How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rescue an Abandoned Animal - DID IT

I'm a sucker for needy animals.  I've been dragging them home since I was a kid.  Baby birds have been fed with eye droppers, baby ducks lived in our bathtub, a baby Opossum, a fawn, and various lost dogs and cats.  At one point we had a dog that brought home other lost dogs!  "Follow me," he'd say to them.  "My mom will take care of you!"  Here are photos and brief accounts of some of the more memorable rescued critters!
Whitewater, a baby deer found clinging to a rock in the middle of the river was our most exotic rescue. He was so young, he still had his dried umbilical cord attached.  Somehow he ended up in the middle of an icy river, freezing cold and barely hanging on by his hooves when some rafters plucked him from the rock and were all too happy to hand him off to us onshore. We bottle fed him on goat milk and he followed us around begging for food.  He bleated like a goat!

Bob, the Duck - Ducks lay their eggs over a period of many days, yet the majority of the eggs hatch within a few hours of each other.  When the mom decides she has enough, she swims off with the hatchlings.  Any remaining eggs are abandoned.  One first-time mother gave up a bit early and several more babies hatched after she left.  We collected three, jumped in the row boat, chased her down, and released the babies who quickly joined their siblings (ducks are not good at math, so she didn't realize she now had 13 babies!)  When we got home we found one more on our doorstep.  It was dark by then and we couldn't locate the mother, so "Bob" joined our household. He lived in the bathtub for awhile, and firmly imprinted on my son as his mom.  He dutifully  followed Morgan everywhere.  He even came when he was called.  When we finally moved Bob to his outdoor home, he would try to sneak back into the house if the door was open.  We would hear a stealthy "slap...slap...slap" of his little duck feet as he crept across the floor.  I would say, "Bob - OUT".  Then we heard, slapslapslapslapslap as he dashed out again.  When he lost is baby feathers, we realized we should have named her Barb!  Eventually the lure of life in the wild won out and Bob/Barb left home.

Digi, the cat - My son was driving a delivery truck for summer work and thought he saw a swirl of dried leaves in the middle of the busy intersection ahead.  As he got closer, he realized it was a tiny orange and white kitten, terrified and running in a frantic circle.  He stopped, jumped out, grabbed the grubby, bedraggled little guy, wrapped him in a paper towel, and shoved him inside his shirt.  He dashed home (against company rules), raced in the house, shoved the wad of paper towels at his brother and said, "Take care of this, OK?" And raced out again. We unwrapped a 5-week old kitten so filthy, flea-bitten, weak and scrawny, he didn't look like he would have survived another night out alone. We had no choice but to dunk him in the sink for a bath. He grew up to be a very fat happy cat and is now about 6 years old. The only reminder of his shaky beginning is that he still likes to suck on your thumb - but only if he really likes you!


Durin Gleaves said...

Don't forget the animals you've rescued from certain death, including performing CPR on a newborn kitten. I think that counts.

Jennifer said...

I've told Curt and the kids about Whitewater and having a baby deer running around to play with, of course no one believes me, now I have proof!

Kathy Gleaves said...

@Durin - It was CPR on a newborn Bassett Hound puppy. And CPR on a very old Yorkshire Terrier that fell into the lake. One of you kids got him with a fishing net and I did chest compressions. Forgot about that. I EVEN reached my hand up a Pig's behind to extract a piglet that was wedged in the birth canal. I had the vet on the phone and he was giving me instructions... it wasn't even my pig!!!

@Jennifer - Glad to provide proof of the baby deer! That's Stacy offering him a bottle. I have more pics, I'll try to dig them out.

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