Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Help me get my Magic Room!

Hi ya Tocho Tribal Nation! I thought it was about time I made my debut in the CLAWS blog world. After all, it’s not fair to keep all this cuteness to myself! Check out my photo album if you haven’t already. I am so cute they had to give me my own album ‘cuz they can’t stop takin’ pictures of me. I’m too sexy for my spots!

For those who don’t know me (you MUST be new!), here’s the Short Attention Span Theater version of my story. Somethin’ happened to my wild mom. Me and my siblings were sent to a nice lady. All my siblings died. Nice lady sends me to Kindra. Kindra takes me to a vet who says I have some kind of wobbly thing (editors note: cerebelar hypoplasia) and IF I live I can’t be wild ‘cuz I’ll always have the wobblys and could fall and hurt myself while jumpin’ and stuff. But somethin’ else was wrong ‘cuz I kept gettin’ sick and losin’ weight. Mommy K sat up with me many nights tryin’ to make me better. She was afraid I was gonna die. But I am a fighter! Turned out I don’t digest my food right and will need enzymes (they taste nasty and I don’t like them) and vitamins every day for the rest of my life. (Mommy K says they are still tryin’ to work out the exact doses, but I hope this is it, ‘cuz bein’ sick sucks.) This means I will have to stay at CLAWS. That works for me since I have these people wrapped ‘round my very large kitty paws and I have a bobdog.

That brings you up to speed. I know a lot of you have been followin’ my story from the beginnin’ and are already in love with me. I have a great fan club. You all have very good taste! One of those great fans is my adoptive Mommy Heidi. She’s been a great supporter of CLAWS and couldn’t resist me! Last week Mommy K took me to Mommy H’s house for a visit to get me out of the house and see if it would perk me up after a rough week. Auntie Carol came to visit too and we brought her adoptive furkid, my friend Rocky. He’s a cute little raccoon. Not as cute as me of course, but he might come in second.

Mommy H has the most awesomest room ever! You are outside and inside all at the same time! I soooo want one! I spend a lot of time looking out the window at home. I don’t get to go outside very much, and when I do there is a human hoverin’ over me crampin’ my style! I gotta figure out how to get one of those rooms. The bottom half is already there (that would be the back deck at the CLAWS facility). It just needs a top half. So I was talking to the Wolf Pack that lives in the room over the fence and told them about the magic room at Mommy H’s. None of them really cared ‘cuz they get to go outside. But my new friend, Gali the Great White Wolf (that would be Galileo the arctic marble fox), cared ‘cuz he doesn’t get to go when the rest of the Pack goes outside. So he’s excited now too. I think every Mountain Lion (that is what my name means) should have a Wolf for a friend.

We really, really, really want a magic inside/outside room. Mommy K says we don’t have the money right now ‘cuz of my vet bills and the other vet bill CLAWS still owes. So I gave her “the face” and she said that if I could find the money to buy materials (estimated to be about $1,000), I could have the room. I already have the labor lined up. I own Vinny and he is very useful. I have marked him as my own. (www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=420030774183) Rocky has offered up his human, Damien, for labor. Lori said Blue Drew is a pushover and should be mine for a purr if more workers are needed. So that just leaves the money.

That’s where you guys, my wonderful, adoring fans come in! How much do you love me?! Show me the money! I would love you forever if you would go to the CLAWS website (www.nc-claws.org) and click on the Paypal button and send me some money for my magic room. If you wanna send a check, ask Mommy K how.

Remember that painting I did a while back before I got so sick? It was rather good. Keep watch on the FaceBook page because Mommy K is figurin’ out how to auction it off to help pay for my magic room. It would be so great to be able to be out in the fresh air, but still be safe from the outside. I know I can’t ever be a cat out in the wild, but I am still a wild cat that needs to be outside…sometimes (don’t want to give up my cushy bed and stuff!). Because of my wobbly thing I can’t be out in a regular cage. I could climb the fence and fall and hurt myself. That would be bad.

Please help me get my magic indoor/outdoor room so I can take naps and play with my friends Gali and Rocky out in the fresh air. Thank you for caring about me and my friends here at CLAWS.

Mountain Lion (in her heart and mind, adorable Bobcat in reality)

Editors note: While Kindra may seem crazy, she is not crazy enough to have a Wolf Pack living in her living room. We are actually waiting until we get more land and a bigger facility to get wolves. Tocho’s Wolf Pack is the group of very small dogs (Chihuahuas, Pomeranian) and the fox who all have the heart of a wolf and a couple who even howl like one.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today was a pretty run of the mill day here at CLAWS. Started out with feeding handfed babies, squirrels, flying squirrels and bunnies, then off to sweeping and mopping floors, and feeding of animals who are still fed more than once a day.
Then we got the first call….a duck at the animal shelter, then a call about a bird who was caught by a cat last night, and finally a call to pick up bird seed. Thankfully all of these places were near each other, so it was going to be a fairly easy time.
Vinny headed the other direction to go feed the fawn in Alamance County and off went Damien and myself to do pick ups. First came Mrs. Duck. A female mallard who had a cut on her foot. She was able to walk and fly and be a duck and the cut was actually quite minor. So, we got the location where she was found and out we went. While we were still in the parking lot, a man walked out with a dog he’d just adopted on a leash. The dog escaped and took off for the road, and off went Damien. Good thing too, because the man was not nearly fast enough. Damien got between the dog and the road and the dog ran up to him licking his face and making fast friends. The collar was not going to stay on this dog’s head, so I showed him how to use the leash as a collar to get the dog in his truck.
Off to pick up the bird. He’d been found the night before and put into a chicken coup. He had a hole under his wing, caused by the tooth of a cat.
Off to pick up 240 pounds of bird seed…YAY! And some new cat litter, as the type we’ve been using on the raccoons, is just too dusty!
Then down into Carrboro to drop off the duck back with her friends. She was quite happy to be back with her little family and to see the backside of humans. All we can do now is hope that she’s not picked up again for no good reason.
Home we went. Set up the bird in a cage and head to the yard to do some work. The flight cage had to be cleaned out and remulched for the new resident. This sounds like a simple job, and it was, just very strenuous in the heat and humidity. 20 bags of mulch later, a barred owl was enjoying the great outdoors and hoping to escape this larger, new prison very soon.
Then it was time to attack the 40some crates sitting around the deck and yard, awaiting power washing. Got all cleaned, neatly stacked and put into shelves. They are now awaiting new inhabitants. And we are hoping not to fill any of them anytime soon! It’s funny to see these stacks of crates, knowing we don’t need them currently and knowing that when things get really busy, we run our and are trying to figure out where to find more crates. Oh, the eb and flow of rehabbing….
Then it was time to come back inside. Short chat with the vet about Tocho and how she’s doing on her new medication, then Rocky and what he saw during his surgery. Tocho seems to be taking her new meds very well, and they seem to be working!!! YAY! Rocky shows signs of dwarfism, that definitely is a result of genetics, not an accident or anything. Then a short discussion about foxes….fun! Love talking to a vet who truly is interested in the interesting animals we share our lives with!
And of course, now it was time to start outside feedings, give hand feedings to little ones again and play with babies who really need playing! The Drazzles proved to us that any litter can be dissolved in water, with enough determination.
And now, it’s time to start on all of the nightly feedings……….

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rocky's Arrival

All summer long, we receive phone calls from people who find baby raccoons that have lost their mothers. Because it is illegal to rehabilitate raccoons in North Carolina, and because I have a personal love for raccoons, these calls are particularly difficult for me to handle. All we can tell people is that we cannot legally help them. We receive more of these calls than many do, they are even sent to us by officers and other rehabbers, because we possess a permit to keep three raccoons permanently. This permit does not help in these situations; all of our raccoons have to come from captive settings. We still cannot rehabilitate them, or take illegal ones in on a permanent basis.
In July we received one such call from a woman who had raised a baby raccoon that had become very friendly to humans and she wanted to know if we could take him in as an educational animal. As many are, this woman was desperate to save this baby. She knew the law, understood the chances she had taken in raising this baby, and loved this baby very much.
After talking to her for a bit, I told her that we could only take this baby in if the state would give approval and a permit for the raccoon. The woman agreed to contact the state, seeking approval and we didn’t hear back from her. I assumed she had tried and the state had turned her down.
In mid-August, we realized something was wrong with our darling, permanent raccoon, Pooka. Given how close Pooka and I were, I knew that something was seriously wrong, even in the absence of what most would consider major symptoms. He wasn’t acting particularly bad, but he wasn’t eating like he normally did. I took him in to the vet on a Wednesday for some blood work, which showed nothing. I continued to watch him closely and worry. Within a few days, things got scary, Pooka had completely stopped eating, and lost so much weight that I could see his ribs, something you should never see in a raccoon. Then, on Friday evening, he vomited. I immediately called the vet and scheduled an appointment for Saturday morning at 8am. We sedated him and took an x-ray. The x-ray showed a large mass inside his abdomen. The vet put in barium to see if this mass was in his stomach and it wasn’t, which made it scarier. The vet said we had to do surgery to see what and where this mass was. At this point, he looked at me and said that, given how this mass looked, once we got in there, we may decide not to wake Pooka up from surgery. This was something I really was not prepared to hear. Though deep down I knew that something serious was going on, Pooka was only 8, and I was not ready to lose him. During surgery, the vet removed a round mass, a little larger than my fist that was slightly attached to his liver, and noted that Pooka’s liver was hard and not a normal color. Pooka made it through surgery, and he was sent home. Unfortunately, Pooka never fully woke up from his surgery. He passed away that evening, in my arms.
The loss of any animal is never good or welcome, but the loss of Pooka sent the whole family reeling. We were all in deep mourning over losing the CLAWS founder and a close family member.
Tuesday, after Pooka’s passing, I received another phone call from the woman with the baby raccoon, explaining that she had called the state, explained to them that we lost Pooka and they agreed to let us take in her baby raccoon, Rocky. I was more than a little shocked, both because I wasn’t sure how I felt about taking in another raccoon so soon after we lost Pooka, and simply because the state agreed. But, no matter what we were going through, being able to help one raccoon was more important than our feelings. So, we began arrangements to bring Rocky into our family.
Thankfully, this woman truly cared about Rocky and did consider him her responsibility. The state had given her until August 31 to turn Rocky over to us, so we needed to move quickly to get him prepared to live here at CLAWS. Several things needed to be done. All animals, even raccoons should be spayed and neutered, for their own health, even if there is no risk of mating, and we keep all of our animals up to date on their shots, of course. We decided that, it would be easier on Rocky to go through surgery with her, since he trusted her. So she made an appointment and got him neutered and all of his shots were given. This way he could recuperate with the only mom he had known so far, and not with strangers who love him, but he doesn’t know. Rocky came through surgery like a little champ. The vet informed us that he shows signs of possible dwarfism and may be some other issues. Just things to note for the future.
We set up a meeting time for Tuesday, one day before the deadline given by the state. In walked a very sad mom, carrying a precious bundle of joy!
Having to take Rocky from his mom was very tough to be honest. She very obviously loved him very, very much. But, we all knew that this was the best thing for Rocky. Trying to hide a raccoon is not easy and if he was ever discovered, he would be euthanized by law. One look at his darling little face and we were all very much in love.
After a very emotional parting, we brought Rocky home. We had thought we would change Rocky’s name, since it is such a common name for raccoons, but one look at his little face and the name just fit him too well, so we decided to keep the name given to him by his first mommy.
Once home we decided to have Rocky live in Damien’s room for his initial transition period into CLAWS. In the two days that we have had Rocky, he and Damien have developed quite the relationship. Sharing their little bachelor pad! Rocky has begun to really trust Damien and play with him like a brother. He also loves playing with the dogs, and making the cats scatter!
As sad as it has been to lose Pooka and as unsure as I was about taking another raccoon in so soon after losing him, Rocky has been a great addition to the CLAWS family and I am certain will help continue Pooka’s message to the public! We look forward to many happy years with this darling little boy as well as, I’m sure, many more blogs to tell you about his antics!
We want to thank Rocky’s original mommy for the wonderful care she gave him during her time with him! And for loving him enough to ensure he has a bright and very productive future!