What’s Happening THIS Week!?!? A Weekly Look Into the Busy Life of a Keeper


12/23/08: Holiday Preparation!

Oh the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays are in the air! Pig is sitting by the heat lamp wrapped in a blanket, the possum is sleeping soundly in the hay, dreams of sugar plums (or just regular plums) are dancing in the bear’s heads, and the keepers are all a-twitter with their coming vacation days. With this last one brings the other feeling that is floating in the air these few weeks: chaos.
Even though the keepers have holiday traditions and families to attend to during these holiday weeks, the animals still insist on peeing, pooping, and eating (which is quite inconsiderate of them, if you ask me). So what happens when the work that takes 7 full time keepers, one part time keeper, and one animal director is divided between 3 or 4 people? Yes, a slight bit of chaos. Luckily, we have ways of making the really stressful days where we will be short several people easier. It just takes a little bit of everyone chipping in for some holiday preparation, and that’s what’s happening this week.

The day that I’m writing this is a Tuesday, and of this week, it is the day where we have the most help. Only two of our keepers are off, so even though our schedule is tight, it is still quite manageable. Today we have been preparing by doing a lot of the things that are on our log for tomorrow, when we will have even less people working. We do things like stock up on food and medications, prepare extra food for the animals, and make sure we do everything that’s on the log for the next two days that we can afford to do. It also means giving everything the best possible cleaning that we can do today, so that everyone will be in good shape tomorrow and on Christmas. Part of holiday preparation is also working in areas that you are necessarily assigned to work for that particular day, in order to cover for those who aren’t here. (Above, Marilyn makes extra food, volunteer Andrew does some sweeping, and produce is being washed)

Usually on Christmas, our Animal Department Director Sherry keeps all by herself to let everyone have the day off. You can click here and read about how Sherry’s Christmas last year went! Luckily this year we have two very awesome and stubborn adult volunteers who insisted that they will be working with her. Happy Holidays! (Below, Keeper Larry is being “helpful” by holding a snake)

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