Yesterday’s volunteer shift was kinda cool, for the most part. I was a mess all weekend, as far as staying on top of my meds/vitamins and getting, like, sleep. So I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to stay, but I made it pretty much as long a shift as usual.
I feel like I physically did less, but I did spend a lot of time bonding with animals, so I figure that counts. For me, anyway!
The other Sunday volunteer, Shanny, and I were talking after about how it’s become like therapy to both of us now. Even though we only go once a week for a few hours, the animals are getting to know us better, and that makes a huge difference. We spent time near the end of our shift just walking around visiting our favourites and left smiling. Willow the capybara didn’t tackle me this time, but she did drool all over my forearm and attempt to rub my tattoo off again! haha
I started my shift off in the skunk enclosure, of course. This time all but two were out at shows, but even though the most skittish were left, they were both at the door to greet me when I went in. They’re still skittish, naturally, but I feel like we all did really well together. I let them smell my hands this time, but managed to resist the urge to try and pet them. It’s not the right time for that just yet.
While I was in there, I got summoned back down to the main floor because Cricket, the baby kangaroo was being passed around so we could meet her! I cradled her in my arms and she licked me and we took a boatload of pictures and then she hopped around the shelter for a few minutes before we put her back in her pouch for a nap. She didn’t want to go in, at first, because she was super curious about all the new stuff she could check out, but within minutes she was asleep again. So super cute, guys!
I finished the skunk enclosure, and then took on the Small Animal Room. I took my time with everybody – except the sugar gliders, because they all sleep during the day – and made sure they were all comfy and fed and watered and spot cleaned. I snuggled one of the rats, and held one of the ferrets (Hamburglar) for the first time. I did a couple of extra good things when I noticed they needed to be done. I find the routine is getting easier (ie more of a routine) and our little team works really well together, so we’re getting things done pretty quickly now. Which is even more awesome because it gives us time to cuddle a baby kangaroo, or spend a few extra minutes letting skunks get to know us better, or talking to birds and watching Rapunzel ring her bell because she’s happy for the extra attention. Being more effective at the labour part gives us more time for the fun part, which is always a good thing. Everyone is getting more comfortable, I think, and for me, that makes me more determined to get in there each week. I’m still technically week to week, but I’ve been feeling a shift towards anticipating that I will be there next Sunday before I even leave from this Sunday’s shift.
Sensing that some of the animals are getting more familiar with me, and recognizing me more each week gives me hope that Hudson will be able to “know” me sooner or later, as well. I’ve only seen him twice so far, but I already have plans to see him this week, too, which would make it three weeks in a row. Even if I go back to every other week like when he was a wee cub, there’s still a good chance that I’ll be more familiar to him after a time, and that possibility makes me smile, too!