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Frequently asked questions
What it’s like
Most people see the cute faces of all the sweet animals. But what is it really like running a rescue centre? Well for starters the rescue centre is where we “sleep” meaning it is our home, open to animals with extremely little space for humans. My partner and I both currently work full time to be in a position to financially take care of the animals. This has not been going so well as two years ago we both got retrenched. We fortunately both now have jobs again.
Animals need to be cared for every single day. Sometimes we get very sick or baby animals that need to be medicated or fed, as much as every two hours. These I take with to work. We often get extremely sick animals, put in all our time, money (vet) and effort but still end up losing the animal. Then I sit there blaming myself – should have done something different . . . not considering that it was in a very bad shape to start off with . . .
The fun part of animals is play, holding and watching them. The thrill is seeing them survive and turn out happy. It’s also a relief when some of them get perfect happy homes. The other side of it though is scooping poop non-stop. Analysing poop. Constant cage cleaning, making food, feeding, checking on the temperature, health and giving fresh water. The majority of these animals have special needs, being their cage setup and diet. A number of them will go wild and bite if not handled regularly. Speaking of biting, our most common asked question “does it bite?” - yes all animals bite, dogs and cats bite, even children bite. Will it bite – depends on you! Do I get bitten – yes all the time. Sometimes you have to get in the way, get bitten and bare it. Often animals are scared and don’t realize you want to help, and you get bitten. Sometimes they get a fright and you get bitten, sometimes they are hungry and they think you bringing food, and you get bitten. Mostly I get bitten when treating a hurt animal. Other than that nothing about our house is normal, we do not have a lounge with lounge suite, just cages. If an animal climbs cupboards or counters and breaks things, you have to accept that. So no valuable ornaments. Having the only couch – sleeper couch’s foam pulled out so that it looks like is snowed in the room, is normal. Your bed?? No such thing. Nothing is yours. Waking up with some animal digging into the matrass and your bed is the norm. Having your socks, hairbrush, tooth brush, soap even you dinner carried away is perfectly normal. Dinner, not your dinner, you have to share it . . . .
Contends of cupboard on floor, not to mention pot plants . . . pot plants = lots of fun. Spending hrs. Looking for things . . . normal. Holes in blankets, towels, jerseys and pillowcases is part of the fun. Inner soles of shoes are always missing. Insecticides’ cannot be risked. Items like cleaning liquids, batteries and paints have to be hidden. No poisons can be use, ants and cockroaches have to be dealt with differently. Roaches you catch and feed to the spiders and lizards hehehe.
There is no such thing as a day off or a relaxing weekend. Animals have to be fed, no matter if it is Sunday, Public holiday or Christmas, not even if you ill. You can still find someone to feed your dogs if you want to go away, but a small zoo . . . different story. Our responsibility is with the animals. They get fed first, simple hot dog will do for the humans.
A typical morning like this morning will go dragging myself out of bed with coffee after some furry animal sniffed, liked and chewed me awake. Do a quick run through to see all cages still closed. If the weather is good, put some lizards in outdoor cages, food and water. If not put food in their cages. Quarantine room – medicate sick bearded dragon, put his humidifier on. Feed the baby cockatiel. Put food down for the iguanas. Ignore the plant pot they knocked down and played in the soil . . . feed roaches and snails. Roll up and throw away some pooped beardie newspapers. Check on baby beardie. Get ready for work, be at work by 6. My partner feeds the birds (parrots, budgie . . . .) all the furry animals and the ducks. No time for breakfast.
After work, clean some cages, clean water bowls, remove old food, feed . . . loads of animals, tend to sick bearded dragon, soak some dragons, poop scoop sandboxes, hand feed cockatiel, help feed rats, spray spiders . . . . . somewhere along the line we make dinner, gobble it down and pass out for the night. Occasionally we get volunteers which allows me to get on face book, and email. Weekend is jam packed cleaning, cages, making food, feeding animals, getting them in the sun . . . .
But it’s all worth it and I love the hectic crazy life. I love it when the animals recover and become normal. There is no better feeling than a Bosc snuggling into your neck, a furry animal trying to lick the skin off your face. A fox getting so excited when you come home from work, wagging his tail so hard it looks like it will break off . . . . . the sight of animals gaining weight, iguana closing his eyes with pleasure when you stroke his head. Tegu chasing you because you not feeding him fast enough. Rat groaning with pleasure while you cuddle him. Tenrec charging out her hide, to see what treat you have brought . . . all worth it.
The down side. The costs . . . it’s becoming increasingly difficult financing it on our own. We are in the process of registering as a NPO, but this is not so easy. We have to produce our books. We don’t have an income, only bills, we don’t have staff, only volunteers . . . We have been on Expo’s and parents would complement us on how the animals entertain their children and take loads of photos, however they do not allow them to buy something off our tables to support our cause. To date we have not charged any fees on our adoptions. We feel if we did, that would be the same as selling. We recently spent 2500 trying to save an animal, who died. We have bought dying animals in pet shops, just to allow them to die peacefully in a better environment. We have been educating people to look after their animals, and “fix wounds”, free of charge. Sadly we cannot continue this without help. We are now organizing our first fundraiser. If it goes well . . . . then you will hear more of us, if not . . . . . the fundraiser will take the shape of a flea market. Flyer with details to follow.