The Reluctant Release

10.30am today and I was off on my first release. It was just two seals being taken by a nurse and her extended family as a New Year’s get-together outing, plus me crashing. I’ve been reliably informed that releases are generally a ‘goodbye and thanks for all the fish’ situation, but Sjef and Cipri were not so excited to go home.

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ZP Week Four: Hand Feeding , Holding and Houdini

I’ve had a really amazing week here and feel like I’ve progressed a lot. In myself I can feel I’m more confident with the work and comfortable around the seals. I’ve also been trusted with a larger range of tasks and responsibilities (hmm, could it be connected I wonder…).

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So This Is Christmas…

… and what have you done?

What were you doing at 2pm on Christmas Day? If I were home, it would be about the end of a customary long dog walk. I would shower, maybe peel some potatoes if pressured, watch Christmas telly and generally wait for parental permission to drink wine and open presents (the relative importance of the wine and the presents has shifted over the years).

Today, I was at a seal necropsy, because nothing says festive like internal organs. But let’s start at the beginning.

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ZP Week Three: A Perfect Day

The days have all started to blur into one a little, even though they’re very different in the details. This week I had three ‘O’ (early) shifts and two ‘L’ (guess…) shifts.

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ZP Week Two: Highs and Lows

Now I’ve gotten through my first full working week here, I’m beginning to find my rhythm a little. I always think of the first week somewhere new as something of write-off as you’re always playing catch-up, learning where everything is and how everything works. The second week always seems to give me more time to settle, start building a routine of sorts, and work out my thoughts on things.

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Joline, Joline, Joline, Joline…

Yes, she is named after Dolly’s Jolene, but you can’t expect non-native English speakers to get the spelling right all the time.

The common wisdom here is that you will fall in love with the first seals you properly look after, and Pyza and Nessy from Quarantine 2 will always be special to me, but the true queen of my heart is Joline.

10/10 could steal your man

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ZP Week One: Quarantine Training and My First Day

Days Three and Four: Quarantine Training

Two days are dedicated to training in the quarantines, and thank god. These are self contained little rooms with a small pool, a kitchen, and a plateau, all of which can be gated off. This is Fase 1, where new arrivals and the sickest seals are.

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ZP Week One: Arrival and the Start of Training

I flew to the Netherlands on Sunday the 3rd of December, and then embarked on a public transport adventure to Pieterburen – two trains and a bus. The bus was more like a minibus, and as I sat there with my big rucksack and my non-existent Dutch, the driver said to me “Would you like me to stop at the seal hospital?”.

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