Thursday, June 12, 2008


So I've started going in to the zoo super-early to get some of the work out of the way before the volunteers get there. I usually leave when they arrive and go in to university, so I can sit in my lab and look busy. I'm still battling to focus, and it's so cold I can barely type, unless I've been clutching a hot cup of coffee, which means that by lunchtime I'm so jittery I can't sit still, and then by the time I go home I'm exhausted. I really wish that a) the zoo didn't matter to me so much and b) that I could rely on the volunteers.

The thing is, they're really awesome, and they work incredibly hard, but they don't have the experience to handle things if they go wrong, and they don't have the experience of knowing what's normal, so if something gets sick, it isn't always noticed until the animal is very very sick. The volunteers that have been there for a few weeks are fantastic, they work really hard and they're very gentle and careful, but this morning we were faced with 3 brand new little first-year students. They arrived half an hour late, which looks fantastic on their first day... admittedly I'm not fantastic at being on time, but they always know that I'll be there and that the job will be done and done properly before I go.

I just know that when I'm not there I'm going to be stressing about them all... particularly the frogs, which have become my particular... what's the word? not responsibility, but... lets just say everyone has their 'babies' there. One person does chameleons, another does snakes, someone else does big lizards, the volunteers do geckos, and I do frogs. I started with them because everyone else hated cleaning their tanks because it's difficult and they're feisty little buggers who escape all the time. But as time passed I got to love looking after them, and I know most of their personlaities and who to watch carefully. One of them even has a name (shock! Horror!) I never name anything...

It was fine before, but teh vet who almost lived down there has left now, so basically we're struggling to pick up the slack. I feel bad that this is the first time I've really emtnioned her, but it was hard to say goodbye. I've only known her sinceAMrch, but she had a huge effect on me, and I will miss her tons! And the animals will miss her more, she looked after them with everything she had, and loved them even though she was always working and exhausted.

So this weekend, when the main vet is away, the 'good' volunteers are refusing to come in because they've done over 14 days in a row, and I'm stuck at work until lunchtime, I don't know what's going to happen to the little guys.

We dewormed today, it was a lot of fun, although I'm not sure if I helped or got in the way more, but I had to explain to the new volunteers exactly how to hold lizards. Put lizard in hand and don't let go, didn't seem explicit enough... I don't think anyone ever taught me I was just expected to figure it out while looking after my first 100-odd lizards. And I learned, but quickly! I think it went faster because I was there, but there were also several escapes that were entirely my fault. One of the kids is ... not scared, more uncomfortable around reptiles. She works super-hard and never avoids responsibility at all, and I've been really impressed with her. anyway to teh story: a gecko escaped, went past about 3 people and made a beeline for her, where it jumped onto her, ran up her arm and onto her face! I caught it pretty quickly, but it was so funny! She was really good too and didn't flinch or do the "get this off me!" dance or anything, which was good.

Afterwards while taking sick gickos to the hospital for observations one of the new volunteers asked me if she could work with the frogs. I was a bit rude to her. I feel bad, but moer because weveryone I discuss it with yells at me. Yes, I can't be there 7 days a week. But I don't want a newcomer doing one of the most finicky jobs. And no, it's not my place to decide. But if they escape and I'm not there to catch it and she can't catch it, then it will dehydrate and die. I feel justified!

That is the end of my rant.

Oh and the title is from a Japan and I song. It's because I'm feeling a bit stretched time-wise at the moment. Entirely my fault as well. And the fact that I can't decide between working on a paper tomorrow or going to the zoo to practise snake-handling...

I wish I didn't have such awesomely fun distractions!

And I have cuts on my hands from deworming the other lizards on Monday (spiky tails, thrashing around...) which are inflamed from the latex gloves this morning. And it itches.

That is all!


ADDhole said...

You are taking well to becoming a grumpy, old lady.