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Posts Tagged ‘animal rescue’

In post Number Ten I said that the end can usually be found in the beginning.  No matter how much we learn, how much we do, how many changes we endure I am becoming more and more convinced that the above statement is true.  Of course I can’t know that for sure as I’m not yet at the end, possibly the middle because now and again I get a hankering for a shiny red car, but thats another story.  

 I was talking to my oldest friend the other day and it sparked the memory of  his cat Skippy.  I am happy to report that Skippy lived a very long and luxurious life.  

The year was early high school and on most days I could be found hanging out at Richard’s house.

As Rich and I were leaving school I looked down into some bushes and there sitting ever so quietly was the cutest little grey kitten. Never before had I seen something so adorable and so pathetic.  It was all grey except for a white patch on his chest and huge polydactyl paws, that is, he had an extra toe on each front foot, a massive head and a tiny body.   I picked him up and looked at Rich, we knew there was no way I could take him home, but Rich had that look in his eye, he already had a plan.  We carried the cat 3 miles to Richard’s house and Skippy to his credit only panicked once while we crossed a busy street.

Once we got home I realized the brilliant plan Richard devised was to carry the cat home and figure out the rest when we got there. Skippy gobbled down the milk and Kraft singles we gave him and then explored the house. We knew Richard’s mother was due home soon so we put the cat outside and put more cheese on the porch so he would know which house to hang around of course Skippy gobbled down the cheese (so no evidence was left) as we headed to our usual spot in the basement. Richard only knew he couldn’t let his mother know that we brought the cat home.  The plan quickly became the ‘cat? what cat?’ plan.

We heard the front door open.

“Boys, there is a little grey kitten at the front door do you know anything about it?” we both went running upstairs to see the kitten that we ‘had never seen before’ . “Mom can we keep it?” was Richard’s plea, and of course the answer was no but we were not allowed to just abandon it we had to find the owner, our task was first to knock on all the doors in the neighbourhood and to call the local paper and put an ad in the lost pets section. We did as we were told, picking up the cat and knocking on doors knowing that there was no way anybody in the area owned this kitten after all it was found 3 miles away.  But Richard’s mother was watching us from the porch so there was no getting around it. Nobody of course had ever seen the cat before.

We were allowed to bring the cat in but had to keep it in the garage. We called the paper and placed the ad just as Richards dad came home. I always had trouble understanding him because of his heavy german accent but he was able to make himself  very clear this time,  the cat was to stay in the garage and under no circumstances was that cat allowed any further into the house.

The following day was Saturday, as usual Rich and I got together at his house, imagine my surprise to find the cat in the basement not the garage. Richard’s father relented and allowed the cat into the basement, but in no way was that cat allowed upstairs. 

By Monday morning Skippy had a name,  Mr. that cat is not leaving the garage had named the cat but it was some german name that nobody could pronounce luckily we were able to change the name to Skippy (because Rich saw him chasing a squirrel but the kitten was not running, he was skipping)  Mr. That cat is not leaving the garage not only named the cat but was now allowing the cat to sleep on the bed and rule the house and pretty much claimed the cat as his own.  Richard’s mother had gone to the butcher to buy chicken livers for Skippy which from that day forwards always topped off his cat food.  It quickly became the norm for Skippy to peruse the people food and only after determining that it was not better than his food could we all eat in peace.

All those years ago I never even thought about animal rescue, I was much to busy just trying to survive high school. It is only a good twenty-five years and many rescue’s later that I realized Skippy was my first rescue.  And now animal rescue which I only got involved in 10 years ago has partially defined who I am today.

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Magical moments

I’m sure you have come across those TV nature shows where an eagle gets wounded and brought to a rehab center where they painstakingly nurse it back to health then find some secluded spot on the side of the mountain where they release the eagle which flies majestically into the sunset.  The camera pans to the expert who has a tear in her eye and looks so at peace as she explains that these are the moments for which she lives.  Sorry to ruin the illusion but it just doesn’t work that way. 

Sparrow, the wildlife rehabilitator gave us 5 raccoons to be released, the volunteer, (whom unknown to us was soon to be our neighbour, yes the very same one that we took to the Hospital 2 yrs later) in charge of nursing them back to health had become attached to the little guys and seeing as she was not going to be at the rehab center that day Sparrow decided it would be the perfect opportunity to give them a clean break.  The rule of thumb is not to become attached and not to have the wildlife become dependant upon humans. 

Unlike squirrels who are given to us in a hissing sack, (Leave well enough alone) raccoons are given to us in a dog crate.  They chatter and make all kinds of raccoon noises, but nothing like the squirrels.  You take them into the woods, leave them some food open the crate doors and wait, eventually they move from the safety of the crate and mosey into the woods, at least that is how it would be in that wonderful TV moment. 

The reality:

My wife and I are now in our woods at our dedicated racoon release site.    We open the crate step back with camera in hand and wait to make sure they are all okay.  Out they come, five adorable little bandits, we hang with them for a few moments taking pictures and making sure they are okay after being cooped up in a dog crate.  We are careful to keep our distance after all they are wild animals.    As I take pictures they walk right up to me I back away and they follow, I just stand there and they quickly become bored of me and head their own way.  Finally we turn to leave and unlike our husky, they follow.  We shoo them back into the woods and quickly turn and head back to the house the raccoons are faster and running around our legs and between our feet.  My wife is who is running ahead of me is desperately trying to out maneuver the little bastards bandits, but they are having non of it as they decide climbing up her legs is the thing to do.  We still laugh every time we walk down that particular path.

Those moments are definitely on my list of the moments to live for.   Yes it’s that impossible to describe magical moment when the possums vanish into the undergrowth to enjoy the rest of their lives as they should, but it is so much more.  It is balancing on a ladder while nailing a squirrel box to a tree, hiking out into the woods  in 80 degree heat swatting mosquitos while trying to hold a 20 pound crate of chattering raccoons in one hand and food for them in the other, it’s driving down the highway scared to move, speak or even breathe as 4 wild (meaning fully scented) skunks hiss in their crates in the back of the car, (another story).  Most of all it is laughing with my wife as we share the moments doing the things we love.

One of the little bandits playing in the water.

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