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Scrubbin' Poo (and a whole lot more)!

My typical day at the EHF clinic.

sunny 29 °C

The island weather has been getting wetter than I want it to be, but I guess that means I’m stuck indoors to write a new post! I’m getting pretty good at giving cuddles, picking up poo, feeding, and giving medications to all our animal patients. For someone who hasn’t really taken care of any animals other than a goldfish and a parrot all my life, I’ve come a long way! For all future volunteers of EHF or anybody who is interested in what I am doing at the clinic, here is a typical day at work for me:

I usually wake up at around 7:45 am, brush my teeth, and change onto my scrubs by 7:55 am. I feed Mama (house dog) her medication first thing in the morning because she will have to wait an hour before she can get her meal. When one volunteer comes out, a unanimous symphony of hungry cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies has started and they’re demanding their food.

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We typically divide ourselves into two teams: the feeders and the cleaners. There are usually more cleaners because it takes more time to clean all the cages and kennels. For cleaning cages, there is lots of scrubbing poo and changing towels. For feeding, we give all our animals a mix of dry and wet foods. If they need meds, we put those in their meals as well. After being here for so long, I have gotten a routine of the foods each patient likes, their daily medications, what kinds of foods they should not have, etc. (For example, fish poisoning patients cannot get fish-related foods even after they have recovered since it may trigger fish-poisoning symptoms). I try to say good morning and give every animal a nice cuddle as I clean their cages and feed them.

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After all that is done, we fill their water bowls, pick up poo, laundry, and burn the paper rubbish. At the same time, people would come in to bring their pets in for their scheduled desex appointment or consults. (Monday is usually the busiest because people are too lazy to bring their pets over in the weekend). We typically finish around 10:00 if we are lucky. But there are times when it could get hectic. One time, there were only three volunteers that day and three consults came in at the same time along with the four scheduled desex appointments. We haven’t even finished feeding and cleaning yet! Sometimes we don’t finish cleaning/feeding until 11:30/12:00!

Afterwards, the volunteers continue their day with their respective roles. Consults are in charge of all the consults that come in. It varies ranging from a sore foot, hit by car, skin irritations, or nail clipping. Surgeries perform all the surgeries that day. These are mostly neutering cases, but we have occasional dental work, amputations, eye removals, orthopedics (pinning bones), and hernia repairs. Floaters do everything in between and help wherever they are needed. Most of the time, they do a lot of laundry. Don’t underestimate the importance of this job because towels can pile up fast! Laundry runs 24/7 because there are so many poo-covered towels that need cleaning. We have a lunch whenever we can, typically for about 15 minutes. At around 3:00 pm, we start another round of feed and clean. It’s usually better in the afternoon because the animals haven’t pooed as much, so there’s less to clean. We finish usually by 4:30 pm and if we are lucky, we end at 5:00 pm. Each volunteer is scheduled to be on call and hold the emergency phone at least once per week. So if someone calls at 11:00 pm and you’re on call, you would probably be the one to treat the animal. When I need help (dog got ran over by a car, stab wounds, emergency surgeries, etc), I will call Amy (our manager/vet) to come to the clinic. We each work 5 days per week and have one weekday and one weekend day off.

Random moments:
• Had a bicycle accident and scraped my knee of gravel/rocks when I was rushing back to the clinic from the heavy rain. I couldn’t dive in June, but once it’s healed, I’m going out for a dive! (It’s whale season, so I’m hoping to spot some whales in the ocean!)
• These past three weeks, I’ve dug a total of 5 graves.
• I can crack a coconut with five simple taps.
• I am planning my trip to NZ and going to visit the friends I’ve made from EHF!
• I’ve been kissing so many puppies that the other volunteers suspect I may have worms. These puppies have so many worms it’s unbelievable! Maybe I should deworm myself…

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Posted by thewongway 16:19 Archived in Cook Islands Tagged dog cat island animal poo cook medicine disease veterinary rarotonga rarolife raro ehf

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