Animal Diaries Chapter 1: An Introduction

AngelicaI swore I wouldn’t use this thing to talk about personal stuff but this is the last time i’m breaking this rule! I keep getting asked how I have so much time for blogging/writing etc..  Fact is I spend my mornings waiting for a beeper to go off.  No, I’m not some exciting highly-paid surgeon-doctor-type. I’m an animal ambulance driver.  I get paid to answer animal emergency calls, attending road accidents, trapped wild animals and many MANY birds with various broken bits!  Some days it feels a bit like i’m a killing wagon as the majority of my casualties are too injured to survive, so I have to euthanase them.  😦 

Some of the stuff I get is weird! Last week, knackered following our hogmanay trip, I spent 2 hours standing on a railtrack in the snow. A deer had been hit by a train and was badly injured. I injected it but, in order to move it without causing more stress to the animal, I had to wait for the anaesthetic to take effect and with deer this can take hours!  The railway staff waited with me, then shut off the trains so that I could carry the deer up the tracks to the van.  It was a bit scary, as we had a fixed time limit on how long the trains would be stopped so I had a woman watching the clock very carefully! 

Odd? Perhaps…but then, I’ve done weirder stuff. I’ve been a zoo keeper at various zoos round the world, veterinary assistant, zoo education officer, blah blah blah…  The pay is shit but I love what I do; how many people do you know who can get paid to carry a 9.5ft boa constrictor around to show people.  If you don’t believe me, here’s Angelica in action!

Angelica

There are certain things you have to forego if you work with animals, mainly vanity!  It’s really hard to feel attractive when you’re wearing polyester high-waisted men’s trousers, steel toe-capped boots and huge cable-knit jumper.  I spend my time stinking of various animals (armadillo is the worst!) and washing blood or worse out of my hair!  I also carry permanent reminders – my hands are wrecked due to being bitten so many times by cats/kinkajous/horses/small rodents.  I also have a particularly fetching permanent scar across my cheek, handiwork of this wee monster:

Kinkajou

Yeah – he is REALLY not as cute as he looks!  Shamen is a kinkajou and a complete handful, but very very funny and I forgive him for mauling both my hands and my face!

Ok…I’ll shut up now, but here are a few more of my wee pals:

me-croc.jpg

Me and Dillon the armadillo – it’s love!

Me and Dillon

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