Monday, September 3, 2012

The beginning of September

It is officially September. This means I am past half way and have less than a month at Farm Sanctuary. I feel like Tanya and I were anticipating the coming of September, due to the arrival of the interns, that we did not clue into the fact that the coming of September also meant that we would be leaving soon. I have a feeling this next month is going to fly right by.

The interns seem to be very nice. Their names are Dani, Amy and Rachel. Dani and Amy will be working with Tanya and I - Yay. While, Rachel will be working with Kelly the education coordinator, she will be doing administrative work for them and helping out with tours of the sanctuary that are given on Sundays and Mondays.

Rachel is from San Diego, Dani is from Hawaii and Amy is from Seattle, but she is originally from Korea.

Rachel, who is from San Diego, has her car with her and has offered to drive us out into town whenever we need to, which is very kind of her. No one expects her to do it, but appreciate the offer!

This is the main pig barn
As far as work on the farm goes, I am still cleaning barns. Which do not get me wrong, is not a bad thing. There is not a lot new to write about in terms of work.

Since Ceci left, we were working eight to five cleaning shifts everyday. Now, with more interns, we are being scheduled to work A.M. shifts, P.M. shifts and Health Check shifts. We are still primarily going to be cleaning, but they want to give us more variety and shadow the caregivers. Kate made the schedule for the first two weeks of September and it looks like I will be working, on top of cleaning, a few A.M. and P.M. shifts and two Health Checks.

The A.M. shifts start at six in the morning and go until three in the afternoon. From six until after eight you assist and shadow the morning caregiver with feeding the animals and letting them out from the barns. You also get to help them give the animals their medicine and sunscreen the pigs ears. And then for the rest of the day you join the other cleaners.

The P.M. shift consists of the same thing, just in reverse. The shift starts at noon and goes until nine. You start your shift with the cleaners and then around five join the caregiver. Here you help them feed the animals and then put them into their barns for the evening.

I took part in a health check shift this week with the goats and sheeps.I did not do a whole lot, mainly just shadow the caregivers and assisted them when needed. But it was pretty wicked to watch.

During these checks, they propped the sheep into what can best be described as a chair. The way they were positioned as if they were in a recliner with their legs out in front and their arms up. This would allow them to sit still, for the most part, and give the caregivers a chance to do a health check on them. My job was to hold the sheep and goats incase they struggled.

Basically, a health check includes, trimming their hooves, checking for mange -
the common name for a class of skin diseases caused by parasites, and checking for bugs in their skin. They will feel out the majority of the animal’s underside to check for any bumps or anything unusual and their teeth.

It was cool to watch them do it, I got to spend some time more with Kate, the shelter manager, and with Alex and Kim, who are caregivers. 

Outside of work, it has been an interesting week. I am currently fostering a three month old puppy...

Last Saturday, as Alex was driving to work. She saw two little puppies on the side of the 405 freeway. She stopped an entire lane of traffic and had the other lanes all slow down to try and save them. One of the puppies ran away at the sight of her, but the other puppy she was able to grab and take in. She brought him with her to work that day and named him David. 

My cuddle buddy for the rest of the month

For the day it seemed she was going to keep him, but there was still some hesitation. So, I expressed to her that if she cannot take him I would consider it and do the research to bring him into Canada with me. The next day was my day off, but she brought him into work with her and asked if I would be able to dog sit him for the day. Eventually that day she told me that she does not think she can take him, and said I am welcome to.

So for the remainder of my two days off I did the research on what he will need to get across the border and what I will need to fly him home with me. To get into Canada all I needed was a rabies vaccination certificate and to fly him with me I would need a health certificate and a carrier that was a decent enough size for him to be comfortable. Susie, the director of all of the sanctuaries and someone I do not know, offered to cover all the Vet expenses and bought him food and this sanctuary was going to give me a carrier.

I had contacted my parents on my second day off to let them know I would be bringing a dog back with me, and their reactions were of mixed feelings, which I understand.

When I am home I will be living with my family in Welland. I will be making an hour commute both to and from work and working an eight hour shift five days out of the week. Meaning that the majority of my time would be away from home. I would be dependent on my family to assist with taking care of the puppy, which was an assumption, I initially made, but not fair to my family.

I put up much of a grudge to the feelings that did not agree with my decision, but hit a point eventually where I understood them. There was never force from my parents, both are the most supportive and loving people I know. Even if they strongly disagree with a decision I have made. It was expressed to me that the timing is not right, since I will be in between living situations and not settled, it was said to be best to not bring home David.

Tuesday morning I let Alex know that I would not be able to take David either.

I believe the decision is for the best, the dog is damn cute, but I know it would have been too hard for me to do with work. With an equally as busy family, David would be spending most of his time in a crate in my room.

For the remainder of September, or at least until David finds a loving home I am his foster mom. I am currently crate training him and he is doing great. He has only had two accidents in the house since. He is only three months old and it turns out I would have not been able to take him home with me anyway. He went to the vet a few days ago and would not be getting his rabies vaccination for another month and that would be just a little bit longer than my time here.

It is weird going from a month of living with three people to living with six! It is quite the full house. I am living with Kate, her dog Penny, Tanya, Amy, Dani, Rachel, David - the puppy, and after five p.m. Piper and Hazel - the two chickens! It is hilarious.

It is nice to have more people around who love David, because he is able to spend time with other people. We are both growing attached to one another. The guy does not leave my side, he will only eat if I am right beside him and when I was cuddling with him I thought about how in less than a month I would have to say bye and it made my eyes watery.

I think Alex is still on the borderline with taking him or as she suggested the dog become the sanctuary dog and live at the intern house. It would be sad in that case because there will always be new people coming and going, but he would get spoiled by everyone and still see the familiar faces of the Farm Sanctuary employees.

Hand feeding Li Mu Bai

There is a week where Karen, the internship coordinator, will be going to the Northern California Sanctuary for training and we will not be doing groceries or having a lunch/presentation that week. Initially we were told that we would have to buy groceries for two weeks, the week prior to her being away, but Rachel has already offered that we all go into LA for the evening have dinner then get groceries, I think this would be great and help all of us out a lot. This is still in a couple weeks though, if it does not happen, it is obviously okay, but if it does, it would be great!

Everyone is really awesome. It seems we all come from different backgrounds, discovered veganism in similar ways, but what motivated us to come out here is very different. And I love it. I love diversity. What I have noticed especially in the vegan/animal liberation community is there is so much diversity that leads to this one belief.

I have added a few links to the left side of the blog. They are blogs and websites that I think are worth checking out. If you have anything you would like me to add to it, email me at:

Ryan O’Dell is a friend from Welland, ON who is currently interning in South Africa. He is video blogging as well

Groovy Moments is my friend Janie’s blog, check it out to read about her fantastic family and adventures.

Young Island is the experimental/electronic music created by my friend Paul Stallan, who is currently living in England. On the Facebook page you can get to his bandcamp page, where you can download his music for free.

Tasha is the music project of my friend Tasha Pastor from Oakville, ON

The Vegan Stoner is one of my favourite recipe blogs. It is affordable and has amazing illustrations!

Scott Hume is a friend, who is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Hamilton

Alysha Dawn Illustration is the website of my crafty illustrator friend. I have also included her blog.

Things I have done:
  • Bike from Santa Monica to Venice Beach and back
  • Play poker with a bunch of strangers (not with real money)
  • Have an incredibly awkward conversation with a 40 year old man from Palmdale, CA
  • 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
  • Drive a big truck around the farm
  • Feed a goat medicine mixed with molasses
  • Spray turkeys with water to cool them off
  • Spray pigs with water to cool them off
  • Spray water into pigs mouthes
  • Watch Breakfast at Tiffanys
  • Walk a turkey to his pen
  • Had my first sentimental moment with a sheep
  • Lift a weight on my own I have never been able to lift
  • Skype with Cat and Theresa, Pavel, Jessie, Krystin, Mom, Dad, Allison, Julie, Oliver, Nico, Grandma, Uncle Frank and Auntie Carla
  • Help a caregiver give a sheep a needle (held her down)
  • Walk around the farm at night
  • Drive in California
  • Help a turkey groom himself, break the pin feathers
  • Skype with Raman
  • Foster a dog
  • Feed Li Mu Bi by hand
  • Watch a vet treat a tumour on a cow
  • Shadow caregivers doing goat and sheep health checks
  • Listen to the new Propagandhi album a bunch of times
  • Rub Russell the turkey's belly

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