Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Thought for the Day:
The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.
-D. Viscott

I tried to save a raccoon yesterday. Or actually my coworker and I tried to save him. She was notified by a visitor that there was an injured raccoon down at the trailhead... so she walked down to see what the situation was... and called me to come help her. He was alive but unable to walk. It appeared that perhaps he hurt his leg. He was just lying there and every once in awhile he would try to get up but go nowhere. He seemed pretty lethargic.
She first called fish and wildlife and they referred her to a wildlife rescue group. They told her they had an agreement with a vet that is actually just down the road and that the vet would take him from us. If he was able to be saved, the raccoon would then go to the rescue group where he would be rehabbed and returned to the wild if possible.
I grabbed an old sweater, a large cardboard box, and gloves and drove down.
The poor guy was beautiful! I've never been that close to a raccoon before. But you could tell he was pretty hurt. I really almost wonder if he had been run over. The area down there is gravel so it has more give than a regular road... he might have been hit and survived. There was no blood but the bugs were already coming for him.
He kept opening and closing his mouth like he was trying to tell us something.
I covered him gently with the sweater and talked to him while I swiftly picked him up and set him in the box. I even got a "pat on the back" from a visitor watching the whole ordeal for doing so well with the little guy.
We hopped in the van and I rode next to him, petting him through the sweater and talking to him the whole way. He kept looking at me with his brown eyes and he looked scared. I wanted him to know we were trying to help.
We got to the vet; I carried him in carefully where I continued to talk to him.
They send for someone over the intercom to come get the "wildlife dropoff". A younger girl comes out and takes the box from me. She proceeds to close off the top... maybe she was scared of him? She didn't even take a moment to look in!
Then she hoists him up on her hip like he's a basket of laundry!! And carries him out of the room at a horrifying angle. It couldn't have been okay for him... he was HURT!

This was 10 am.
We called to find out what had happened at 3 pm.
They hadn't looked at him yet!

So I called this morning.
He died when they tried to knock him out so they could assess him.

I know we did the right thing because it would have been worse for him to be eaten alive by bugs or attacked by a dog on the trails or even just to lie there in pain.
But the "care" he got from the vet's office irks me immensely.
I realize he wasn't someone's pet. I realize they probably weren't going to make any money by helping him... I don't know if the rescue group defrays costs. They might.
However, they had the agreement with the group to take injured wildlife. They could have said no if they weren't willing to help.
He was a living animal who was injured or sick. And they let him sit for at least five hours... and probably much more.
I think the rescue group should reconsider their partnership with them.

I'm sad because he was so beautiful. I always wanted a pet raccoon.

Chris calls me Mother Nature.
Animals love me.
He swears I could hug a grizzly bear and he wouldn't hurt me.
Chris' mom says animals know when you are trying to help... they know if you have malicious intent.
I agree.
And I love them.
Maybe I should look into wildlife rehabilitation. You know, for when Chris and I live in a house with 50 acres... ha ha!
Maybe it's the gift I need to give away.


Chris said...

You have a beautiful heart and are amazing!!!

I still think you should call someone about the way they treated the raccoon. It may prevent another animal from being treated that way. I would have snatched up that girl at the vet's office by the hair.

Anonymous said...

You know, I read this post days ago, but I think I forgot to comment. I sometimes wonder why I have about a hundred times more sympathy for suffering animals than I do for suffering humans. I suppose on some level I figure that people can do something about their situations, but then I wonder how many people are in pain right now, just suffering because a doctor won't take care of someone who doesn't have insurance. If only the raccoon had had insurance....

You're such a good person, Tracy.