GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2012

GliderVet #125: Taking Sugar Gliders to Work; 4 C’s of Bonding; Dear Arnold; An Inspirational Man

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."
~ Martin Buber

Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the September 2012 edition of the GliderVet News!

This month we’re going to cover a variety of topics starting with taking sugar gliders to work, as in when is it appropriate to start doing that. Then I will bullet point for you the focus and intention of bonding. If you can just remember the C’s, you can bond to any glider, anywhere, any time! Next up, Arnold shares his wisdom on white bread, caterpillars and tail gestures. I’ll wrap up this month with a story of one very inspirational customer named John, and his leg named Arnold. He is a wonderful man and even though we’ve never met in person, I am proud to call him a friend.

Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the wishes of the whole sugar glider community. Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and questions. Send your comments to us here.

If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our archives here. Fun pics of sugar gliders sent in by our customers are found here. If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our ever expanding store here.

Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide if one is right for you? Questions you can ask yourself to help make this very important and long term decision are here.

A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for some current owners too!) is diet. See what our vet has to say here. And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits, with or without cages.
Taking Sugar Gliders To Work
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by Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Just a quick update on the bonding progress. I don't know if this is good progress or not but here goes...

Every evening I separate them from the one pouch into two then spend a couple hours just petting them in the pouch and holding them in my hand (while in the pouch).

They will take treats from my hand in the cage but still run away from me when I come towards the cage. I bought a small tent and tried tent time. THAT didn't go over as well as hoped. They freaked out, peed and pooed all over the place then went back into their pouch. I don't think they cared for it much. I was really disappointed.

They are still afraid to come to me other than picking yogurt treats out of my hand. Do you think they will ever want to come to me or climb on me? I know this all takes time and I am trying to be patient. It's been about 5 weeks now. Shouldn't they be a little more warmer towards me by now?

Thanks,
Carol
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Hi Carol,

First off, yes I do think you are making progress. And don't give up on the tent bonding. Bringing in treats, like yogurt drops, can help them identify the tent as a fun place where they can get treats! Like Chuck E Cheese! All things take time and while most gliders tend to do well in tents right off, yours may just take a bit more time.

Coming to you to get yogurt drops is a good start and this will improve. I suggest shaking the treat jar before giving them any. It's kind of like Pavlov's dog, as they will associate sound with something good. This is a great way to encourage them to return to you when they do get allowed more freedoms.

Also, I find it's usually one glider carrying the most timidity and sometimes this affects the other glider as well. I might suggest that you spend time with them just one on one. Leave one in the cage and pouch the other one. See if you can figure out who the braver of the two is. Perhaps getting their braveness level up could have a positive influence on the other. Rarely do we see two gliders of equal shyness. As one influences the other to be a bit more skittish, the goal here is to see if we can get one more relaxed and allow that to influence the other.

Lisa
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Hi Lisa,

Just one more question. I brought one of my babies in to work with me today (again......don't know which is which) and it has done nothing but crab and bite the @!#%l out of my hand when I reach in the pouch, breaking skin. Shouldn't this reaction towards me have stopped by now? Not sure what I am doing wrong.

Thanks again,
Carol
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Hi Carol,

This is a hard question really. Is this the first time you brought her to work? Whenever you change the environment (think territory), behavior may change. It might be a smell, or sounds in your office that are disturbing her. Offices have office equipment, perhaps there is a high frequency sound. This may sound weird, but I can "hear" fluorescent lights in commercial buildings!

Sugar gliders' senses, especially hearing and smell, are likely far superior to our own. What makes this question hard is that when sugar gliders feel safe enough with their human, then the other different things are typically a non-issue. When dealing with sugar gliders, or any animal for that matter, it is important to tune into what they are trying to tell you.

My recommendation is to start her with short excursions out of the home and then build up to longer periods of time before trying an all day affair at work. Until she is calm with you at home, trips outside of the home may be premature. You need to guide the process and stay committed, but I don’t advise that you “force” the process.

Lisa
The 4 C’s of Bonding
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by Lisa

Calm – bring the best of yourself to the process. Be calm and relaxed. This will help calm and relax your sugar gliders.

Collected – keep your head in the game. Tune in and respond to their reactions. Baby animals who are initially scared need to feel secure. So stay collected, connected and respond to their fears by being the secure thing they seek.

Committed – don’t give up! Great relationships take time and they keep growing for as long as you are committed to that process.

Consistent – the more routine you can be, the better things tend to turn out. Many animals, sugar gliders included, are very responsive to routines, so make sure that you consistently give daily attention to your fuzzbutts.

Need I say more?

Lisa
Arnold on White Bread, Pillars, and Curly Tails
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by Arnold (with a little help from Lisa)

Dear Arnold,

What are your thoughts on giving bread to sugar gliders? The place where I got my gliders said I should do it because they love it!

Liam
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Dear Liam,

Ya say bread, and I say huh? Bread? Really? I dunno even what bread really is so me asked 'da Lisa. And she says to me, "ya dunno what bread is 'cuz I won’t give you anything unhealthy fer ya like dat." A lotta peeple are told its ok and even good to give white bread to their suggies, but Lisa says white bread not good for us. She says it's 'sumptin filled with big words like nutritionally weak and useless calories. When me asked her to 'splain simple, she said "make us fat and sick". Ick, no thanks you. Me wanna be big and strong!

Arnie

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Dear Arnold, handsomest glider of them all,

I’m trying to find more variety in my sugar gliders’ diet and picked up some Can 'o Pillars at the pet store. I know you guys recommend canned bugs, but didn’t see Can 'o Pillars on your website. Are they new on the market? Do you think they ok to feed?

Jude
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Jude, don’t wanna be rude, but read the can dude!

Can 'o Pillars are labeled as a “natural source of fat”. Suggies need proteens, but lo fat proteens 'cuz we don’t digest the fats too good. And some peeps say, oh but I only give my suggies a few now and then? But why? Me Mum Tree won’t even let me go hog wild with mealworms 'cuz she don’t want me to get too much fat. And ya know what? We gets lots of variety and everything we get is healthy and good for us. We feel real good, look real good, and never eat no junk that’s bad for us!

ATS

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Arnold,

What's up with you guys and your tails when you stick your fuzzbutts in the air and wave that tail around in different air shapes? I am sure it is some kind of communication but I can’t figure out what it means.

Curious
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Dear Curious,

I met some hoomans who called themselves Italians and they wave their hands all over the place. What does that mean? Is it some form of communication? So was this little glider's name Giovanni or Guido? Yuk yuk yuk! Ya see, like yer Italian peeps who use their whole body to communicate, so can we, and some of us just more expressive than others. And besides, maybe we don’t want ya to know all of our secret signals and handshakes :)

Now watch this, see this lovely double twisted tail flick?

Means me outta here!

Face hugs and ear bites to you all,
Arnold
An Inspirational Man
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by Lisa

Several years ago, I met a man with laughter in his voice and joy in his heart. I’ve now know John for quite awhile and this is just who he is, and it always a pleasure for me to speak with him.

When we first met, he had called inquiring about our sugar gliders and was very candid with me about a physical challenge he has and wanted to know if I thought sugar gliders would be a good fit for him. You see, John is blind.

I had concerns which I shared with John during our initial discussions. But the man I met had an eternally optimistic spirit and a wonderfully supportive family around him. And so I agreed that sugar gliders would be a wonderful additional to his home and his life. He’s done remarkably well with them over the years.

Recently Johns’ daughter contacted us to let us know that John was doing well from his surgery - he had to have part of his leg amputated. I called John last week and he was, as always, his usual, cheerful self. He's looking forward to getting his new prosthetic leg, which (get this) he's decided to name Arnold!

(If you didn't know, our Arnold lost a foot, story here.)

Animals don’t just touch our lives within our own isolated little worlds. They also present us the opportunities to reach out and meet others who share a similar passion. And every now and then, we meet others who are so inspiring, they just take our breath away.

I’ve always felt that animals are here to share our lives so that we can learn what unconditional love is all about. John, I think you are here to teach us that same lesson and perhaps here to teach the animals as well. Be well, my friend, and send us a picture of Arnold when you get a chance!

'Til next time, in good health for you and your gliders, we sign off in appreciation of all of you who share great glider adventures with us!

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That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter. I hope you liked what we had to offer! If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions for topics - anything glider - you would like to share or see covered in the GliderVet newsletter, please send them here.

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Viva La Glider! Arnold

Lisa
SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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