Monday, August 27, 2012

As August wraps up...

Holy cow! I have been in California for an entire month as of yesterday. It has been such an interesting journey filled with emotion, learning, experiencing and being.

I feel that the month has both dragged and flown by simultaneously. 
Part of the courtyard where the ducks get to wander during the day

The newest change to take place since my last post is the Shelter Manager leaving. Melaney left because she was working on a contract and it was her time to go. She lived at the intern house with Tanya and I but she was never around too often. She seemed to be very passionate about the animals here and sad to be going. However, she was engaged and I think ready to be closer to her fiance.

Thursday Kate, the acting Shelter Manager for the next two and a half months, landed at the Burbank airport. They were having a tough time finding someone to pick her up and Tanya and I were approached to do it. We willingly said yes. This meant time off the sanctuary, even if it was in a van, it was nice.  We took the sanctuary vehicle that Karen drives us in to get groceries.
Kate was working as an animal care giver at the New York sanctuary. The director for all three of the sanctuaries, Susie, wanted her to come out here and try being a Shelter Manager. It seems that she would like Kate to be the shelter manager of the New York shelter one day.

After the two and half months a lady who is currently training in New York with Susie will come here to fill the place of the official manager of this sanctuary. I will never know this woman, but still wish her all the best!

Kate has been here for a little over a week. She is living in the intern house with Tanya and I and she has a dog! Her dog’s name is Penny and she is a Shih Tzu. 

Being silly when restocking the bales of straw
I am so happy to say that there are four days when the new interns arrive! It is so fantastic! But at the same time, that means a month has already gone by and I only have one more month to go.

With the arrival of the interns not only will the workload be less weighted on Tanya, Ryan and I, the experience will change completely. We will have more of an opportunity to bond with the animals. We will be able to take in everything, not that we have not yet, but it will be much easier. Currently, we are concentrated on getting all the work done because on most days we finish just in time or are not able to finish everything.

I have developed a lot of funny physical features due to my work here. I currently am sporting several incredible tan lines. I have a tan line where my tank top straps sit on my shoulders, I have a shorts tan line and a hilarious ankle sock tan. I also have bruises up both of my arms and all over my right thigh from my hip to my knee. There are cuts on my ankles, forearms and thighs due to the straw. This is from lifting the bales of straw and laying it down in the barns, turns out it really scratches you.

In the previous blog I said that I shared a sentimental moment with a sheep. It may not sound like a huge deal to many, but it was the first connection I have had with an animal here, and it will forever be remembered.

I was bent down cleaning an autowater in the main sheep and goat barn with my back turned away from the animals. All of sudden I felt a weight on my back, it was not uncomfortable or painful, but felt, as if something was resting on it. I turned my head, without moving my body and saw a sheep had lowered his head and rested it on my back. He kept his head there as I finished cleaning the water. When I was done I turned myself around and extended my hand towards him and he rested his head into my hand. I stayed like this for a while and then he began to rub his face on my hands. Once he rested his head again in my hand I began to pet him as he stood there calmly.

Angus and I

Many of the animals have demonstrated their personalities, some stand out a lot more than others. This is both due to unique physical traits or very outgoing personalities. This was the first time that I was able to have a one on one moment with an animal here and it was an incredible feeling. (I know I already said this, but I am super stoked on it!) Since, I have been able to share moments like this with other animals around the farm, but this moment will stand out as the first and the sheep will have a spot in my heart always.

My next blog post will be in September, which sounds weird to say, even though it is only days away. By then the new interns will be here!

Much love,

Things I have done:
  • Biked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach and back
  • Played poker with a bunch of strangers (not with real money)
  • Had an incredibly awkward conversation with a 40 year old man from Palmdale, CA
  • Got pecked by a chicken, rooster and turkey
  • Cleaned pigs ears
  • Held a chicken
  • Sun screened pigs ears
  • Rubbed a lot of pigs bellies
  • Cleaned out a barn
  • Brushed cow's hair
  • Finished Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Made a list of 101 Things to do in 1001 days - my deadline is Sunday May 3, 2015
  • Drove a big truck around the farm
  • Fed a goat medicine mixed with molasses
  • Sprayed turkey’s with water to cool them off
  • Hosed off pigs to cool them off
  • Sprayed water into pigs mouthes
  • Watched Breakfast at Tiffanys
  • Walked a turkey to his pen
  • Had my first sentimental moment with a sheep
  • Lifted a weight on my own I have never been able to lift
  • Skyped with Cat and Theresa, Pavel, Jessie, Krystin, Mom, Dad, Allison, Julie, Oliver, Nico, Grandma, Uncle Frank and Auntie Carla
  • Helped a caregiver give a sheep a needle (held her down)
  • Walk around the farm at night
  • Drove in California
  • Helped a turkey groom himself
  • Skyped with Raman

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