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Saturday, January 7, 2017

After the Storm

As much as I gripe and moan about cold weather, you'd think that I really hate snowy days.  And you'd be right, in a way.  In other ways, though, the snowy days are some of the most peaceful at the zoo. 

Often, we'll be closed - paths can be treacherous and slippery, not the sort of place you want litigatious members of the public strolling around on.   Many of the smaller, less cold-tolerant animals are tucked in and warm, and you wouldn't want to disturb them too much.  Furthermore, in cases of heavy snowfall, there's not much cleaning to do - you can't pick up much poop when said poop is covered beneath six inches of snow.

It's the day after that kills you.  Then, you have the accumulated muck of the past few snow days to tend to.  The same is true after heavy rainfall.  Even the most tyrannical of zoo curators is seldom inclined to send the keepers out into the deluge for anything other than the most basic of cleaning.  Poop, uneaten hay, etc. can wait until after the rain.

Given the choice, I'd take the snow or rain after the mess afterwards.  True, they're unpleasant - sometimes bitterly so.  Still, you get to feel like something of a hero every time you step outside into the storm.  Someone in the office will usually spring for donuts or some other treat as a sign of appreciation.  And still, there's usually plenty of time to do indoor projects - build some enrichment, catch up on some paperwork, or clean a building that you seldom have time for.

It's the poor saps who work the shift after the storm who have it rough.  Not only do they get no glory (and, too often, no donuts), but they have to clean the messes that you left to accumulate during the foul weather.  They're the real heroes of the zoo.

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