The Medicine

You might not think so, but getting medication into a pelican is fairly easy. Right now, Al has a minor throat infection so he’s getting antibiotics twice a day. While he won’t swallow the pills with a glass of water like a person does, he does swallow them willingly because I push them inside a fish. Pelicans swallow their fish whole, so he doesn’t even know that the pill is there. Since Al is one of the biggest eaters in the group, he usually fights his way forward and makes it easy to give the right fish to him.
For animals that chew their food, getting them to take medications can be much more challenging. I’ve heard of primate keepers pushing pills inside bananas or coating them in yogurt, hoofstock keepers mixing pancake syrup with medicated grain pellets, and cat keepers wrapping pills in meat. Sometimes the animals will refuse these treats because they can smell the medicine and don’t like it. Other times they will gobble down the treat the first time but remember the bitter taste of the medicine hidden inside and not take it the same way again. I’ve even heard of big cats that will eat around the pills hidden in their ground meat.
Just as a sweet or savory treat may be spoiled by bitter-tasting medicine, we can be spoiled by bitter attitudes. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many.” It doesn’t matter how deeply bitterness is buried in our hearts, its very presence taints us. And just like the roots of a plant spread out in the ground, bitterness can spread from me to you “defiling many.” I certainly have a tendency to be bitter and complain and I have an obligation to God, to myself and to others around me to pull that root out, because, unlike the a medication hidden in food, bitterness doesn’t bring anything good.


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