Saturday, June 28, 2008

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, back in April, a trio of possums were dropped off at the clinic. Two of the possums were the normal grey and white with black eyes and feet and ears. But one possum was white with black eyes and feet and ears. And she was perfect!!!

We noticed that the siblings were very protective of their sister, always guarding her by standing in front of her every time their crate door was opened. She really didn't need the protection as she was somewhat aggressive herself, but it was indeed a rare look into the lives of possums. This little orphaned family obviously knew how to care for each other.

Her condition is called leucistic (loo-kiss-tic) . She is not albino because she does have pigment in her ears, eyes, and feet. Not much more is different for her. She is a rarity and when she has babies, I wonder if any or how many will carry on her superb beauty.

I've never seen a white possum before though I know this isn't the first one. I've seen a mottled axis fawn with white stockings and face, and photos of an almost white cardinal, but this little girl was my fist white possum. And what a celebrity! I think all of the staff have taken photos of her as well as a few visitors. I know she can't wait to get back to the wild. No more photo ops for her!

She is almost ready for release. She was held back so that she could get a little size to her so that she would be able to readily defend herself in the wild if she were picked on.

There is the possibility that she will lack the camouflage that her peers have especially on moon lit nights, but, as I've never seen one come in injured, possibly it will work in her favor.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Fox Tale

Each year the types of animals rotates as to how frequently we get them. Last year we took in a litter of 6 coyote pups; this year we have received 2 separate pups. Last year we had a mom fox who was caught and almost killed by a rancher and when he realized she was pregnant, called Texas Parks and Wildlife who transported her to the sanctuary. Overnight she gave birth to six kits and when she was moved to an outdoor soft release site, bolted, leaving her kits for us to raise. This year we've received several single foxes--and they are living outside in one of our day cages until they're old enough to go below and be released shortly after.

These two obviously have a special bond. I spent about half an hour photographing the crew. Obviously the Texas heat is making its presence known. Pink tongues abounded.

Two were in a cat house...

one was barely tolerating me...

and the other two couldn't make up their minds about having their photos taken and hid behind the crate.

We've received two more this week, both close to the same age as these kits.

I have to say that fox kits are one of my favorites. Ok, next to bobkits.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's a done deal.

Tomorrow M Pearl goes to her new home. She has officially been adopted and her new owner has been cleared to take her. Her name will change too.


I knew it was coming but I kept hoping against the eventual. After all, M Pearl was the first goat I've ever had the opportunity to care for from the beginning. From scared little baby to sassy kid.

I stayed awhile this afternoon for a long goodbye. I think she knew something was up--I stopped by to visit but I didn't have a bottle, and I wasn't taking Scooter. I sat in the yard and while Scooter waddled over and nested in my lap, M Pearl loved on my like never before. She put her pink nose to my lips and breathed deep breaths. She nuzzled my head and nibbled my hair. She rubbed my back with her tiny horns and then proceeded to raise on her hind legs and park her front feet on my head. Guess she was telling me she was Queen. Cher didn't think anything remarkable was happening. I haven't bonded with her like I have with M Pearl so it's understandable. She didn't get why M Pearl was wasting so much time on a human.

Tomorrow is my day off. I've brought Scooter home so I can take him to his vet appointment in the morning and back out to the sanctuary after. I waffle on taking him back--what if she's gone? Worse yet--what if she's still there??!!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Half Breed; Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves; I Got You Babe...

Introducing Cher.

A long time Kendalia resident called one morning last week to see if we could take in this little goat. Story goes he got up one morning, looked out the window to his front yard, and saw the little goat. He didn't have goats and hadn't had goats since his adult children were young. And since he lives on a main highway, he figured someone had thrown her out.

She arrived in a crate in the back of his truck. As I lifted her thin body out, she gladly looked around and wagged her tail. I ran my hands down either side of her back bone and felt small welts all over. Probably fire ant bites. She didn't seem to mind that I was petting her and as her empty stomach showed, was probably ready for a feed.

In the clinic, Traci and Dee looked her over and the naming process began. I thought up Mae West (oh yes I did) but was quickly outvoted (2-1) on the name Cher. After all, she was thin, had gorgeous black fur, ears that hung straight down like Cher's hair... how could I argue.

Unlike Scooter and M Pearl before her, she didn't waste any time in cuteness overload. Immediately she began her little kid leaps and kicks often looking surprised after an especially complicated kick and leap. Oh she was delicious.

She stayed in the clinic just two days and was ushered outside to M Pearl's yard. They didn't waste any time in getting acquainted and making up leap routines. I've snuck up on them jumping off steps seeming to dare the other to go to the next step up... perfect kid play.

Her welts are healing and her fur is still slick and shiny. She and M Pearl are fast friends and you will never find one far behind the other. Apparently they have formed their own 'girl's club' for Scooter isn't invited to many of their games.

Girls are tricky. Especially if they're goats.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The little goat that could

Early last month I posted about Minnie Pearl (aka M. Pearl) and Scooter. About how Minnie had just arrived and not long after Scooter showed up all bloated and just not feeling right. Well, he's been pretty sick for the last few weeks. His bloated belly really didn't go down--it just stayed the same. He wasn't going potty (keeping it clean here folks) and he couldn't even lay sternally (on his 'belly' with his legs and feet tucked under.) He would lay on his side, legs sticking straight out and cry piteously--and his cries weren't normal goat 'baaas', they were small dog barks. Then, when the pain was really intense, he would scream.

When I was in the clinic, I would run to check on him and reassure him that he wasn't alone or forgotten. Then I would reposition him to allow his body to remember how it was supposed to be laying. During his feeds, I would have him straddle my leg (as I sat on the ground)front legs on one side, back legs on the other, so it would model how he would normally feed--standing up.

His skin began to crust and peel--very much like cradle cap on a baby. Even his ears were crusty. I bathed him then took him outside in the sun and brushed and picked the gunk off. He laid patiently in my lap (no bigger than a 3 month old lab pup!) and dozed. I also took he and Minnie to the pasture to spend time with The Boys. Minnie frolicked while Vinney ignored her; Rocky laid beside me, contentedly. Scooter would be in my lap, head on my leg, soaking it all in.

During all of this he never gave up. His eyes stayed bright, his mental state was always one of trying. I thought, more than once, that he was just suffering and maybe we needed to consider letting him go. But looking into those amber eyes I realized he wasn't giving up and I needed to follow his lead.

The vets prescribed all kinds of meds for him. Antibiotics for his swollen knee (possible joint infection); dewormers, pain meds and homeopathics. Everyone was at a loss as to why he was down and why the bloat wasn't going away. His formula was changed, colostrum was added... everything.

Then one day (this past Monday) he stood up on his own. All on his own! His right front leg and rear left leg were very weak, but still there he was, standing!! He took tentative steps forward and hasn't stopped since.

He is still very slow but his will is solid. He now spends his days outside with Minnie and her new friend Cher. (Cher has her own story!!) He walks, grazes, and I think truly enjoys his time with them. I have walked past where they are and have watched him curled in the grass, eyes closed and nose pointed skyward with a slight smile on his pink fuzzy lips.

Goats are known for their determination.