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Ear Tags For Mice

Jason Baker | January 28, 2013

I periodically like to write about my work as I am sure all of you are fascinated to know what I am up to now in my life with Ketchum Manufacturing. I recently travelled to Minneapolis to attend the AALAS convention which is a national show for people working in and selling to the Animal Research world. Ketchum Manufacturing is as our name suggests a manufacturer and supplier of products for this and many other industries.

If you have read past blogs you may be aware but I won’t assume you care about my ongoing saga in the research industry but suffice to say I have high school science teachers laughing hysterically when told I have anything to do with the scientific world. My nickname at school was Kaboom! Enough said. Anyway I can sometimes be guilty of being just as focussed on what I can do at the end of the day at one of these trade shows as I am the trade show. So as I looked for things to do in Minneapolis it hit me. Christmas is coming and there shining at me like a magical kingdom on the horizon was the Mall of America. I don’t know, is it the biggest mall in the world? I know Edmonton Alberta has a big mall. I’m sure Japan and China would have huge places as well but I live in Brockville, Ontario. Our mall and I use the term loosely has nothing on the Mall of America.

So with Christmas looming I thought what a perfect opportunity to get a head start on Christmas shopping. Now I have four girls in my house so shopping for clothes is a bit of a non starter. My usual method of buy anything and make sure you buy something small so I don’t offend them knowing full well they will simply just return it and get something they actually want wouldn’t work. Hey they like to shop but even my girls aren’t headed to Minneapolis to return a sweater. So I do what any normal man would do, I head to the food court to avoid the whole issue for a while.  Well done Minnesota now that’s a food court. I think the state food in Minnesota is Pickerel and I have to say that was a first for me seeing Pickerel at a food court.

So after taking care of my stomach I waddle (big meal), down the halls looking for something to jump out at me. Inspiration comes in different forms and as I was walking I was reflecting on things I had come across at the AALAS show that day. You can find anything at this show from large rooms filled with cages to big machines designed to wash them, a full line of environmental enrichment items and enough medical instruments to outfit any research lab 10 times over.  Not everything was big though, one of the coolest things I saw were these little earrings for mice. Each one could be color coded and had a unique number on them and that is how the researchers identified mice when they were group housed. I remember thinking how cool they looked and how small they were. We sell tattooing devices to accomplish the same goal and we also sell metal ear tags but we didn’t have a size small enough for mice. These were really a neat idea and one I thought for sure I could sell to my customers.

At this point deep in reflective thought I nearly bumped into the first mall Santa of the season. As I made my apologies to ensure I remained off the naughty list, there over his shoulder was the promised-land, a jewellery store. Now a man cannot go wrong shopping for four girls in a jewellery store. So 15 minutes later with a bag in hand my shopping was complete. Four pairs of Earrings just as easy as that. If they’re good enough for mice they’re good enough for my girls I always say. It’s not like I got them numbered or anything although maybe I should have because as I get older I confuse all their names.  

By the way, I thought the earrings were so cool (the ones for the mice not my daughters), Ketchum Manufacturing now offers them for sale.

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