Elijah, one of our newest retirees, has grown very attached to a blue barrel that is in his group’s outside enclosure. When he notices that it is time to shift to a different enclosure so staff can clean, he will move his barrel with him. This involves a lot of shimmying on his part because the barrel is large and barely squeezes through the door. As you might imagine, this means the barrel doesn’t get cleaned every day and can become quite dirty.
Today we needed to move Elijah’s group into a different area so we could get some cleaning done. The conundrum facing us was how to make sure that Elijah wouldn’t try to take the barrel with him! Thankfully, the draw of an open door was alluring enough and he moved out of the room allowing us to separate him from his beloved barrel.
However, Elijah eventually found himself right across the hallway from his favorite toy and got real excited when I started hosing out that room. I told him that he was going to get it back, we just had to clean it first. He kept checking in on me by coming back in to the room every couple of minutes to see the progress I was making and to make sure it was still there. He got even more excited when he saw the barrel move into the bedroom adjacent to his. He peeped through the shift door and hooted at it in excitement.
Elijah could hardly contain his excitement during the wait. He found a substitute best buddy, a small spool shaped toy like the one pictured below, which he grabbed and hugged to himself several times while waiting.
Finally, the door opened and Elijah was reunited with his now clean barrel. He examined it and noticed it smelled a little different (because it was clean), but he happily pushed it around for a while before grabbing the little yellow spool and running out the door to the yard. Never wanting to leave it for long, he kept coming back inside to check on his “bestie” blue barrel to make sure it was still there.