Interview nerves!

So, the scary crazy exciting news is that I have an interview for Nottingham on Wednesday next week. I had two days off work to use up this month so I booked one of them and the interview is 10am so I have enough time to drive up there first thing.

At first I was so, so excited and happy to have an interview, especially for my top choice university. Since then some weird nightmares including “forgetting” you aren’t meant to leave interviews halfway through and rejection letters have kicked in! I’ve tried to re-cap my placement notes and things I’ve read over the past year, but at this point (as I have to keep reminding myself) it’s not about what I can cram. It’s what I’ve been living and breathing this last year and more generally the theme of animal biology which has run through my whole life!

Nottingham write on their website that the interviews have three 20-minute sessions, including a formal interview, practical and group task. None of those sound too scary. I’ve tried to prepare answers to a few obvious interview questions and I’m going to download my competency notes from work tomorrow in case they come in handy, having had a successful interview using them earlier this year. For the practical I’ll just try to be enthusiastic (shouldn’t be difficult) and think things through logically. As for the group task, they gave us a little taster at the open day – I’m going to try and start useful discussion of our task without dominating, make useful suggestions, encourage others and include everyone like we look for when recruiting apprentices at work. I can’t tell if that experience has been useful or not: yes, I appreciate how a group task works, but I can get carried away picturing their wash-up discussion afterwards!

Then there are the other dilemmas like what to wear, but I think they can wait until the night before. Good luck to everyone else with their interviews, I hope they go well and you end up where you want to be! Xxx

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Wildlife rescue

Since I posted about a racing pigeon who came to stay in September two wood pigeons seem to have heard that I’m a soft-hearted pushover and turned up for handouts.

The first one actually knocked himself out on my bedroom window. I collected him from the lawn and put him into a dark box in the hope he would recover. I thought one of three things could happen: he’d die, he’d recover and I’d let him go, or if he just lurked in his box unable to function I’d have him put to sleep. It doesn’t seem fair to me to keep broken wild things that will just be scared and feel helpless.

He did seem to be improving and got back on his feet, but he wouldn’t fly away. I put him back in a box with a perch, food and water, but he died during the night.

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The second I found at on a work call-out. He kept falling over and once I picked him up I could tell he was seriously underweight. I took him home and set him up with seeds and chicken feed to try and build him up but he wouldn’t eat, so I contacted a local wildlife rescue who agreed to take him. They knew a LOT more about pigeons than me and showed me the canker which was preventing him from eating. Apparently the prognosis isn’t great but they have had some successes so will have a go at helping him.

If I’m honest, I’m conflicted about rescuing wild animals. Nature is famously red in tooth and claw; the lives of wild animals end brutally, painfully and prematurely all the time. To interfere hinders the action of natural selection to produce better adapted animals and undoubtedly causes temporary stress to the patients. On the other hand, when I see something suffering, I want to help. Maybe that’s selfish and self-satisfying; but then maybe the young pigeon will get to fly off and fulfil its simple desires to eat, roost and raise chicks. Humans put their animal neighbours through a lot so perhaps when we can give something back, we should.

Update! Coventry Wildlife Rescue sent over a lovely message about how the last pigeon was doing. Apparently he is recovering well! How nice are these guys?

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The death of a cow.

On Friday I shadowed a vet whilst he observed and certified the emergency euthanasia of a cow. This was a new procedure for me and one which would once have made me very sad. However the welfare needs of the cow and the professionalism of everyone involved meant that although it was a shame to see an animal killed before its time, it was clearly a necessity and it was carried out in the proper fashion.

The cow was a dairy Holstein or Fresian type with a non-recoverable injury to one or both hind limbs. When we arrived on the farm she was laid in a frog-like position. Apparently there have been studies of how well a cow’s collapsed position predicts her chance of survival and if she’s landed this way, the prognosis is very poor. She did not try and move away as the farmer, vet and slaughterman inspected her and was clearly in a sorry state.

Continue reading “The death of a cow.”