Bella Antics

If there is one thing Bella loves to do more than anything, its get into trouble.   Whether its ripping up something she shouldn’t be shredding, pulling the buttons off the remote control, or climbing off her cage and taking a walk around the house, if there is a rule, Bella is out to break it.

Today, we were busy clipping the smaller birds wings and nails.  Bella was happily sitting on her cage waiting her turn.  When we turned back around, this is where we found her:

We have ten foot ceilings in my parents house and Taylor’s cage is suspended from the ceiling on a rope pulley that my dad made so he could see around the room and feel like he was tall even when he cannot fly.  Bella, however, enjoys crawling up the suspension rope and getting stuck near the ceiling.  Once she gets up there, she acts as though she can’t get down (maybe she can’t?  I don’t know.) and screams until you use a wooden perch to try and retrieve her.  

She’s a very naughty bird.  

I always know when she gets quiet that shes up to some mischief.  

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty.

So, Lance and I randomly adopted a cat today!

Well, kind of.

The veterinarian that I work with at school started a cat sanctuary to house all the survivors of the Tiger Ranch and to provide affordable vet care and housing for abused and forgotten cats.  Today, the sanctuary hosted an open house for all the supporters.  Naturally, me and Lance toted my mother and sister out to see the sanctuary and to help support the cause.  

I’ve been to the sanctuary several times to visit and help out, as well as taken my club there to help paint and clean out the basement.  The sanctuary is unique in so many ways.  The biggest way is that its just a huge house, and the cats roam about where ever they please.  They have their own cat door to go out to a fenced in gazebo and get fresh air, they have shelving to climb on, and they have tons of wonderful people who love them and take care of them.  It’s really a great place.

Recently, Lance and I have been thinking about what we want to do when we move out, which can be anywhere from a few months to a few years from now.  I’ve been itching to get a cat or a dog to add to our family, and as much as I’d love to go out and rescue a few pit bulls, I know that I really need to think smaller for now, as I can’t know exactly where I’ll be  in a few years, and I won’t be rehoming my pet due to some stupid breed regulation or not having enough space.  So, we decided we better think on the scale of a cat or a small dog, because its usually fairly easy to find housing that allows you to keep one of those.  

Regardless of what it was, we both fell in love with her.  So, today as we were sitting around the open house being bombed by kitty love, I found one of my favorite cats, Bonnie.  Bonnie is a simple, black, fluffy cat, but there has always been something about her that I’ve liked.  Maybe its the fact that she’s a survivor, or that she has to wear a lion cut all the time because she doesn’t groom enough.  Or it could be the fact that her tail has no muscle movement what so ever.  Who am I kidding?  I’m sure its the fact that she strolled right up, sat right in between me and Lance, and batted anyone that came near her.  She took turns sitting on both of our laps, as if she knew we’d get hurt feelings if she chose one over the other, and she just sat there forever, taking in all the pets and the scratches and the loving.  

So, of course we asked if she was adoptable, as some of the cats are not due to medical problems that flare up from time to time.  And we were in luck because she was!  

Obviously, I can’t keep a cat in my dorm room.   So, Bonnie has to wait until we move out to come home with us.  In reality, it’s not that big of a deal.  The sanctuary was prepared to take care of her until the day she died.  She’s a special member of their family, so they’re not at all in a hurry to get rid of her.  In fact, she might have even still been there when I moved out.  But, they told me they’d hold on to her for me and wait we’ve moved out and can take her with us 🙂  We can go visit anytime we want until then as well.   This also means that should we find a place that has a ‘allows pets that you already have, but you cannot bring in new pets’ rule, we technically can get the paperwork to say we already have her and she can come stay with us.  

I’m totally pumped.  I know, you’re all saying ‘a cat?  But you have BIRDS!!’  which is totally true.  Fortunately, Bonnie has a pretty laid back personality.  She’s a few years old, so she’s settled down and isn’t crazy like a kitten.  And, this won’t be the first time I’ve mixed cats with birds.  My family has always had cats (except for now.  Our 20 year old cat recently passed away a few months ago) and we’ve kept birds alongside them.  I won’t say its always easy; no multi-pet household is easy.  However, it is possible.  We’ve always just used the separation method with our guys; when no one is home, everyone stays separate.  We even have a screen door in the middle of my parents house from the days of separating cats and birds.  Due to the deadly nature of a cat bite on a bird, the birds never came out of their cage unless the cats were securely locked on the other side of the door, and when no one was home, the cats also stayed on the other side of the door.  When someone was home and the birds were in their cages, the cats could come downstairs, but any engagement towards the bird cages was highly discouraged.  After awhile, the cats eventually stopped even paying attention to the caged birds, and we were very careful to not have accidents.  We’ve mixed two cats, and two dogs (predators) with four birds and a rat (prey animals), so I’m hoping five birds and one cat will be ok.  Most bird people I know also have cats, so it much be pretty possible.

I’ve never been more motivated to move out.  I’ve always wanted to get into a place of my own, reunited with all my feathered kids, but there’s something about Lance and I making a decision together that really makes me see that there is a whole future for us, not just vet school.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up with everything that is happening now and how I want to get to vet school so badly and I need to get in that I forget that there is a future that will happen regardless of if I get an acceptance letter or not.  Its a really nice peace of mind.  So, I’m totally ready to start stockpiling cat toys in preparation for when we finally get to take her home!  Until then, I’ll make due with visits and lots of pictures!

How to Be Successful in Your College Lab Class

One of the most frequent questions I get from my friends here at school is how I manage to be one of the first people out of all of my lab classes, yet manage to pull a good grade from the course.  I thought maybe I’d divulge some of my secrets here so future science majors may make a use of them.  After all, lets face it; Lab classes suck and no one wants to put more time and effort into them than they absolutely have to to get that one credit.  So, here are some of little secrets that keep me yielding good lab results even though I’m one of the first people to leave.

  • Clean your glassware!
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind before preforming an experiment.  Chances are, whoever had your lab equipment before you didn’t bother to clean it before you checked into your drawer. I don’t care if you clean everything in your drawer the first day or clean everything your going to use before an experiment, but make sure that before you run your first experiment you wash whatever you are going to be using.  One of the biggest roadblocks people run into is random, off the wall results that leave you redoing the experiment from scratch.  One potential culprit is the left over chemical residue lining your beaker or test tube from the former occupant. Just do yourself a favor and wash your equipment. 
  • Read each sentence one at a time!

This sounds totally dumb, but reading each sentence and following the directions one at a time leaves much less room for error.  Often times, teachers write the lab manuals so that there may be 5 bulleted points, but there are several small steps in each point.  Leaving out one sentence can and will cost you an experiment.  So, if my step reads:

“Place 200 ml of H2O into a 500 ml beaker.  Add 3 drops of H2SO4 to H2O.  Stir.  Measure out 50ml of soln and place in a 100ml beaker”  

I literally measure out the H2O first.  Then I reread the next step.  Add 3 drops of H2SO4.  Stir.  Then I reread and make sure I am measuring out the right solution and putting it into the right sized beaker.  It seems counter productive if you want to get out of lab quicker, but in reality it eliminates little mistakes that a lot of other people make.  There’s nothing worse than realizing your forgot to add something and having to start again.

  • Don’t get caught up in lines for machines or chemicals.  Find other ways to accelerate your work.

Depending on the size of your lab, you may end up with long lines or masses of people milling around balance’s, the fume hood, or anything else that is in high demand and low supply.  My first plan is to beat out the rest of the people and get to the much needed things first.  However, if that doesn’t work, don’t get caught up waiting in the back of the line.  Look through the lab and see what else you can start working on.  Need to build an apparatus?  Start it.  Need the weight of a piece of equipment somewhere else in the lab?  Go get it.  Even just pulling out the things you need for your lab will help you move faster later.  Then, as soon as the line gets a little shorter, jump in, get your stuff, and get out.

  • Multiple Parts to the Lab?  Pick the Middle to Start!

Some annoying labs have three or four fully independent parts to the entire experiment.  It’s a lab teachers way of pushing together all the stuff that they don’t have enough weeks for you to do separately, and when you see one of these wonderful labs on the syllabus, you know almost certainly that you are going to be there for the entire two hours and forty minutes you are scheduled.  Not necessarily.  Start with the middle lab.  Most people will stupidly start at the beginning or at the end one.  Start in the middle, or pick the one that looks longest and most involved, if the other students seem to be evenly distributed throughout the sections.  

  • Need help?  Grab the TA pronto.

Don’t guess in lab.  Grab the TA, ask your question, and get cleared up.  Guessing leads to mistakes.  If you are shy, either bite the bullet or accept that you may be one of the last people to leave.

Other than that, try to work quickly and effectively, but carefully.   One misread step can send you back to the beginning like some bad game of Sorry.  And don’t feel bad if you hate lab; you’re not alone.  Most people don’t like having to put the amount of hours required to do well into a one credit class, but hopefully some of these tips will help you speed up your lab times and get out faster!