Today is #ThursdayThoughts, so we thought it would be nice to share a bit about what life looks like for some of our team at home! Animal Welfare Officer Charlotte is taking us through what a typical day on the job looks like for her right now. She has appropriately named this:
Working from home with a house full of fur children
It’s 6am on a Monday morning and I haven’t set an alarm. In this house, no alarm is needed. Before you know it, the sound of meowing awakens you, or the pitter-patter of tiny ratty feet climbing, jumping and roaming around their enclosure. It’s summer, so the guinea pigs are outside. Usually, they start wheeking and screeching as soon as one of us stirs in our bed. Now, they lay sleeping until the backdoor is opened to let the dog out to the toilet! That’s when they start ‘wheeking‘ excitedly as they know the veggies are soon to be arriving. You could say we have a house full currently; with 3 cats, 3 guinea pigs, 13 rats and a dog all living in a two-bedroom terrace house alongside me and my partner.
But we say it feels like home- well I do anyway, my partner is just tolerant of the menagerie I bring home to foster at the drop of a hat. It keeps us busy that’s for sure. They’re not all ours. Some will stay for a short period of time and then go off to find their forever homes. Whereas, the others are my ‘failed-foster-children’-that’s how we like to refer to them at the Branch! The animal’s that we were only supposed to foster but they ended up being permanent members of the family. Nearly everyone who works for the branch has at least one ‘failed-foster-child’.
Our day begins by making sure that everybody has their breakfast. We, of course, come last in the long list of mouths to feed. After breakfast, it’s litter-tray cleaning, rat-handling, dog-walking and putting the guinea pigs outside to enjoy the day grazing on the grass. Once mouths are fed, it’s 9am and work begins. Working from home is strange for me. I’m usually sat in an extremely loud office surrounded by other members of my team on the phone, or out on the road attending vet appointments and catteries. Today, it’s an office of 1 human and many animals. Many animals who still can’t understand why I’m at home and yet not giving them the 24/7 attention which they deserve.
At 9:15am, I have lined up a virtual home visit. I have an entire day full of back-to-back virtual home visits to try and find the animals under the care of the branch their forever homes. We have only been undertaking these virtual visits since re-homing has been allowed to resume last week. It’s a weird way of being shown around someone’s home but nevertheless, it allows the branch to run as normally as possible during these strange times. During the middle of my video-call, the door-bell chimes. I apologise to the potential adopter and tend to the person at the door. It’s the postman. He’s just delivering the rat hammocks that I ordered a few days before. Yes- 4 rats have managed to become ‘failed-foster-children’ (*blushes*).
I go back to the computer to finish my video call and mother cat (Wanda) has managed to hang-up the phone on my behalf. She’s also decided that her new favourite place to sit is on the computer keyboard. I pick the her up, place her on the floor, and ring back the potential adopters….. It felt like me saying ‘the cat hung-up the phone’ was as bad as the excuse of ‘the dog ate my home-work’ but they seemed to understand.
It’s 12pm, the dog begins to become a little unsettled. It’s his Dentastix time and he’s got into such a routine with me being at home that he expects it bang on 12pm. I open the cupboard door where the I keep the dog treats and the sound of the cupboard opening encourages the dog to come and join me in the kitchen. Because the dog has walked to the kitchen, the cats think they are missing out on something tasty, so they decide to join us too. Now we’re all unsettled standing in the kitchen waiting for some form of midday snack. I decide to take my lunch break.
In the latter part of the afternoon, the animals have their afternoon snooze. Casper, Darwin, and Linnaeus (the guinea pigs) are resting in their igloos in the outside run, Wanda (mumma cat) has found a sunny spot on the bay window to take a cat nap, and Buzz (the dog) has found a comfy space on the sofa where he can catch a little bit of sun all whilst eye-balling the cat because she is sitting where he would usually choose to sit. The rats are laying in a heap on the top shelf of their enclosure, all 13 of them (Cygnet, Fawn, Filly, Cairo, Nairobi, Kigali, Lima, Manilla, Pairs, Sophia, Victoria, Vienna and Oslo- if you wanted to know their names!) and the kittens (Lumos and Nox) are upstairs. Finally, a little bit peace and quiet and time to reply to my emails
By 5pm, everyone is hungry again so it’s mouths to feed and a dog to walk. My working day finishes at 5pm so me and Buzz leave the house and enjoy catching the final bit of sun. I’m walking along and my phone rings. It’s the vets that I spoke to earlier telling me results from a faecal sample. There is a young couple walking a little distance in front of me. They turn around when they hear me say the words ‘colon flush’- yes, it is as lovely as it sounds!
Upon arriving back at home, it’s finally time for dinner. The make-shift desk is turned back into our dining room table and we eat and discuss our day ‘at work’ before passing out in front of the television ready to do it all again tomorrow. It’s never a quiet day at work in normal situations when you work with animals. Let alone when your animals are living in your office!