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, June 30, 2016

Month in Review

Really?  It feels like I just wrote the last month in review like 4 days ago.  I am stuck in a time warp - we are on fast forward....

This was a great critter month!  We:

  • Got a new chair for the office which the kitties especially love
  • Winston got his cooling mat which he frequents often when it's warm out
  • The outdoor play area for the little critter is complete and open for business and the ferrets and the kitties really enjoy the opportunity for outside time!!
  • The ferrets got their booster shots and Maddie got her wellness blood panel and all of them are uber healthy - gotta love that.

We also had 2 large gatherings here in June - the pig and the dog did quite well.  The ferrets and the kitties had the option to "attend" the second one but it happened mostly during nap time so there were only a couple of takers....

Emma is doing so great with her 'bedroom'.  We bought her a large dog bed and we put it in the bathroom right off our bedroom.  At first I was using the baby gate so she would stay in there overnight and not wake us by scratching on the carpet.  Now she thinks that is her room and almost every night she puts herself to bed.  I rarely have to use the baby gate - only when its stormy and she is nervous and restless.  I am glad she likes it and feels safe in there when the weather is bad.

July is going to be busy - we have yet another large function here so Winston and Emma will have to adjust their regular routines.

Monday, June 27, 2016

7 Ferret Vet Visit

Today the seven littlest critters went in for a quick vet visit.  They needed the booster shot for the distemper vaccinations they got a few weeks ago.  In addition we decided that it was time for Miss Madison to have a blood draw and a wellness panel to include a glucose test since she is going to be five years old in November.  I can't believe she will be five!!

So - I am happy to report that her blood work was perfect and her glucose was normal at 91.  Normal range is 80 - 120 and concern starts at 70 or lower.  I am so thankful that everything came back normal.  While she has no symptoms of anything being out of whack - Clooney (our first ferret who we lost a few years ago) did not show symptoms either.  In addition, once Clooney was diagnosed with insulinoma he did so poorly on the meds - they just did not agree with him.  But - Harlow - our sweet little FIP girl we lost last year was on the same meds and she did fine.  Either way - Madison is doing just great and we don't need to worry about her for at least 6 months.  At that point I will fast her for four hours and take a glucose reading at home - if its low we will take her in for confirmation and a treatment plan.

The other reason for our visit was to get the booster shot for the distemper vaccination.  A booster shot is defined as an additional dose of a vaccine in order to 'boost' the immune system.  My girls were quite cooperative and very stoic.  Theo was a brave boy - he 'took it like a man'.  Bash was wiggly and uncooperative and Kai screamed like a girl.  :)  All of them were under observations for reactions/side effects and they all did fine.  I continued to keep an eye on them over the course of the evening.  Tabby and Fiona were both very sleepy so I brought them to our room - let's just say they got their second wind and ran around playing and investigating.  Bash was pretty sleepy as well - he is playing in a bag in my closet as I type this.  Bottom line is - everyone is just fine!

Here are some pics from today's adventures:

Theo top left - Violet, Fiona in the middle and Kai at the bottom - Tabby, Bash and Maddie are in there as well but you can't see their faces

Maddie (left), Bash, Violet in the back, Kai and Theo

Bash, Maddie, Kai, Theo


Tabby (top), Kai (middle), Fiona (bottom) checking out the towels



Fiona getting checked out




Fiona getting her shot

Theo and Bash

Kai in the towel cabinet






Messy little stinkers









Bash playing in the cabinet
Next up - kitties get to go for their annual check ups - will schedule them for mid - late July.....

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Night Updates

We had a rather large gathering here today which required putting the little critters in their critter room for the bulk of the day.  They much prefer being free to roam their space but they also are quite content to be in their room with the door closed when the need arises.

The big difference today was that in addition to their room they had access to their outside play space all day.  They seem to really enjoy it.  The ferrets are out there for a pretty long time in the mornings and its usually all of the together.  Then over the course of the day they seem to visit it individually over the course of the day and then as a group in the evenings.  The kitties are out there quite a bit.  I would say that there was at least one kitty outside for about 80% of the day today.  I am so happy they like it!

Emma did well today with strangers in her backyard.  She played frisbee with some folks and loved that.  This evening she is very keyed up for some reason.  She ate well but doesn't want to go outside or come our of her room.  I hid an aspirin in her food - sneaky mommy - which worked like a charm. She is settled in to her bed sleeping away.  She seems quite content.

Mister P I G did pretty well with lots of strangers in his space and his yard.  He did try to show them he was the boss a couple of times.  He got in trouble and gave me lots of lip.  He did let several people feed him cookies and give his pets.  Baby steps.

All in all they did well - glad we have a low key weekend on tap - I could use some downtime!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So - the new outside play space is a giant hit with the kitties and the ferrets.  Everyone seems to really love the fresh air, the sunshine and the ability to go in and out as they choose.

Winston loves being able to see the kitties and the ferrets - they haven't been able to interface much because I won't let them play together for fear the pig will accidentally step on one of the ferrets. They can visit through the cage now!

My intention was that I would let them out in the mornings for a bit and then have the door closed for the bulk of the day and open it up again in the evenings.  Well - the critters have other ideas - they want it open for much longer.  They are okay with it being closed during the heat of the day but they want all morning and from about 4 in the afternoon til bedtime with it open.

While I feel like it's quite secure and it would be difficult for anyone to escape, that doesn't mean I am totally comfortable with opening the door and walking away either.  I have been keeping a pretty watchful eye on them while they are playing.  That said - with the requested increase in hours they want to be out there it poses a problem.  Enter HelloBaby....

Yes folks - its a baby monitor.  It has a screen where I can watch and hear them while the door is open.

Hello Baby - Best Video Baby Monitor Wireless with Night Vision 2.4 inch Digital

I can keep a close eye on them and still get work and chores done - its great!!  It was super easy to set up - literally plug and play.

So - there are a few things I need to do to 100% finish their play area.  First I would like to stain the connector pieces to match the rest of the structure.  Second - I would like to put another layer of cage wire around the bottom half of the structure.  This is purely preventative - in case there was a breach of some sort there would be a backup layer of wire to make sure no one escapes.  In the meantime - they are enjoying themselves and I am typing and watching Aggie nap and Theo and Kai investigate. I am so happy they love it!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Stories of the Day

Pear, Blueberry and Purple Carrot baby food.  Holy heck - I think it might be Winston's new favorite thing.  Each day I give him one pouch of organic baby food to supplement his fresh fruits and vegetables.   He is good about letting me hold a paper towel under his chin to catch the dribbles but today was a whole different animal.  He was so wild for the purple goop that he actually bit the pouch which squirted LOTS in his piggy mouth all at once.  Let's just say - wet cleanup on aisle 5.... I am glad he liked it so much!

To say that the kitties like the new outdoor play space would be a vast understatement!!!  It was open almost all day today and multiple times I found all three kitties lounging, napping, exploring....  I tried several times to get a picture but whenever they see me they immediately come inside so I have to be sneaky.  The ferrets love it as well but let's be honest - a ferret attention span is not all that long so they go out there and investigate, play, do their thing and then they are on to the next activity. Violet did curl up and take a short nap this afternoon.  I am happy that they like it!

As I type - I am happy to report that the pup just put herself to bed.  There is no baby gate keeping her in and we did not ask her to go to bed....I think she might like her new "room" - its really a quarter bath right off the master.  With the door open she can still hear and see us but its dark and quiet and it has her super fluffy bed in there.

Little critters are inside and put to bed,  Winston has gone out for his last potty break and has been tucked in.  It's time for the humans to settle in....

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Outdoor Play Area

The outdoor play area for the little critters is hooked on to the house and open for business.  Over the course of the day the ferrets and the kitties played outside and they seemed to really enjoy it.  The battery on my camera pooped out mid photo shoot so I only captured a few of them.  The battery is charging up and tomorrow I will try to get the rest of the gang.

I found a few outdoor pet beds so they have some soft places to nap if they like.  The beds are weather proof and can live in the outdoor space.

Violet & Theo 

Kai & Tabby

Kai and Theo

Kai upper and Theo lower

Very excited about the new bed

Friday, June 17, 2016

Piggy Loot

My birthday was last month and I was so spoiled with piggy loot that I thought I would take a moment to share as I know some of you are piggy connoisseurs:

My fabulous new piggy earrings - I love that they are two different lengths

Really terrible picture - sorry - but these are super cute sterling silver pig earrings

This is the front of my new laptop bag - pretty stinking cute

And how about my new piggy purse??  Fabulous!!

Love this cute little wooden sign

and last but certainly not least - this amazing watercolor....

  Can you say SPOILED????  Love it!  O I N K!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Latest Happenings at the Zoo

So - here is the latest and greatest from our little Critter Land:

Winston seems to like his Cool Mat - as I type he is outside napping on it:

Emma just came home from the second iteration of her summer hair cut:

The kitties are doing well.  Whatever was upsetting Aggie's tummy night before last seems to have subsided and she is doing just great:

Aggie - not sure why this image decided to flip on its side but it won't let me fix it and I am too lazy to go and upload it again.  :)

Oliver - thinking he is getting canned cat food even though he knows its way too early

Sleepy Phoebe not interested in getting up for pictures

And some of the ferrets:

Fiona top left, Tabby top right, Violet bottom right and Bash bottom left sleeping in their hamper

Kai is the white lump sleeping in his tunnel

Theo was kind enough to pop his head out of the box he was sleeping in - Madison was also in there but did not make an appearance

Over the weekend we had a very large gathering.  I have to give both the dog and the pig credit - they were very patient and well behaved.  Winston was quite tolerant with people in his space, a complete disruption to his routine, having to potty out front instead of out back, etc.  Emma was having a great time with people playing in the pool....that is until she fell in - which she did not care for at all.  She was a bit subdued after that but overall I think she had fun.

The other slight change we have made is that we have been putting Emma in the bathroom right off the master at night to sleep.  She has gotten so bad about scratching on the carpet she was waking me 8 - 10 times a night.  So I put her bed in the bathroom and put up the baby gate - she can see us and hear us and after a bit of complaining (whining and a bark or two) she settles right down.  She can wad up her bed and wad up the bath mat as much as she likes without waking us up - woohoo!

I think that might be it from the zoo.  Happy that everyone is doing well.  Hopefully the connector from the house to the outdoor critter play space will be done soon - I can't wait for the ferrets and the cats to have some fresh air and a new place to explore.  Stay tuned....