Saturday, November 22, 2008

...the grim reaper at the foot of my bed...

Well, he wasn't here to take me away.
And in fact, I didn't even see him, just smelled him.

You may ask what exactly I am talking about...well what I mean is... is laundry day!!!....

See my clothes reek. As I have previously stated, I work with big cats. I clean up their poop, feed them raw meat, and also help/assist/haul butchered meat....along with the occasional tiger spray or gutting incident. This job is messy and, as you can guess, extremely fragrant when I arrive home.

Laundry is a job. Cleaning your clothes everyday is pointless, especially when they are going to get just as dirty and smell the same everyday. Nine layers of clothes: underarmor, then tight longsleeve, tank top, tshirt, long sleeve loose tshirt, tighter non-hooded sweatshirt, fleece, hooded sweatshirt, and vest are a lot to wash day after day. Yes...the smell seeps to the very bottom layer too!

So what I do is take the nasty, dirty layer off at work and leave it in the single wide trailer (where everyone else does too) to let them dry and wear my other eight layers home, separate them, and let them air out a little. I wear the under layers for about a week and the top layers for 3-4 days depending on how stiff the caked on mud/blood/gut juice/dry water is on my have to have some mobility!

I didn't used to leave my clothes at work. I actually used to put them on the chair in my room. They smell awful and when I said the grim reaper was at the foot of my bed, I actually meant that my clothes smelled dead. I now only put my layers in my room, right next to my air freshener. Problem solved.

Anyway, today I did laundry since I got the day off. You wouldn't believe it but my clothes actually come out almost spotless! Seriously, Tide does wonders!

believe it or not this was 2 day wear on the pants and only one on the sweatshirt.

Friday, November 21, 2008

...communicate through roars...

So around here there is always something to talk about. Lions are always roars and the rest roar all around the rescue center. It is pretty cool...I really like being part of all the fuss...

This week was busy. Tuesday was a long day (probably pushing 10 hours!) and was full of feeding, cleaning, putting up christmas decor around the main path, and many animals for butchering. Every other day has been just as long...8:30 am - 6ish pm.

About this butchering...I wasn't so keen on this in the beginning...swearing up and down (to myself, of course) that I would not help with the process. Number one reason, when the chest cavity is cut open it smells just rotten (seriously, your head is right there and I would rather not be shot in the face is steamy, moist air). When I say rotten, I mean like stagnant, old sweet corn, mixed with chewed cud, digested intestinal air that really puts a gumball size knot in your throat. However, Ive gotten used to this smell (even without having to use vicks to mask the smell). Second, I guess it just took some time for me to realize that we were not killing these animals. They die from natural causes (pneumonia, cancer, age, weather) and if they were not used as meat for the cats they would probably just be buried and decompose in some field pit with other cows. It helps that you never see them alive. But we got 13 animals in to butcher! Although it sounds morbid, it is really great we have so much food for the cats! The weather has been warm, then cold, then rain, then cold which makes farmers cows and horses just keel over. Butchering is actually quite interesting. Ive gotten to see a lot of anatomy. Really BIG anatomy. The size of a draft horse liver...HUGE! Lungs of a bull...HUGE! You just have to get used to it, take a deep breath and hope for an exhale, not an upchuck.

Besides that, I stepped in some cow poop (which really stunk), gave all 191 cats meds, wiped out on a cow leg in the cooler, and picked up a whole load of guts off the floor and held them in the bobcat so we could dump them in the compost....never really held up guts before, but it was defiantly something new and experience worthy. Gotta say this is no job for the weak at heart, squirmy stomached, or slacker.

Our favorite cougar Cody left on Tuesday...he was rescued with a group of 5 other cats and was claimed by a sanctuary in Minnesota. It was sad to see him leave since he has been living in the building since labor day. Every time you went near him he purred so loudly it sounded like a truck. He also LOVED to be pet and rubbed! It is awesome being able to pet a big cat.....something Ive dreamed of my whole life! Simply amazing.

A leopard, Angle (angel), also passed away this week. She passed on her own, without euthanization. She was very skinny and had had a very hard life previous to the rescue center. Atleast she was comfy in a warm straw bed, with a huge chunk of meat in front of her.

close up of cody!

cody relaxing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...and it begins...

Well, we left on time....
Perfectly packed by Don.
Eight hours later, dinner, cars unpacked, room set up...
....and I'm alone.....

First days are boring. Settling in and finding a spot for all my warm clothes, is redundant. Grocery shopping the same in every town, city, and state around. I mapped out my stomping ground and set up my internet/cable tv (hey! no cable at home and slow net...sure its one of the first things i did!!!) A slow and relaxing day in a schedule that would become very demanding, cold, and llllooonnnnng.

I don't work Mondays, every other day give and take. But Tuesday was great. My first day was cold and rainy but ultimately all of what I had expected: dirty, wet, cold, and SPECTACULAR! It consisted of hauling a lot of meat to the near 200 'big' cats at the rescue center: tigers, lions, cougars, servals, ocelets, bobcats, lynx, etc. Let me tell you, cleaning enclosures is a sinus clearer.

There is a baby at the center, a baby serval. He is very cute and very fluffy...looks more like a baby cheetah rather than a serval. I can't wait until we can play with him. For now he is bottle fed and kept away from keeper staff so he doesnt get any infections before he is vaccinated.

here is the new boy with jean.