And oh boy, did we have something good.  Let me explain.

There are clinics that have fancy-pants underwater treadmills allowing hydrotherapy.  That’s expensive talk for your pet being put in a harness that supports them while they’re immersed chest deep in a stainless steel tub that contains a treadmill at the bottom.  This therapy is beneficial to animals needing low-impact exercise to build strength and aid in the recuperative process.

Needless to say, EHF does not have this.  HOWEVER, I do believe the volunteers devised a system that is quite possibly even better.  We had many dogs that suffered from ailments leaving them unable to walk unassisted.  Everyday at 5pm when we’d close for the day, the volunteers would dash through the house, toss on their bikinis and take these dogs across the street to the lagoon.  The water is warm like bathwater and the waves are gentle enough to be soothing.  The volunteers took turns supporting the dog while he got to enjoy impact-free exercise; lightly swimming and being the center of attention.  This therapy provided much needed playtime, exercise and attention for these dogs.  And it was equally beneficial to the volunteers.  After a full day on your feet being bitten by mosquitos, a dip in the lagoon does wonders to make it all better.  Add a dog that is thoroughly enjoying his swim time, and that just can’t be beat.

Be honest, if you could opt to have your ailing pet do hydrotherapy, which would you prefer?  Being strapped to a stainless steel tub on a treadmill or dog paddling in a lagoon while being lavished with undivided attention?  I’m amazed clinics in LA haven’t already thought of this and charge out the nose for it.  They’d make a killing.

Tipsy's brain is fine, her motor skills are not.  Sacha supports her while she gets a bit of playtime.

Tipsy’s brain is fine, her motor skills are not. Sacha supports her while she gets a bit of playtime.

Tipsy's boyfriend, Shredder, gets some much needed float time with Christina

Tipsy’s boyfriend, Shredder, gets some much needed float time with Christina

 

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Mama and Macy never pass up a chance to join in

Everybody in the water!

When one dog goes swimming, they all go swimming

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By now you all have a sense of the chicken problem we were having.  It wasn’t clinic specific; all of Rarotonga is swarming with these these free-roaming hobos.  For us, the roosters were keeping us up with their crowing, their sheer numbers were adding to the amount of cleaning we had to do during the day and we had seen just about all the chicken sex we could handle.

Oh yeah, I said it.

Chickens were getting down and dirty right there for all the patients to see.  Now, I’m a smart girl and I know that chickens need to mate in order to make cute little baby chickens, but I never really envisioned how they go about procreating.  It’s something you know, but don’t really want to know, you know?  So when I was standing there in the kitchen washing dishes and looking out towards the backyard, the sight of a rooster mounting a chicken had me clutching my pearls.  Scandalous.  Since there were chickens everywhere, there was also chicken sex.  Everywhere.  Out in the backyard giving a dog his meds?  Chickens having sex 10 feet away.  Scooping up dog poop?  Chicken sex.  Assisting the vet during an amputation?  Chicken sex (you couldn’t see it but you could hear it through the window).

Most of us just talked a big game about how we’d fix this problem but one of the volunteers, Sacha, went that extra step further and actually got the ball rolling.  I didn’t witness it personally, but I like to think she performed a secret, ancient blood curse against the roosters and emerged transformed, ready to exact some justice.

One day the clinic car pulled up in the front yard and Sacha emerged with an honest-to-god chicken net.  Shit was on.  A plan was devised – we’d aim for the roosters and relocate them to an abandoned, unpopulated area on the other side of the island.

Sacha on the hunt

Sacha on the hunt

The backyard became a reenactment of  the War of Northern Aggression minus all the Jesus.  I know this because I’m a product of the unfailing American education system, more specifically that of Collierville, Tennessee, smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt.  And being American I know that 2+3 = 7, Spain is located in South America and the colors of red, white and blue don’t run but if they do, they make a fabulous shade of lavender.  Damn that liberal media and their subversive gay agenda!  (Right now my parents must be so happy they spent all that money to send me to Catholic school.  They’re also rethinking their decision not to sell me to the circus like they threatened).

The element of surprise was our greatest asset.  The chickens had never before been introduced to a chicken net so Sach was able to snag a few on the first day.  Drunk with victory, we all had a go with the net and there was rarely a moment where you did not see a volunteer running through the yard waving that giant net and laughing maniacally.  It was also a sight so ridiculous the rest of us were paralyzed with laughter to the point of almost wetting ourselves.

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Christina and Candice on a stakeout

But the chickens soon wised up.  Two days later, we were still running around with the net, only the chickens knew to scamper into the safety of the bushes.  The battle had shifted and we were now on the losing side.

Another volunteer, Ashley, decided to give the cat traps a go.  We all stood around telling her how that was never going to work.  She caught two within 5 minutes.  And so we enjoyed another few days of gaining ground against the enemy.

We had finally caught enough to reduce the chicken numbers to a manageable level.  If we had caught them all, it would have created a vacuum which would have quickly been replaced by a neighboring chicken colony.  With the numbers reduced, we slept in uninterrupted silence for the first time in a week.

But chickens being chickens means they quickly regrouped.  Whether the relocated roosters hitchhiked their way back to the clinic or they sent out a memo to gather the troops, we will never know.  Soon we were right back where we started, only these chickens were smarter.  They were trap savvy and knew exactly what that net meant.  We had lost control of them.  Their numbers grew.  The battle was lost.  The chickens were having sex in the backyard again.

And so we were a troop of volunteers, bonded by what we’ve experienced.  By all that we’ve seen.  Two weeks later, when a new volunteer entered the house, she commented about the number of chickens and how easy it would be for us to catch them.  Like war weary veterans, we could only look at her with dead eyes.  We’ve been there, man.  The chickens, they just can’t be defeated.

Even though you’re out there on an island in the South Pacific, you’re not on vacation.  We’ve been given free access to a house and everything we need to make ourselves at home.  If you want a spotless house, pick up a sponge and start cleaning.  If you want to spruce up the consult room, have right at it.  That goes for every aspect of your stay there.  However, having said that, some things are so much easier said than done.

When I first walked in the door, my first thought was “I’m picking up a broom and I’m gonna make this place sparkle!”  I may or may not have even said that using jazz hands, I’m not sure (I get so excited about a cleaning project, just ask the hubby).  I even woke up one morning and announced it to Christina, our veteran volunteer who was entering her 6th month in the house.  She wished me well in my endeavor but her eyes said something else.  They were bemused.  I couldn’t quite figure out what that meant.  Oh, but I was about to.

I began the morning with the usual feed and clean dance.  I was not assigned to surgery or community outreach that day which means I was a floater.  Floaters are  in charge of managing client consultations and making sure the patients have everything they need.  That leaves you with pockets of free time where you can tackle a project you have a special interest in. And on that day, my project was the kitchen.

I picked up a sponge and washed the dishes.  Easy peasy.  Then I whipped out the broom.  But wait, a car just pulled up.  I put the broom away and tended to the client.  I come back to the sight of a new dishes in the sink- a few of the volunteers in surgery had 5 minutes to catch a quick snack before they had to run back out and straight into a new surgery.  No biggie, I’ve had to leave dishes in the sink before and someone washed them for me.  Time to pay the favor back.  Again, I tried sweeping and this time I got a bit further, but now another car pulls up and they’ve got an emergency.  I go out to help.  The vet sends me for supplies and I traipse back and forth from the supply closet to surgery (which takes you through the kitchen).  Others run out to lend a hand (through the kitchen).  The emergency keeps us occupied for quite a bit and now it’s time for afternoon feed and clean.  The broom is long forgotten and I’m neck deep in the late afternoon rush.  More people come through the kitchen for a quick snack or glass of water and dash back out to help with the patients.  Now it’s dinnertime and all 9 of us are exhausted and hungry.  Nine people make dinner.  Nine people wash their dishes. It’s now the end of a long day and my body desperately wants lay face down on the bed and not move for three or four days.

Operation Kitchen Sparkle was a bust.  And the bemused look in Christine’s eye suddenly made sense.  She had launched her own cleaning projects in the past.  Sometimes they get accomplished, sometimes they don’t.  And even if they did, the house is a constant hive of activity where the patients are the priority, not the dishes.

About one week later a new volunteer walked into the dining room and declared “Why haven’t we done anything about those chickens?  We’re smart girls, they can’t be that hard to catch.”  She got that same bemused look, only this time from me.

Next week – Operation GET BACK HERE YOU GODDAMN CHICKEN!!

Google has been adopted.

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This is very good news but my heart is bruised.  That’s one of the major occupational hazards for me.  You meet a patient, take care of them until you become hopelessly attached, and send them home.

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Yam started out as a controversial presence in the clinic/house.  We responded to a house call of a very young kitten that needed care until it could be rehomed.  When we showed up, the homewoners presented us with this tiny, screaming ball of orange fluff.  It was immediately evident that the kitten’s eyes had just opened and this little thing was hongray.

This doesn't look loud but trust me, he was loud

This doesn’t look loud but trust me, he was loud

The controversy surrounding the acceptance of this kitten was that the chances of survival for a kitten this young away from its mother were abysmal, no matter how skilled the supportive care.  But as the mother could not be found, we accepted the kitten and the inevitable fate that it would probably die in 2 or 3 days.

So we fed him.

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And fed him

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and fed him

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and fed him some more.

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We had to come up with a rotation schedule for feedings at midnight, 3am and 6am.  If the dogs barking and chickens screaming weren’t already enough, now we had alarm clocks going off, people fumbling around in the dark, and a kitten crying.  Boy did that kitten cry.  He cried because you woke him up.  He cried because you were trying to feed him.  He cried because you stopped feeding him.  He cried, he cried, he cried.

But soon his eyes went from open and unseeing

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To looking directly into yours

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And he went from commando crawling

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To toddling about

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He went from not pooping

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To non-stop pooping

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He went from only child

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To annoying younger sibling

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He went from this helpless, hopeless thing

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To our beautiful little sweet potato, Yam

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It was sometime after week 2 when a fellow Honey Bunny and I were sitting beachside and sipping on cocktails during our afternoon off.  “You know what I really want?” she asked me right around drink #2.  “I just want to take a shit in peace, you know?”

Why yes.  Yes I did.

When I first arrived at the clinic, there were 6 of us in the house.  That quickly blossomed into 9.  When space ran out , another 4 volunteers lived off-site but spent their days at the clinic.  That’s a really, really full house for just 1 bathroom.

Girls are not like boys.  We’re not Neanderthals that can just wander into the communal bathroom cave and cop a squat.  We’re ladies and a lady does not, you know, do that.  So it was a revelation that another girl was voicing the turmoil we were all silently suffering.

I don’t know how, but some sort of silent cosmic alarm would be set off as soon as someone’s ass cheeks would hit the toilet seat.  You could expect one of several things to happen (sometimes several of these things in combination)

  • A person will knock on the bathroom door
  • Someone will assume the door is not really locked, they just need to really put their shoulder into it and give it 2, maybe 3 really good body slams
  • A person will use the shower in the room that shares the wall with the toilet.
  • A gaggle of people will have a conversation just outside the bathroom door
  • A pop-up roundtable gathering will spontaneously occur in the dining room conveniently located about 3 feet from the bathroom door
  • A person will begin hanging laundry just outside the bathroom window
  • The entire island community congregates just outside the bathroom window to play with the puppies
  • And if you dared try to circumvent the shame of using the bathroom by using it at 3am, the dogs will rat you out and start barking like you’re trying to steal something.

Unless you’re a man that is completely comfortable doing the unmentionable, you’re going to go through this while living at the clinic.  So before you arrive to do your time, develop the skills of a bathroom ninja.

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Fun fact: Poor Yam didn’t poop for 3 whole days after having moved into the clinic.

My first week there, I was overwhelmed with how much this clinic depends on donations from around the world as well as the local community.  And the community generally responded gratefully with donations, hugs and pats on the back.  But there are always those one or two instances that fall outside the usual bell curve that stay with you.  Here are just a few:

The Good – Donating fresh bananas to the clinic

Ali approves your offering and will guard it with his one remaining ear

Ali approves your offering and will guard it with his one remaining ear

The Bad – stealing used flip flops outside of a charity clinic.

Ali believes in guarding bananas, not your stupid $30 name brand flip flops that you were dumb enough to buy in the first place

Ali believes in guarding bananas, not your stupid $30 name brand flip flops that you were dumb enough to buy in the first place

The Good – carefully selecting the perfect kitten to adopt

The Bad – then spotting a puppy and instantly ask “what about one of those, can we have one of those, too?”

The Good – donating $10 for having your animal treated at the clinic.

The Bad – berate the volunteer that the free charity clinic is too expensive.

The Good – bringing your children to to play with and socialize the puppies

The Bad – sneaking into the backyard to play with the puppies in the middle of the night

The Good – coming to visit your pet that has been hospitalized for weeks

The Bad – playing with the puppies instead of your hospitalized pet

The Good – puppies and kittens

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The Bad – puppies and kittens with explosive diarrhoea

Repeat offenders

Repeat offenders

These guys as well

These guys as well

The Good – using the services of the clinic for your pet’s health

The Bad – using the services of the clinic as a free pet boarding facility

The Good – Luxury resorts that allow the volunteers to use their facilities on our days off

A heartfelt thanks to Manuia Beach Resort for letting us come and unwind

A heartfelt thanks to Manuia Beach Resort for letting us come and unwind

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…and to Edgewater Resort & Spa for their hospitality as well

The Good – picking up hitchhikers because you instantly know it’s a volunteer

The Good – recognize volunteers in public and give us an update on your pet that we treated

The Good – taking time during your vacation to come walk the clinic dogs

The Good – watching a deliriously happy pet being taken home in a pillowcase held by a small child on the back of a scooter

My time at Esther Honey Clinic was one of the best adventures I’ve ever signed up for but also one of the most challenging.  Everything about it was a challenge.  Living in a 1 bathroom house with 9 other people (8 being women) – challenging.  Living with no hot water – challenging.  Being eaten alive by mosquitos and ::gasp::  fleas – challenging.  Heat, humidity, physical exertion, death of patients, countless emergencies, burying animals that died but had no home, poop, poop and more poop.  It was hard stuff.

Amidst all this, we have the insanely adorable side.  To be able to play with kittens, you must endure the screaming chickens.  It is the toll that must be paid.  So let me begin introducing you to some of the many key players that motivated me to keep working for three weeks straight in 89% humidity.

Google:

We told Sacha not to feed it after midnight (and if you're too young to get the reference, go to hell)

We told Sacha not to feed it after midnight (and if you’re too young to get the reference, go to hell)

Really?  Do I need to say anything more?  The ridiculousness that is this kitten cannot be described.  I don’t know what the parents look like, but they put this kitten together all wrong.  She was tiny.  Teeny tiny.  She came from an original litter of three and we sadly watched the deterioration of two of her littermates.  I can still remember when Googs sneak attacked one of her siblings as he lay limp as a noodle, barely hanging on to life.  Near death means nothing to Googs.  It’s either play time or no time.  No in between.  Googs had a long way to go with her social graces.

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Her introduction to older cats did not go well

Her first introduction to older cats did not go well

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…and it did not get better with time

 

99% of her time was spent on someone's lap....

99% of her time was spent on someone’s lap….

...pocket

…pocket

...or bra

…or bra

I don’t know what her future holds, but if I find out her adoptive owners waste one minute by not doting on her, I’m coming over with a bat.  And I’m bringing all the other girls that helped raise her.

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I can’t really say I woke up to start a brand new day because I never really got to sleep in the first place.  It wasn’t because I was afraid I’d start talking in my sleep and scare my roommate on our first night, although that was high on the top of my list at first.  It started with the dogs.  Any movement or perceived movement got one dog barking which woke the other dogs and got them barking.  And since our dogs were barking, the neighbor dogs didn’t want to seem like they were slacking on the job so they got in on the percussive noise that pounded my eardrums.

Just as I started to slide into actual REM sleep, the roosters picked up where the dogs left off.  Roosters do not give one fuck about what time it is.  They feel the need to scream, they scream.  When one rooster calls out, the rest of the roosters answer in turn.  So the four cheeky buggers that were standing directly outside my open window would get going around 3am and you could track the telephone-like game of call-and-answer circumvent the island until it came right back around to the original roosters.

6:30am – I finally give up on the idea of sleep.  I pad around the unfamiliar eating area and put the kettle on.  While I take inventory of newly acquired bug bites, other pajama-clad zombies start to shuffle about, mumbling under their breath something about killing chickens.  We’re due to begin at 7:55am for morning rounds so we slowly try to wake and come to life.  But then the cars begin to pull into our front yard.  Clients are now looking in our front window while we’re staring, wide-eyed, and shoveling cereal in our mouths.  They don’t care.  By the end of my time there, I had interacted with no less than 4 clients in my pajamas, flip flops and no bra.  Oh, and don’t forget about me sporting a rather long, saggy looking ‘fro.  Your standards for grooming dip drastically, you’ll see.

8am and we’re now entering a bit of chaos.  While we should be going over cases for the day, half of us are handling the traffic of clients dropping off animals for scheduled surgeries. Making things a little more difficult, people begin to show up for unscheduled consultations, throwing the surgery schedule right out the window.  But my personal favorite, people showing up for an appointment that was scheduled for last Tuesday.  And that’s how they’ll announce they have priority, “I was scheduled to have his tail amputated last Tuesday.”  Somehow, it does not register to them that their scheduled appointment was, in fact, not an open-ended invitation to have surgery anytime after last Tuesday.  Just as you reach the point of grabbing the nearest chicken to throw at the client, you look at the sad, suffering animal and set up a cage for the poor thing.

Ok, so now we’re up and going, the schedule is well on its way of completely falling apart, half of us have missed morning rounds so we don’t know what’s going on and it’s time to man up and start cleaning cages.  This is what we call the morning feed and clean.  It’s nasty.  It’s messy.  It’s go time.

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We break like a football team out of a huddle and head to our stations.  For me, I always began with the kitten cages.  Sounds fuzzy and cute, right?  No.  The kitten cage is one giant hutch subdivided into 4 smaller enclosures, each containing up to 5 kittens.  I open the door to Cage 1 and discover the litterboxes have been pushed juuuust out of arm’s reach.  I have to hoist myself up and into the cage and start crawling on chicken wire which hurts like the dickens.  I grab one disgusting litter tray and discover I’ve just stuck my hand in a patch of diarrhea, meanwhile kittens start dropping on my back from above (what the hell?!)  I’m on all fours, filthy tray in one hand and kittens crawling on my back, the others make a break for it by running between my knees and out the cage door.  This became such a common ritual, any loose kittens were immediately attributed to “Cece’s in the cages again”.  There’s a lot of panicked fluttering about as I grab the dirty litter trays, wipe the diarrhea off my hands, grab the soiled towels, flooring mats and dishes and toss them on the ground (careful not to throw them onto the escaped kittens).  Then I leap into action trying to catch all the kittens that are now swarming the dog that lives below the kitten cages.  Yes, we have a few dogs that are tethered to the kitten cages, no space goes unused.  When the kittens jump out the cage door, they almost always land on either Cactus, a lovable stray, or Tipsy, a fish poisoning case that is chronically and comically shaky.  Oh the joy on the dogs faces as they are showered with all those fuzzy kittens.  Serious joy.

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Kitten cages

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Upset kittens

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Cactus loves her kittens

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Our adorably imperfect Tipsy

That’s the description of cleaning just one of the cages.  Multiply that by four and then we are done with the kittens.  Now we move to the monkey cage.  The monkey cage houses older cats and gives them a lot more space to stretch out and nap.  But they too enjoy in making me chase them down when they bolt out the cage door during feeding and cleaning.  Mind you, no one is trying to run away.  This is all a game to them.  And I unwillingly obliged each and every day.

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The monkey cage that holds no monkeys

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Beautiful, terribly unphotogenic Belle

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See, she can’t take a good photo

Kittens are done, monkey cage is done, now for the hospital patients.  That’s a mixed bag.  But when there are puppies involved, you can be assured it will be a horror where everything has to be scrubbed, including the puppies.  And as soon as you stick them back in their cage, they do it all over again.

 

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We lost count of how many times these pups got hosed down

The same intense clean and feed goes on with the large dog kennels with one person taking the dogs to the lawn, essentially begging, pleading, and bargaining with them to pee and poop.  The other is left with the enviable job of gathering all the urine soaked bedding that more often than not contains hidden poops.

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Cages and kennels are cleaned, blankets changed, everyone’s fed and watered and medications have been administered.  The animals get to rest but the humans now have an entire hospital’s worth of dirty dishes and soiled blankets that need to be washed ASAP.  Not to mention a wheelbarrow filled with all the soiled newspaper and old, uneaten food that we pulled from the cages.  I had no idea chickens loved a good romp in soiled newspaper but there you go.  Learned something new, didn’t  you.  They get in there and rip up all the newspaper which gets caught in the wind and blown across the yard.  An unlucky soul gets to go chase down those pieces of filthy newspaper and then  empty the wheelbarrow in the mother of nasty garbage pits where even more chickens await the morning deposit.

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The wheelbarrow also known to chickens as “the buffet”

We’re not done with poop yet.  Because another unlucky soul is out there with a bucket and a tiny toy shovel and their job is to inspect the lawns for poops.  All of feed and clean is done as if walking in a landmine.  In flip flops.

By now things are really hopping.  Soiled bedding is being washed, dainty under things are being hung on the line (yes, all of Raro that visits the clinic also gets to peruse the drying panties of the volunteers), dishes are being washed, animals are being knocked out for surgery and clients continue to show up with a random assortment of pet maladies.  We get the usual cases of itchy dogs and infected ears.  One poor pet was brought in with the last three tail bones clearly visible.  He had degloved his tail after being caught in some wire 5 days prior.  The owner wasn’t sure if it was an emergency so she decided to bring him in once the weekend rolled around.

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I see Paris, I see France….

3:30pm and it’s time to do the feed and clean dance once again.  Clients still continue to bring animals but we’re on the phone trying to persuade clients to come pick up the animals ready to be discharged.  Some clients pick them up by our 5pm closing time.  Some enjoy strolling on over around 8pm.  Some come a week or two later.  Island time is far too strict a schedule for Rarotonga.

5pm.  I’m goddamn done.  My feet are burning, I’ve lost the ability to sweat, and I do not feel like wrestling with kittens anymore.  Doesn’t matter, clients still continue to show up, only at a slower pace.  It’s around this time we try to slow the pace a bit and grab something to eat, take an ice cold shower (remember, the hot water doesn’t work) and relax a bit.  The phone continues to ring with such emergencies as, “My dog’s been itching really badly for about 6 months.  Can I come right in?”.  That is, if they do bother to phone first.  One dude showed up at night with a kitten.  That’s it.  He found a kitten. And he wanted us to take it.

Public Service Announcement:  Itchy dog, not an emergency.  A limb that has gone missing in the last minute or two, an emergency.

The evening rolls in and we all start to drift to our rooms.  We head towards the promise of sleep peppered with phone calls, late night emergencies, barking dogs, and screaming chickens.

It’s my first day home after three weeks volunteering for the Esther Honey Foundation in Rarotonga located in the Cook Islands.  I can’t think of a good way to outline and present what has become as huge swampy mess of memories so I’ll do my best to break it down into bite sized chunks.  Here we go.  Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I did.

I originally heard of EHF on Facebook.  Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it but it was the most fortunate shameful act I’ve had in quite some time.  A fellow vet student volunteered last summer and posted two or three photos that had me absolutely intrigued.  I immediately started looking into doing a stint at EHF and booked all my flights before I chickened out.

Three weeks.  I booked my time at the clinic for three weeks.  I figured I’d need at least one week to become familiar with the clinic, another week to learn a few helpful skills and a third week to actually be of some use.  Only…I haven’t been away from my husband and on my own in 16 years.  To make it even more anxiety inducing, I’d be living in dorm-like housing with a roommate.  It’s been 20 years since I’ve lived with a roommate.  I could not think of anything less suited to me.

January 29th, I packed my bags with serious uncertainty of what I had signed up for.  First things first, I had to get there.  That meant I had to take a bus to Wellington, stay at a budget hostel overnight and catch the first flight out of Wellington bound for Rarotonga.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t elevate anxiety to a ridiculous level which means I panicked about what my suitcase would say about me.  I packed with the greatest of care vascillating between packing too much or packing too little.  Is it uncouth to show up at a donation-only run vet clinic with a whopping suitcase?

Now with a fully developed complex about my suitcase, I kissed the sweetie goodbye and boarded the bus for Wellington.  Somewhere around Otaki, I realized I forgot to pack sunscreen.  Headed to a tropical island and the one thing I forget is sunscreen.  What makes this burn even more?  We have a small arsenal of barely used sunscreen back home as this is always the one item we forget when we travel.

Knowing I’d only be sleeping there for a few hours before needing to head back out to the airport, I chose to overnight at a cheap 10 bunk room in Wellington .  I drifted off to sleep in the dorm room worried that I might snortle myself awake as Steve has plenty of experience with me doing that.  But no, my mind chose to betray me in a different way.  Falling asleep, I wondered how my trip would fare.  Would I be useful?  Would I learn more than just the efficiency of cleaning cages?  Would I screw up?  As I drifted off to sleep, my subconscious took the night watch so I would not waste one minute of worry by something as non-productive as sleep.  I awoke in the middle of the night by talking in my sleep.  Specifically, I asked the question, “I don’t know what they have in store for me.”  The person in the lower bunk replied, “I don’t know either.”  And across the room, a voice in the dark said, “Me neither”.  Needless to say, that was the end of my sleep as I was afraid I’d drift off and recite the Pledge of Allegiance or favourite movie quotes.

Morning came and it was off to catch my flight.  And so it began…..

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Not creepy at all, Wellington. Not the least bit.

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Oh yeah, any anxieties are soothed by such calming art

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