It’s probably apparent how much I love animals. When I post anything about my dogs, other people’s dogs or critters in general, I hear from so many people who feel the same way. If you’re like me, you just might carry dog and cat food in your car with a little bowl and some water, just in case you look up and see something that needs a little help. But since we moved a little further out of the city, it’s been more than just our domesticated friends that we’ve lent a hand to. Out here, the wildlife needs a little human intervention now and then…like this little fella.
Charlie and I were coming home late one night and saw something in the road with little eyes glowing in the headlights. As we got closer, we saw a baby raccoon, all alone, just sitting in the middle of the road. We stopped the car, got out and Charlie walked toward it, talking to the little fella the whole time. It immediately responded to Charlie’s voice and started following his footsteps. We look around on the side of the road for any sign of the mom with no luck. What do we do?? We jumped online for some direction and found one site that said the mother could be moving the kits (baby raccoons) and this one might be in mid transition. So we moved him to the grass out of the middle of the road, turned off the car lights, got back in the car and waited. Meanwhile, the little guy is crying out, making this distinct little chatter noise. If mom was around, she certainly would have heard him. We waited and waited…and waited. It was getting to be about 2 AM and becoming pretty clear that the mother was nowhere around, perhaps herself the victim of a predator. So we decided to take him home and call our friends at Walden’s Puddle first thing in the morning. First we put him in a large, wire dog crate that we have, but he was so small he squeezed through the larger spaces at the bottom and proceeded to crawl up Charlie’s legs, desperate for the comfort of another. We taped up the larger spaces and decided to put him in a plastic tub and added that to the crate. We put some warm blankets down in the bottom and finally got him settled down. Poor little guy–exhausted, confused and scared. We did baby raccoon watch throughout the night and awakened the next morning to see him sound asleep in a little ball.
I called my friend Lane Brody who is the CEO in kind of Walden’s Puddle. They are the only wild life rehabilitation center that is professionally staffed here in middle TN and I can’t recall how many injured birds and squirrels I’ve driven out there. Lane is a good friend & I’ve been so happy to participate in some fundraising benefits with her for Walden’s Puddle. She answered right away and said bring him on. Thankfully, the baby was healthy and just fine, but too young to be left alone. They suspected that something had happened to the mother. Walden’s Puddle took care of him until he was old enough to be on his own and then released him back into his own environment.
As humans move further into the territory of the wildlife we share the earth with, I think we have a responsibility to take care of those in need that we may have unknowingly disturbed, accidentally hit with cars or have simply come across in a desperate situation. We are so fortunate to have a place like Walden’s Puddle here in Nashville where we can take injured or helpless wildlife. You might have a Walden’s Puddle type place in your neck of the woods and just don’t realize it. Take a minute and look online or maybe call your local vet and ask them what to do if you find helpless wildlife babies or injured critters. And for a little more feel good inspiration, check out the book ‘Amos and Boris’ by William Steig. It’s a children’s book, so it’s a short read! But it’s a great story and children’s books can sometimes be the best lessons for living. This is Charlie’s copy from when he was little….they called him Tom back then after his dad.
‘Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back to you. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, that life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness.’ Unknown
To learn more about Walden’s Puddle, how to support them and what to do if you find an injured or hurt critter: http://waldenspuddle.org/