So this animal shelter I volunteered at... turned out to be a lady’s HOUSE!
She’s a local, and she’s got a massive house where she takes care of abandoned animals (although the idea of someone taking the trouble to bring Shetland ponies to the country and then abandoning it is just preposterous!)
I had to rake out all the old hay ( I ended up with 3 bags full of it!) and then replace it with fresh hay. And then I refilled their water and food bowls.
The guinea pigs shared their pen with reallllly fluffy rabbits (maybe they’re not rabbits, cos they had another enclosure for regular rabbits as well, but I don't know what else to call them) and were adorable!
I put in a hour’s worth of hard work, raking and scooping the poop out using a little blue spade the lady gave me.
As I was putting in the last finishing touches of fresh hay artistically around the nice big stone vase they had inside the pen, I heard someone behind me.
Or something, rather.
It was a Shetland pony! Black and absolutely adorable looking! But the naughty creature had tipped over one of my filled-to-brim bags of old hay and was contently chewing it up!
Another one of the volunteers came around and shooed the pony away, after which I had to clean up the mess.
I was free after that though, so I spent the next hour just walking around checking out the rest of the animals and taking to the other volunteers.
Most of the people I talked to had been volunteering for a while and knew all the animals and their names.
This one Jordanian guy (Hazem) I met was talking to a cockatoo and teaching him to click his tongue! The little guy could already say Hello! and was adorable!
I loved the fact that they left their flying birds free to fly around and yet the birds never flew away. This was their home.
The cockatoo liked it when Hazem scratched behind his head, like you would a cat. In the beginning, the cockatoo wouldn’t let me touch him and would snap his beak at me if I tried, but within 10 mins of me chatting with him, he relented and let me scratch his head too! Women's charm? I think so! ;o)
Hazem took me around and introduced me to the other animals – other than the numerous dog and cats running around there was also an African gray parrot, peacocks and peahens, rabbits, owls (who were asleep), pythons, a family of llamas (the baby llama was named Valentino cos he was born on the 14th of Feb *grin*), deers (one normal spotted kind and another white one) who were sharing their shelter with a friendly goat, a huge Alsatian (whose enclosure was the only one that we didn’t venture into), iguanas, porcupines, maras (before last Saturday, I didn’t even know there existed such a creature!), Minky the monkey (who unfortunately didn’t warm up to me as quickly as the cockatoo) and a regular green parrot that was missing for a while until we discovered that he was sneakily chewing up some cables and had almost exposed the copper wires within! As soon as Hazem called out his name he stopped what he was doing and looked away guiltily! He was scolded by Hazem and I found it so hilarious that the guy was scolding the bird like you would a child and the parrot actually seemed completely aware of his actions and looked guilty!
I didn’t take any pictures this time as I’d started with work as soon as I got in and didn’t have a chance to go back to my car and grab the camera afterwards.
But I’ll definitely capture this wonderful place on film (can you still say ‘on film’ when you use a SD card?) when I return next weekend!
If you're in Dxb and would like to volunteer as well, please mail me.