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!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Month in Review

Well, I came pretty close to meeting my goal of 20 posts this month.  This entry will bring me to 19. Still not as good as I was doing with blogging every day but a vast improvement over the past several months.

January was a pretty good critter month.  No major health issues to report with the exception of Bash's kidney/bladder stone and that was really not major.  It was over in a few hours.  I am so happy he is feeling good!!  We celebrated Ollie's birthday.  We took Winston on his first hike through the woods.  All in all it was a pretty okay month for the fuzz butts.

Emma and Winston both did well when we had visiting dogs and the ferrets and kitties entertained themselves when the humans were busy taking care of arrangements for my dad.  Today we finished the month with a deep clean of their area.  I scrubbed floors, baseboards, window casings, etc.  I changed out the litter box and changed all their blankets.  I have a pile of critter laundry to do but other than that they should be all set.  I fed the kitties and ferrets early tonight.  Winston has had his dinner and he and Emma just went for a short walk in the meadow.

We have also had a ton of wildlife outside this month which is amazing.  We have a lovely herd of deer that come by multiple times a day.  Two males and 6 - 8 females come by in the mornings and at dusk.  I love watching them!  There is one female that has a limp.  I can't see any visible injury.  She is eating and drinking out of the old horse tank that is in the pasture.  I have been watching her for about a week and she seems to be getting better so hopefully its healing.  The turkeys are back as well stopping by often for a bite to eat.  We have also been over run with cardinals - there are a bunch of them!!  So - not only are my inside babies doing great my outside critters seem to be thriving as well!!

I am hoping for an easy, happy, healthy February!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Morning at the Zoo

It's been a somewhat lazy Saturday morning around here.  Winston woke up around 5:30 asking for cookies.  I got up and gave him a few and closed him in his smaller room and went back to bed. Around 7 he wanted his breakfast so I got up and fed him.  Shortly after he and Emma wanted to go outside.  I let them out and as usual Emma wanted back in quickly and Winston has been out ever since.  He has done some rooting, some grazing, a few zoomies (running like a crazy pig through the yard) and a whole lotta sun bathing.

Hubs and I went for a walk.  We took the dog but not the pig this time.  Walking with a pig can be slow going.  Emma had a good time - of course she covered about three times the distance we did and she listened fairly well.

Once we got home I headed down to critter land to check on the little ones.  Kitties are all doing well. They got their canned cat food and their meds and I refreshed their water bowls.  The ferrets were all doing fantastic!  Once I got everyone up there was the usual ferret chaos - wrestling, weasel war dancing, dooking, Kai climbing up my pant leg wanting to be held.  Everyone has been loved on and played with and they were all face down in their gravy when I left.

At some point today I will head down there to do my weekly deep clean which consists of vacuuming, shampooing carpet, mopping, changing cat box litter and critter laundry.  I should have done it this morning while I was down here but I was not particularly motivated.

All in all - a pretty good Saturday morning!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Week in Review

It's been a crazy time around here lately.  I am sad to report that my father passed away last week.  He loved my furry children and asked about them every day and I will miss sharing their antics with him. His passing brought some new experiences for the critters.

The kitties and the ferrets had less frequent visits as the humans were quite busy with lots of arrangements, phone calls, etc. They did get their morning and evening loves, meals and meds and my sister in law was great about hanging out with them and giving them some extra attention while I did critter chores.

Emma played hostess to my mom's dog and my brother's two dogs for a week.  She did well - she shared her toys and the four co-existed together with no major squabbles to report.

Winston had his routine changed a bit.  Instead of going outside through the living room he was sequestered to the bedroom door.  He also had to split his outdoor time so that the dogs could play in the back yard in addition to the pig.  They couldn't be out there together as I am uneasy about Winston being around any dogs other than Emma.  Add an ice/snow/sleet event to the mix and you have unhappy pig and dogs who are cooped up for multiple days.  I can't complain though - they were all very good given the circumstances.

We are settling in to a new normal.  Only the critters who actually live here are present today. Winston is snoozing in his bed - I did his laundry today so he is a happy pig.  Emma is snoozing at the end of our bed and I am headed down to critter land to take care of kitties and ferrets.  Hoping then next few days are much calmer and back to our regular routine.

Simon's Cat Logic - Crazy Time

I love Simon's Cat - this new series is fun!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Ollie cat!

Today is Ollie's birthday!  Okay - really today is Ollie's made up birthday as he was a stray so we have no idea when the real day is.  The vet estimates that Oliver is around the same age as Zoey which makes him 15 this year.  WOW!

Ollie was a stray who came into our lives because he was loving on Emma and because the weather got C O L D.  I convinced the hubs he needed to come inside when we were having an incredibly awful cold snap.  We would bring him in at night and let him back out in the day time.  Soon it became apparent that he should be our kitty.  Hubs wanted me to jump through some hoops - we ran ads in the paper, put up notices around the neighborhood, contacted many local vet offices - he was no one's kitty.  So - became a part of our family and he has become the ambassador of our zoo.

Ollie gets along with everyone.  He is mischievous, noisy, ornery and full of love.  He never passes up on a cuddle.  We adore him....

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekend Recap

It was a good critter weekend - everyone seems to be happy and feeling good!

On Saturday we spent the morning at home and the bulk of the afternoon away.  Emma and Winston were both on best behavior - no naughtiness to report at all.  Kitties and ferrets were all good as well. On Saturday evening we did critter chores, play time and lovies.

On Sunday we started out the day with a bit of snow.  Winston was unimpressed.  Emma didn't care much for it either - she went out and did her business and then wanted right back in.  They take after their mommy - they hate the cold.  We were in for the duration of the day on Sunday - it was lovely. There was lots of lounging with the dog and the piglet and multiple trips made to critter land for play time and cuddles.

Today was a day off for both the humans.  We spent the morning at home and the afternoon out and about.  This evening everyone was doing just great when we got home.  Piglet got his dinner, he and Em went out and now everyone is snug in their beds - its going to be a cold one tonight....

I still have a few things to do with the little critters.  I will head down there in a bit.  I also need to get piglet and pup out for one last potty break before I go to bed.  Not looking forward to that...brrrrr. Back to work tomorrow and back to our regular routine.

PS - No tick symptoms to report!  :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tick Watch

Well cripes - I found a tick on Winston this afternoon.  It was behind his ear.  I think I got it fairly early - it was hooked on for sure but it wasn't engorged with blood at all.  I read somewhere that you should always keep the tick, that way if you have a reaction they can test the actual bug, so I have it in a paper towel that is sealed up in a Ziploc bag.  ICK!

I immediately swabbed the area with Colloidal Silver and called the vet.  They said to keep an eye on him in the same way you would for a human who had been bit.  Check for rash, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, etc.  So far he seems just fine but I will be keeping a very close eye on my boy.  I did a thorough check on Miss Emma as she was outside as well.  I did not find anything on her.  She just got her new Seresto collar a couple of weeks ago so I know she is very up to date with her flea and tick prevention.  Those collars last for 8 months!

In other news - kitties and ferrets are all doing great.  They have been fed, loved on, medicated and given their treats for the evening.  Emma is snoozing on the bed - hopefully she has a better night than last night.  It was awful - she was so restless.  Winston has had his dinner and some treats and is snoozing in his bed.  In a bit I will take him out for his last potty break.  I will check him over again then.  Tick watch needs to happen for 3 - 30 days....ugh....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stories of the Day

So, today was a pretty average day for the critters.

Emma and Winston had some outside time and they were both very well behaved today. Winston tried a new treat - leeks - and the verdict was mixed.  He seems to like the outside leaves the best - as he gets closer to the center it takes more "leeky" and he is not a fan.  He also got the last of the bag of kale in his lettuce ball.  That he ate up without leaving a scrap.  That boy does love kale.

Tonight I went down to critter land to take care of the babies and give them their nightly dose of love. Fiona (ferret) heard me come in and met me at the door.  She loves to be picked up and lets me hold her while I do my chores.  I laid on the bed and gave her some snuggle time.  Soon, Kai and Bash climbed up on the bed for their cuddles.

After a bit, Aggie, my 17 year old kitty hopped up and gave me a stern talking to.  She wanted her dinner.  So, I fed the cats, made gravy for the ferrets, gave meds to Ollie, Zoey and Phoebe and then headed down the hall.  I had a little herd of ferrets following along.  I sat down in the hallway to play with them.  Whenever I sit on the floor, Fiona lays down next to me.  Soon Bash laid down, then Theo, Kai, Violet, Tabby and finally feisty Miss Maddie joined the pile.  They all got tons of lovies and soon everyone was sleeping soundly.  This gave me an opportunity to make my escape.  Have you ever tried to exit a room with seven ferrets wanting to go too?  It's not easy I assure you!

There is still a piglet to take out for his last potty break.  He will get his nighty cookies and head back to bed.

All in all - a pretty good day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

An Easy Day

Today was a pretty easy critter day.  In fact, my morning was so busy that it was close to noon before I got down to Critterland to hang out with the "kids".  No one missed me much it seemed and everyone seems to be feeling well.  Winston played outside a good bit today.  Emma had a good day as well.  Yesterday was an icky tummy day for her - I think she is feeling much better today.

I just got everyone settled into their beds.  Winston and Emma went out for their last potty break and then had their nighty cookies.  The ferrets got a big bowl of nice warm gravy - it's chilly out there. Kitties had their canned cat food and meds have been administered.  I put out a few extra blankets for the fur babies just in case they get cold.  I am not sure why I worry about it - if the ferrets get cold they lay in a giant pile.  The kitties have their heated bed, several regular cat beds and a twin bed with lots of covers to cuddle under.  I put out an extra blanket for Winston to burrow under should he want to - although he is not so much into the burrowing now that he is a bit older.  Emma is laying at the end of the bed panting so I take that to mean she isn't cold.

I did a quick round of critter chores tonight as well - tidying up their area, spot mopping, box scooping, etc.  Might try to shampoo carpet again this weekend - its a never ending battle to keep things clean in their world.

All in all - a pretty easy day - love it!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ferretone and Vetasyl

The little ferrets got a treat this afternoon.  At least they think it was a treat....their sneaky mama actually snuck some Vetasyl in their treat and they were none the wiser.

The treat was a supplement called Ferretone.  It's used as a skin and coat supplement that keeps their skin soft.  Everyone but Violet loves it.  Vetasyl is fiber for animals - it helps balance the digestive tract for the ferrets.  So - when there are questionable outputs and with seven ferrets you are unsure who is having an issue this is step one.  I take two of the Vetasyl capsules and open them up and dump the contents into a paper bowl.  I squirt on some Ferretone and there you have it - instant ferret treat.  I am pretty sure the producer of funky outputs is Theo - sometimes his system just gets outta whack so I started with him, then Bash and then Kai.  I offered to Violet - she declined.  Then Madison had her turn, then Tabitha and Fiona got to finish the bowl.

Don't worry that Violet didn't have any.  I am 100% certain that she is not the source of funky outputs.  I am heading down to critter land in a few minutes to check in on the gang and give them their nightly loves.  Fingers crossed for no funkiness.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winston's First Walk in the Woods

It was a lovely winter day here today.  We decided to take piglet with us as we went for a short walk in the woods on our property.  Winston typically stays in the meadow or pastures and doesn't venture into the woods.  We thought it was time to see if he liked it.

As we set out he was very curious.  He stayed right with us as we made our way down to the trees. For the first half of the walk he was fantastic, keeping right up and enjoying his new surroundings. We went further than we intended so his walk was long.  About half way through he stopped and wasn't interested in continuing.  After some coaxing with cookies and a few minutes of rest we were back underway.  He did great for the rest of the walk.  He was quite happy to see the meadow and know we were almost home.

Needless to say - there was a long nap this afternoon.  He is a good boy....

Thursday, January 07, 2016


My brood is a cuddly bunch today.  Not sure why I got so lucky....

Zoey - the snitty kitty let me pick her up and hold her and give her pets.  A rare treat.  The ferrets were all in cuddle mode - they all wanted to be held and loved on.  I sat down in the chair in their room and Kai and Bash both crawled up in my lap and went to sleep.  Theo and Fiona were laying in the bed next to the chair getting some loves.  Madison and Violet were sharing the other bed and were happy to get some pets - even Tabby - my independent girl was happy to be picked up and loved on.  Of course - Oliver the kitty was in the middle of all of that.  Phoebe and Aggie got their share of loves as well.  Winston has had his cuddles and belly rubs and Emma is laying on the bed with me - she is actually under the covers snoozing.  Nope - she's not spoiled.

Love those fuzzy little cuddle butts....

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Happy Birthday to Theo and Violet - they are three years old today!!

Happy Birthday to Theo and Violet - three years old - it's hard to believe.  The birthday kids (and all the ferrets) got extra loves and some special treats.  I can't believe they are three!!

Here they are - the birthday children - Violet on the left and Theo's head sticking out of the box fort

Theo is not excited that it's his birthday - he didn't even want to get up for birthday photos


Silly, lazy ferret

And Miss Violet wasn't particularly cooperative about getting her photo taken either.  At least she got out of bed.

We also spent a moment (and shed a tear or two) remembering our sweet Finn - he would have been three today as well.  We miss you sweet boy!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

No News is Good News

The day is wrapping up and as I think about what to write about - there really is no news - and that's good.  Bash is feeling great - he is happy and active and his pee is no longer red.  These are all good things.  He is back with his brothers and sisters and other than his antibiotic 2 times a day everything is back to normal.  The rest of the weasel bunch is doing just great!

The kitties had a regular day of lounging, eating and being lazy - they have such a rough life. Everyone seems to be feeling good.  Their box is scooped and their bellies are full of canned cat food and kitty treats from their Christmas stockings.  Ollie, Zoey and Phoebe have had their meds and they have settled in for the evening.

Emma and Winston both had a good day but they were indoors for most of it - it was C O L D out there today!  Winston enjoyed a kale, fennel, cherry tomato and iceberg lettuce ball this afternoon.  I also got him a new toy for Christmas - its shaped like a stump and has holes in the sides.  There are three stuffed squirrels that fit snugly inside.  I tuck a few cookies in there and he has to root around to find them - he likes it!  Winston likes to help with the laundry as well - as you know he shuts the doors to the machines but he also likes it when you use his back as a folding table.  He stands very still and lets you do your folding.  I think he likes the warm clothes on his back.  Silly pig.  Emma has been playing with toys from her stocking and she was happy when the postman stopped by for a visit to deliver some boxes.  He is very nice to her.  Both of them have braved the elements and gone out for their last potty break and they are both snoozing in their beds.

All in all it was just a regular day.  This post is sort of like a Seinfield episode - a lot about nothing!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Bashy's Trip to the Vet

So - do you ever have days when you have grandiose plans and then something happens that changes the whole thing?  That was my day.  It's my last day off before going back to work.  I had planned a whole slew of chores - it was going to be a gloriously productive day.

The morning started off well - I got some things done in my office/craft room and I got the carpet shampooed in the critter area - it needed it!!  Then I went to the critter room and there it was - the puddle that would change my day.  Someone - a ferret - had pee with blood in it.  UGH!  There are challenges when one of seven ferrets leaves you a puddle like that....who the heck is sick???  So - begin 'Operation Pee Watch'.  It's sort of like Bay Watch with a lot less boobs and sand.  LOL  Okay - it's nothing like Bay Watch - it's like sitting around waiting for ferrets to pee so you can cross them off the list.

Without going into detail - let's just say you can tell the difference between boy outputs and girl outputs so I was fairly quick to determine it was one of the boys.  Theo was crossed off the list early on and it was down to Bash and Kai.  I am sure they think I am a crazy stalker lady at times but I was finally able to eliminate Kai from the list and I was pretty sure I it was Bash that was not well.  I put him in our bathroom and waited.  Finally he did the deed and I was able to confirm that he in fact had some sort of issue going on.  When the first puddle was found I immediately called the vet and they were able to work me in.  I took samples with me of two different times Bash had gone potty as well as a fecal sample.  If I bring it with me that means less stress for him - no needle in the bladder to draw out a sample and no stick up the rump to get the fecal sample.

Bash did quite well at the vet - he was cooperative and cute - chewing on the Dr's stethoscope.  He kindly made a deposit in the exam room and his pee looked almost normal - what in the world is going on with the little dude.  They ran a urinalysis on the most fresh sample and they did an xray to see if there were any blockages or stones.  Long story short - it was determined that likely he had a stone which he had passed.  That is why his urine was so bloody as it worked it's way through.  Now that the stone is gone (there were no others seen on the xray) he should be just fine.  We did a round of antibiotics as a precaution.  I have him in our room tonight and tomorrow and will put him back with his siblings on Thursday should all go well.  I am supplementing his water intake with a syringe just to keep things moving and continue to flush out his system.

All in all - it was far scarier looking than it turned out to be.  Thankfully it's not serious and Bash should be just fine.  Love that furry little dude!  I was only able to capture one really cruddy picture of Bash at the vet:

In other news - the other furry children have been super well behaved today.  Oliver has been on best behavior, Emma has been great and Winston spent some time outside today but it was quite cold so he wanted to come back in around noon.  He spent the afternoon napping in his little room - not a peep out of him.  I tried to be a good dog/pig mommy when I got home from the vet and take them for their afternoon walk even though it was freezing outside.  I got them out and we all trooped down to the gate.  I went through and they stayed in the yard looking at me like I was nuts.  No way were they going on a walk in this weather.  So I closed the gate, gave them each a cookie and we all trooped back inside.  Winston is curled up in his bed - he loves his new blanket!  He had his dinner and a snack of kale - one of his favorites.  Here shortly I will head down to critter land to check on everyone and give them their nightly attention, food and medications.  Winston will have to get up and go out for his potty break - I might have to put on his coat - it really is cold out there!

Back to work in the morning....

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Stories of the Day

It was a nice Sunday here - the last day of vacation for the hubs (I have one more thankfully).  I have started working on organizing and setting up my office/craft room today.  The first step was to build a cabinet that holds baskets of craft supplies.  I had a 5 ferret and 2 kitty assist while I assembled.  Only Tabitha and Fiona continued to nap through the cabinet assembly.  The others explored all the pieces.  Bash and Theo tried to steal the hardware.  Kai was fascinated by the drill.  Madison and Violet explored the box and my lap - which makes it hard to assemble.  The kitties, Oliver and Phoebe, also enjoyed the box.  The cabinet is assembled and in place and has had several visitors checking it out.  I have one more to build tomorrow and then several things to move into the room from the garage.  I think that part will have to happen with the little critters in their room so they aren't under foot and trying to escape every time I open the door.  I think while I have them closed up I will shampoo their carpet as well - they are a messy bunch!

This afternoon we went for a walk with Emma and Winston.  They were both very active and full of piss and vinegar.  Winston does this funny thing where he lets you get a good distance in front of him and then he runs past you and turns around and stops to block your path.  Then he sits and tries to get you to give him a cookie.  Silly pig - he is pretty stinking cute - it works most of the time!  :) Winston has a heart murmur so its great for him to get out of the fenced area and run around - it raises his heart rate and keeps the old ticker in shape.  You would never know that his heart has a little  hole in it.  He is very active and we try to keep him trim so there is no additional strain on his heart from being overweight.  They both came in from their walk, had their dinner and napped.

I just finished the evening critter rounds.  The kitties get their can of cat food and my three hyper thyroid cats get their medication.  The ferrets get their gravy (ferret food with warm water). Everyone gets loved on and treats and ferret messes get picked up and cat boxes get scooped.  Winston and Emma get taken out for their last potty break as well.  Tonight it was pretty chipper out there - and - we heard the coyotes howling in the distance.  Needless to say - Winston and Emma were motivated to pee faster and we all trooped inside.  Winston has been tucked into his bed after his nighty cookies and Emma is laying at the end of our bed snoozing.

That about summarizes our day - hoping you had a great one as well...

Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Lovely Saturday

Today was a lovely Saturday.  The morning started as it always does with Winston.  He wakes up early and wants a cookie and a drink.  He gets closed in his smaller area and goes back to bed.  Then a few hours later he wakes again and asks for his breakfast.

Winston and Emma went outside to play.  I took care of the little critters.  The kitties were fine - happy and doing well this morning.  The ferrets we doing well too!  There were some questionable looking outputs that occurred overnight.  This is concerning for a couple of reasons.  First - someone might not be feeling well and second - with seven ferrets - its really hard to narrow it down to who is feeling bad.  The good news is that whomever was having issues seems to be fine because over the course of the day there have been no more concerning deposits.

Mid morning we took Emma and Winston for a walk down to the mailbox.  They did well and had fun.  Then Winston spent the bulk of the day outside rooting and sunbathing - he does love his outside time.

Everyone is inside now and napping.  Tonight there will be dinner - canned cat food for the kitties, gravy for the ferrets, pellets and maybe a lettuce ball for the piglet and good old Biljack for the dog. It's been a lovely day so far - looking forward to spending more time with them this evening!

PS - Winston likes fennel - he was a but unsure at first - I think he thought it was celery which he hates.  Once he got started he liked it though.  I will add some to his lettuce ball this week....

Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 Snaps

Since the summer I have been bad about blogging and about photographing the babies.  One of my resolutions is to try to do better on both.  I would like to do at least one photo session per week at a minimum and I would like to try to blog five days a week.  Not sure how successful I will be but I am going to give it a try.

Here are the first pictures of the new year - enjoy:





Zoey, Ollie and Phoebe with Kai in front




Zoey and Oliver









Bash, Theo, Violet and Fiona









Kai hoarding a toy


Emma - hiding under the bed - did I mention she hates getting her pic taken?

Winston asking for a cookie

And another please

Wet, slobbery snout

Drip, dribble