Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Wisdom Of Temple Grandin

Last night NPR re-aired its three interviews with Temple Grandin, from 1995-2009, in conjunction with their review of the new film about her. For those who don't know, Dr. Grandin is a PhD animal behaviorist at Colorado State University whose personal experience as as a high-functioning autistic gives her tremendous insight into exactly what frightens animals, and how to mitigate it when we work with them.

I found her comments on how one should physically touch animals to reassure them to be extremely applicable to handling cats in the hospital. You will notice that I discourage staring at cats or making loud or high-pitched sounds in the exam room, and encourage slow, gentle stroking rather than rapid rubbing, patting, or jiggling. This simple approach makes the exam room experience much easier on the cat, and far less likely to result in anyone (meaning any humans) getting hurt. If not for an interview with Dr. Grandin that I heard several years ago, I wouldn't understand why it is that certain approaches to cats simply don't work.

Cats really are like small furry autistic people. Humans would do well to remember this in their dealings with felines - a lot fewer misunderstandings would arise.


I have a profile over on LinkedIn now, for what it's worth. Everybody says I need to do more "marketing" on the internet, so maybe that counts. I think in order to see the whole profile you have to also be a member but it's free. It's like Facebook, but for adult businesspeople to network. You can request linking to me and if enough clients do it, perhaps I can use it for informational/educational messaging.

And of course, if any of you want to post a recommendation for me over there, that would be nice. 8-D

Friday, February 5, 2010

Well, For Pete's Sake, It Must Be Rabbit Week - Or, Why Rabbit Urine Can Be Dangerous To Some People

Just when I thought I'd heard it all, comes this little tidbit about the risk of immunosuppressed people contracting Encephalitozoon (once thought a protozoan but now considered a fungus, which is totally weird in and of itself) infection from rabbit urine.

Now I don't want a lot of panicked phone calls about this. The reality, as Dr. Weese points out, is that everyone should exercise good basic hygiene when handling rabbits and their waste products (and all other animals for that matter). Nobody needs to give up their rabbits or live in fear of them. Just be aware, and be clean.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Phone Call From The WTF Department

While we are on the subject of bunnies........Alison tells me we just got a phone call along these lines:

Caller: Do you guys have any dead rabbits?

Alison: (pause)

Alison: (wonders if somebody is pranking her)

Alison: Uh, no?

Caller: Ok, bye.

We surmise that the caller needs a free dead bunny for some sort of school project, but we could be mistaken. Maybe we should have referred her to the freezer case at Gelson's, where you CAN get dead rabbits, but they are skinned and cleaned, so that probably wouldn't work. And they are pricey, at $9 a pound last I checked.

Alison, who somehow knows these things, tells me you can buy young feeder rabbits at reptile stores and they will do the deed for you. Being in the business of trying to keep rabbits alive, this wasn't something I made a point of learning on my own.