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Jessi is asked how she does it all: animal care, business, and children. It's hard, but simple to explain.


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My life has always been pretty hectic and that's how I prefer it.  I like to have plenty on my plate so I always have something to look forward to.  This bit of my personality lends itself well to my chosen path in life.  Being responsible for many lives is stressful, but for me, it's my comfort zone.  I get asked a lot how I get done everything that needs to be done and I've never had a very good answer to that question.  I think it's because it's too general.

I can answer more specific questions, like how do I make time to have quality training sessions with all the animals?  That's an easy one.  A training session can be super short, from a couple of minutes to literally just a moment.  It took Joy and me about a year to establish a strong trust bond.  Our initial interaction was just me saying hello without intruding on her space and this allowed her to get to know me as nonthreatening.  After that, a quick and easy training session was just me placing a treat in her bowl and then sticking around while she ate it.  The sessions progressed as our relationship did, but I continued to do these simple interactions which reinforce our positive relationship. 

Most training sessions where you're doing more than relationship building last minutes instead of seconds, like training Zapper to let me freely trim his nails without restraint.  I trained this behavior while we were just hanging out.  I introduced the nail clippers as just another object and they would hang out with us.  One session at a time, I'd move it a bit closer to his foot and then we just move on to something else.  After a couple of weeks, I could trim one nail during a session and eventually, he was comfortable enough to let me trim all of his nails in one session.

Here's a quick session training Ruby the same nail trimming behavior.  I don't spend a lot of time on it, because that could lead to frustration.  I like to keep the sessions quick and straightforward and always end on a good note. 

For more in-depth training sessions, I like to keep it to about ten minutes.  Frasier the mink is a great example.  We're still learning how to communicate and our interactions can easily slip out of focus.  Keeping the sessions to ten minutes or less minimizes the chance of me making a mistake or him testing the boundaries of our relationship, so training sessions can happen at any time and really can be just moments.  Sometimes, the shortest ones can be the most meaningful.

Alright, another specific question I get is, do I have a schedule for interactions with the animals, like do foxes get Monday and birds get Tuesday, etc?  Because we don't have a set schedule for public presentations, the animal schedules are varied and I think this is a good thing.  Routine is nice for many animals, but so are unexpected adventures, and we know our animals so well that it's easy for us to see who needs what on any given day.  Sometimes that means that we make sure certain animals go out to presentations or they get a new toy, some time outside, or one-on-one interaction with a trusted human.

This leads us to another specific question that I'm often asked.  Do any of the animals have a close bond with Augusto or someone other than yourself?  Many of the animals are happy interacting with someone that they know at least a little bit, like our interns and volunteers.  Lokita the water dragon, Maui the green-cheeked conure, and Lollipop the striped skunk are just a few of the animals that accept interactions from friendly new faces.  Others are very particular and they only like me, but that's just because I'm the one that spends the most time with them.  I've earned their trust and continue to strengthen that bond every day.  These include Serafina the red fox, Zoey the Amazon parrot, Rook the raven, and Chopsticks the quaker parrot, but there have also been animals that prefer Augusto.  Ringo the Meyer's parrot and Buddy the blue crowned conure both liked Augusto and subsequently, disliked me.  Cas the arctic fox also prefers Augusto's company over others.  Whoever the animal prefers then has the responsibility to give that animal lots of attention.  

The last specific question I get a lot is how do you have time to run a business and take care of children on top of all the animals?  Well, I have a pretty incredible family.  Augusto does a huge portion of the parenting.  I mean, he's their dad, and my mom and dad also help a ton, filling the role of grandma and grandpa to abundance, and running the business?  I guess it's the hardest part for me to explain.  I just fit in all the little odds and ends of the business around family and animals.  All in all, it's not easy and it's really quite stressful.  Some days are a whole lot of aaaah, while other days are the perfect amount of busy.  

I will continue loading my plate with exciting things like new Animal Wonders merchandise and creating new behavioral enrichment for the animals and I'm excited to share these things with you.  If you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana and if you'd like to join our amazing community of donors that help support the animals and this channel, you can become a Patron on Pateron.  The link is in the description, and if you have a question for me, you can leave a comment below.  Thanks and we'll see you next week.


We also have many more dry diets that you can't see in this cupboard right here including our parrot pellets which, you guessed it, go to our parrots.  Our dove pellets, which go to our ring-necked doves.