Saturday, August 1, 2015

Riding the Storm

The good thing about storms is that they don’t last. Eventually the sun comes out but sometimes there is damage left in its wake.  To give an update on the previous post, Vlad is doing very well and will get his sutures removed later this week.  Unfortunately, the news about the goose is not so good.  Gertie did not make it.  She was such a fighter but her injuries were too severe.  We kept her as comfortable as we possibly could in her last few days.      

I’ve had a roller coaster ride of emotions over all these “little storms” this summer.  The open house was fantastic. Not only was it our highest attended and grossing event ever but the whole day really just could not have gone any better.  That same weekend our beloved pitbull Rigley got sick. He was simply lethargic and wouldn’t eat. It came on all of a sudden. Not only had he been fine but I even had him in for his yearly exam less than a week before.  It wasn’t so simple.  Rigley was crashing and was given only a few days to live unless we took drastic life saving measures. Nigel’s and my philosophy with every animal here is quality over quantity. While we hated to lose him we did not want him to suffer at all. The beginning of his life had been hard enough for him. We wanted the end to be with dignity.  For some reason, that dog touched me more than I ever realized. His death has been harder on me than I expected and I’m even fighting back the tears just writing this. 

Cesar, baby Chinchilla
Isela, baby Chinchilla
But I said this summer was a roller coaster so on to the good news. Baby Chinchillas!  We had been donated several chinchillas over the winter but despite having 4 of them, none of them were able to be used for our programs. They were not used to being handled that much and that would not be safe for anyone. Chinchillas are one of my favorite education animals for our programs so we decided to breed them specifically so that the offspring can be trained to be used in classrooms.  We had 3 little baby chinchillas born to Coco this summer. Unfortunately, chinchillas are not able to nurse any more than 2 babies at a time. The smallest one didn’t make it. We did our best to step in but it just wasn’t enough.  Coco was proving to be a great mom, until day number 3.  By then she got sore enough to bite both babies on the head. They became afraid of her and didn’t want to nurse after that. We left them together but supplemented the feeding as needed. Here’s the crazy part. This all happened a few days before my mom and I had to go to Florida for a graduation. Let’s just say that my skills are a little better suited for the nurturing of small mammals than Nigel’s so off to Florida we all went. They travelled well and bonded again with their mother. It took a few more weeks for their wounds to heal but they are doing great. The little boy has been named Cesar and the little girl has been named Isela. Recently, we moved the both of them and their mom into their big high-rise, multi-level cage.  The babies are so much fun to watch bouncing around. 

Most anyone that has ever been here has met my cat Sahara. She has taken over our kitchen table. We don’t actually eat there. She spends 90% of her time on the table. She has learned that it’s the best place to get fed first and to get all the scratches from the volunteers that come.  This cat, along with her sister (and litter mate) who is half her size, are nearly 17 years old.  A couple weeks ago she got very sick with vomiting, diarrhea and extremely lethargic.  I brought her to work with me fully expecting to have to euthanize another pet in just a few short weeks.  All of her tests though were inconclusive. Her bloodwork showed no real change. Her x-rays showed a few issues that were consistent with being sick but no obvious mass or answers. We put her on all sorts of medication and she is now doing very well, in fact it’s hard to believe anything was wrong.  At her age, I’m sure there’s more going on that we couldn’t find but I’d rather keep her happy on her table than put her through all sorts of tests.

Rabbits, rabbits and more rabbits!  We were donated rabbits. To be perfectly honest, they were all to be snake food but we had a small collection of them that Nigel decided to keep around. I take no credit for anything to do with the rabbits (at that point) because I am highly allergic to them. I am most grateful for all the volunteers that can look after them for me.  One of them had a litter of babies but the momma died when they were about a week old. Two of the babies survived so I took on the task of hand raising them.  It definitely tested my allergies but I think my body is finally getting used to having them around because it’s not as bad as it used to be. These little guys went everywhere with me, especially to work every day so that they could get their feedings.  The girls at work just loved them and you can imagine all the fuss 2 baby rabbits would get an animal clinic.  Last week they moved into their adult cage.  Then the next morning the rollercoaster headed downward again.  One of the rabbits was not using her back legs.  It’s heart breaking to see her drag herself around. I’m not giving up on her though. We had been given a bird that had paralyzed legs several months ago and he’s now moving both of them.  That’s what I’m hoping for this rabbit. I’m hoping that with time the use of legs will come back.  These are my babies. I have been up late at night and again very early in the morning to feed them. I’ve even had to sneak them into the store in my purse when I ran in so they didn’t get left in the heat.  I have fallen in love with these two little bunnies.

Baby Bunny
Baby Bunny
Today was bitter sweet for me. I said good-bye to my little baby bunnies. They have moved on to their new home. The sweet part is that it will be a great home for them. Not only will they be spoiled but I know that everything possible will be done to continue the nursing care the white one needs.  The other good news is that they have gone to live with some of our volunteers so we will definitely get to continue to see them.  For now, I’m ready for calm but our life is full of adventures and good or bad, I would not have it any other way.