Animal Interactions

I’m super busy today and don’t really have time to write, but I may as well take a few minutes while I eat to mention a few things.

I booked Friday off as a vacation day and went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day, and – unfortunately – a PA Day. So there were tons of hairless apes and their offspring around to ruin my zen. And my zen was not that zen-y, as I have been rather beaten down emotionally as of late.

Anyway, I saw Hudson the polar bear I love for the first time in almost 4 years! I knew it was him pretty much immediately, and while he went about his own thing, he did turn that articulating nose of his my way a few times, which was more than enough to convince me to go with my plan of visiting him as often as possible while he’s here, in the hopes that he’ll get to know me a little again. We’ll see.

He is enormous now – like, bigger than his father at 1200-ish lbs! Kind of horrifying, really. And I admit to wondering if polar bears can actually weigh TOO much. Like, might he develop arthritis or heart problems after dragging around so much weight for a few years? Has anyone studied such things? It would have to be done with captive bears, because all of the bears in the wild are basically starving to death. Obesity is not an issue for them.

Anyway, aside from his insane size, Hudson is every bit the bear I know and love. His face, the way he walks and plays and his Mona Lisa smile – all exactly as I remember. And while I didn’t cry like I thought I would (I’m all over the emo map lately), I was very happy to see him. I hope to connect with him again over the winter. Maybe that will help me reconnect with everything else again.

‘Cause if the bear can’t do it, no one can!

But I suspect he can. 🙂

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Volunteering has gone pretty well the past few weeks, too. I’m still taking it week to week, and things haven’t quite settled down yet from all the previous upheaval, but they are getting there. Most of the animals who are left seem to be doing better than they were at first, so that’s a good thing. There’s still a lot I’m not sure about, and I’m taking it week to week – maybe indefinitely – but yesterday was mostly good, so I will probably go this weekend, too.

I bonded with the skunks more yesterday. I actually took a few minutes to get down to their level and talk to them and pet Pepe (I won’t touch the others until they are more comfortable with me in general), and by the time I left, they all seemed fairly okay with me being in their space. We’ll see if that carries through to next week, but for now, it felt like a big step for us.

I also got to chat a bit more with Rapunzel the red lorrie, which was amazing. We’d had our first “conversation” a couple of weeks ago, and that small bond seemed to carry over to yesterday, as well. She came down to my level and even brought a pea from her food dish over to eat next to me while I talked to her. We’re not friends yet, I wouldn’t say, but there’s a bit of familiarity there now, at least.

The biggest surprise of the day was Willow the capybara. I have no idea…apparently she’s a bit horny right now, but for some reason she decided I was the one to love yesterday. We’ve not really interacted much before. I’ve pet her once or twice, and I usually say hello to her when passing by the enclosure she shares with the kangaroos, but I’d never even been in there until yesterday. I went in with the other volunteer, who was going to check their water to see if it needed freshening up before we left for the day. Willow came running over excitedly as soon as I got inside, and jumped up so her front feet were on my back (she would have knocked me over if it had been the front, I think – totally was not expecting that!), and then ran back and forth in front of me a few times before finally just standing still so I could scratch under her jaw, which she loves. As I did that, though, she started licking my forearm, then rubbing her teeth and cheek against it while drooling all over the place.

I guess she was marking me? I have no idea. Just that she was loving me and ignoring everyone else for a bit there.

I’ve never had an experience even remotely like that with her before.

Will be interesting to see how she responds to seeing me next time!

A Couple Of Things

So, I think today was my favourite volunteer shift so far.  I got there on time, it was beautiful outside, there were four things on my part of the board’s To Do list, and for the first time ever, I got them all done!  That never happens.  Not until today, at least. One task was even new to me, and another one I generally suck at.

Again, until today.

The first thing I did was spot clean the small animal room.  This is the one I usually don’t do very well at, so I was glad to get it out of the way first.  I talked to everyone while I worked, which I usually do, but today seemed different.  Today  I felt a little more bonded to the critters, and a little more confident.  I even managed to get both ferret pairs locked in the upstairs part of their cages so I could clean the downstairs part without getting bit.  Haha

I was super proud of myself, because I’ve never managed to doc very good job with one pair, let alone both.  First time for everything!

Up next was changing the small parrot papers, which has somehow become my favourite thing.  The first guy had just had a bath, and was still pretty soaked.  I laughed and laughed!  He looked nothing like himself, but when he dried off, he was back to super handsome.

I talked to all of the birds more than usual, too.  I was chatty today, apparently.  They were all actually pretty good today, too.  Even when I was vacuuming, the “murder birds” didn’t try to get at me at all.  Even Blue seemed more like he was just watching me rather than plotting something.  It was cool.

Somehow I like birds now.

The new thing I got to do was to spot clean the lemur shifts.  Well, their shift and two others for their enclosure mates, Lilly and Kinka.  Bigger poo than the birds or small animal room, but not too bad.  Plus, the lemurs were staring at me through the door the whole time.  As they do.

AND, to top off the whole day?  Willow the capybara was taking a bath outside the whole time!!!  The back doors were all open and she was happily rolling around in a tub in the sunshine and looking so cute and content I could hardly stand it!  She kept flipping her little ears like a hippo.  I melted.

Vaccuming the parrot floor was actually the last thing I did, and while I usually like it, this time the vaccum cleaner stopped sucking.  Which is its one and only job.

But *I* fixed it!  By myself.  Didn’t even discuss with Tiffany first, I just fiddled with it, figured out the problem, and carried on.  So I was there a bit longer than usual, but I rocked it so I didn’t even care.

And lemurs.  And capybara bath time.  And no one trying to tear my flesh.

It was good.  I was sore and hungry and exhausted and in desperate need of a shower when I got home, though!

In other news, when someone you love is hurting, and you can do a whole whopping zero to help…it sucks.  And kinda hurts in sympathy, too.