Tube feeding is an ugly procedure indeed, but when it’s performed with care, with the appropriate kind of equipment and food and in the interest of the patient, it’s a blessing.

This is the kitchen of the Marine Mammal Center, the excellent hospital for wild seals and sea lions I visited last August in the Bay Area, following my experience with entangled Evader two years ago.

Recovering patients that are still not able to eat by themselves (often they’re lonely pups so young that they have no idea how eating is done) are fed smoothies prepared with sustainably harvested herrings.

With time, and with the help of volunteers, pups learn how to eat whole fish and later how to catch live fish and compete for it, so that they can be released back in the wild and thrive.