Disagreement (graphic! I guess…?)

So, today was my first day back at work after a 3 days leave and I happend to have a little bit of a disagreement with one of our patients.

Mind you, I work at a small animal practice and said patient was a cat. Cats are basically the most dangerous animal that you can find in a small animal practice and you’re going to find out why. Don’t worry, though, the scratches don’t hurt, the cat was not hurt and I could’ve definately ended up much much worse.

The worst thing that can happen in a small animal practice, is getting bitten by a cat. Dogs? Nah. A cat bite? OH SHIT! The reason is the canine (yes, cats have canine teeth) in cats are so sharp, when they bite the tooth is pressed in deep and when it comes out, the wound closes almost immediately, because it’s only a very small wound. The tooth however brought gems into the wound and those gems are having the time of their life now infecting your hand. It’s crutial to get antibiotics and proper treatment ASAP, or otherwise you’re in serious danger of loosing a finger. Or two. Or a hand. Untreated infected cat bites can send you into hospital, into severe pain, into huge abzesses and worst case into an amputation.

That being said, if there’s one thing we try to avoid, it’s getting bitten by a cat. After 3 + 1/2 years at our practice, I’ve never been bitte so far. Everything you’re going to see are scratches. Scratches are no big deal, they bleed a bit, they heal, everything’s chill. I just want to post this to show how dangerous my job can be. I love my job, I don’t mind uncooperative or grumpy patients, but it’s not the cute cuddly job people often expect.

I’m not injured that often either. I’m a careful person. It was just one of those days today. And that’s why I’m not a cat person.

Btw, I have a skin condition, that’s why I have a lot of small wounds and scars on my arms. Don’t worry about those, they have nothing to do with animals of any kind.

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Koi

I recently started watching youtube videos about Koi, those insanely expensive carp from Japan. I think after hours and hours of experts explaining beauty and breeding, I think I roughly got the general idea. I’m still a hopeless amateur, of course, I don’t even know a fraction of what there is to know and I couldn’t evaluate the beauty of one Koi against the other even if my life depended on it. I just wanted to know how Koi are bred, how they are raised. I understood some of the citeria for beautiful fish, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to apply this very rough knowledge of mine.

That being said, let’s continue.

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Doitsu Kohaku der Konichi Koi Farm

In a way it’s no different than breeding a pure bred dog: you’re aiming to produce a creature that has very certain features we consider “beautiful”.  Breeding Koi does seem much more… heartless than breeding a dog or a cat. A carp lays thousands of eggs at once, a dog will have probably something between 3-10 puppies depending on the breed and how lucky the breeder was.

Therefore, you have a whole lot more babies to choose from when breeding fish and let me remind you this is entirely about beauty. You have this huge pool of offsprings and this is still a business. Businesses function after the laws of demand and suppy. People want beautiful Koi. A Koi that is not up to the standard is something nobody wants. It’s worthless to the point that you can’t sell it. People don’t want big ugly fish and Koi are big fish. Therefore, raising thousands of fish that are not up to the desired standard is a waste of money.

When breeding dogs, even the ugly ones usually somehow find a home and on average you will need to find homes for round about 5-6 puppies. That’s a whole lot easier than finding homes for 5-6 thousand fish of undesired color, pattern and body structure. As you can imagine, Koi are being selected very very strictly. Farms don’t want to waste money on raising ugly fish nobody wants. So what happens with the undesired fish? I’m not 100% sure, but I read somewhere the undesired ones from early selections are used as food for the bigger ones.

A beautiful Koi is being treated like royalty, an ugly Koi (which is most of them) is not

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Karashigoi der Konichi Koi Farm

even worth living. I understand why Koi farmers do what they do, it just seems very extreme, especially at the stage of the very early selections where most of the Koi are being selected out. After they’ve reached a certain age and size and survived a few round of selections, farms will keep the “Tategoi” (the best ones) and sell the rest off, but they can’t do this at the early selections.

Breeding Koi is basically a game of luck you play with nature. You produce a whole damn lot of something in the hopes of getting a substainable amount of good individuals, a couple of great ones and maybe one champion. The rest, the thousands of siblings not good enough, are an unwanted byproduct.

Koi are extreamly beautiful fish. Chances are very high I will never have a Koi pond, but I can’t help being fascinated by these carp. The strict selections, the harsh nature of their breeding, the insane care the good ones receive, it’s all part of the fascination of Japan’s (and maybe the world’s) most beautiful fish.

Too many interests

I have way too many interests… and still waste my time onthe internet doing nothing most of the time.  You know, like writing a blog noboidy is going to read anyway about my crazy interests nobody is going to find interesting, even if he stumbles into it.

So, as I just mentioned, I have a lot of interests and I often find myself very much into something for a short period of time, before I move on to another. I just can’t do everything at the same time, but unfortunately I tend to neglect something, if I’m currently into something else.

Hold your horses, I’m a responsible person (at least I hope so), I will always care for my guinea 817625d7a583fdd7195478de3d4194a21835ca6cpigs as best as I possibly can and if that includes feeding my big girl 7 times a day again, like I used to when she was growing up very ill, than I will do that. Our pets are part of our lifes, but we are our pet’s entire life. These are living creatures depending on our care, no matter what happens I will always provide the best possible care for them. I love them to death, I wanted to have them for at least 10 years before I finally got them and they are certainly not just a phase of mine, but treasured pets and part of my family.

I’m talking more about stull like… movies, games, anime and manga, stamp collections – this is all stuff that I like. I also have a full time job. And guinea pigs, including a very high maintance individual, that needs special care and a special diet. I also love doing postcrossing, something that I really really need to pick up again. I’m into photography, but I need to get my lazy ass outside more to actually take photos of… well… something. I love to go to the zoo and basically love everything connected to animal care. I have a huge book about the green tree python and one about the genetics of corn snakes, but even though owning a snake is something I can imagine, I will probably never actually own a snake.

I also have books about strawberry poison-dart frogs, dwarf hamsters and box turles – I’m not going to own any of those for sure. I’m interested in it, though. I have to admit I hate learning oophaga_pumilio_blaubeiner_hifor exams, but I do love learning about the stuff that I like. This is what I loved about the time I went to University: I was able to do what I really wanted to do for the most part. I was able to attend a lecture about the origins of the universe, starting with the big bang all the way until the development of the first cell on earth, as part of my studies. No, I did not study astrophysics, I studied biology for teachers. How does that make any sense? I don’t know, but I do know the universe is finite and still expanding to this day, thanks to that lecture.

Surprinsingly, I’m not into US TV shows at all and even though I’m a pretty nerdy girl, I don’t like US comics.

My Set of G-Pigs

I’m currently hosting a home for my lovely set of G-Pigs consisting of a castrated male one and two girls. Guinea Pigs live in harems, therefore the ideal constellation is to have a male and several females he can reign over. Too bad nobody told mine this story.

My male one, Anton, is a red Abyssinian and a typical guy, he’s showing off and waggling his butt like a champ. He’s a really funny one and once broke his upper teeth off. God know how he managed to do that. With just 970g and still overweight he’s very small for a male. He’s a rescue pig from an animal rescue organization and probably from an inbred family line. He suffers from mild allergyies (allergic coryza), but as long as his hay and straw won’t dust too much, he’s just ocassionally sneezing. It’s not bothering him at all. His other problem is his asthma. He’s sometimes coughing as if he’s violentely trying to cough mucus up or something. The first time I heared it, it really scared me, but he’s only doing it occasionally. On very rare occasions, he’s having a bit trouble breathing. It sounds as if he’s whisteling from his breathing system. I have an emergency cortison-Injection in my fridge in case he has a bad attack and needs something against the swelling asap.

My “big girl” is a miracle pig. Her name’s Patti and she’s a white-chocolate-red swiss teddy. I got her together with the other female from a pet store and soon she began to develop serious problems with her intestinal system. She was chroncially bloated and it wouldn’t get better no matter what we tried. Her immune system was at the worst and she suffered from additional secondary infections, including pneumonia that was treated with 6 weeks of antibiotics, gastritis, a bad fungal infection and several bacterial infections & viruses. Her last virus infection took her two months to heal off and I thought she would die during that time twice. However, during the entire time, I thought she wouldn’t even make the night at least once every other week, because she was doing so poorly. I had to force-feed her for 9 months – smometimes more and sometimes less, had her on anti-bloating medication the entire time, pain medication in such a high dosis that she got addicted to Metamizol and had her on different antibiotics for weeks. All of that with a G-Pig not even a year old. It was a very tough fight and considering how fast these animals die, it’s a miracle she’s alive today. Back then I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing by keeping her alive, but seeing her today, it was all worth it. We don’t know exactly why she had so much trouble, but we found out she can’t eat fresh vegetables or fruits. That means no fresh carrots, salad, cucumber, apple, nothing or else she’s bloating up immediately and she needs a very specialo diet with additional vitamins. She also has a very sensitive and dry skin and a chronically weak immune system, but everything is very well managable.

She’s a big fighter, that’s probably the reason she made it through all of it. She’s a real character and the unrivaled queen of the group. She’s what I call “passive dominant”. She’s super chilled out and never seeks a fight. She never tried to bite or showed any agression towards the other pigs, but she’s the boss and she expects everyone naturally to accept that. My male had a real problem with that behavior when he was first introduced into the group and never managed to climb the ranks ablove her. They sorted it out without anyone getting injured and the male eventually settled down below her just fine. My underweight tiny piggie grew into the largest one of the bunch. She’s very large for a girl and weights proud 1050g. She’s simply amazing.

The last of the bunch is my peruvian princess Rosie. She’s chocolate-red-white-cream colored and with about 900g she’s the smallest and lightest of the bunch. She’s super social and get’s along with everyone no problem. She’s also the most talkative and can get on our nerves a lot when she wants food – she’s very pushy when it comes to treats. Even thought she’s the most delicate of them all body-wise, she never had any health issues whatsoever. Her only problem is that for about half a year now, she develops phantom pregnancies all the time. She doesn’t seem to really suffer from it, she just has milk and can be a bit moody sometimes, but generally she’s doing extreamly well. I talked to our vets and they said I don’t have to worry about any health issues whatsoever. Since she’s developing phantom pregnancies so often, I’m thinking about getting her castrated nonetheless. She’s two years old and at an age where she can get through an operation considerably good. Maybe I can take some stress off her shoulders that way, but any operation bears a risk and since she’s the delicate type I’m quite worried.

As you can see, they all have their indivdual problems, but since I know all of them inside out, I can deal with them allright. I have different medication against pain, bloating, gut-fungus, skin-fungus and asthma on stand-by at all times. I know the G-Pig dosage for several antibiotics, fungus medication and our expectorant by heart and if everything fails, I can still have a talk with one of our vets. It may sound as if I’m having a lot of trouble with my pigs, but that’s really not the case.

Adopting a Dog in Germany

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our old girl in spring 2014

Ever since our old girl had to be humanely euthanized at the age of 16 in July of 2014, my father has been thinking about adopting another dog. As time went on, the thought became a serious wish and he started actively looking for dogs.

First off all, where can you buy/adopt a dog legally in Germany?

  1. you can buy a puppy from a breeder
  2. you can look into newspaper advertisements or the internet to get a dog from a private person who wants to / has to give the dog away
  3. you adopt a dog from the shelter
  4. you adopt a dog from one of the many animal rescue /helping organizations around

It’s actually forbidden by law to sell dogs on flea markets in Germany and if I remember correctly there’s exactly 1 pet store in the entire country, where you can buy puppies. Personally, I think the best way to go is to look for a dog in a shelter or adopt one from a trustworthy rescue organization (many may act out of good will, but it often lacks a professional execution).

I also understand why some people would rather have a puppy from a breeder, because that way you can check on the parents of your dog and the environment it’s been growing up in and basically you can be sure the dog has never really experienced anything bad and you get the characteristics you’re looking for in the specific breed you want to have. It’s the safest way to get a healthy normal dog, if you want to go to the trouble of finding a good greeder and spending a lot of money for a purebreed puppy.

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sleepy girl

I reason I prefer “second hand dogs”, is mainly because I respect the choice to buy a puppy from a breeder, but I want to give the older dogs sitting in shelters and foster homes a chance as well. They may come with a problem here and there and it takes them longer to get used to their new home and both of you need time to get to know eath other well, but it’ll work out eventually with rigth amount of patience and love.

So, my father read an advertisement on the internet and called the women who copuldn’t keep her 10-year-old Beagle anymore, but he was too late. After turning down 20 people who weren’t goof enough, she gave the dog to a shelter a week ago. My dad went to said  shelter and there was the Beagle.

You see, it’s not that easy to adopt a dog from a shelter. They usually have you come several times to go for a walk with the dog, so you two get to know each other. They will also have talks with you about your experience with dogs and what kind of environment you can provide them and if they feel you’re unfitting, no dog for you. They usually try very hard to find good people, but that’s not easy, especially for older dogs.

Most people look for young and healthy dogs, that leaves the old ones and those with medical issues harder to find a new home for. When my father went for a walk with said Beagle, two women spoke up to him. The first one complained that dog would be too old for her liking, but the second one was very happy for that old dog to have someone interested in taking him. Faith in humanity crushed and instantly rebuild, I guess.

The usual procedure is, after you’ve decided you want to have the dog and the shelter staff agrees with you, you get the dog on probation, so to speak. Usually it’s a few weeks and after that time, you call the shelter and tell them how’s it going. In an ideal situation, you tell them all is fine and you keep the dog. If not, you bring the dog back. Many shelters have you pay the adoption fee after this probation period, in case you keep the dog. The shelter my father wants to adopt said Beagle from, even brings the dog to your home, to see the future environment by themselves. I think that’s awesome.

It may sound troublesome to get a dog from a shelter, but I think it’s good everyone tries their hardest to find good owners for the dogs.