Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby Deer - Almost as Cute as Me!

Pooka here. This week’s animal blog is about the fawn. Normally the blog is written by the featured animal. However, if we did that this week the entire blog would be “Who are you?! Where’s my mama?! I'm Hungry!! I WANT MY MAMA!!!” repeated over and over. So to make it a little more interesting and informative, I volunteered to tell you their story.

We’ve been looking for sponsors for all of us permanent animals. This week we are looking for people who have a special place in their hearts for fawn, baby deer, or bambi. Those little suckers are expensive to feed. I hate spring rehab season. Mom (Kindra) is so busy feeding and trying to talk sense into all the people who want to deernap the babies out of the wild cuz they don’t understand how nature works that she doesn’t have any Pooka play time. I think this should be an official crime. Some babies really do need help cuz something bad happened to them (attacked by a dog, run over with one of those big farm mower thingys) or to their mom (usually getting killed by a car).

Price of admission to CLAWS animal resort is supposed to be injury or orphanism (Lori insists that isn’t a word but I like it). But most of the guys who are here now were deernapped. Or is that fawnnapped? It is the equivalent of your child being kidnapped out of your backyard. Mom says we can’t just put them back cuz they’ve been gone too long and their mom wouldn’t expect them to come back. Unlike human children, baby deer do NOT wander off when mom tells them to stay somewhere.

Anyhoo, between all the healthy ‘napped babies, the orphans, and the hurt ones, there are a LOT, really a lot, of mouths to feed. That’s where you wonderful people come in. You guys have money. We animals don’t have any money. No pockets. Well the bettongs have pockets, but they are usually full of babies. Oh, right, back on topic. Money. We need money to buy formula. You can donate money to CLAWS or you can call the farm supply place (Piedmont Feed 919-942- 7848) and buy formula right over the phone. They will hold it for us ‘til I send my manservant to fetch it. How easy is that? You don’t even have to leave your house. I think a bucket of formula is about $25. When there are lots of babies here, they can burn through a whole bucket in just one day! That’s a LOT of formula.

You can also donate gas cards. Those are very helpful because my humans have to drive a lot to go pick up all these fawn. They are spread out all over the place. Like 4 or 5 different counties. Whatever those are. Plus when the babies get bigger, they will go to a release pen. Then my humans will have to drive there twice a day to feed everybody until they are ready to go back into the wild.

For $100, you can sponsor a rehabbing fawn. Contact mom for details on that.

And for you haters who think there are too many deer and why does CLAWS bother especially if it is so expensive, I say all babies deserve a chance. (Lori says I can’t say that, but I say raccoons have opinions too and people need to learn to share the space!) So for all you wonderful people who DO get it, won’t you please help a baby out and buy some formula? Contact my mom (Kindra) by posting on the CLAWS fan page, or emailing her ( if you are interested in sponsoring a rehabbing fawn. Be sure to pass the blog link along to your friends who might not be fans of CLAWS yet!


The World’s Most Fabulous Raccoon Ever

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We're ready Mr. Music!

We’re ready Mr. Music! This week’s Critter Blog is brought to you by the World’s newest karaoke singing sensation – Me! Tahgrid the red shouldered hawk. Emphasis on the shoulder part. As in, it is my favorite place to perch on my human trees.

I am at CLAWS because I can’t fly, and I can’t fly because I fell out of my tree. Kids, when your mom tells you to stay in the nest because the branches are dangerous until you get all your feathers, listen to her. Moms know things. Wish I would have listened to mine. It is actually my stupid brother’s fault. He dared me. Called me a chicken! Me! A raptor. We eat chickens. I couldn’t be lumped in with prey. Please. So while mom was out getting food, I slipped out of the nest onto the branch. Things were going pretty good until my sister yelled that mom was coming back. That startled me and I lost my balance. Boy it was a long way down to the ground. Broke my wing. Major Bummer.

Some nice people took me to Dr. Dan, the bird man. He fixed my wing real good. Unfortunately, by the time it was healed from the surgery, it had been wrapped up too long. Problem is that I finished growing while my wing was wrapped up, so I can’t fully extend it now, which means flying is out of the question. So after I was all healed, Dr. Dan called his friend Kindra to see if she could make room for me. Lucky for me, CLAWS needed a red shouldered hawk for their education programs.

I really enjoy doing the programs. Hanging out with Kindra, educating the kids. Events are even more fun! I get to stay out longer. One of my favorites is when we set up at Harry’s in Carrboro. They have music. One night they had karaoke. I had been hanging out on Kindra’s shoulder relaxing after we were through with our booth. Someone talked her into going up on “stage” and singing. I went along and piped in at appropriate places. We were a big hit! I hope we get to do that again.

Anyway, I am looking for a sponsor. How many people can say they sponsor a singing Red Shouldered Hawk? I am also incredibly handsome and charming. I am also a fashion trend setter. Please note the ‘do on my blog photo. If you are interested in becoming my benefactor, contact Kindra. Email her at


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Commonly asked questions

Given what we do here at CLAWS, rehabilitation, rescue and education, I get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. I’m going to answer some of those here.

“If this makes you cry, why do you do it?”. My standard response? “When I stop crying, I’ll know I’ve lost my heart and that is when I’ll stop doing it”
I’ve been told by other rehabbers that they expect 50% of squirrels to die for instance. Others “boast” about a 54% success rate. Honestly, if I had either of these situations, I would quit. Our success rate has consistently stayed above 75%. Every single one that can’t make it is heartbreaking. When they come in, I plan for every one to make it to become a wild member of their society again. Yes, that is a bit unrealistic, but if I do not plan for that, then more will die. I have to plan for the best, and regret the worst.

I’m also told all the time to stop being so hard on myself. With every “loss”, I question every tiny thing I did, trying to figure out what I did wrong. Yes, I realize that not every one is “meant” to make it. But, if I didn’t beat myself up and question myself, I would not be the rehabber I am. If an innocent animal has to die, I want to be sure that it was not in vain! I HAVE to learn from each death, to try to prevent either future deaths, or to know when a specific injury or illness is not fixable, so I know when to do the humane thing as quickly as possible and stop their pain. So yes, I do “beat myself up” with each “loss”, but I don’t intend to stop doing so. Every death will help future rehab animals!

What do I consider myself an expert in? Nothing. As many of a certain species as I may have rehabilitated, each individual animal is different and I’m determined to continue learning all the time. In my experience, those who consider themselves experts tend to stop learning and miss out on a lot of new, great tips, tricks and cures.
Do I know quite a bit about quite a few species? Yes, I believe I do. But what I have more than knowledge of specific species is knowledge of animals in general and a GREAT network of vets, other rehabbers and zoologists that I’m never afraid to ask questions of.

How do I handle the constant phone calls from people who just don’t’ want to listen?
I find it terribly sad that humans are, for the most part, so removed from nature that they do not even understand the basics. Often times not even the species of animal they are looking at. With every call, no matter how nasty the people can be, I try to use it as an opportunity to bring humans and nature closer together. It really isn’t their fault that they don’t understand. We aren’t taught these things in school, there aren’t billboards up explaining these things. Many people only learn by talking to rehabbers like myself.

It has to be so rewarding to do what you do! I always tell people, having been in Corporate America for over 23 years, this is THE most rewarding and THE most heartbreaking work I’ve ever done. Working at a desk for years, I made great money, but never really had any personal satisfaction, even though I was really good at what I did. Doing this, even with no pay, I feel I’m making a difference. I help animals and I educate people and try to help them learn to live in harmony with nature. What could be more rewarding? No, it doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to, even when we are trying to educate people. But it does turn out well much more often than it doesn’t.

Why do we do so many species? We “specialize” in a few species, but we have chosen not to discriminate against any species. If you understand the basics of a particular type of animal, you can use that knowledge to help you learn how to rehabilitate other similar species. This is how we do it. We are careful never to take in more than we can handle while ensuring that all rehabilitating and permanent animals all get the care that they need. How can we choose which species are “more worthy” of help than others? We do try to send the more commonly rehabilitated animals to other rehabbers that we trust to take great care of them, but if a situation calls for it, we will not turn an animal away.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sponsor a Patagonian Cavy

My turn! My turn! The world’s first blogging Patagonian Cavy! My name is Miss Pris. In case you missed Dionysus’s blog last week, the animals of CLAWS are having a competition to see which team can get all its members sponsored first. The furs are going for a triple header this week. My cage mates, Sissy and Sam, and I hope to all find sponsors this week. Me first, of course. But for those who are too slow to act and miss out on me can still be the proud sponsor of a Patagonian Cavy.

We are unusual animals. Give me a set of antlers and I’ll do my Jackalope impression! We are the second largest members of the rodent family. Not quite an ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size), but close.

I love living here at CLAWS! Lots of fresh air and sunshine. In my former life, I was an apartment pet of a young woman in New York City. I tried to tell her I am not pet material. But she insisted. She would get upset when I would chew up furniture and walls and molding. Hey, I’m a rodent; we gotta chew, it’s what we do. (We actually have to chew on hard stuff to grind down our big huge teeth. Otherwise they would just keep growing and growing, and what a problem that would be.) Anyway, her mom finally talked some sense into her (yay, Mom!) and they found their way to CLAWS. Fortunately for me, Kindra has a soft spot for Patagonian Cavies. She made room for me here at CLAWS.

That is one of the things they do here, take in animals like me who used to belong to people that didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. Here I can be a Patagonian Cavy. I have lots of things to chew on, proper food to eat, and friends. I was lucky. Some people who get unusual animals think they can just “return us to the wild” when we become inconvenient. Since I have never been wild, that would be very scary for me. I wouldn’t have the first clue how to get my own food and stuff. Plus, I’m not from here. I don’t belong in the “wilds” of North America, and it is way too far to walk to South America from here!

Since I was raised as a pet, I am quite friendly. You humans aren’t all bad. I hope there is someone out there who likes large friendly rodents and wants to sponsor me. Please think about it. It will help CLAWS continue to help animals like me that need a safe place to live.

Thanks for caring!

Miss Pris

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Help the feathered friends beat the furries

Totally Hello fans of CLAWS! My name is Dionysus, and I am an utterly fabulous kestrel! Not to mention totally adorable. I know this because people are constantly telling me so. I am this week’s guest blogger for CLAWS. The animals here at CLAWS have been inspired by the high school students who are having a fundraising competition for CLAWS between their schools. We have decided to see who can get all their team sponsored first. It is the Furs vs. the Feathers. Pick your team!

I am representing the Feathers this week. I am looking for a sponsor. Preferably a human who will help me convince Kindra that I am a HOUSE Kestrel. This whole being outside with nature thing is so not for me!

When I was a baby, my siblings pushed me out of the nest so they could have more food. So very rude. Anyway, on my way down, my wing and foot were damaged from smacking into the tree before crashing into the ground, making me unable to fly and care for myself. A nice falconer lady patched me up. Since I can’t fly, she used me for education. I used to hang out in her house on a perch on her coffee table. I make a lovely decoration. I am also a charming companion.

I have been working some of that charm on Kindra. I have been employing what Lori calls my version of the “Puss ‘n Boots look” (Shrek reference). The door to the cottage they put me in can be easily seen from the rehab room where Kindra spends most of her time. I make sure to be in the doorway giving her the look. Working on the raptor mind control…”I am a house bird. I belong in there with you. You want to come out and get me and bring me in to ride around on your shoulder.”

I took my first van ride as co-pilot the other day. It was great. Almost like flying. Vinny kept stopping the van, and I had to power it up by flapping my wings to make it go again. I hope Kindra lets me do that again. It is a lot more fun than riding in my crate!

So, think about sponsoring me! I’m kinda new here, but I will become a popular favorite. How can people resist this much cuteness? You have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. And speaking of ground floor…help me convince Kindra I belong in the house. We might have to raise a little money to build me a cage in the house. I am NOT living on her coffee table!