Posted by: fireweaver | February 2, 2008

eye of the tiger

i’m on emergency call this weekend, and that means you never know just what you’ll get to deal with.

once upon a time at the ol’ johnny-h, i was carrying the emergency pager and got called to come help with an escapee in quarantine. monkeys are rather clever creatures, and some of them develop diabolical skills at thwarting the various fasteners on their cages. they don’t get out often, but when they do, it’s a pretty serious event: they can get hurt sticking their fingers in other monkey cages to get fruit or pick a fight, they can hurt those other guys, and of course, there’s plenty of potential for them to injure the person attempting the recapture. having never gone in to deal with an escapee before, i immediately headed off to the office of the old dragon who runs the place. “you’re gonna have to learn this sometime,” he said in his gruff-dad way, but went right for the cabinet we kept the nets in, and headed over there with me. the monkey in this tale was a young baboon, thankfully not a full-grown 25+ kg monster, but still plenty formidable. when we arrived, there were 5 animal caretakers and 3 supervisors peering into the room’s window, watching the building manager and another supervisor attempt the recapture. the ‘boon was sailing overhead, leaping from cagetop to cagetop with an occasional dart underneath one of the other cages, and had been running amok for nearly an hour. the boss took one look through the window, popped on his face mask, walked in, and snapped up that creature in midair with a perfectly timed swing of the net. obviously, he’s my monkey hero.

this evening, i was over at a friend’s new house helping her paint a bit when the phone call came in saying that i needed to hurry in to help with an escapee. turns out there were 2 of them out (since they were housed together as buddies), and with one sitting up on top of the banks of cages on either side of the room, it just wasn’t safe for the other vet to go in alone. you don’t exactly want to turn your back, alone and unwatched, on a barking irritated rhesus. step one for these situations is to always just toss some fruit & treats in there and see if they go back on their own, but that had been tried unsuccessfully while i was en route. in this story, it was my turn to expertly (ha!) wield the net. i think even the boss-man would have approved of the relatively smooth safari we had. it did take us a good 30 minutes, but everyone made it back into their home cages safe & sound, and the whole room got a half-handful of kumquats each to make peace again. success + no injuries to man or beast = i feel like a total superstar.

now we just have to hope i don’t need to use these mad skillz, oh, ever again. riiiight.



  1. ive had patients like that. funny, but ive never thought of using kumquats.

  2. Doing my monthly perusal to catch up and all I gotta say is “it’s the thrill of the fight.”

  3. […] after fledging and leaving the nest there, my first job out started out wonderful (i have plenty of great stories from both, even given board-prep hell and the occasional day slogging through necropsy).  over […]

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