If anything, people who work in this area have the stronger stomach ever. And I’ve seen some pretty disgusting stuff but last week turned disgusting into a whole new meaning.
I recently started an internship at a local petting zoo/ children’s farm. I needed some experience with animals other than cats and dogs. I had already been turned down by another farm by my appearance. I am 5”2 and look like a 18 year old, which has its advantages, but this farmer just scanned me from top to bottom and said they were full. (Having just said they were looking for interns a few moments before) So I was really happy that this farm wanted to take me on board.
The most important thing I had to experience was a birth, of any kind, just a birth. Luckily all sheep and goats were with young and due within the next few weeks so I was present with a few.
A very interesting experience obviously. Hard too, because there is no way a goat understands you when you say it’s going to be ok. Talking to goats has become my speciality during this time. And they have been so kind to forgive me of everything I have said to them during labour, as soon as I presented them their babies.
But as any creature, births are loud and bloody. And a little slimy. To think that humans go through the exact same thing in the same way as sheep and goats is something I’d rather not think too much about at this time. The worst is the ‘afterbirth’. This thick, slimy, bulgy thing mixed with blood and string that sort of hangs out of them for ages. After the whole birthing experience is over we clean up and dump everything on the dung heap.
The next morning all of us working there forget about everything the day before because today we have baby goats and lambs! And every morning as usual, we let out our pigs Haka and Hina. Two very stubborn little Maori-pigs from New Zealand. While we are busy cleaning out stables and before we open to the public they get to run around, eat grass, bug us for food. They usually start with a sprint to the dung heap to sniff out any interesting food. Remember they are pigs, they eat absolutely anything.
After returning with a full wheelbarrow of crap I found Haka and Hina fighting over a bloody piece of afterbirth they had dug up in the hill. Fighting over it like a tug-of-war. Feeling rather sick at the sight I called one of my workmates over. It wouldn’t kill them, but it’s a little unhygienic at the least! Another intern came over and the three of us tried everything to move them out of the dung heap. But pigs are heavy and they just found their gold, they weren’t going anywhere.
So picture three little girls shoving and yelling at two indifferent pigs. Mission impossible. When the other girl finally contained Hina I was giving it everything I had to work Haka out of the heap. Unfortunately as I was pushing him he suddenly moved leaving me face downward in the dung and blood. Slimy, bloody bits of whatever mixed with shit of at least 15 different animals covered my entire body. I wear huge wellington boots and jeans but I am not prepared for this kind of mess. The rest of the day I go to smell like sheep ass and look like a chicken during moult.
This week I started my other internship at a vets practice. I was almost relieved that the worst thing that happened on my first day was a dog that pissed on my arm.
It’s a vet nurse’s life for me.