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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Latest and Greatest

So here it is - Tuesday already.  My to do list is too long so I thought I would take a quick breather to write about how things are going around here.

The first bit of good news is that for the first time in days the sun is out.  This makes for more motivated humans for sure and it makes for a much happier little piglet who is incredibly tired of being cooped up inside.  He is running and rooting and generally enjoying the outdoors as I type.  Emma is happy that its not raining so she doesn't have to hide in the closet - she can do without going outside though.

The kitties seem well.  Oliver is his regular clingy self - always wanting more more more attention.  LOL! The girls, Phoebe, Zoey and Aggie seem to be great - content with their space and feeling good.

Ferrets are doing well too!  This week feels a bit tougher being without Harlow - maybe it has sunk in more?I miss that little girl more than you could possible imagine.  In an effort to keep myself distracted I have been grabbing a ferret or two and bringing them into the bedroom with me while I work.  They enjoy the change of scenery and the one on one time and I enjoy the companionship.  Today I have Theo and Violet with me, yesterday it was Fiona and Tabby in the afternoon and Kai and Madison in the morning.

Emma's mouth is in pretty good shape - she goes next week for her liver test and dental stuff.  Winston's eye seems to be back to 100% normal - not sure what he did to make it so angry but I am relieved that he is fully recovered.  Violet seems to be no worse for wear from our stepping incident.  That means that I can declaratively say that everyone is feeling good.  It's been quite some time since I could say that....

As for outdoor critters - we continue to enjoy the deer and the wild turkeys.  We have a new outdoor critter who is fascinating and a bit scary - a mama possum has visited a couple of times.  She hasn't done anything aggressive - I think she is just looking for food for her babies.  We also have a cast of slithery characters - mostly black snakes out in the fields.  We have seen some miscellaneous turtles as well - love them.  We are so lucky to have this much wildlife on display....

All in all things at the zoo are good!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Tough Week

I have to say - this has been a pretty rough week for our little zoo.

As you know - on Monday we had to say goodbye to our sweet Harlow girl.  Our hearts are still broken and we miss her immensely.  I just got a call from the vet and her remains are back so I will be making that difficult trek to pick her up and bring her home.

On Tuesday I was moving some things around in my office and managed to step on Violet.  Stepping on a ferret can be very dangerous and even life threatening.  So - to give myself peace of mind - I scooped her up and took her to the emergency vet to get checked out.  She was fine thankfully and after 24 hours separated from her siblings for observation she is back with the gang and doing fantastic.

Yesterday evening Winston came inside from his evening playtime/potty trip with an eye that was swollen shut.  Sigh.  I don't know if he got something in it, got an insect bite...geez.  I have to say - he is a pretty tolerant pig as I got him to lay down and he let me put some eye drops in there to see if I could flush it out if it was a foreign body.  I did a cold compress and used a cotton swab to make sure the eye was all clean.  Then I gave him a Benedryl and put him to bed.  He is looking better this morning - his eye is still a tiny bit swollen but he is opening it fully and there doesn't seem to be any issues with his vision.  I will be keeping a close eye on it but I think we are on the mend.

On a positive note - Emma finished up her round of antibiotics today.  Her mouth seems much better and next week we do her liver test and hopefully her dental work....

So - needless to say - I am ready for a better critter week next week....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Harlow - July 2014 - September 2015

Yesterday afternoon we made the agonizingly difficult decision to spare our sweet Harlow any further suffering and send her to the rainbow bridge.  The last week had been very difficult for her and there was no prospect for improvement.  Her sweet spirit has been freed from a body that failed her.  For that I am grateful.

Harlow was born on July 8, 2014 and was littermates with Tabitha and Kai.  The three of them came to live with us in November of 2014 and they quickly became a part of our family and captured our hearts. Harlow was a very shy and sweet ferret with a very easy going disposition.  She loved to play with toys and had several toy pile stashes in various places.  In May we got the devastating diagnosis of Ferret FIP (Systemic Coronavirus).

We were fortunate in that with the exception of the last week or so, the last 5ish months had been pretty good for our sweet girl.  She had a period of amazingly good health and even during her slow decline she was active, inquisitive and feeling quite good.  I am so thankful that she got to experience the new house and that we made the decision to put her back with her brothers and sisters.  She spent the last 8 weeks playing and snoozing with her ferret family and she so enjoyed that.

Harlow had an amazing and joyful spirit and even though she was sick she enjoyed her days - a lesson we can all learn from.  While we are heartbroken losing her I am so glad she doesn't have to struggle any longer.  The void left in our days is vast - my interactions with her were frequent - feeding her every few hours, endless hours of cuddle time and play time and ensuring she got her meds two times a day.  I even got up in the middle of the night last night to feed her out of habit.

I take comfort that she is with Clooney, Finn, Nigel and Isabel at the rainbow bridge free of any illness or ailments.  If love could have saved her she would have lived with us forever.... Rest in peace my sweet baby girl.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ferret and Kitty Art

A couple of days ago I posted snout and paw art done by the dog and the pig.  Here they are in case you missed them...

Today I finished up the kitty and ferret art.  I am so pleased with how they came out:

Ferret art - the process is simple - choose a color - dip the front paws in paint and set them on the canvas - away they go:

The colors don't show very well but Harlow's is purple not blue

And... kitty art - same process - dip the front paws and turn them loose...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

General Updates

Things at the zoo are pretty status quo:

Emma - her mouth is improving - gums are still swollen but no longer bleeding - the antibiotics are doing their thing.  She seems to be feeling well - she is quite active and happy.

Winston is doing just great.  He got a new bed - I ordered a baby crib mattress for his closet.  I was afraid that as the weather got colder - him sleeping on the tile would be too chilly.  He uses it some of the time and some of the time he sleeps next to it - on the cold tile - silly pig.  At least he has the option.


The kitties seem to be doing very well.  Everyone seems to be in good health and they seem pretty content. We are going through hairball season right now - I think their coats are thickening up for winter and they have been leaving me several lovely surprises.


The ferrets are doing very well.  Health status seems good.  They are active and interactive and always happy to have me visit their area.  We did a bit of reconfiguring of the critter area.  Used to be that the kitty boxes, food and water were all in the back bathroom.  Wow - want to talk about a disaster area??  UGH. So we moved the kitty food to the critter room closet along with the ferret food bowl.  We moved the water station to the other bathroom so it stays clean with no food or litter to find it's way in there.  Now the back bath is dedicated to litter boxes and that is it - hopefully it will make it a bit less of a mess.


Little Miss is holding her own.  Yesterday was a pretty good day - quite active, wrestling with Fiona, eating pretty well and investigating a bag on the bedroom floor - this morning has been a little bit rough - her tummy is not feeling good.  I did get her meds and some food in there which is sure to make her feel better.  I decided since she was not feeling great that she didn't need to be rough housing with the other ferrets so she is curled up sleeping in our bed.  I will try to feed her again a bit later in the morning and will keep an eye on how she does.  Hoping this is just a temporary blip on the radar.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Emma's Trip to the Vet

Poor Miss Em - she has swollen, puffy and bleeding gums.  She has had icky teeth issues for awhile now but something triggered an infection for my sweet girl.  We tried colloidal silver and a peroxide based rinse and I think they helped but they just didn't improve her situation fast enough so I decided to take her in.  She does have an infection so she is on a 14 day course of antibiotics and she has an oral rinse to be used after meals. Hopefully she will get to feeling better soon.

Once the infection is done we are going to move forward with a bile acid test.  This is related to the elevated liver number that she has had for some time.  We need to ensure that her liver is functioning well in order to put her under anesthesia to have some dental work done.  If all goes well with the testing she will spend the night at the vet and the next morning she will have a deep cleaning and extraction of a couple of teeth.

If the liver doesn't function well enough for dental work we will start treatment for whatever the liver problem is and do what we can to keep her mouth as healthy as possible.

Fingers crossed we can get her teeth taken care of and get her feeling great....

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Quick Updates

Life at the zoo is going pretty well - a few bumps along the road but for the most part - its all good.

Winston and Emma have been going with me to the mail box each afternoon.  If I go by myself it takes me about 10 minutes to walk down there and back - with them going with me all bets are off.  They refuse to listen and Winston wants to go wherever Emma goes.  Yesterday they went tromping through the woods.  I finally got them headed back to the house after about 25 minutes.  Little turds.

Winston's hoof issues are for the most part all done - he has just a tiny hint of a limp but for the most part he is going like gangbusters!

Emma has a gum issue going on - her mouth is a mess.  I am treating with colloidal silver and brushing her teeth with a peroxide rinse - it seems to be working pretty well - she is better today than yesterday.  We will play it by ear and see if things improve - otherwise - a trip to the vet....

Harlow continues to amaze me - she is so skinny but she just keeps on truckin' - she is happy and active. She is so playful - hoarding toys and investigating her surroundings.  Quality of life is still really good for her and I am enjoying every minute I have with her.  The rest of the ferret gang is enjoying her as well.  They all seem to be doing very well and they are the same wild and crazy bunch.

The kitties are also doing very well - happy and healthy and totally comfortable in their new surroundings.

All in all things are good - keeping a watchful eye on Emma and keeping my hands on Harlow every couple of hours to make sure she is getting enough nutrition and hydration.  I do love my furry bunch....

Saturday, September 05, 2015

This Week's Pictures

This week was crazy for the humans but it was a pretty darn good critter week:

Emma and Winston - both are doing very well.  Emma gets in tons of run time which she seems to love and Winston spends a good portion of his day outside....his hoof issues are much better with only the slightest limp in the front now.  Thank goodness.

Phoebe is doing well - she has her routine each day and seems quite content.  She is my allergy kitty and has been a bit sneezy as she adjusts to the new house but nothing too severe:

Oliver is as ornery as ever.   He is quite affectionate with the ferrets and enjoys playing with them.  He is the only one who tries to get out of the dedicated critter zone - I don't think its because he is unhappy - I think he just wants to be on me all the time.....crazy cat

The ferret gang is well - happy and active.  Here is one of my boy Theo:

The adorable Bash:

Back to kitties - evidently these are in no particular order.  Aggie is doing just great - she seems very well adjusted to her new surroundings.

Miss Zoey - I missed her with the last camera go around.  She is just great and has decided that she is the queen of the critter bathroom and that all critters must follow her rule or get bonked on the head and hissed at.  We call her SnagglePuss for a reason:

 Here is one of Fiona and Theo snuggling behind the bathroom door:

The cutie Miss Violet:


Another Bash - he is a great poser for the camera so I  always get lots of him:

 Fiona - I love her markings - the bib on her chest and the white feet - she is too cute:

Fiona also has the cutest nose - a strong brown line across the top and the rest a pale pink.  She is so sweet...

Kai, Madison and Tabby were off doing other things when the camera was out this time.  I will get them in the next go around.