Monday, January 18, 2010

more vet experience

Long day yesterday because, as I mentioned in the previous blog, Coco had been hurt. She had a quick run-in with a lion cub who was in the wrong spot, and she got snatched and then snatched back. No external bleeding, but shock and a lump on her side. She made it through Sunday night, but yesterday morning when she was still looking really bad, Marieta decided to send three of us with Coco to the vet in Windhoek.

This is no quick trip like it is in America. We didn't know how long we'd be, so we had to pack for the night, load up the car, and be flexible. Marieta sent Marnus, a researcher and program director from South Africa, Cat from Seattle, and me--we were the three with the closest bond with Coco, I guess. Marnus drove, Cat rode shotgun, and I sat in the back with the hurting baboon for the four hours to the vet. Each breath was punctuated for Coco with "eh, eh, eh." Pain.

Once at the vet, the doctor diagnosed a hernia and said we must do surgery. The cool part is that he said I could sit in. I even assisted ("hold this" "lift that" and "keep that tube level"). I'd never seen surgery up close, and I was surprised at how "energetic" it is. I had always pictured it as delicate and precise. Now I know why people are so sore after surgery.

After four hours at the vet, they released Coco and we started the drive back to Harnas since they said we didn't have to leave her overnight. It rained most of the way, but we were determined to get home. We arrived at 10:30, Marieta and I switched baby baboons, and I took Jessie to bed with me so Marieta could focus on the recovering patient.

Apparently she didn't sleep much, but Coco looks better this morning. Her scar will be pretty big because he had to open her up pretty far so that he could make sure there was no more damage. I'll include a picture of it.

So--more vet experience for me. It's very cool that they are letting me participate so much in this. It makes me want to go back and get NC State to let me in their vet school. But I guess I'm too old for that. I'll just have to be happy with assisting.

The thing that I kept coming back to yesterday was that Marieta goes to all this trouble, expense, time, and energy for one little baboon. Some would say that the baboon isn't an endangered animal so we should "waste" so much on one individual. Maybe, they'd say, "It's not worth it." But Marieta would answer that person with "It's worth it to that baby baboon." That's why I love her and her work so much. She believes in the individual, not JUST the species. Each animal has the right to the best life possible. That's the spirit here at Harnas.


  1. This, and all the previous posts, makes me anticipate your book. Will you sign a copy for me?

  2. Isn't Coco the same one who was attacked by the adult baboon? Poor little thing. How's she doing?