Running Wild

The Penny War.


There’s 15 days left of my externship. There’s 23 days until I graduate. Damn time moves fast. I mean, not any faster than one second at a time. But still… it feels like it flew by. Sometimes I’ll sit and zone out for a few minutes and I’ll think about how I got here. It’s been a very long and crazy 18 months. But I think I’m ready for the next chapter – whatever that may be.

These past two days have been incredibly long. The vet staff has been getting out consistently at 5:00PM every night but the rehabbers have been staying until at least 6:30PM. So the past two nights I decided to stay late and help them. And I’m so glad I did because night after chopping up fruits and vegetables, sweeping, and mopping for the rehab staff – I learned how to tube feed baby opossums. They’re so adorable oh my goodness. They would totally fit in my pocket…
Once all the babies were fed we finally left the center at 7:00PM. But our work was not done yet. Instead of going home we drove to a park with a box of 3 bunnies and released them into a forest. Sometimes my job is really hard. We euthanize so many animals it’s really hard to stomach sometimes. I’ve been here for almost 7 weeks and I’ve stopped going into the radiology room to help with intake animals because most of the time animals who go in there for an exam don’t come out alive. Most of the time the animals we get are too far gone to save. Their wounds are usually old and necrosing, or they are very neurologic and can’t walk, stand, or see. Most of the time we are their final stop.
Even though it makes my days longer, working with the rehab staff helps me end my days on a good note. It sucks going home knowing the last patient you saw of the day didn’t make it. There’s just something truly remarkable about releasing an animal back into it’s habitat, or even feeding a baby opossum and helping it grow up to be released. That’s the feeling I like going home with – like I’m doing more good than harm.

I know that I’ve said over and over again how much I love this house and these people. But let me just give one more example of how awesome it has been living here.
One night a few of us were in the front living room playing video games. Jena had gone to the bathroom and when she came back she told us that there was a penny taped to the ceiling. Maggie, Ky, and I all kind of brushed it off like she was crazy and continued to play video games. Later Ky went to the bathroom and came back and said that Jena was crazy there was no penny. Thirty seconds later Maggie and I each got a text from Ky saying that she stole the penny! I feel like it was much funnier when it happened… but the story’s not over yet.
A couple days later Ky found a penny taped to the ceiling over her bed. And thus the start of the penny war had begun. We then taped a penny over Jena’s bed and for about a week we all went back and forth between Jena and Ky’s beds taping pennies to their ceilings.
Then yesterday I came home, dropped my stuff off on my bed, and for some reason I felt like I had to look up. Sure enough, there was a penny taped to the ceiling over my bed. I ran over to Maggie’s room to see if she had one too – she didn’t. I needed to get some pay back here but I didn’t know what. I started with trying to tape another penny over Jena’s bed. And as you all know I am pretty damn short. So I went out to the living room where the rest of the house (minus Jena, Ky, and Maggie) was sitting eating dinner and watching TV, and tried to enlist the help of some taller people.
I told them the story of the penny war. I think they found it funny? Mostly they just thought I was crazy and pretty much wouldn’t help me move the dresser and climb on top of it to tape a penny to the ceiling. Rude, right??
Not sure what to do next I did the only thing I could think of: I called Maggie. And good thing I did because her idea was brilliant. She told me to tape a penny to the ceiling of everyone’s bed in the house. I got everyone – including Karen who sleeps on the bottom of a bunk bed; all except for Elise. She was watching a movie and wouldn’t leave her room. Damn her.
When Maggie got home I told her I needed her to lure Elise out of her room so I could tape the penny to her ceiling. Also I was exhausted from working 11 hours that day and the sole reason I was still awake was to finish taping pennies to everyone’s ceiling. Elise was the last one and after that I was going to bed.
Maggie knocked on Elise’s door, poked her head in and said one of the most for sure ways to get Elise out of her room: “Hey, do you want to play a drinking game?”
At first I was super grateful to have Elise out of her room and I accomplished my goal for the night. YAY! But then I felt obligated to play the game with the rest of the house so it didn’t look suspicious. Three beers and 2 hours later, I regret nothing.
Once the game was over we all went to bed… sort of. I heard Maggie laughing and saying something about a penny so I went to check out what was going on. Elise had found her penny. At first she was super confused, but then accepted it and walked away with it. She came back a minute later and said “There. Now someone else can find the penny.”
And thus begins penny war II.
Game on.

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