Today was the first day at my new job. You are reading the blog of Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s newest animal caregiver. The job entails animal husbandry three days a week and performing animal health checks the other two days. Yes, I finally get to revisit my veterinary technology roots! I’m rusty at the medical stuff, that’s for sure, but I’m a natural at caregiving so hopefully I’ll do great.
On my way to work today, a radio program was interviewing people who had to brave the cold for their jobs. One rancher in South Dakota called in because he was outside with his herd of 500 cattle, breaking ice in the water troughs. It was -40 degrees! The radio dj basically commented on how terribly sad it was that a cow had to endure -40 temperatures just to be eaten in the end. It’s not a great life. Heck, it’s not even a good one.
Now here I am, it’s almost midnight and I’m absolutely physically exhaused. Yet, I’m worrying about the animals I tucked in before I left for the day. The temperatures are going to be below zero tonight. They have nothing but plywood, plastic sheeting, maybe a little insulation and some straw to protect them. There’s no furnace blowing warm air on them. I can only hope that the straw I put in their pens is enough to make them comfortable. At times like this, I can’t imagine taking their place. I would not last the night.
So I sit here in my warm bed, listening to the freezing wind whip through the trees, and I can’t help but reflect on what that dj said this morning. It’s a hard life being an animal and we sure as heck couldn’t do it. It’s saddens me to think that they are so much better than us in so many ways and yet we treat them with such disrespect. We treat them like food. Like meat. We are nowhere near as strong and resilient as they are. Being around them is humbling, to say the least, and I hope I never forget the lessons they teach.