Work Experience!

Good grief, it’s been a while! However, now that exams have been successfully finished, I should now have much more time for “blogging” ;-)

The first thing I should probably mention is that I am a week up on work experience since last time, thanks to the kind and helpful staff at the Pilbara Reptile Shop of Gloucester, who were thankfully able to offer me a placement with a very useful four days’ notice, and to a certain young Master Davies, who was able to put me up at the last moment for a week in the spare room!

A week in Pilbara did teach me an awful lot about exotic husbandry, especially about the vast and tragic number of people who keep exotics having bought them on a whim, and without having considered every eventuality. In particular, one keeper at Pilbara, Tina, with whom I had a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening conversation, has since risen to the rank of hero in my opinions, due to her incredible determination and total forethought for animal welfare. She taught me exactly the opposite of what was drilled into us at both Vet MedLink and VetSim, that the person always comes first. Tina of Pilbara taught me that if at any time, she believes that a potential customer is giving her any doubts as to his/her ability to keep an animal in the manner to which it should have become accustomed, then she will simply refuse to serve them. I personally believe this to be a heroic and unselfish attitude to take, especially for a small business such as a reptile shop, and if there were more like her around, then there would be no need for vets.

Anyway, enough of the advertising, my duties at Pilbara involved cleaning out adult, adolescent (and, on one occasion, hatchling) corn snakes, feeding and cleaning out tortoises, bearded dragons, geckos, frogs and king snakes, clearing, disinfecting and prepping vivariums, cleaning feeding equipment and just generally lending a hand, with plenty of animal handling in the process! I found the whole experience much more organized than my last reptile placement, at Silent World Aquarium & Reptile Collection, which seemed to involve more handling for the fun of it, and less concern for professionalism.

All in all, I found the whole experience at Pilbara thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in exotics, I learned a great deal about husbandry, handling and responsible ownership, as well as receiving a well-deserved rap across the knuckles for my sloppy habits. This placement has definitely helped to raise my standards in cleanliness, and my awareness in the responsibility of the professional to ensure that the animal in the hands of the amateur is being well cared for.

- Photos on the way!!