this is just a general kind of reminder about working with shelter animals.
these animals are not family pets, they are homeless animal shelter residents. and because of this we have had to develop a routine standardized type of care that meets their needs but is also obtainable, sustainable and consistent so that we can manage 120 animals care.
don't get me wrong..we do special homelike things for them but they are things that we have incorporated into their normal lives here.
so for example while our dogs can't have meaty long lasting bones to chew on cuz that is just asking for some nasty fights...we given them pizza. they love it, and they chew and swallow it right away so there is nothing left over to cause a fight.
we don't feed our horses beet pulp but lots of private horse owners do. and we feed our pigs a strictly vegetarian diet but lots of pig owners feed them dog treats and dog food. our rabbits get very little fresh produce...just a very few pieces for a treat here and there. their primary diet is pellets and hay.
no one can come in here and say our animals are suffering...they are used to how we provide their care, physically and emotionally and they are all doing ok.
imagine i came to someone' familys barn and took all of their beet pulp away, imagine i took the dog's bones and gave him pizza instead, imagine i fed the dog smarties (which i sometimes do here)..i bet someone wouldn't be happy with me and i bet the animals GI tracts would revolt at the sudden changes too.
i spent 5 hours today because one of our rabbits was sick and needed to go to emergency. i wasted $200 on gut xrays when i was pretty sure it was neurolgical because coincidently he happened to eat a phone book that was put in his pen. we didn't know if he had a bunch of phonebook pages blocking him up so we had to look. normally we don't give our rabbits phonebooks...normally we could have saved him the stress and ourselves the cost of the xrays.
i ask folks not to give the rabbits too much fresh fruits and vegetables just a little bit for a treat because they are not used to platefuls of fruits and vegies and develop loose stools. rabbits with loose stools get pooh butts, we are on a farm with an overabundance of flies. rabbit pooh butts can get maggots from the flies. its gross and its painful for the rabbits and not all that fun for us to get rid of. i ask folks not to pick them up because rabbits are prey animals, they are also ground dwelling animals and they do not like being picked up or high off the ground, it is not natural for them, plus they can be permanently damaged when they are trying like heck to escape being caught. i don't like any of the saints animals ever unnecessarily risking harm or being stressed out. rabbits are far happier and safer with their feet on the ground. we only pick them up for health checks or nail trims or to give them medications, in other words when we have to.
unfortunately i didn't think to ask not to give the rabbits phone books.but now i will for sure!
i just want folks to think about things before doing them, it is always better to check.. we have upwards of 30 different staff and volunteers thru here each week...out of kindness and very generous hearts, all of them like to do something special for these guys like their animals at home get every day. except our animals are not their own family pets..they are not used to thirty different not saints way of doing things and it can cause them stress or harm when they are not used to it.
saints animals live in a shelter and we care for them in the best ways that we believe in...sometimes it is a philosophical decision, it don't want our pigs to ever eat meat. sometimes decisions are made for physical reasons, i don't want our rabbits to get pooh butts or maggots.. we aren't making decisions because we are stupid and don't know any better. we make them because we are in fact knowledgable and skilled in caring for 120 multi-species shelter animals, most of who have special needs, on the very same plot of land. and we have developed certain ways of caring for them that work well for both them and us.
this is most likely a true concern in any shelter..too many cooks in the kitchen as far as animal care preferences go. but there is a huge difference between caring for personal family pet animals and caring for homeless shelter animals. it is not that shelter animals get less...they actually get more in some respects. we work hard to balance out the pro's and con's of shelter living.
our way is not the wrong way...it is just different than what happens in pet homes.
life would be easier for all shelters out there if more folks understood the differences between shelters and homes....and if they don't understand, ask and really listen to the answers because we actually do really care about the quality and safety of our homeless shelter animal's care.
anyway positive thoughts for little anthony hopkins..it is either an inner ear problem or possibly a brain tumor. he is on anti-inflammatory and antibiotic meds and we will have to wait to see if he gets better.