Every morning, we have a routine we follow at my house to ensure safety of both pets and human belongings. First, we have to feed the dogs. I have one dog that makes sure I awake on time. When she first sees me stirring, she will jump up and put her front two giant paws right directly on my face. I don’t know how she always manages to find my face, but she does. If the face is not available, the tender portion of my back works also. So then I get up, and my next dog yawns and talks. Arr uuu! That’ll get you up also. I need to teach him how to make words. I have a third dog that is in the kennel, so she is good till I get dressed. If I can get dressed, cause when I sit down to put shoes on, I have a dog on each side either licking my fingers or pawing at my hands. It’s insane. I then feed the dogs, and I have one that will bump my food cup with her face, causing me to spill the food all over the floor. I have to feed them in order, so we don’t upset the dominance hierarcy. By this time, I have let the little one out of her kennel. She will not eat unless you are watching her. She will lower her head and look up at you through eyes that look like they will bulge out of her head if she sneezes. Then she raises her left front paw. You tell her to eat, and she will. Crazy. After dogs are fed, they go outside. Where they immediately start barking at everything. They bark at leaves, squirrels, kids, cars, their own shadows…
After dogs, we have kids to get ready. I have two boys and a girl. The girl is a tween, so if you can get her out of the bathroom in 20 minutes, you have achieved a modern-day miracle. The boys will get dressed, put shoes on, and eat breakfast just so they can play Nintendo before school. Most days. There are occassions where they have no pants. Even though they do have clean pants, they are not the PANTS they want to wear that day. Then all hell breaks loose. Most times, I don’t care and let them dig the pants they DO want to wear out of the dirty clothes. Nothing Axe Body Spray won’t fix! Do your own damn laundry, I say. And they do! Yeah! My daughter tried to do laundry once, but she broke the knob and it is now run with the aid of a hair scrunchie.
Kids ready, time for reptiles. I have a whole room devoted to the reptiles. I have a Russian tortoise named Frappuchino, a green iguana named Buddy, a corn snake named Rocky, and a red tailed boa named Sweetie. They are so very awesome. They have their own room, where the temperature is kept just warm enough to make humans develop a nice sheen when you’re in there. The big snake and the iguana have lights on timers, but you have to turn the others’ lights and off every day. They are all kept on a strict schedule of day 7 am to 9 pm. This keeps it very uniform. The turtle and the iguana eat greens, and I have a huge ice cream tub of a variety of greens in the fridge. I actually spend about an hour every Sunday preparing this tub, which gets us through the week. The turtle eats (and poops) a LOT! He has a cat dish of food in his tank. The iguana goes through eating spurts. Sometimes he eats a ton, sometimes he will go a whole day without eating. I recently discovered they do not like kale. They will go through every green in their dish and leave each piece of kale. Even if I chop it up into small pieces. It’s actually quite amazing.
When you feed the iguana, you have to be careful he doesn’t jump out at you. He tends to do that, especially if you scare him. You can’t just go in and whip open the door. You have to talk gently to him, and let him know who you are. He doesn’t like me when I wear my glasses, has no idea who I am. So I take my glasses off to be in his tank. Odd, I know. He will also tail whip you if you are too close to him when you open the door. It doesn’t hurt too bad now, but will when he gets bigger! He will be a year old at the end of March.
The snakes only get fed once a week, sometimes every two weeks (depends on if I forget). They are good to go because they can lower their metabolisms if they are hungry. I don’t feed my big snake a lot cause I don’t want her to grow too big too fast. My baby corn snake needs to be fed more often, cause he is three and is still really small… Maybe I should start posting some sticky notes somewhere as reminders.
There you have it, my feeding routines. My kids help a lot, and they are getting better about helping me. I am getting better about letting them, also. The animals are easily broken and can easily bite you, so I make sure the kids know what they are doing before they go sticking their hands in tanks. We will have some of those animals for a really long time, so I want my kids to know how to take care of them so they can take a couple with them when they move out… Iguanas live 15 years, so does the corn snake. Big snake 30 years, turtle 100 years. We are in it for the long haul!