Tag Archives: animals

When It Rains, It Pours: April [house–sHit]

11 Jun

When I was cleaning the OLD apartment, I was dreaming so much of the relaxation of house-sitting for waelthy people.  This was going to be just the vacation I needed after a crazy month of stress and packing and stress and driving and stress and unpacking and stress and planning logistics and.  Stress.

last house-sitting 094This was going to be the restful break, complete with amenities that would rejuvenate me before I had to drive (again) Rusty to Utah.  Ten+ more hours, but by myself.  In a third-hand car with unknown history and not enough maintenance.

Sidenote–I knew I should get Rusty’s oil changed and a tune-up before a big trip.  BUT every single time I took a trip in my Jetta, and went to a mechanic prior to that trip they would deliver some awful news of some sort.  Something was terribly wrong, it costs a lot of money, it would push back my leaving date, and if I did pay an extraordinary amount of money (NOW!) my car would probably die on the way Jetta 1there, leaving me stranded.  Every trip this happened.  And every trip’s dates would be set in stone and strapping me for cash.  So I would never be able to have time or money to fix whatever problem it was.  But I would worry the entire time.  Trips in my Jetta were always full of terror because I was always certain I was just about to break down–without a cell phone.  Or any sort of recourse.  And the problem was especially compounded when I traveled by myself (most of the trips) or worse–with pets.

The point is–NOT knowing was better then panicking the entire time, so I did not take Rusty to see anyone.  This was a gamble.  BUT this time I did have Triple A–just in case.  So I was a little worried.

But the house-sitting was going to be a lovely, easy time.

house-sitting 011

Except I forgot that the animals don’t allow sleep.  Dr. Fletcher makes anyone in the guest room (A.K.A. Dr. SLC-all moved in 004Fletcher’s room) miserable by doing power-muffins, licking, frolicking, opening then slamming the door, scratching with (previously done by another owner) declawed paws on anything, etc. . .  There is no night-sleeping.  The other 2 cats begin to meow and fuss and make a ruckus about 5AM when they usually get their breakfast.  This with the stirring dogs and thought of starving horses mandates crack-of-dawn mornings.  There is no napping, because the dogs run amok during the day, the phone rings all day, the answering machine is long and loud, and packages are frequently delivered.  There is too much going on during the day to sleep.  In the evening the dogs are hyper and need fetching until their legs fall off, and the bulk of the chores must be completed.

In short–I was even MORE tired during and after house-sitting then when I started.  I don’t think I ever slept more then 3-4 consecutive hours.

And then I had to drive from Washington to Utah.  Alone.  And for a second time in 2.5 weeks. . .

When It Rains, It Pours: April [clean-queen]

8 Jun

The packing and moving phase happened so quickly there was no time for simultaneous cleaning of the SpoKompton (referred to from here on out as the “old” apartment) which was a major bummer now.  Because Cool got to be in the NEW apartment and new city, working, while I had to clean all by myself.

Spokane Apt 010

It was a much bigger job then I anticipated–and it sucked.  The old apartment still had utilities–thank goodness I had the foresight not to shut them off.  But it was echoing, dusty, and cold inside.  And we had no TV, bed, or anything, really to keep me occupied or comfortable in any way.

Also, there had been a lot of messes made, wear & tear, and damage done over the prior 4 years and 7 months in there:  Cool spilled a bottle of bleach AND a bottle of laundry soap on the carpet the first week we had moved in.  Sloppy had sand-crabbed litter so much that tiny sand was embedded in the carpet, in the seam between the carpet and wall, and dusting the walls.  My daily tread-milling had left black marks on the carpet at each of the 4 points of impact.   There were about 800,000 holes in the walls.

And stuff that wasn’t our fault, such as mold growing from the walls, grease on the kitchen ceiling from no ventalation, and grout deterioration lended to an overall feeling of grossness, and panic.  We certainly were not going to get our deposit back as I initially hoped–but would they charge us for damages??!

241

And I had Sunday from 10-ish AM to Monday at 6AM before my house-sitting job started.  And the work sucked, I was alone with it, and to tell the truth, I no longer cared so much about the OLD apartment.

But I gave it a good effort.  Oh yeah, I forgot, there were remnants (more then I knew!) that hadn’t been packed on the first go-around.  Like, the fridge and freezer had been untouched.  So I’m cleaning, I’m trying to stuff things in Rusty, and I’m throwing a TON of things away.  So many things.  Perfectly good items, or items I would just have to re-buy in the new state but would keep or didn’t fit.

My friend from work came over (in a skirt?) to help for 5 hours, and I’m glad she did, because I might still be there otherwise.  She spackled for a fill 70 minutes, and there were still holes in the walls. . .

I slept on the dusty, cold floor that night, and was pretty well mentally finished the next day.  But I pressed on for my of my first day into house-sitting.  And I could have spent the whole 10 days cleaning and it still wouldn’t have looked nice.  So I made the choice to be finished Monday then focus on my house-sitting job.  Because the animals were lonely, I was getting paid GOOD money to do it, the apartment wasn’t going to look nice no matter what I did at this point, and it wasn’t fair that 100% of the job fell to me anyway.

But I fretted that we were going to get charged.

Still, the lure of warmth, the animals, a mattress, kitchen, and most of all–a TV–made me finish up.  I turned in our keys and left Riverton Terrace forever.

Next:  House-sitting, the NEXT long drive, and (more) unpacking.

Zoo [UU AuD Interview Part IV]

19 Mar

Post Interview Wind Down:

-As you remember, Friday evening I was tired and dehydrated from the 6 hours of interview stuff.  But we were in SLC and we were going to maximize our time.  It was back to the Cheesecake Factory for meal #2.  Friday night was the most crowded that we saw the mall/restaurant.  Our wait to get in was 60-90 minutes.  But our waiter was the best we had.  A nice and cute gay (I’m assuming) fellow who was prompt, and lovely.  I got the salmon rolls/sticks as a lighter meal since I’d overindulged to such an extent the day before, and since I’d already had a big sandwich.  It was good, but there were only 4, so I’m glad bread was involved.  The cheesecake was the lemon mousse one.  Which was also, obviously, good.

-We went to bed around 10PM.  You see how my sleep schedule got all messed up but I reverted to morning person almost immediately?

Saturday

I did pop up at 12:45AM and couldn’t get back to sleep for an hour.  Then I woke up at 4:45AM and had to coax myself into light surface sleep until 6:30AM.  The only reason I didn’t just get up is I knew I had to run first thing, and I didn’t want to do it (at all, really) in super-cold weather.

-I ran out in the EconoLodge parking lot for the 3rd day in a row.  Since it was later, it was slightly warmer.  But my shin-splints were terrible.  Also, I didn’t like people spectating–umm I can SEE you lingering around watching me.

UU interview 018

-Traffic was light–especially for 9:30AM on a Saturday when most other places are busiest.  I have no idea why no one was about, but I was glad it was congested and we didn’t have to mess about.  Mormons–what happens on Saturday that no one is driving around at peak weekend hours???

-the Zoo was empty–especially for a Saturday–I LOVED it for me.  It was great not getting pushed and blocked.  And there was no loud, unruly kids ruining my time.  It felt really chilly though.  The temp was probably 45-49 F, but the wind was whipping about.  I recognized that chilly NV wind, and I hadn’t missed it. . .

11015312_10205968960001525_2016201601_n

-They had a lot of turtles–I always love a giant turtle, and this one had a baby next to it.

-I liked the pinned insect display that showed regions too.  UU interview 079

-I always like all the wild cats.  UU interview 080Sand cats are like kittens with big heads.

-Black footed cats are like tiny ocelots–smaller then Choco-Luv!  And they snuggled each other.

UU interview 067

-The male lions were sectioned off at the time (for cleaning?) and very unhappy about it.  They roaredUU interview 118 and it was so loud!  That would be scary out in nature.  The female lion started out alone, then they let another female out and they were so happy.  They chased and played, and it was cute.

-The bears were funny to watch.

UU interview 030

UU interview 041-Their wolf looked a lot happier then Woodland Park Zoo’s, as did their elephants.  UU interview 100

Rhinos are HUGE!

UU interview 088

-There were tiny primates with itty bitty faces and hands.  They ran amuk, but knew to pose for our cameras and did so with much experience.

UU interview 069

UU interview 070

UU interview 072-The orangutans recently had a baby, who was 4 months.  The older sister carried him over to a window to see someone’s fast food.  She showed him off, and he was already climbing.  Seeing the two interact was really special.  It was also really special that instead of running, screaming, and pushing I saw two different little kids go hug the gorilla statue with love.

UU interview 105

-I want to get the sticks of lion shirt and the orange tiger ball cap some time.  As it was, my luggage wasn’t going to accommodate much more.

-At cheesecake Factory meal #3, Saturday was randomly the LEAST busy, as was the mall.  I don’t know if this is an anomaly, but I hope not.  Again, do Mormons do something on Saturdays?  I got the chicken scampi in a lunch portion (a mild dish to avert any stomach issues before I had to sit on a bus UU interview 009for 14 hours), and was super-confused when the sausage pasta was delivered.  Did they bring it to the wrong table or was my order wrong?  I don’t like wasting a perfectly good plate of food, and I’m OK with spicy sausage pasta, so I just took the plate they gave me.  Our waiter acknowledged my dish was wrong and asked if I wanted a free cheesecake.  The order was wrong, but I didn’t want to be all pretentious and make a big deal about it–it’s really not, and I liked both meals–so I said no.  Then I was regretful, because who turns down a free cheesecake???!  He should have just told me that’s what he was going to do, instead of putting it in my hands.

-I got the peanut butter, butterfinger, cookie(?) cheesecake and it was my favorite of the ones I tried.  It also turned out to be free which was awesome!  Well, I didn’t actually try it until we were on the bus Sunday, so I’ll tell you more on this later.

-The 2nd nice outdoor shopping center was cool, and featured a nice fountain.

-At the Walking Company they test your feet.  I didn’t know I have super high arches.  And apparently I pronate, which will eventually hurt my knees.  It doesn’t bother me yet.

-We went to the Planetarium, but were too tired to pay to watch a show–I would have fallen asleep in a dark room with a comfy chair.  The planetarium was busy and had a lot of interactive things, but I was soon paranoid of germs–a sanitizing station would have been good.

split planets

-Just like people in my program said, the homeless were all congregated in one area 400 x 400 (outside the planetarium).  I liked that we didn’t see them everywhere like we do here.

-We initially set out to find the coffee shop by my program, but forgot a road, so ended up driving around.  It was good to explore the city.

Next up:  Our long, long, long journey home.

Job Descriptions 2005 or 2006?

3 Sep

Job Descriptions:
Small Animal
With Dr. Hulme, I was in charge of cleaning the exam tables, kennels, and the facilities. I also cared for animals by walking dogs and feeding. I aided the veterinarian by restraining animals, and held instruments such as the otiscope, for the doctor. I learned how to autoclave the surgery instruments, count and label medication, answer the phone, and write information in files. I observed dental cleanings, declaws, spays and neuters, and euthanasia.
I did everything for Dr. Minor that I had done for Dr. Hulme as well as some added jobs. I assisted with radiographs, eventually learning how to set our machine without measurements (we didn’t have any) and learned to develop the radiographs in our dip tank. I ran urinalysis and fecal floats, filled prescriptions, and performed pre-surgery blood panels. I also administered subcutaneous fluids, and glued due-claw removals. I learned how to prep for surgery as well as monitor anesthetic. I assisted with minor procedures (held puss pockets in pyometra surgery, injected atropine during a colonectomy, helped twist a rod in place during an orthopedic surgery). I was able to perform a prophy, helped drain an abscess, and was able to put a skin suture in my own cat’s abdomen after her spay. I observed third eyelid removal, pyometra, unblocking of feline urinary tract, a broken jaw wired together, tail amputation, and a blood transfusion.
Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital, hired me January of 2004. It is a four veterinarian small animal practice that also specializes in pocket pets and birds. I have some added responsibilities such as daily treatments (giving pills, oral liquids, and injectables, as well as force feeding). I also run diagnostics including gram stains, answer the phone, book appointments and boarding, and check clients in and out. I empty anal glands, do nail trims, draw blood for glucose curves, and generally help out where I am needed. I have been able to gain experience with small more exotic pets as well as with dogs and cats. I have force fed a chinchilla, trimmed bird nails and wings, restrained small and large birds, force fed ferrets, gave a turtle a baytril injection, and force fed a snake a pinky. I have observed Bulldog A.I., ultrasounds, and cesarean-sections.
I spent six hours one Saturday helping Dr. Terry Chapman vaccinate and Coggins test some horses. She vaccinated the horses for West Nile Virus, Eastern & Western Equine Encephalitis, and Influenza (tuberculosis). The Coggins test requires that about 3 mL of blood is taken to analyze for Equine Infectious Anemia. I was able to actually pull the blood and vaccinate most of the horses we worked with that day.
Horse-
I got a part-time job at Equine Medical Services this summer. My main responsibilities are cleaning stalls, bedding, feeding, watering, and medicating (oral and on feed) the horses. I have helped unload and load hoses in the trailers, catch horses for their pregnancy checks, and walk horses to paddocks. I also help clean the six barns and maintain the facilities.
Dairy Cows-
One of the grad students, Julie, hired me to care for dairy cattle being used for heat stress research, in the latter part of 2003. Rectal, tail-head, shoulder, and hip temperatures as well as the respiration rate of 18 cows had to be taken four times a day. We milked the cows at 4 am and 4pm every day, which entailed sanitizing the milking equipment, milking, and re-sanitizing the milking equipment. I also helped feed and bed the animals and clean their stalls. Since it was a research project meticulous recorded on the cows had to be kept. The temperatures and respiration rates were recorded as well as the feed intake and output of each cow. I drew blood from under a cow’s tail and observed a biopsy while I was working with the project.
Pigs-
Dr. Greg and Terry Chapman took me to Washington, MO for 8 hours one Saturday, to see their friends Bob and Dottie Brinker who have a hog farm. I learned about the daily responsibilities of running a swine operation by walking around the farm for eight hours. During my visit, Bob told me about the necessary vaccinations, breeding procedure, and swine flow through the facility.
Research Monkey-
Dr. Sharp, our relief doctor, took me to his other job at Sierra Biomedical (Charles River Laboratories, Sparkes, NV), a research facility. For 8 hours I was able to follow Dr. Sharp on his rounds. He checked the feces of Cynomologus macaqus, Recess, and Marmosets to check for gastrointestinal problems. He changed food and prescribed medication as necessary. He also looked for gross lesions and possible research-ending health problems by the groups. I was even able to remove sutures from a monkey as Dr. Sharp held it. At the end of the day, I got to go into the common area and feed the monkeys graham crackers. It was extremely interesting to see the higharchy in the different cages.
Wolves-
I observed Dr. Minor working with wolves. I went and saw her vaccinate many wolves, and when one of the female wolves was very sick, she came to the veterinary hospital for two weeks. We gave the wolf supportive care and eventually euthanized her.
Exotics-
I was able to volunteer with Deb T at D-D Animal Sanctuary, where I bottle-fed a calf, swept out a tiger enclosure and a cougar enclosure, carried bales of hay across a field, and put straw on the floor of enclosures.
Down Under Diner-
Register, Hand out food, Make food, Clean back, Inventory
I learned:
People skills, Teamwork, Mental math, Sanitation, Food preparation, Heavy lifting, Deciphering patterns of speech, Accents, Soft voices

Cat Feeding Wars

17 Aug

Food can quickly become a battle with your cats.  And suddenly, we were in the middle of it.  The signs:

-both cats got fatKidron's NV pics 104parasailing 013

-Goose was always hungry

-Choco-Luv would wake us up early in the morning to feed her

-Goose would fuss several times during the night for food

-Goose would do naughty things night and day to get us to feed them

-Cool and I were both feeding them, but not communicating when, so they were getting extra

-Cool was confused about the amount to feed so they were getting double

Like I said, all of a sudden we were in deep.

But I’m no novice at feeding issues, as I’ve witnessed the vets dispensing advice to frustrated and tired owners countless times over the years.  Aside from inappropriate peeing, and scratching, it may be the 3rd most common kitty complaint.  I’m no expert either since companion animal behavior and nutrition aren’t hit super-hard in an Animal Science program, but I had some tricks up my sleeve.

Here’s what I did in the order I did it:

-took away the large bowl and set out 2 MUCH smaller bowlsheadphones 007Dscn0176

-took away free-feeding, leave-the-bowl out & full all the time and made set meals

-put Cool in charge of the AM feeding and me in charge of the PM feeding (she goes to work at 4PM, and that’s too early for dinner)

-never rewarded bad behavior with food

-made the meal times specific at 7AM and 7PM

-decided on a set amount to feed the cats (1/2 cup per cat per day, which is probably still too much given the calories-dense foods of today and Goose’s low activity level)

-Put unopened soup cans in the middle of the food bowls to slow them down

-made 4 feedings in a 24 hour period to satisfy their hungry and decrease gorging behavior

-gave treats instead of food between meals if they seemed starving or were acting very bad

-observed Choco-Luv barfing because she had gorged on the food too fast and wondered if Goose was getting any food at all.

-fed each cat their set amount in separate rooms and picked the bowls up when they stopped eating.

This last step seems to have made a huge difference.  And now I wonder if Choco-Luv has been eating both her and Goose’s portions this entire time so that he legitimately WAS starving 24/7 like he said. . .  Now that they’re separated, neither one of them finishes the whole portion of food (unheard of just days ago).  Maybe it has been a competitive thing this whole time?  Hopefully, the cat food wars are about to have a peace treaty so the cats aren’t constantly asking for demanding food and we are not bending over backwards to accommodate our cat feeding schedule.

Is It Friendly?

13 Aug

This stupid question is a pet peeve of mine.  

As an animal worker, I quickly learned that owners cannot be trusted to deliver accurate

relaxed

relaxed

information on their pet’s temperament.  More than once, I or my co-workers have had to get the gloves (or worse got injured) by a “gentle” pet.  On the other hand, almost 85% of cats being called “fractious” by owners let me take their rectal temperature independently.  It’s not the owner’s fault.  Really, asking ANYONE this question about any animal is not appropriate.

defensive or hungry (depending on noises)

defensive or hungry (depending on noises)

Any breed/species, any size, any average attitude, in any situation is liable to act out of character.  You can’t say with confidence that an animal is nice/mean/whatever, because it’s mood and behavior is always changing based on the environment and the circumstances.  This is why people that have bonded with their wild animals should still take safety precautions.  And why people’s tigers maul them and their monkeys bite their face off when they don’t.  This is why your kitty who is sweet and cuddly at home turns all teeth and claws at the vet.  Any animal has the potential to defend itself or aggress.

Today, Cool and I had to transport another abandoned kitten to the shelter.  This is

friendly

friendly

unacceptable and I hate the type of person that does this!  But that’s a subject in another post.  Anyway, our landlord’s kids had crated the kitten, but that had been hours prior and in our relatively quiet courtyard.  When the shelter-worker went to transfer the kitten from the landlord’s crate to their cage, he asked, “Is it friendly?”  I thought–are you kidding with this?  Do you ask everyone this?  How many times has this heeding the answer to this question backfired?  Additionally, I thought–wow, not the smartest to let people help you load animals (for liability), and do you really think it’s a

impatient--leave me alone

impatient–leave me alone

good idea to do this in the lobby (with other animals present and people coming in and out the door to the busy street)?

I told him I didn’t know.  Which I didn’t because I never handled her.  And because I wasn’t sure how stressed she might be from the crate/ride/noisy lobby/touching by strangers/etc. .  So he asked me again, “Is she friendly?”  This time with an edge to his voice.  I again responded I didn’t know.

If you can’t ascertain an animal’s temperament by looking at it’s body language, listening to it, feeling the tenseness of the body–you’re in trouble in animal-related fields.  If you can’t handle yourself appropriately and restrain as the current situation calls for–you shouldn’t be handling animals.  Especially in an open lobby with

curious

curious

the client’s assistance.  By the way, I could have easily done this by myself, but hung back because I realize they have liabilities and respect they want to do their job.

This reminded me 1)  what a pet-peeve that question is and how many people have run into trouble by listening to inaccurate answers 2) I could NEVER, NEVER, NEVER work in shelter medicine.  The people that come in are trashy, hateful, and/or irresponsible.  The workers are incompetent, burned-out, overworked, and jaded.  It’s busy and understaffed.  You would come face-to-face with the reality of the animal overpopulation problem.  Constantly.  It would simultaneously make me

playful

playful

belligerent and break my heart.

So Sir, you get a pass for terrible, inept customer service because of all the things you put up with at your job on a daily basis.  But I suggest you stop asking people what an animal’s temperament is and pay attention to the actual animal–they’ll tell you the truth.

Tactics of the Tahoe Squirrel

10 Aug

Summer is starting to wrap up–at least here.  And it reminds me of swimming at Lake Tahoe.  A big part of the swimming is either elbowing for space on the beach (California side) or hiking to and from the water (Nevada side).  A second huge aspect of swimming in Lake Tahoe is the chipmunks and squirrels.  These guys are no strangers to people–and especially the beach snacks they inevitably bring with them.

sqirrel baby

Here is their procedure:

-First they send a small cute shy one out.  It’s small, it’s uncertain.  It’s a crowd-pleaser.

-“Look he’s hungry,” you and your group say, “awwww–give the little guy a cracker.”

-Tiny squirrel responds, “Yum, I’ve never had a cracker!”

-Then there’s 3 squirrels standing in various places looking at your group.

-You throw a couple of more crackers out–not wanting to be unfair.

-Then things escalate a little and the big squirrels are stealing all the crackers from the little cute ones.squirrel fight

-All the time, more and more squirrels are appearing out of seemingly nowhere.

-You begin to think you’d better cut them off because the small squirrels aren’t fast or tough enough to get ANY.

-You begin to think maybe they’ve done this before and are probably getting fat.

-More and more are showing up and you and your group realize you are outnumbered.

-Then, realizing feeding time is over, the squirrels are looking through your bag trying to get their own crackers.

-They form a squirrel posse’ surrounding your group and using intimidation tactics.squirrel group

-Then, they have sticks and rocks and are threatening you for crackers.

-They have brass knuckles and surround you demanding crackers.

squirrel war

Well, you get my point.  There is no such thing as one lone cute little squirrel.  So the locals quickly learn not to feed the little creatures.  But we do laugh when we see visitors (or stupid Californians who are always inept) feeding them and the resulting fall out when they do.  Oh and fair warning–don’t touch them–they carry zoonotic disease.  True story.