Day 7: Covered Species

Today was another fantastic day! My morning was spent going around with the animal health technician (referred to as AHTs from now on) that takes care of the covered species. What is meant by covered species are those animals that are covered by the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act. This includes all research animals except mice and rats (don’t worry, they have their own regulations and protections that I don’t have time to discuss here). So first we visited the chinchillas, which were super cute and curious. We then went and hung out in the rabbit room, where the rabbits were all active and playing with their toys. The AHT was giving them cilantro, and they get fresh leafy greens and vegetables every single day along with their pellets and timothy hay. They have a better balanced diet and with more variety than most pet rabbits I have seen! They also have more toys and more interaction with other rabbits. We hung out in that room for awhile, with the AHT telling me about all of the rabbits (she knows every single one, and their personalities!), how they care for them, and how they handle clinical medical cases. Since they are covered species, there is a lot of paperwork and extensive medical records and daily husbandry records for each and every animal. I must say, these rabbits were extremely well care for and looked after.

After leaving the rabbits, we went to visit the pigs! They were Yorkshires, better known as your typical farm pig. If you haven’t ever worked with pigs, then you’re really missing out on their amazing personalities. You’d be surprised how much personality a pig has. There were three rather large girls (all >160 pounds) in the room we visited, and each one has a name. We let them out of their runs one by one to run up and down the room, get some treats, and get lots and lots of scritches. Since I have long nails, I was an instant hit, lol. They were adorable, stretching and moving to get the most out of the scratching. I got quite a bit of pig drool on me as they approached me, squatted on the floor, and said hi. I love pigs :)

Then I attended the canine training class. It was both sad and fortunate that there weren’t any actual dogs for the class. Sad because I was looking forward to hanging out with a dog, but fortunate because dogs are really hard to see in a research setting. Most people look at them and see pets, so it makes it that much harder versus some of the other species. Thankfully a lot of dogs are adopted out after their time in the lab has come to an end. So yeah, without any dogs the class consisted of a 30 minute video, a lecture, and a tour of where the dogs are kept. I was once again impressed – the runs the dogs are kept in are THREE TIMES the legally mandated size for dogs under the Animal Welfare Act. These runs are HUGE! Much larger than any I’ve ever seen in a pet store or veterinary clinic. And of course they have a wonderful toy rotation program that allows the dogs to see and play with a different toy every week. I love working in a place that obviously cares so greatly for animal welfare.

After lunch it was a little more boring. The first thing I did was go with an AHT to one of the rat breeding rooms, and that wasn’t boring because I got to see little rat babies! They are seriously ridiculous. I mean, look at this face:

So after visiting the rat babies, I helped with anesthetic machine maintenance, which was not that exciting but obviously necessary. That took awhile, and then I kind of waited around a bit and ended up leaving just a bit early, because Dr. Bulldog left early that day and the AHTs didn’t have anything else going on. All in all, another amazing day :)

Oh, and I’ve decided against Crossfit, for multiple reasons. One is that it’s exorbitantly expensive. It’s very reasonable for my husband, because he signed a year long contract. But since I’ll only be here a couple of months, I would have to pay monthly, and the price is severely jacked up for that. Also, it focuses on running a LOT, and with osteoarthritis in both of my knees it’s just not a good idea. But I found something even better! I discovered spinning at the Davis gym and adored it! I don’t know why, but I really love spinning. So I joined a spinning gym right here in Burbank, with classes at 7pm 5 nights a week and classes on weekend mornings. It’s much more affordable and I actually *like* it. Of course, I went to my first class tonight and this is NOT the Davis gym kind of spinning. It is WAY more intense, and included upper body strength training (while cycling) and an ab workout afterward. I am DEAD. I scaled down most of what we were doing because I’m so out of shape, but I’m excited to get into shape and I’ll be going back for sure :D

Now for a lovely spinach salad and shrimp followed by sleeeeeeeeeep!


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