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!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Too Long Since My Last Post

Holy heck it's been crazy busy around here lately.  Work is jam packed, life is jam packed, critters are keeping me busy... it's all good!  Crazy - but good none the less.

Since I have been slacking...looking back to September we had a great critter month.  Puppies turned 1.  Everyone's healthy and Violet is super stable!

I have two critter updates to share since October kicked off.  First, I made a small surgical modification to critter land. 

Tah dah!  It's a pass through for the ferrets from my office into the critter bedroom.  The kitties rarely used my office so they are content with just their "suite".  The ferrets have access to both rooms.  This means my hallway is free and clear!  Less to clean and less chance of critter jail breaks.

Speaking of jailbreaks...ugh.  I was in a full on panic last Monday when I couldn't find Theo anywhere.  I was convinced he had somehow gotten out and we had doors wide open the night before as we entertained.  I went to tell the hubs who knew immediately I was freaked.  He came to help me look.  After about 15 minutes of searching we found the little stinker in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.  He crawled up the trash bag, onto the counter, into the barely open drawer which closed trapping him in.  Little white turd.  He was happy to be rescued and I was so relieved.  It's never more clear how much you love them until they are missing or sick.  He is perfectly fine, no worse for the wear.

The rest of the gang is doing fab!  We will have a house full of visitors this coming week so everyone will get lots of attention!!  I will try to post some fun snaps if nothing else.  Happy Friday!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Week in Review

How did another week go by?  Wow - time does just fly.

This past week has been pretty status quo in the critter department.  I will take it.  No news is good news in my book.

Winston has been a pretty good piglet this week.  He was quite happy today as the lawn guys did the aeration and he spent his day squishing dirt clods with his snout.  The puppies are all doing great.  They have been full of piss and vinegar this week - not being naughty per se but just rambunctious little monsters.  Emma is doing well - she has developed many old lady habits that make me a bit batty but she continues to do well.

The kitties are doing just great - they seem healthy and happy.  The little ferrets are all doing well too - Violet has been quite active playing and wresting every day this week.  Everyone else seems to be doing very well - they are all happy and engaged.

Critter room needs a good scrubbing - that will be my Saturday project.  This weekend is packed and then we move into full on prep for visitors the following week -

All in all the zoo is well - I will try to snap some pics this weekend....

Friday, September 22, 2017

Week In Review

It was a busy critter week - birthdays, glucose tests and a visitor....

Yes, my friends, that would be a snake in critter land.  UGH!  I am not a huge fan of snakes - not totally freaked out by them but not wanting one for the zoo.  This guy (maybe a girl but in my mind all snakes are boys for some reason) - a black snake - I think - was right by the door to the outside play space - I think that is how he got in as well.  Once I opened the door he slithered right out. There was no drama, he went slowly, not afraid.  The critters were totally uninterested in him - you would think cats and ferrets might care - they were sleeping and doing their thing - not a care in the world.  I believe he was a juvenile - not very big around - like the size of a magic marker - certainly not big enough to munch on any of my babies.  He was quite long though - I would guess he was a foot and a half long in total.  I was kind of creeped out the night it happened - hubs was out of town.  There were several trips to critter land, Winston's room, closets, etc doing snake checks.  I found nothing to indicate that there were any other snakes present.  I looked for him the next morning - no signs of a snake anywhere in the backyard so the pups and the pig were good to go outside.

Violet continues to do so well - we have been on this same dose of medication for almost 5 months now.  Knock on wood she will continue this pattern.

Puppies first birthday came and went.  As I type this they are laying on the bed with me being good dogs.  Emma is snoring on the bedroom floor - LOL.

Piglet is in his room - he has had his dinner and is playing with a new piece of paper - tearing it up so its just right in his bed.  Silly pig.

All in all, it has been a good week for the zoo!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy First Birthday Puppies!!

Can you believe that Tango, Charli and Juliett are one year old today??  Holy Moly!!  We got them when they were about 10 weeks old - their gotcha day will come up in December.

Today we have done a few special things.  Each puppy (and Emma and Winston) got a birthday cupcake.  Tango got to wear his birthday bandana and the girls had their birthday shirts - Charli did way better with the shirt than Juliett.  They each got two new toys as well

Tonight they will get a special dinner and special treats when they go to bed.  As I type this they are outside playing - chasing each other around the backyard. They seem like happy and healthy little pups (little  - haha) and they are all three progressing with their training.  Leash training is next on the docket - wish us luck.





Emma and Winston enjoying their birthday cupcakes:

New toys:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week in Review

Wowser!  How are we already halfway through the month of September??  Cripes!  This week was a good one with the critters.  We have gotten back to a really good routine where everyone seems pretty content.

Let's start with the puppies.  I feel like even though I am not spending nearly enough time on training we have kind of turned a corner with them.  We have gone several weeks with no accidents and with no destruction of human owned objects.  I can't say the same for dog toys - many have found their demise but that's why we buy them.  I have left the puppies uncrated several times while I run a quick errand - usually 20 - 30 minutes - and they have been perfect little pups not getting into any mischief. They are doing really well in their crates.  They go right in without being told and there is only a tiny bit of complaining by Charli and that is only some of the time.

Emma is doing just fine - she is getting a little slow about getting up when she has been laying down for a long period.  Once she is up and going - she runs like the wind.  She is still a very active dog.  I need to order her some joint supplements I think.  Her appetite is good and she is very engaged even though her hearing is going/gone.

Piggers is doing well.  He has been pretty well behaved this week.  No challenging behavior like swiping to report.  He has enjoyed a good bit of outside time and seems to be quite happy.  We got several boxes from Amazon that had packing paper so he has been busy nesting.  Gosh - that pig loves paper!

Critterland critters are all doing great!

Kitties are well - Oliver is holding his weight with the adjustment of his meds for thyroid.  Aggie is loving her kidney care cat food and Phoebe is just a happy go lucky cat.  They played outside today in the outside play space.

Little ferrets are all just fantastic.  Violet seems great - I am determined to get her glucose test done this weekend.  The boys - Kai, Theo and Bash are all very well - ornery as ever.  Fiona, Tabitha and Madison are all great too - very interactive.  They have been getting gravy (ferret food with warm water) in the morning and evenings - it's a great way to keep tabs on everyone's appetite levels and I like to see everyone eating something twice a day since they are all free feeders and they all eat at different times.  All in all the business (did you know that is what they call a group of ferrets?) is doing quite well.

Last thing to report - we have a lizard that is living in our living room.  Not sure how he got in but I have tried to catch him to put him out and it hasn't worked.  I have been leaving the door open a lizard width so he can find his way out - but no luck so far.  I put down food and dead bugs for him - evidently he likes it because the water is gone and so are the bugs.  I would really like for him to find his way out.  I don't think he hates it too much inside - I saw him sleeping in the sun on the living room carpet this morning....geez.  He is a blue tailed skink - very cute - but he would be better off in the great outdoors....

Life at the zoo is really good - too busy - but good!  The trainer comes tomorrow for the puppies. Next week the puppies will turn one year old - holy moly time goes by fast!  Then it will be Halloween and the holidays and poof - this year will be over....

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

In General

Well, there is not much new and exciting to report at the zoo - which is not exactly a bad thing.  I like the status quo because it means everyone is happy and healthy.

The littlest critters seem like they are doing quite well.  I had a bad ferret mommy moment yesterday when I did things out of order and actually missed giving Violet a dose of her medication.  I haven't missed one since she started so it freaked me out when I realized what had happened.  Luckily it didn't seem to affect her and she was happy and active when I went to check in on her in the evening. Whew!  I still need to test her glucose levels - she requires at least 3 hours of fasting prior to the test - I will try to get it done this week as I need to order a  refill of her medication.  Kitties are doing well - Aggie loves her kidney friendly canned food.  Oliver seems to be holding his own on the weight front and Phoebe is just my go with the flow kitty.

Pig and pups are all good.  They spent a good bit of time indoors today.  We had a repair person here and there was a long period of rain so they were indoors a lot.  The puppies and Emma were quite well behaved.  Winston was too - he hates the rain so I made sure that I gave him some extra cuddles and covered him up with a soft blanket for his nap.

All in all things here are going pretty well.  Since we are east coast we are keeping an eye on Irma and making the appropriate preparations.  I stocked up on critter food today and we will ziploc and freeze extra water so we make sure that the fur children have plenty should the storm cause issues. Thankfully I don't think we will need to evacuate... I hate to think of all the critters that have been and will be impacted by the storm - no matter where it ends up going...its a doozy.  If you are anywhere in its path I hope you and your family - human and critter  - stay safe and that your lives are only minimally disrupted with Mother Nature's craziness....

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Catching Up

Wow - it has been forever since I blogged.  Things have been so busy for both the humans and the critters!

Let's take a look back at August.  Geez - I can't believe it has already passed.  August had dog trainers, blood sugar scares and a new spider.

  • In regards to dog training - the puppies are doing well.  It would be lovely if I could find some more time to spend with them on training.  They respond well and love to please but carving out the patience and the time is challenging.
  • Violet had a bit of a blood sugar scare early in the month.  Since then she is doing just great. She is scheduled for her next glucose test this week.  Fingers crossed but I think she is doing well.
  • Beatrice the garden spider has relocated.  I am happy and sad.  She was in a very unsafe spot so I am glad she moved and now her web is more protected from the weather and birds and such. I don't get to see her every day but that's okay I guess.
All in all August was a pretty good critter month.  Critters are all happy and healthy!  I will take it.

Looking forward to September....I think it's more of the same.  I need to get my act in gear as the trainer is supposed to come back on the 16th - I need to make more progress with the puppies before she comes.  I need to schedule an appointment for Madison - she needs the implant for her adrenal disease updated soon.  We have lots happening in the month of October so I have to plan out some prep work so I don't get to the end of the month and then start the fire drill....I am good at that!  :)

Maybe September will be a better month for blogging...ugh....

Monday, August 21, 2017

New Collars

So - the pups and Emma got new collars today.  Their old ones were getting pretty snug (at least the puppies' were) and I had their tags on them for ID purposes.  They are so rambunctious when they play that the tags got pulled off over and over.  I wanted to have their names and at least one method of contact available in case for some reason they got separated from us so I found these little gems.

The collars have their names embroidered on them and under those blue boxes is our phone number (no offense - love you guys but I don't wanna chat on the phone).  You can't really tell but the collars are quite thick.  They are lined with a lovely, soft fleece which seems like it would be very comfy if you were a pup who had to wear a collar.

I am happy with my purchase and the pups don't seem to care that I swapped out their neck wear.

In keeping with their assigned colors - Juliett is pink, Charli is purple and Tango is blue.  Emma is also pink - but she was pink for many years before Juliett showed up.  I think she is okay with sharing!  :)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A New Spider - Beatrice

Last summer we so enjoyed Phyllis the writing spider who had her web on our back patio.  I am so excited to share that we have a new spider this year who has built her web down by the mailbox.  She is not afraid of people or dogs but is not a fan of the car when I stop to check the mail.

I am that crazy spider lady who has ordered some cones from Amazon so we can block her area from the landscapers so they don't mow her web.  I am also looking at 'solutions' for a hiding spot for her so she has a safe spot to be when the mailman delivers mail or when I check it.  I am leaning towards one of those tiny tupperware containers turned upside down and stuck to the bottom of the mailbox. We will see if anything works.

Very excited to have one of these lovely's around again this year - they are so fascinating to watch!

Welcome to the zoo Beatrice:

In case you were wondering - they are not poisonous and they eat lots of other bugs so they are considered a great asset to your garden.  I hope she sticks around....

Friday, August 18, 2017

Week in Review

This week has whipped by!  It's Friday and we have had a pretty darn good critter week.  The weather this week was supposed to be very rainy but luckily it has been intermittent so the pups and the pig have been able to have some outside time.

We have been doing evening walks with the dogs and the pig - sometimes Winston walks with us and sometimes he just enjoys rooting and investigating the front yard outside of his regular domain. Emma joins us some days and others she prefers to hang out inside.  Puppies are doing well with training - I really need to spend more time working on it but it seems there is only so much time in the day.

The littles are all doing well.  Violet hasn't had any additional issues with her blood sugar.  She seems like she is feeling good - great appetite and quite active.  The other little ferrets are all doing just great, as are the kitties.  Oliver appears to be putting on a bit of weight with his medication adjustments - this is a good thing since he is such a skinny mini.

Piggers is doing great.  He had his little temper tantrum/challenge for dominance earlier in the week but since then he has been his regular charming self.

This weekend is busy -- my mom is coming for a visit.  We have friends coming over Saturday evening and a long list of chores on Sunday.  We will try to squeeze in critter land maintenance and puppy training into all of that mess.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

You would have never thought that this adorable face has been a giant pink turd for the bulk of the day - but - yes - little Mr has been in quite the mood.  I think taking him on a long walk to rid his system of all that piggy piss and vinegar did the trick.  He walked a long way and was quite excited by the pups racing around like crazy dogs (we never leave them unattended).  He even did a good bit of running on our outing - maybe his snotty behavior was pent up energy (even thought he spent the entire day outside playing and rooting).  Ah well - even when he's a turd I still adore him....how can you resist that smile???

You can see the blur of Charli in the background

One of the pups - the only one I got with three of them together - Emma was wandering in the trees - that's Charli on the left, Tango in the middle and Juliett on the right

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week in Review

After starting off with a bang with Violet's blood sugar issues the week was much calmer.  Violet was fine after about noon on Monday.  I have been offering her food every few hours, just to make sure something is going in to keep that blood sugar more stable.  I do think it was more of a one time thing rather than a need for adjustments in her meds.  I will be keeping a watchful eye and will check her glucose next week just to be sure.

The other ferrets are quite happy with this offering of food every few hours.  They line up for gravy, waiting patiently for Violet to get hers so they can have what is left.  All the ferrets are active and engaged and seem quite happy and healthy.

The kitties are doing well.  Aggie seems quite content eating her kidney friendly cat food.  She is also undeterred by the supplement that we are giving her to control the BUN numbers in her blood. Oliver is doing quite well with the adjustment to his meds.  I think he may have put on some weight in the last couple of weeks.  Since Aggie is getting her own cat food there is more for him to munch on.  It's good - he needs to put on some pounds.  Phoebe is doing just great as well.

Winston has been enjoying lots of outside time.  His days god something like this:  cookies in the early morning, breakfast around 8:30, outside for grazing and investigating, then napping in his barn, then more grazing.  We usually go for a walk in the afternoon so he can explore outside the fence and then back in, dinner around 5:30 and resting in his room, and then to bed around 9.  He has a pretty cushy life.

Maybe not as cushy as the pups - since they utilize the pool and the lawn furniture.  They are all doing well.  Training is progressing slowly.  The puppies are still quite rambunctious but they are trying.  I could work with them more but its hard to fit in time with everything else on the list.  Emma is doing well - she is feeling quite frisky these days.  Her favorite thing is to race through the house - the puppies are outside and they race along with her - crazy dogs.

All in all the critter gang is doing well.  I have critter chores this weekend - critterland needs a deep cleaning.  I will be working on that throughout the weekend....

Monday, August 07, 2017

A Bit of a Blood Sugar Scare

We had a bit of unwelcomed excitement this morning.  I went to give Violet her meds this morning. She gave me a bit of a hard time about taking them which is unusual.  I put her down and noticed that she was staggering and leaning to the right.  I got a bit of honey and rubbed it on her gums and waited a few minutes.  I took a blood glucose reading and it was 71 after the honey went in. I made her some gravy (ferret food with warm water) and she ate very well.  After she ate she was much better - not staggering at all and walking normally.

Currently she is napping in Emma's crate where I can keep a close eye on her.  She had food and water available I will be making sure she eats on a pretty consistent basis today to be on the safe side. I have been in contact with the vet's office and they agree that being on watch is the right thing and to let them know if anything changes so we can get her scheduled for an appointment.  It's certainly not a dangerous reading of 71 - actually the 70s are good numbers for a insulinoma ferret but it is lower than where she has been.  I am hoping that this is just a blip on the radar - that she slept for too long and her sugar got too low.

We proved today that I can do a blood sugar test on my own if I have to.  She was not happy and I was very stressed but we got it done.  I will keep you posted on any developments.  Fingers crossed for an event free afternoon.  As a side note - I have ordered some liquid glucose gel which will be better for such emergencies - it should be here on Wednesday.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Training Day

So - it was day one of puppy training.  Of course - like when you take your car to the shop because it makes a noise and when you get there the noise is gone - the puppies were perfect little angels while the trainer was here.

We worked on methods for training - using body language and vocalizations to get them to do what we want.  There are no treats, clickers, collars or even touching the dog in this method of training.  I can see a change in them already.  Just little changes in the body language and how you tell them to do things is amazing.

They worked on sit and stay.  They did sit pretty well before but never really worked on stay.  They even passed the test of sitting for me and being told to stay while the trainer dropped keys in the other room making noise to try to distract them.  They looked in the direction of the noise but did not get up to investigate.

We worked on interfacing with Emma and trying to get them to engage with her in a calmer fashion. We also worked on getting them used to being around the car - not getting in yet but getting comfortable about the vehicle - baby steps.

We have our homework to do every day and the trainer will return on August 26th.

All in all I think our first session went well - the pups were totally tuckered out:




Thursday, August 03, 2017

August Already

How is it the third day of August already?  Holy Moly!  It will be Thanksgiving next week at this rate.

Looking back at July - it was a busy critter month.  We had lots of birthdays - Winston, Tabby and Kai.  We did vet visits for the kitties - they are all in pretty good shape overall - happy with the results.  We hired a trainer for the puppies and our first session is Saturday.   We celebrated 4th of July - all the critters made it through with minimal stress.  And, we did Violet's glucose test at home for the first time.  It was a bit awkward but the results were great.

The zoo is doing pretty darn great.  As I type this - Winston is outside napping in his barn.  The puppies are snoozing outside as well and Emma is sacked out on our bed.  The littles are in critterland - I was down there a bit ago and everyone was napping.  The little ferret sleeping bags are a great hit - used all the time.

August should be less critter intensive - we will focus primarily on the training routine that the trainer develops for us with the pups this month.  Mid month we will test Violet again just to make sure her numbers are holding.  We may start to develop baselines for the ferrets as well - testing all of them to see where their numbers are.  It's a bit of a pain because they have to fast for three hours prior to testing.  I may pull Madison out with Violet next time and start with oldest first....

The last few days have been nice - the weather hasn't been so awful - its been a hot and muggy summer around here.  Pig and dogs are enjoying the ability to hang outside all day.  I even opened the outside playspace for the little critters yesterday - they had fun exploring and laying in the sun.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Presents for the Ferrets

The pups and the pig get new toys and treats frequently but the kitties and the ferrets rarely do.  I was at Costco this morning and happened upon these cute little items and got them for the ferrets. Guessing the kitties will likely enjoy them too...

They are like sleeping bags, which the little ones love.  I put the alligator in their bedroom and the mermaid tail in my office.  Tabby and Kai were up and about and all too happy to check things out.

I love this shot of Kai - handsome little devil