A Typical Day
6:30am: My alarm goes off; I frantically get ready in my cabin for a 7:00am start
7:00am: Primary tasks to do this early include giving insulin to Tom the cat, getting all the boarding dogs out of their sleeping kennels and into the larger conjoined play pens (these are organized based on size and temperament of each canine), filling up all their water bowls, opening all the Wendy houses (so they can go inside of them in case it rains), picking up any faeces in the kennels; all while stopping these tasks every so often to pick up the phone to invite people onto the residents so I can take their ‘creche’ dogs off them and add them to the play pens.
9:00am: As the inflow of creche dogs slows down, I start to empty, hose out and disinfect the fronts of the kennels with bleach, flipping over any water bowls to reduce the number of bugs and vermin that are attracted to the kennels.
9:30am: I begin to clean the backs of the kennels where the dogs sleep, I lift and hang their bedding to dry as I go down kennel by kennel vacuuming up any fur and loose bedding fibers. Then proceed to mop the backs with a special veterinary disinfectant called Anigene, followed by laying down the bedding again and locking up all the backs.
10:00am: I Pick up faeces throughout the pens, this is done anywhere between 15-25 times a day depending on how quickly the dogs are making a mess, usually every 40ish minutes.
11:00am: I brush, mop and disinfect the upper and lower cat houses. This is followed by then replacing every cat's kitty litter and feeding them.
12:00pm: Start of a 1-hour lunch break
1:00pm: Time to feed and medicate all the dogs using the feeding chart on the wall.
2:00pm: The work slows down at this point, so the next two hours are spent going around mending fences and signs, removing unnecessary tree roots and other labour tasks unrelated to the animals.
4:00pm: The owners of the creche dogs start coming back to pick up their dogs, this goes on till about 7:00pm so the creche dogs are all put into individual kennels, making it easier and faster to find them when needed. For the next 2 hours dogs are slowly taken away as we go around cleaning both them and the area.
6:00pm: After most of the creche dogs are gone, the boarding dogs are gradually moved into their respective kennels with fresh water, where they will spend the night. All water bowls in the pens are flipped to stop vermin from drinking out of them and spreading pathogens.
7:00pm: Time to give Tom the cat another 3 units of insulin, then to lock up all the dogs properly. A final count of the cats and dogs is done and recorded down, then the faeces bin is emptied, put into a special hazardous yellow waste bag, weighed and then put into a special yellow bin so that it can be properly disposed of. The weight of the faeces is noted at the end of every day for legal reasons. The hose is shut off and rolled up as I turn the lights off and make my way back to the cabin for a hearty meal and a good night's rest.
It was an amazing 2 weeks, I learnt so much about medicine, husbandry and animal behaviour. This was a run through of how a typical day is meant to go at the kennels, but do note that unexpected things happen all the time. AHEM placements are largely just manual labour and cleaning, but that’s exactly how you learn about all these husbandry techniques.
Written by: Ammer Azeem
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