Monday, 7 April 2008

Felicity and other new family members.

There was good news when I arrived at the SPCA today around noon. Apparently Chelvy has been making steady improvements since being discharged from hospital a week ago, and yesterday she had visited the SPCA for about an hour. She isn’t fit to return to work just yet, but at least she is really keen to and looking chipper! I am sorry that I had missed her by one day.

I went to the food stall across the road from the SPCA to have a coffee and found a kitten begging for food. One of her eyes was glued shut with discharge. In its early stages, eye infection in young animals is highly treatable, but without medical attention, the virus soon attacks their eyesight. This explains the number of blind strays in the streets.

I brought the kitten back to the shelter and asked Dr. Pushpa if she could administer medicine, as I intend to keep the kitten. Kind Dr. Pushpa cleaned the kitten’s eyes and we were relieved to see that she still has vision in her infected eye. I applied eye ointment and Dr. Pushpa gave her a vitamin B jab. The good doctor then gave me some Doxycilin to administer to my new kitty daily and then I housed kitty in a pet carrier with food and water so I could continue with my animal shelter duties. I have decided to name her Felicity because that is my wish for her – Happiness.

Rose and I bathed all the dogs from the Maternity kennels as the new arrivals had brought ticks with them. We soaked all the dogs with tickwash and checked them for signs of any other infection or injury. We also bathed and tick-washed all other new arrivals and other kennel dogs who were in need of a wash.

At 1700 hours, Reve and I locked the gates, let the dogs out to play in the shelter compound and began cleaning. I scrubbed and disinfected the Cattery, Mummy Kennels, Central Area, Puppy Area and Reception / Administrative areas. Then I put away the donated items and newspapers, took out the trash.

It was while Reve and I were cleaning the cooking area that we had a conversation about snakes. I like all non-poisonous snakes, but Reve, being Belgian and civilised, was repulsed by snakes.

“There was a banana snake in my house the other day,” she reported.
“A banana snake?” I echoed, mystified.

My mind raced through every page of my Field Guide to Reptiles of Southeast Asia but I have never read or heard of a banana snake. If it were a black and yellow snake, it could be either a cat snake or coral snake of some sort, though I have never heard of those snakes being near human habitation. We normally find only keelbacks, bronzebacks and whip snakes in the city.

I asked Reve for a description and she described it as being a long, slender, green snake with a triangular head. It was an Oriental Whip Snake after all! I wonder how she came up with a ‘Banana Snake’. I was half expecting a yellow snake with black speckles, and which peels its own skin off periodically. A banana snake, forsooth!

As I was rinsing off the soapy shelter floor, Reve asked if I could find a foster home for a month-old puppy. If not fostered, the little guy would be too weak to make it in the shelter without a mother, and would have to be euthanised by next week. The puppy is brown and cuddly and has a rounded and ursine appearance. We had to save him by tonight. I agreed to take him home, but because I could not risk him contracting Felicity’s flu and eye infection, I had to get him a foster home immediately. And so I made urgent appeals by text message to friends, asking if they could foster a tiny puppy for a month.

Twin Bro responded within minutes, having passed on the message to his friends and receiving the response from his old buddy Prahasan that they would like to foster the puppy. With much relief, I brought both Felicity and the teddy-bear puppy home.

I put up cages for Felicity and Bear in a sheltered area in our porch at the Officers’ Quarters, and gave them fresh food and water and clean bedding. Felicity crunched up her kitten kibbles and Bear stuck his entire upper body into the dish of puppy food and started lapping heartily, much to my housemate Jessica’s delight, because this means Bear would have a higher chance of survival without his mother.

I cleaned the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters while waiting for the Twin and his Girl to come over. They arrived around 2300 hours and were thrilled with the puppy, although I am surprised to see how little the Twin knew about the care of young animals. He had expected to bathe and walk the puppy, and I had to inform him that the former would weaken the puppy and possibly kill him, while the latter would injure the puppy’s neck and spine and possibly kill him, too. The Twin hadn’t realised that at 1 month, puppies have no use for baths and walks yet, and both would do them harm.

I handed the Bear (in a carrier) to the Twin’s Girl and the foldable cage and puppy food to the Twin. We bade Bear goodbye (Jessica was missing her Bear already) and I went back in to tend to the Rowdies’ needs.

I cleaned the Quarters, got my things ready for the workweek and retired to bed with a copy of the Sunday papers. It has been a rewarding day. Together, we managed to save two little lives today. Who knows how many we will be able to save next week.

Whiskey Echo Lima – Out.

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