Wednesday, 6 May 2009

One Hell of a Crappy Week!

So here is the story of quite possibly the worse week of my time here at CCF. The week started very badly when we had to euthanize on of our cheetahs, Gremlin. Sadly when Gremlin was darted for his annual work up, the dart caused a small fracture (a total fluke of an occurrence) which then grew into a more serious break of his femur. We took him to the vet and a plate was put in but after two weeks of not much improvement it was discovered that the break had got much much worse and that recovering from such a break would be extremely difficult and his quality of life would be very poor so sadly it was decided to put Gremlin to sleep, which upset us all but there was simply no other option. It was very sad to see his pen mate, Josie, all alone the next day and I will miss not being spat at by Gremlin every day when we feed, especially as he had a very distinctive spit with him poking his tongue out at me whenever he did it!

Loosing Gremlin was a big blow so I was looking forward to running our group of 4 boys who are always entertaining. It is important to note that for a cheetah run I am armed with a big spoon and a pouch of meat around my waist to give to the cats as a reward for catching the rag. The run started well with all four boys taking turns in running round the circuit and as per usual we stopped them for a break and to give the tourists the chance to get a bit closer. So I had our 1 year old brothers N’dunge and Shunga with me as well as our 2 year old ambassador cat littleC. Things were going fine but as I turned my head to answer a question from the single tourist seeing the run I felt something tug at my pouch and that something turned out to be littleC who then proceeded to put both his paws around my leg and begin pulling very hard scratching my hand and tearing my shorts in the process, I was able to quickly undo the clip on the pouch and free myself from his grip leaving littleC to enjoy his undeserved prize! My heart rate took a while to go back to normal and was left with the consolation that the tourist found the whole incident very exciting! I was obviously very lucky not to have come out of the incident in a worse state but it did mean I had to go the rest of the day flashing my boxer shorts to everyone, and it would have had to have been the day I was wearing my cheapest Marks & Spencer pair, not very sexy at all!!

The week couldn’t get any worse I thought, oh how wrong I was! My second dance with death occurred whilst we were trying to find 3 cats in the 64ha Bellebenno camp who had recently been put in there and had not shown up for feeding 2 days straight. I was in the back of the bakkie with a few other people calling for them and when we saw a cheetah down a road we had passed we called for Kate, my fellow keeper who was driving, to reverse back so I could see who it was. So she reverses back and stops, right says I, I’ll just quickly jump out and get a better look at the cat and see if its one of our missing girls. So I place my foot on the tail gate and prepare to push of and jump down, however at the exact moment I push of the tail gate the car disappears from beneath me and I find myself falling towards the floor head first…… hurt. I was left with a bit of a headache and we failed to find the girls. Now when you bang your head like that you are not supposed to drink alcohol, which is good advice, however when you are having a party the very same day it SUCKS!!!!!!!! So I was unable to join in fully with the merriment of Rachael’s leaving party and spent most of the evening in my room nursing my head.

Rachael leaving also sucked, she has been an unbelievable friend to me the last few months, especially during my month of hell poop collecting, if it wasn’t for her wise words and support I think I would have gone insane! She also nursed me during my many ailments, including a cut toe, bad headaches, allergic reactions and the time I had bad wax build up and a mosquito in my ear, yes that’s right, I had a mosquito stuck in my with it! So I am going to miss her a lot :( And as luck would have it the day after she left I got injured again as I stepped on a thorn which went in so deep I couldn’t remove it with my fingers. I had to be brave and manage without Rachael and pulled it out myself with force with a pair of pliers……it hurt.

Every day since I fell on my head we have had to return to Bellebenno with as many people as possible and WALK the pen looking for these missing cats, we managed to find and lock up two of them but the third still evaded us! Walking in the African heat in grass up to your eyeballs every day is not much fun. I don’t think my feet have ever taken as much punishment!

But it doesn’t end there as this morning I woke up and found that Spots had found a way to open the door to my room and had removed various objects and lovingly distributed them all over Boskop. Whilst picking up my belongings I managed to catch my leg on a fallen spiky palm tree leave……it hurt and this time there was blood, a great way to start the morning! His haul included two pairs of flip flops, one of my boots, a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, socks, food wrappers from my bin, a comfy travel pillow, a mosquito repellent plug-in gizmo and worst of all, my case containing my ipod speakers and beloved ipod!!! Luckily Spots still has the bucket on his head and the only thing he was able to destroy was my travel pillow. The reason my door wasn’t locked is because I have lost my room key so I have had to resort to putting some wooden shelves across my door to make it Spots proof!

So there we have it, a week I will never forget! However, I can end with some good news as we managed to lock up the third cat today!! And tomorrow I am out of here and going on HOLIDAY!!!!!!!! Although the idea of going home to my boring little town of Andover for a holiday is very strange! I am really looking forward to seeing my family and friends again……. especially you Mum!!! So my next blog will be from merry old England, toodle pip!