kai decided to get up on the side of the tub and then proceeded to grab the mask in his mouth and yank it off my face - saving me from whatever it was that was suffocating me....geez...

He plopped it right into the bath water and then was quite proud of himself for defeating the cotton monster that had attacked his mommy.  So much for relaxing....

I do love those crazy critters....

Friday, July 24, 2015

Too Much On the Plate

The last few weeks have been crazy around here which has resulted in less time to photograph and write about the furries.

They are all well - doing their thing and being patient with me being busy and/or gone a good bit.  Winston is in a mood this morning - naughty with a capital N.  I finally put him out on the deck to get a break.  Harlow is well - out and about this morning doing her thing.  Her weight is fluctuating a bit but her general health and energy levels seem good.  I am feeding her often and her appetite is great - she eats whenever food is offered.

Kitties are fine - doing their thing and same goes for the ferrets - they are all doing just great and are entertaining each other since I have been so swamped.  Emma is doing well too - not too happy with the rounds of thunder storms that roll through but other than that a pretty content pup.

I am hoping that once this week and next are done things in our world will calm down a bit and I will have more time for regular snaps and blogs....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


One word - rambunctious - describes everyone today.  Holy heck.  Winston was a crazy pig til I took him outside and chased him around the yard (and the neighbors yard too).  Emma had a quick walk to burn off some of her energy.  It's stormy tonight so she is in her under the bed hiding spot.

Harlow was feisty all day today.  She is doing well - weight is stable and she is eating both the wet and dry food.  No complaints with her at all.  The kitties are all in rare form as well.  Phoebe and Oliver causing mischief as usual.  Zoey was upstairs sleeping in the bathroom sink when I got up this morning.  Aggie is her same self - although - she was quite insistent that I share my lunch with her - sometimes she can be quite pushy.

As for the weasels - wowser - they are WILD tonight!  I am trying to wear them out so I can get some rest once its time for bed.

The good thing about rambunctious is that it means they are feeling good which makes me happy. Love this crazy bunch of critters!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Catching Up - the Latest and Greatest

What a wild and crazy week last week was....

It was quite a busy work week as I was out of the house for 2 full days.  My critters are spoiled by my working from home so its tough on them - especially the pig and the pup.  Winston and Emma both did well - they were well behaved and did not get into mischief.

Harlow had a good week - a quick dip in weight but she got right back on track so I think it was related to me not feeding her gravy often enough.  We are all good again and she is doing fantastic!

The boys - Theo, Kai and Bash are wild as ever but they seem to be feeling good.  Theo had an upset tummy but it quickly passed and they are all doing well.  The girls - Tabby, Violet, Maddie, and Fiona are all fantastic - they have been playful and full of energy.

Kitties are all well - Ollie and Phoebe are full of naughtiness - knocking things off the counters and generally causing trouble.  Zoey was having a tough time shedding her winter coat so we did some aggressive brushing to get all that excess hair and some tangles out.  She looks and I am guessing that she feels much better.  Aggie is doing her thing - such a sweet - go with the flow girl.

We had a bit of a scare today with Emma - we went for a walk and our sweet girl got so over heated that we had to stop - she physically couldn't go any further.  We got her into the shade in a nice grassy area and I ran to the store across the parking lot and bought cold bottled water.  After a big drink and a couple of bottles of water poured over her to cool her down she was much better.  We took it slow for the rest of the way home and once inside - more water, some food and some time under a cool towel she was back to normal.  She has eaten and gone potty normally this evening.  She is resting under the bed as we had a thunder storm a bit ago.  I think we will have to modify our walks with her - maybe a shorter route and then back to the house to drop her off.  She scared me today and I hate the thought of her slowing down.

All in all - it was a whacky week but it was good.  Hoping that next week is a bit calmer....

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stories of the Day

There is not too much to share today really - the humans had a busy work day today and as a result the critters had to entertain themselves.

Kitties are all doing well - Zoey is shedding like crazy so its furry downstairs.  Aggie is my go with the flow girl - she spent some lap time with me this morning.  Oliver and Phoebe are hanging upstairs with us tonight - begging for people food.

Emma had a rough start to her day - we had quite the thunderstorm move through around 4 am.  She hid under the bed and didn't come out til almost 11.  The rest of her day was better - a short walk, lots of trips outside, playtime with Winston, cookies and now she is snoozing in the bedroom with us.

The ferrets are all doing well.  As I type the wild boys are up - Kai, Theo and Bash.  They have been playing and racing through their tunnel.  Madison and Violet are playing in the covers of our bed and Fiona and Tabby are wrestling in the bathtub.  I will give them their evening gravy in a bit.  Harlow is doing fantastic - after  busy day breaking out of her cage and taking flying leaps off the furniture she is snoozing - I need to head downstairs to give her some gravy and her medication.

And last but not least - Mr. Winston - days like today are tough on him - its hard for a piglet to be good while I talk on the phone for 6 hours of conference calls.  He had some outside time, cookies, lots of trips outside for potties and grass munching and lots of cookies.  Right now he is snoozing in his bed - he will get lovies and cookies when I go down to take care of Harlow and the kitties.

All in all an okay day - tomorrow is crazy busy again - so they will have more of the same - poor critters.....

Friday, July 10, 2015

Christmas (Stockings) in July

Each of my critters has their own Christmas stocking and they get toys and treats in there each year. Since last year we have added Bash and Fiona to our little mix so I ordered their stocking.  BTW - I found that ordering stockings in June is super cheap compared to ordering them in November.

These stockings are super cute and the strings of lights actually light up.  Can't wait to see them on my mantle in a few months.  In case you were wondering about what the other critter stockings look like - here are some links to previous posts:




A couple of pics of Winston's stocking with the pin on it....

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Birthday Snaps

So - I am a bad ferret mommy because I did a terrible job of document ferret bdays today.  I think they had fun but I didn't do so well at capturing it on camera.

This morning seven babies in the bathroom for gravy.  They also got ferret vitamins and ferretone. Then mid morning Kai was up and about with Maddie, Theo, Bash and Fiona - all of them got to share a birthday treat - a small piece of yogurt covered pretzel.  Everyone seemed to enjoy that.

Meanwhile, downstairs Harlow had lots of out of the cage time - she is doing so well!  There were multiple days not too long ago where it didn't look like she would make it to her first birthday and now look at her - back to a healthy weight and full of energy.  She helped me with a couple of projects today, ate well, did a good job taking her meds and played lots with Ollie and Emma.

This evening Tabby was up so she got her birthday treat - as did Violet.  Everyone also enjoyed evening gravy which is a rare treat.

Here are the few snaps I did manage to take over the course of the day:

Kai giving me nose kisses

Handsome birthday boy Kai

Cutie tootie Harlow


My Harlow helper - crawling in a box of supplies

My beauty Tabitha


Sweet birthday girl Tabitha

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

General Updates

It's been busy around here - lots going on....but here are a few updates from the last few days:

Ferrets are doing well.  Harlow continues to slowly and consistently put on weight.  She is averaging about 5 grams per week.  We are in the 690s with peaks over 700 now and then.  Hopeful that by the end of July she will be at the 700 mark.  Her energy levels are high and she is a happy girl.

Bash is doing fine.  He seems to be healthy - eating, normal outputs and a bit of an increase in energy. He is playful but not wanting to wrestle with the other boys - not that I blame him - they are a bit crazy and they play really rough.

Theo and Kai are wild - doing fantastic.  The little girls are all well - Tabby has decided that she likes Ferretone all of a sudden which is good - its a supplement that keeps her coat from drying out.

The kitties are doing fine - not much to report in their world.  Emma is well - not loving the combination of fireworks and thunder.  Winston is fine - causing trouble as usual but doing great.  He is a silly piglet.

Tomorrow is Kai, Tabby and Harlow's first birthday.  I can't believe they are already a year old!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sometimes right is tough....

Last night on our way home from 4th of July festivities we came across this sweet old girl on a busy highway. She was wet and scared and in danger of getting hit by passing cars.

We got her in the car and after a stop at the police station and the 24 hour animal hospital we figured out that there is no one to help you when you pick up a stray.  So she went home with us.  She got some food and water and a bed on the deck.  It was a long night but she did pretty well given the circumstances.

This morning we took her in to see if she had a micro chip...no such luck.  We posted ads and info on social media.  Unfortunately she appeared to have something going on with her ears....weepy and infected.  Since my first priority is the health and safety of my fur kids we decided not to expose this dog to any of our gang. Since we don't have a fenced yard and since this girl did not want to be left alone for one minute we knew something had to happen today which is tough being a Sunday and a holiday weekend.

So, here's what we did.  We called our local animal control and they came and picked her up and took her to the county shelter.  Don't despair though...she won't be a shelter dog for long.  We reached out to a local lab rescue and tomorrow they will intervene on her behalf.  They will leave her at the shelter for the 3 day period an owner has to claim a lost pet.  This will give an opportunity to reunite the family and give the shelter time to get ear meds started.  Then the rescue will get her and foster her til they find her family or a new forever home.  She is not in danger of euthanasia which was my requirement to turning her over.  I think this was a tough but reasonable solution.  I will follow up with the shelter and the rescue tomorrow.   I hope they find her people soon....

Friday, July 03, 2015

Winston's Birthday

I can't believe my little piglet is one - and 82 pounds....  I also can't believe I have been a pig mommy for 11 months.  I have learned a lot about pigs since then....

Today was a good day for my little boo I think.  He had lots of treats - food is where its at for a pig after all. We kicked off the morning with his berry breakfast.  Then some play time.  This afternoon he had a birthday party with Emma and the kitties.  No ferrets because Tabby, Kai and Harlow all turn 1 next week - and lets be realistic - how much birthday shenanigans are they going to partake in?  Winston had fun tearing up the packaging from his toy and the bag from the pet store - and spreading them all over the kitchen floor....

Here are some snaps and a video or two for your viewing enjoyment.  I love being a pig mommy and I adore my sweet Winston - happy birthday bubby!!!

There he is - the birthday boy

And his BFF Emma

A treat of bite sized cupcakes - only 2 each

A special dinner - shared between the pig and the dog

Winston enjoying his birthday dinner

Emma and Oliver enjoying their dinner

Winston enjoying his birthday toy - a new chew ring

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hairballs in Ferrets

So - ferrets get hairballs and I am pretty certain that is what is going on with Bash.  Both he and Fiona have extremely long fluffy hair.  Hairballs can actually be quite dangerous in ferrets if left unchecked.  Cats usually expel them by leaving you a lovely juicy hairball but ferrets don't typically throw them up.  If they get really bad they can get stuck in the digestive track and get bigger and bigger making a complete blockage.  Some ferrets have the blood supply to their intestines cut off and some actually die.  So - needless to say - we are taking this seriously.

The good news is that Bash has an appetite, is drinking and even though he is less active he is not what I would call lethargic.  I have been supplement-ally feeding him a couple of times a day just to make sure enough food is going in.  Today I have Bash downstairs with me.  I have him in the bottom of Harlow's cage with a blanket blocking access so the two of them are separated.  I wanted to keep him close by so I could make sure he didn't have any issues and in particular to make sure he was still going potty and that he wasn't experiencing any kind of blockage.

This morning he was a little bit hacky - which is a tell tale sign of hairballs.  I gave him a bit of honey in his ferretone to start with.  Honey is an antihistamine and opens up the bronchials. You have to give honey very sparingly as sugar is not great for ferrets and can cause them to develop insulinoma.  This was his first ever dose.  It made me chuckle thinking of Clooney who LOVED honey.  When he was younger he knew I kept it in the pantry and he would stand in front of the pantry door and fake a hacking noise...silly boy.  Anyway - Bash didn't like straight honey but once I mixed it with ferretone it was all good.  That seemed to quiet the hacking and then a few hours later we did a bit of ferretone and some hairball medicine.  He had some lunch and some more hairball meds.  He has gone potty twice - both look normal.  No hacking at all since this morning.  I am thinking he is doing better.

He has been quite active in the cage - playing in the paper fluff -- right now he is napping.  I will see how I think he is later tonight.  If there is any indication of a blockage I will take him in immediately - so far no signs of that - fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

June Recap

How in the world is it the first of July?  Is it just me?  Time just seems to whiz by.  Looking back at June - first - I did a terrible job of fitting blogging into my schedule this past month - it was just too crazy.  Hopefully July will be better.

All in all June was a pretty good critter month.  For the first half of the month things with Harlow were pretty intense.  We were still on the every four hour feeding routine - but mid month I went on business travel and she went in for medical boarding and we got over a big hump.  Since I returned she has been doing amazingly well.  Tomorrow it will be 3 weeks of her really thriving!  Winston and Emma also went in for boarding and they both did well.  We are back into a good routine here - for that I am thankful.

The kitties are all doing fantastic - feeling good.  For the most part piglet is being a pretty good boy.  He has his moments...  :)  Emma is doing well - she is not a fan of the afternoon thunderstorms we have been having but other than that she seems to be pretty happy and healthy.

The wild weasels who live upstairs are good!!  Theo and Kai are truly wild children - active, playful and ornery.  Bash is still not as active as I would like but he seems to be okay - he is eating well - enjoying the occasional syringe feeding just to make sure his belly is full.  The girls are all really thriving - Violet has become much more social, Tabby is playful and active, Fiona is a little love bug and Miss Madison is as joyful and full of kisses as ever.  All in all I am happy with how my weasel gang is doing.  I continue to watch Bash very closely - monitoring his weight and outputs each day to make sure there is nothing going on with him.

Looking forward to July and whatever critter adventures it brings!   The next few days will be quite busy as Mr. Winston Piglet turns 1 year old on the 3rd and Kai, Tabitha and Harlow turn 1 year old on the 6th.  Lots of reasons to celebrate so stay tuned for details and pictures.....