Saturday, August 4, 2012


For those of you who don't know, I have finally got a job. I am a Lab Animal Tech at Oregon Health and Sciences University/Oregon National Primate Reasearch Center. It isn't as fancy or lab oriented as it sounds. I am a glorified pooper-scooper. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do, but that's what it is.

I work in the Sheltered Housing area of the Colony section of the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM). Our monkeys are all Rhesus Macaques, all 650 or so of them. They are part of the largest specific pathogen free (spf) Rhesus colony in the country. They are a joy to be around, even (maybe especially) when it is hot and miserable. I have recently discovered the joys of monkeys with pools of water. No running and no diving rules don't exist here. It is a time of big splashes and huge cooldowns.

The people I have met are simply amazing. My friend Jaclyn, another tech that started the same time as me, pointed out that it is almost impossible to be miserable working with these people. Even if you want to be miserable and grouchy because it is 85+ degrees and you're wearing long sleeves and layers and your feet hurt, it is hard. Whenever we are together, whether at a morning meeting, on break, or just down in shelters shifting food, there is usually laughter to be heard - especially when Mr. Shannon is around.

Now I say Mr. Shannon because we have Shannon McAllister, the manager lady in Colony, and Shannon DeCota, one of the trainers in Shelters. We also have Kirsten (Kearsten) - she's like the go between with us and Shannon - and Kirsten (Kursten) - who is a temp like me but recently transfered to spend most of the time inside - (I hope the names made at least some sense). It was confusing for a while. We also have Elsa, Pete, Michael, Amanda, Len, and Olga. Then there are Katie and Greg from BSU (that's the Behavioral Studies Unit). And there's Doug, who is like the all around guy that transports big cages and equipment to and from cage wash and brings us pallets of monkey chow once a week or so. And that's just the people I work with directly.

And then there are the monkeys. It's mostly the alpha males that have names and I only know a few of them right now. Like Isaac in shelter 10 - he isn't a huge fan of people and you have to shift him to do enrichment. Timothy in 24 and Harris in 14 like to play games and not shift for washing; I usually have to play with the slides and bribe them with bamboo. And then Spock likes to carry around one of the babies and Mellow is very mellow. Sid is Bonkers and Popeye likes to people watch. Our two newest males are Hobbit and Smeagol.

I still have a lot to learn but right now it is all washing cages, filling pools, and giving enrichment (the best part of the day!)


  1. Very proud of you Brandi! Good job! And have Faith on finding your dream job!!!

  2. Hobbit and Smeagol???!!! AWESOME!!! Glad you are enjoying your job! :D

  3. Um, that pretty much sounds fantastic! I'm glad you have a job you're enjoying! <3 <3

  4. A. I'm just now seeing this!
    B. I'm still ridiculously proud of you!
    C. Two males named Hobbit and Smeagol? Now that is just awesome!!!
    D. I love you! And I miss you! :) <3