Tag Archives: animals

Life on the Wild Side

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update about the goings-on where I work.  For those who are new to my blog and are not aware, I work at a wildlife rescue and rehab center where we take care of orphaned and injured wildlife, with the hopes of ultimately releasing the animals back into the wild.

It has been a crazy year.  We are close to hitting 2000 admits already, and we still have 2 more months to go.  Of course, a thousand of those admits were squirrels in September… okay, kidding. I’m just kidding!  We only had a couple hundred squirrels come to us this year, not a thousand.  (I tried to keep a running count on squirrel admits last year during squirrel apocalypse, otherwise known as September, and eventually had to give up as I started to lose track).  September is just a really bad month for squirrels.

Me with a baby squirrel

There are some physical changes happening at the center.  We have been working with a new nonprofit who rescues marine mammals. They needed a site to build pools for rehabilitation, so we’re in the midst of clearing land on the center’s property to make room for the pools in the hopes that their rescue will take off.  Living near the Puget Sound, we are in desperate need of marine mammal rescues.  Too many seals are left to die on the beach.

And of course, I still get my share of assholes who call (sorry… there is no other way to describe them).  Just yesterday I was yelled at by a man who couldn’t get a hummingbird out of his garage.  I informed him I wasn’t a government agency nor associated with the police (who, rightly so, couldn’t help him), so there was no reason for him to yell at me.  I suggested he go buy a net if all other efforts of directing the hummingbird outside failed.  He said, “Why the f—- would I go buy a f—ing net when I’m never going to use the f—ing thing again!  I’ll just let the bird die right here in my garage!”  See… asshole.  He was trying to emotionally manipulate me, which I do not tolerate.  Long story short, 20 minutes later he did manage to get the hummingbird out of his garage without having to buy a net.  For the animals, my friends… I do it for the animals.

Me with an injured red-tailed hawk

We have our holiday merchandise in and I plan to do another giveaway this year. The patient of the year (hence, the holiday ornament) is an adorable little porcupine who had to stay with us last year over winter when he was separated from his mother after a dog attack.  Stay tuned right here for details coming soon.

“If you talk to the animals, they will talk to you, and you will know each other.

If you do not talk to them, you will not know them.  And what you do not know, you will fear.

What one fears, one destroys.” — Chief Dan George

Busy Much?

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute blur and I think my brain is fried.  It’s only been 3 weeks since I ran my last race, 2 weeks since my mother-in-law Janet went back to the UK, 1 week since AJ began summer break, and yet all events seem like forever ago.  In that time, I’ve had a huge fundraiser gala to contend with, a hubby with a hurt back (who is thankfully on the mend… see here), and I’m trying really hard to wrap my head around marathon training 6 days a week.  This will now be my life for the next 4 months… work and training.  I’ve come to the conclusion that something has to give, so I won’t be doing the cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., anymore.  Besides, I’d much rather keep in touch with my blogging friends than do all that other mindless nonsense… and now that James is healing, he can clean and do laundry and…  lol, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up…

Fundraiser Gala:  One week after Janet left, the rescue and rehab center where I work held a huge fundraiser gala with dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction.  The director and I were working like mad the week before to get everything together for the event, and now I’m still quite busy tracking donors and silent auction winners and all the stuff that follows an event such as this.  No matter… we had a great time, and I’m happy to say it was a great success.

This was actually supposed to be an adults-only evening, but I was able to sneak AJ in to watch the raptor presentation.  He hung out in our room afterwards for the rest of the night.

All the tables were decorated with cute little stuffed animals that anyone could adopt (raccoons, opossums, coyotes, owls, eagles, squirrels, etc.).  They even came with their own adoption certificates.  Below are the two we adopted.  All of them were dressed up with little tulle “bow ties” for their gala evening.

Below is a video that was made in 2015.  Back then, we needed help with refurbishing the hospital area.  We were able to raise all the funds for that; however we are now in need of new eagle flights.  While the video that was shown last Saturday night is not available publicly yet, I thought you might enjoy seeing where I spend a lot of my days.  When the other video becomes available, I’ll show that one to you as well, then you can see the difference in the hospital… a little inside look of a rescue center, so to speak.  (By the way… the raccoons at the beginning really are just hanging upside down.  They were babies when they came to us and learned how to climb the chain links… all were happily released back into the wild).

Training:  Yeah, I’ve been doing that too.  I’ve had to start getting up before the sun to avoid the heat and mugginess of the season, but we all do what we gotta do.  I’m just thankful I don’t have mom duties first thing anymore (you know… making lunches, giving rides, and the biggie of waking up a child).  I won’t go much into detail about the runs right now (only because this post is getting too long), but I am hitting them as scheduled… not so much on the cross training yet… but the runs are extremely important. You can’t fake your way through a marathon if you want to beat the sweeper, haha.

Up next:  Queen with Adam Lambert!  This Saturday!  I cannot wait!

Have a great week, my friends!

I Died Today

I was found by a kind, sweet woman who does wildlife rescue.

I was so sick, I could barely open my eyes.

She took me inside, cradling me in her arms and made me warm and comfortable.

I opened my eyes and looked at her and thanked her for making my last few minutes as comfortable as possible.

But I was too sick to keep fighting.

I had eaten a mouse that was poisoned, and it made me very sick.

I closed my yellow eyes for the last time and went somewhere else.

Please, all I ask is never to use poison to kill the mice.

Poison kills owls, like me.

All I wanted was a mouse for dinner.

I died today…

Poison is a very real problem for our wildlife.  Last year, our center received an owl just like the one above who had eaten a poisoned mouse.  It was nursed for months.  It couldn’t be saved.  It eventually died too.

This past week, we received a raccoon who also was the victim of poison.

If your beloved dog or cat caught a poisoned mouse, vole, or mole, it would die as well.

Please don’t use poison to kill mice and rats.  The fallout is tragic.

(Note:  I read the story above for the first time in a newsletter from another wildlife rehab center in the Sequim area.  I do not know who wrote it or where it originated.  Image is from nwraptorcenter.com)

 

Patient of the Year and Giveaway

I work at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a rescue and rehab facility for wildlife.

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In May 2015, this baby beaver was discovered by some campers.  He was without his mother and too young to survive on his own, so the campers brought him to us.  We actually already had a female beaver with us who was rehabbing from an animal attack, and the two beavers were eventually put together.  The older female became a surrogate to the baby male.

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The two beavers spent a year with us.  This past spring they were both released, together, in a secluded area with lots of access to trees, water, and natural habitat.

Beavers play a crucial role in biodiversity.  Many species rely on beaver-created habitat, and a lot of these species who rely on beavers are threatened or endangered.  This year, the baby American beaver was made Patient of the Year at Sarvey. Ornaments and cards were made to celebrate this particular animal.

In honor of this little guy and with the hope of bringing awareness to the importance of beavers, I am holding a giveaway.  One person will win an ornament featuring the baby beaver, a blank holiday card to coincide with the ornament, a Sarvey Wildlife Calendar which has lots of fun tidbits on the inside, and a Sarvey tote bag.  All you have to do is write “Go Hawks” in the comment section!!  Okay, just kidding… let me know if you’re interested with a comment and I’ll put your name in the drawing.  Or send an email to neveradullbling(at)gmail.com.  The drawing will be held this Friday (12/11) around 5 p.m., and I might even get AJ to participate by drawing the name while I’m recording it (gasp!).

BENEFITS OF BEAVER PONDS

  • Decrease damaging floods
  • Recharge drinking water aquifers
  • Remove pollutants from surface and ground water
  • Drought protection
  • Decreased erosion

For more information on Sarvey Wildlife, please visit their website at sarveywildlife.org, or follow them on Facebook.  Sarvey is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on donations.  If you’re interested in purchasing an ornament, calendar, or tote bag for yourself, please visit Sarvey’s website… and make sure to say Paula sent you.  🙂

All photos used with permission from Sarvey Wildlife.

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Nero (12/2000 – 11/2016)

When James and I got married back in 2000, I owned 5 cats.  And even though he had never in his life been around animals before, he was very accepting of the situation.  I guess you could say animals are what make me, me.

He actually enjoyed being around the cats in the beginning, so much so, he absolutely had to rescue this one kitten, Nero, from a couple who had just found out they were pregnant and decided Nero posed too much of a health hazard (please do not even get me started on this).  I was against getting another cat… 100% against it.  But James persisted, and I gave in.

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So this cute little kitten came to live with us and unfortunately got beatings from the other cats for a little while.  My gentlest cat, Esmeralda, dished out the most severe beatings, and she was relentless for 2 solid weeks.  She chased him under the washing machine daily.  Eventually the beatings stopped and they became the best of friends.  Ez was the matriarch of the family; she commanded respect and she definitely got it.  When she was 17, arthritic, and could hardly walk, her and Nero would still play chase, and Nero would wait for her to catch up, then bolt off again, and so on and so forth… he knew she hurt, so he was patient and gentle. He even let her win the wrestling matches when, in reality, he could’ve taken her down no problem.

Nero 2010

One spring evening in Arizona, James grilled us some salmon.  Nero was about 7 months old.  James had left his plate of salmon on the coffee table to get up for a second, and Nero was so smart and stealth, he snuck up to James’s plate, grabbed the salmon in his mouth, and ran with it.  Unfortunately, that particular piece of salmon was as big as Nero was, so he didn’t get far. Besides that, Nero was so shocked that his little plan worked, he didn’t know what to do with that huge piece of salmon.  He wasn’t sure if he should eat it, soon decided against it, then ran off, without ever knowing the joy of salmon.

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Nero was a super smart cat.  When we moved to Washington, to a house that had lever handles, it took him no time at all to figure out how to open them.  He loved going around opening all the doors. It was entertainment for him.  James finally had to replace all the levers with knobs because, you know, cats don’t have thumbs.

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This morning we had to say goodbye to our beloved Nero.  His GI tract was shutting down, as were his kidneys, and he had lost too much of his body weight.  I know some cats live longer, but I think 16 is a great, long life for a cat, and we were blessed to have him for so long.  He was loved immensely, spoiled rotten, and will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace, sweet Nero.

Squirrel Apocalypse

Baby season at the rescue center is finally starting to wind down, with most orphaned or injured spring babies getting ready to be released.  Fawns will be released in October, raccoons and raptors in September, coyotes around the end of September/beginning of October… but now is the season of the 2nd generation of squirrels.  We lovingly refer to this as squirrel apocalypse.  By the end of the month, our baby mammal room will be filled to the brim with baby squirrels, each incubator filled with 5 or 6 squirrels each (they love to cuddle with each other).  I wrote about this last year close to this time.  It’s important enough that I think it deserves a repeat.

Squirrel Talk

wpid-68747470733a2f2f776562746f6f6c666565642e66696c65732e776f726470726573732e636f6d2f323031322f30342f637574652d737175697272656c2d6c312e6a7067.jpgWildlife rescue and rehab centers are coming up on a very busy season… squirrel season. By the middle of August, we will be inundated with baby squirrels who have fallen out of their nest or who have been chucked out by their mom for one reason or another.  Most squirrels have two breeding periods, December to February and May to June.  I don’t know what it is about the summer babies, but they are constantly falling out of their nests and landing on the ground for kind-hearted people or predators to find.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME ACROSS A BABY SQUIRREL:

If you can reach the nest, put the baby back in it.

If you don’t know where the nest is, leave him on the ground and gently press on the baby’s foot to make him call for his mom.  Then leave the area.  If the mom knows where her baby is, she’ll come down the tree and carry it back to the nest, but she will never come around if people are nearby.  You are a predator to her.  Check on the baby later to make sure mom found him.

If the above two options don’t work, gently place the baby in a box or container in which it can breathe and take it to your closest wildlife rescue center.  NEVER EVER try to raise or feed squirrels if you’re not a licensed rehabber.  Babies require very specific formula in order to keep them strong and healthy.  If not properly nourished, they will develop metabolic bone disease, a very painful condition that causes their bones to break which is extremely cruel and inhumane (I can’t stress this enough), and there’s nothing that can be done to save them.

To locate your nearest wildlife rescue, visit your state’s Fish and Wildlife website.  They will have resources to help you.  Or you can contact me and I can help you find your nearest rescue.

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Just for fun, I thought I’d do a running tally on squirrels this month to give you an idea of what squirrel apocalypse is all about. Since August 1st, we have admitted 10 squirrels.  While 10 may not sound like all that many right now… think about it… that’s 10 little mouths that need to be hand fed multiple times per day.  Stay tuned… 😀

A Fishy Story

red bettaMy fascination with fish began a few years ago, about 2008, when I was asked to fish-sit my neighbor’s betta (okay, maybe I fed the dogs too).  But he was your typical, red, veil-tail betta, and he was the coolest fish ever.  He used to rocket to the top of his bowl and then float casually back down to the bottom.  With his tail all fanned out as he gracefully floated down, he looked like an autumn leaf gently drifting to the ground.  My neighbor and I would drink wine and just watch him.  Total zen.  That fish lived for at least 4 years.

She made taking care of a betta look like such an easy thing to do, so I just had to get one for myself.  We were all very excited to have a new member of the family!  AJ joined in on the fun and got to name him… Bob (because eventually that is what he would do… you know… bob, :P).  No official tank stuff needed, just a bowl and partial water changes once a week, feeding once a day… easy peasy.  Bob lasted a mere 6 months.

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Bob #1

Being a new fish owner, I had no idea how fragile these guys actually were.  The plants I had put in his bowl were plastic, and he had a ragged treasure chest/castle thing to swim in and out of (fish enrichment, you know).  The ragged edges of the plants and treasure chest shredded his fins and he died.  Yes, I cried as he was flushed out to sea.

Bob #2 was going to have a better life.  Jamesy got me a nice rectangular 10-gallon tank with a heater and filter system.  I got rid of the plastic and went with more natural feeling, softer plants.  I also eliminated the treasure chest and put in a fun circular log for enrichment.

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Bob #2’s new tank

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Bob #2

I think Bob #2 lasted about 6 months as well… if.  I didn’t know you had to cycle a tank to bring the water up to standard, so he developed ich.  And died.  Again I cried.

Once Bob #2 died, I decided to move onto a different type of fish… something that was more hardy and wouldn’t die so easy.  Enter a school of neon tetras.  Cool looking, but pretty boring. A betta has tons of personality, but tetras have all the personality of a sardine.  So James went to the fish store and bought me about $70 worth of cool fish as I wanted him to pick out the next batch.

Tragedy soon ensued when I forgot to wash my hands one time before reaching into the tank water.  The lotion from my hands created a toxic environment for the fish, and I lost about 10 in a matter of 3 days.  That little incident is now referred to as Armageddon.  There was 1 lone survivor… James’s otocinclus, a sucker fish, aptly named Otto. Have you ever seen these things? Not at all attractive.  But oh, what a survivor.

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Not my oto or picture, but Otto looked just like this.

My neighbor felt quite sorry for me, so she decided to get me a swordtail, supposedly a more hardy fish, and actually quite pretty to look at.

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Not my swordtail.

Eventually she gave me a male from her own tank to go with my female.  The inevitable happened… no, they didn’t die… they had babies!!  Swordtails give birth to live fry, so I had all these little things swimming around my tank!  I promptly went to get some floating plants to give the babies some cover so they wouldn’t become dinner or get sucked up into the filter!  One actually survived the whole ordeal!  This is Little Guy:

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The mother soon perished after giving birth (surprise, surprise), but the male survived and Little Guy survived, who grew up big and beautiful.  Come to find out, Little Guy was actually Little Girl and soon had babies of her own!  THREE of her fry survived to grow up big and beautiful as well!

Five swordtails and an oto in one 10-gallon tank wasn’t a good thing, so James found me a lovely 35-gallon tank to transfer the whole family over… all except for Otto… he wasn’t having it, and trying to catch an oto is near impossible, so I let him be.  Unfortunately, once again, 6 months after I transferred them to their new home, all 5 of them perished in about a week of each other.  However, this little tragedy was baffling because I actually did cycle the tank and the water before transferring them, and my water was pristine.  I even added medicine to the water once I realized something was going wrong.  And the catfish didn’t get sick at all.

You’d think I’d give up by now, don’t you…

Fast forward to today… I now have 3 angelfish, 2 in one tank, 1 in the other.  Otto died a couple of months ago from old age (!), and I’ve had my angelfish for a couple of years.  They’re the only ones who can survive my hands of death.

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Moral of the story:  While having a betta is great fun, don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s easy.  Fish are hard work and temperamental little bastards.  And once you start, you will never ever stop…

Who owns fish?!  Have you been sucked into the bottomless abyss as well?