No, it’s not our daughter Ava – she’s not due for another couple months. But we do have another new baby that we recently added to our family… it’s a little white nosed Coati (AKA Coatimundi). We’ve had him just about a week now and he’s almost 3 weeks old. I really am in love all over again. We named him “Twitch” because he twitches a lot in his sleep. We’ve actually been on a waiting list for this little guy since January and we were just informed by this small zoo near us that he was available for us last week. Because he is being bottle fed every 2-3 hours, he goes everywhere with us right now. It’s a good thing we can take him to work with us We have already turned into paranoid new parents! Not wanting to leave him, making anyone who touches him wash their hands first, waking up the first few nights every hour just to check on him; oh yes, I’m sure we’ll be even worse when Ava gets here.
Last night was the first time we left him for a couple hours. We went over to our local movie theater (which is exactly a 4 minute drive from our house) to see the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. We fed him before we left and made sure he was asleep then we rushed home after the movie and he was still asleep! Whew! haha
Someone asked me a couple days ago what the typical day is like for us. There really are several “typical” days, depending on if we have shows to do, how many shows, and if we have a day off from shows. We are very thankful to be so busy right now with work, and right now we really only have 1 full day off a week. Not really a day off though, as there are always a ton of things to do around here.
So here is our typical day with shows:
Depending on the time of our first show and how long it will take us to get there, we get up at least 2-3 hours before we have to leave. Sometimes that means a very early start to the day, and takes us back to our days in the EATM program when we used to get up before the sun did.
Steve and I divide up the morning duties and we get to work. The dogs and Norman (the pig) go outside first then get their breakfasts. Now that baby Coati is with us, he also usually eats around this time too, depending on the time. He wakes up once during the night for a bottle, then sleeps until about 6:30 when he cries again for another. He’ll be up again between 8:30-9:30 for another feeding and a little bit of playtime.
Next is feeding for all the other animals: all 50 of them. They all get fed, waters filled, cleaning as needed, handling if we don’t have to rush to a show, and some get to go outside if the weather is nice. (Rabbits can run in the backyard, tortoise has an outdoor enclosure on the lawn, etc).
This continues until it’s time to get ready to leave for shows. Depending on which animals are coming with us, we get them into their carriers, makes sure we have water bottles and snacks for both us and all the animals, then we start loading them into the vehicle.
Throughout the day between shows, the animals with us are offered water, snacks and for Norman, walks. The funniest thing is when we are downtown Chicago (which is very often) and we need to walk Norman. Many times the only places we can stop to let him out is at some inner city park or even a grassy boulevard. He gets so much attention from people – who are just amazed that we are following a pig around with a poop bag!
Once we get back home, we put all the animals away, feed those again who need it, make sure waters are all full, then feed the nocturnal animals. Depending on what time it is, we cover the parrots cages as they like to go to bed between 6-7pm each night. Then as we’re finishing checking on everyone else, the 3 parrots do their nightly routine of chanting “Night Night!” really loud for about 10 minutes, followed by one of them laughing (kinda a creepy laugh too!).
Time for the dogs and Norman to go out for another walk, then get their dinner. Baby Twitch gets another bottle (and he gets bottles throughout the day while we’re on the road too). One of our bearded dragons is on 2 different antibiotics for an infection in her foot. Poor thing, we have to give her both an injection and oral meds every day! It’s been a month so far but our vet was here the other day and he wants to keep her on it for 2 more months! We hate having to give her a needle each day but she is so good and she knows now that she gets her favorite super worms after as a treat.
Next is getting all the paperwork done from the day and getting more paperwork done for the shows for the next day. After everything is done, we basically fall into bed and are asleep within 30 minutes. Twitch gets another bottle and he loves to snuggle with us so we let him while we watch something on tv, then its time to sleep for us all.
If we don’t have any shows our day starts and ends the same but we run errands during the day or we do extensive cleaning and lots of animal handling. Steve is also building bigger enclosures for some of our lizards that are getting larger.
One thing is for sure, there is never a dull moment around our house! Whether we are tripping over a dog, scrambling after a ferret who is running for the bedroom, or chasing Norman through the house because he grabbed a box out of the recycling bin and has it in his mouth ready to tear apart, there is always something!
Speaking of Norman, he is almost 10 months old now and weighs 23 pounds! He is slightly bigger than Zoey (the largest of the 3 dogs) but all the dogs still rule over the pig. Norman is getting so much better about not getting into stuff around the house now, but we are also better at not leaving stuff out for him – we’ve finally piggy-proofed the house! His latest favorite place to be is on the couch. I was looking for him the other evening and found him sound asleep on the couch. He had even covered himself with the throw blanket and just his hooves were sticking out. Quite hilarious.
So that’s a little glimpse into our life. We’re usually exhausted, but we love what we do and we’re happy.
Norman buried himself under this blanket.
Bottles now line out countertops. His favorite is the Dr. Brown’s bottle.
Yay! Our backyard is all fenced in now!
Moose giving Twitch a kiss