The rest of the Marine Mammal Medic Course was today - the practical part.
Me, Chris and Jen were all in different groups today, but it was fine because we got to know other people and students we might even be studying with in a few years time!
Our group started off with the Dolphin.
We talked a bit about the situation, what to check for and signs to look out for. There was a weighted replica dolphin in a simulation stranding. We put some KY jelly over its eyes to keep them moist, put a damp sheet over it to protect it from the sun and then started to lift it.
We rolled up the tarpaulin on one side, rolled the dolphin and slid the tarp underneath, next rolled the dolphin back and pulled the tarp out from underneath so the dolphin was in the middle of the tarp and all lifted together on the count of three.
I lay down on the tarp and people lifted me and walked a little bit to simulate walking to the sea ready to be refloated!
Next up after the dolphin was the seal.
Seals don't need KY Jelly on their eyes, or a cloth, but you walk up along the side of the seal with a towel and in one go you have to jump on its back, cover its head with the towel and hold its neck down so it can't bite you.
Then you have to check it for lesions on its flippers, checks its mouth and eyes and then finally lift it. It had a knack to it and the simulation seal was really really heavy - I can imagine it being difficult with a live seal as it would potentially be trying to wriggle out and bite you.
Finally was the whale.
The situation was that the whale had been stranded on the beach and we'd been given permission from the vet to refloat it.
We had to do similar to the dolphin and roll up the pontoon, roll the whale and put the pontoon under the whale and take it out from the other side. Next the pontoon sheet is clipped onto the floats of the pontoon and the pontoon is inflated with compressed gas. It needs to be done slowly as not to alarm the whale.
A female sitting next to the head of the whale to talk and sooth is meant to be calming for the whale aswell.
After it was all inflated, we lifted the whale. We took it all apart and did the same thing again without the instructors telling us what to do, to check that we all knew what we were doing...
We left Nottingham just after one o'clock and got back home at around half past two.
I had a really good week and was definitely glad I came. It was nice to see people we'd met and made friends with at Vet Medlink that we might be at vet school with in a few years time.
It's also nice to speak to people to see what work experience placements other people have been doing to see what I'm doing right, other placements I'd not thought about trying and what I need to work on.
The animal handling was really interested and I can see that exotics would be something I'd be interested in working with in the future, especially considering we've never had a cat or a dog at home - just hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, the tortoise, chickens, quail, ducks etc etc.