Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Animal Teachin'

So. People. It's Tuesday. And Day 3 of my first training week at the Humane Society. I.Am.Beat. I don't think I mentioned this last week, but I'm afraid my posts this week may--OK, definitely will--be slightly abbreviated due to the long hours. Next week is even worse, too, since instead of working from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. I will be working from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Whew! So, the moral of the story is please bear with me for the next two weeks. I swear I'll pay you back with lots of pictures of puppies.

So, tonight's brief post will be a compendium of some of the things that I've learned this week during my training to become an adoption counselor.

1) Guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils are _not_ the same thing. Whaaaaat???! I know, right?

2) Birds can become so agitated that they literally give themselves heart attacks and die. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better about the anxiety highs that I experience.

3) When cats are declawed, it is the human equivalent of amputating the fingers at the top joint. This is due to cat anatomy and often declawing the cat can lead to lifelong arthritis problems and even litter box issues.

4) Cats have sweat glands in their paws and on the sides of their faces, which is why they might either scratch things or rubs their faces on them as a way of marking their scent on them.

5) A kitten needs to be socialized early, i.e. before 16 weeks of age, or it will likely remain unsocialized for its entire life. Kittens learn so much before that time, but after it, even with intense behavioral therapy, they are unable to learn the proper socialization habits that would allow them to live successfully with other animals and humans.

Things I've learned about myself during training:

1) Maybe cats aren't so bad.

2) But still, I'm really glad that Haruki is not a cat.

3) My child will never own a rodent or small mammal.

4) Sitting down for several hours or standing still in the same spot for several hours is a $%^$# when you're pregnant.

5) The typical work week and work day is truly barbaric. We should all revolt and demand a workday that includes six, rather than eight or nine, hours. I mean, you barely get home in time to get ready for the next day! WTF?

*What have you learned at your job recently?


  1. I love this post. Going from student schedule to 9-5 (or 8-7!) work schedule SUCKS. I truly feel like I will NEVER enjoy or even get used to it. I was just complaining that whoever decided we'd all work 5 days a week for 8 hours a day was a horrible person. Why not 4 hours, 4 days a week?? Anyways...

    My sister and I have owned every pet on the face of the Earth. Dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, rabbits, sea monkeys. My mom once bought us two "male" hamsters and was really shocked when my sister exclaimed "There's babies in there!!" one day. I think she regretted that purchase for the next 3 years.

    1. Haha--in training they told us that determining sex with small mammals like hamsters can be really difficult, and only a situation like that one, i.e. a boy and girl in isolation + babies, is the only sure (non-surgical) way.