Useless. That pretty much describes the Monday lunch shift at the kitten nursery.
Now I don't want to insult the people who are kind enough to give their time to help these little kittens get a start in life, but oh my god these people are dumb. And hey, being a bitch is part of my charm.
Suspect #1. She's been with us since the beginning. And every shift she asks the most basic questions. "Where do we keep the litter?" Um...in that big bin labeled "cat litter." You know....where it has been kept since we opened. She cannot seem to recall from week-to-week where we keep things, what the procedure is, and in what order we do our jobs. She has the common sense of a gnat on Crack. She'll take kittens out of random kennels and put them back in the wrong places. (We work on one kennel at a time.) She got lost going to the sink (you have to leave the nursery and go down the hall to the first door on the right.) She'll just look at her watch and leave. No goodbye, just up and leave. Doesn't matter that we're not done. Apparently her busy life is more important.
Suspect #2 and Suspect #3. Started yesterday. A mother-son duo who are so dribbling useless as to actually cause extra work.
#2 is the son. 13-years old, and the shiest kid I've ever met. I have total sympathy for him. It's not easy to be 13 with a squeaky voice and no self-confidence. And you're thrown into a new situation. But hey....here's a tip. When you're thrown into a new situation and someone is trying to teach you the ropes (that would be me) LISTENING IS GOOD. This kid was looking around the room and seemed to be paying no attention to anything I said. A suspicion born out by the fact that, after I was done, he had no idea what to do.
This would not be surprising, but mom insisted that volunteering at the nursery was his idea! Really? Than grab a damned kitten you useless thruck. I think he's afraid of hurting the kittens, to the point where he's just afraid to touch them at all. I showed him how it was done. I showed him no fewer than nine times. You have to be a bit insistent with kittens, they're not just going to sit there all cooperative with their mouths open. You have to grab them by the scruff of their neck, sort of pull their heads back, put the syringe in from above and, with the softest of pressure, push the food into their mouths. They will try to get away. They will squirm. They will make "I am being tortured" noises. You must have no mercy. You are aided in this ruthlessness by the fact that you are bigger than they and you will always win.
Unless you are Suspect #2 in which case the kitten will blink and you will instantly let go, let it run to the other side of the table, and you will make no attempt to retrieve it. When told to try again he will make a vague movement in the direction of the kitten and whisper (in a voice so soft that his nose probably couldn't hear it) "come here kitten." The shift leader, swallowing both swears and a laugh, will gently explain that kittens don't do the whole "come here" thing and he must reach out and pick it up. And he will reach out with his hand hovering about six inches away, and seem terrified about getting any closer.
This kid was there for two and a half hours and did not successfully feed a single cat.
Mom (Suspect #3) was no help at all. You'd think with a total stranger (me) trying and obviously failing to instruct her kid in the fine art of kitten care she might pitch in now and then with advice, help, even motherly encouragement. You'd think wrong. Mom said nothing. She, too, was being instructed and apparently she learned one lesson that I don't recall teaching. And that lessons is; take an entire hour to feed one kitten 12 ccs of food.
Yup. One kitten. One hour. In the time it took the two of them to either feed or be completely intimidated by one kitten, I single-handedly feed 6 kittens, cleaned 2 cages, restocked our towels, took out the trash, did the dishes, and consulted with a vet tech one one cat with an eye infection. And still they sat, the two of them, useless.
I've tried patience. I've tried explaining. But the bottom line is that my shift is populated by idiots that make my job so much harder. I can't trust them to do anything without me watching them like a hawk. They pay no attention to our safety rules and would happily mix up kittens from different litters without me stopping them. (This happened four times yesterday.) I've showed everyone where to get towels and supplies and when I ask them to get some, they ask me to show them again. I'll ask them to clean the scales between weighing litters, and they'll use hand sanitizer rather than the spray that I've showed them how to use.
It would actually be faster for me to do the entire shift alone than to be saddled with theses losers.