The Tiniest Racoon

Storm: Our half-drowned raccoon baby rescue.

Storm: Our half-drowned raccoon baby rescue.

 

It was a stormy evening when we received a call from a neighbor regarding a half dead baby raccoon.  We had him immediately bring it over and the tiny girl was cold and barely breathing.  Found abandon and gasping for air while drowning, we feared the worst but turned her upside down and started massaging her chest.  Within seconds a stream of water ran out of her mouth and nose and she began breathing a bit easier.  Still freezing cold we wrapped her up and put her on a heating pad.  Within an hour she was warm and began crying, a good sign.

Not knowing when her last meal was, it was a good guess that she might be hungry.  Her eyes weren’t even open yet so it was going to be a tiny baby bottle.  The first feeding did not go well to say the least.  She was extremely hungry but was still wheezing from almost drowning.  Formula would go in, then quickly spew from both her mouth and nose.  Feed time would be a tediously long process.  Because of how undeveloped she seemed, and how much dirty water and formula that had entered her lungs, repeatedly, we started her on a course of antibiotics.

After about a week, she was eating a bit better, but still had wheezing in her lungs and not growing much, even though we had increased the number of times she was being fed a day.  In addition to her internal problems, she had been covered in fleas, to which she was allergic.  For about a week the poor little girl was getting a combination of flea baths and oatmeal baths to get rid of the fleas and combat the itchiness of her reaction.  Since she was still wheezing and still had skin problems, a trip to the vet was warranted.

Our cat, Ember, commiserates with Storm about the horrors of taking a bath.

Our cat, Ember, commiserates with Storm about the horrors of taking a bath.

By now her eyes were open and she was constantly crying when not being held, despite her constant teething and suckling on her stuffed bear buddy.  It seemed that nothing but cuddling with us gave her much comfort, despite trying not to let her bond with us.  As cute as she was, we were hoping to release her back to the wild where raccoons truly belong.  The vet gave her new antibiotics, flea meds, and another appointment for the following week.  While the new antibiotic seemed to have improved the sound of her lungs, she developed another odd noise while she drank from her bottle.  If that wasn’t enough, her fleas seemed to be gone but she suddenly started losing fur on her legs and had a weird odor.

Vet visit number two reviled a small problem with her trachea which resulted in the decision to get her off the bottle immediately and start her on solids.  Not a fun process at all!  As if that wasn’t enough, a skin scraping revealed mites, so shots were required.  While most raccoons would consider all the baths, oral meds, and shots as torture and reason to avoid humans, this tiny girl took the attitude that any attention is good attention.  Putting her on the floor resulted in a raccoon flying straight to me and clinging to my leg crying.  It was at this point that the vet deemed her non releasable and officially signed over to our sanctuary.  When asked what name should be on her certificate, the only thing that popped into my head was Storm, our little natural disaster!

New buddies Storm and Rosie (a White-Faced Capuchin) play together.

New buddies Storm and Rosie (a White-Faced Capuchin) play together.

Storm has since been eating like a big girl and started growing a little faster. She has grown all her fur back and looking a little more like a real raccoon.  Some things haven’t change though with her constant need of attention.  While we can’t always be at her beck and call, she now has two house cats and a monkey named Rosie to play and cuddle with!  She is now the tiniest raccoon with the biggest heart!

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A Little Monkey Madness

The newest member of our primate family

Chupacabra: The newest member of our primate family

Several years ago our sanctuary was asked to participate in one of the saddest rescues our group had ever been involved in.  A couple had passed away and had four monkeys living in a tiny house.  Three of the monkeys were all found in different rooms living in tiny bird cages.  The fourth was found leashed to the dead woman in bed.  While I had never been a fan of monkeys, even remarking that we would never have monkeys at our place, Fish & Wildlife had nobody stepping up to assist, and couldn’t believe how bad the circumstances were for these little guys.  Each so different, and each so badly broken.  Rosie was yelling and pouting, Dolly was frantically pacing, Andy was rocking, and Amos, the one who had been attached to his dead mother in bed just sat totally motionless with a dead, vacant stare.  I cried at the sight of them and vowed never to say never to any monkey again.  While their story ended happily with all four getting past their emotional demons and continuing to thrive in a loving environment, a new monkey has joined our family recently.  Meet Chupe, a little guy with big attitude, and teeth to match!

Because of our willingness to help with the last monkey rescue, Fish & Wildlife made the call to us again when they were faced with yet another bad monkey situation.  In Florida, to possess a monkey, you must first be licensed by the state, insuring that you actually know how to properly care for it, in addition to keeping the general public safe.  This was far from the reality of these circumstances.  A man illegally moved into Florida with his newly acquired pet monkey, first mistake.  Secondly, the monkey was allowed to just run loose in the house, resulting in the monkey viciously attacking someone visiting.  After the attack, the man became afraid of his “pet” and locked it in a small bird cage, third offence since there are mandatory required cage size regulations, and a bird cage does not even come close.

This little guy had a big attitude and the teeth to match!

This little guy had a big attitude and the teeth to match!

Clearly the monkey wanted to go because Fish & Wildlife had no problem coaxing the monkey out of the bird cage and into a carrier.  Seemed too easy the officer had remarked.  That is usually a big clue to the mayhem that is soon to follow!  When we opened the carrier door inside his new home, we barely had time to grab the carrier out before this screaming, incredibly fast moving psycho fur ball hit the door with incredible force.  My first thought as he hung within inches of my face was that those were the biggest upper and lower canines I had ever seen on a little capuchin.  My friend who also works with these types thought I was kidding until I sent him a pic, suddenly it wasn’t so funny.  What also wasn’t funny was the good hour or so that the poor little guy rampaged swinging all over the place throwing toys with both hands, as well as his tail, all the while, flashing his teeth at us (a sign of aggression).  Fish & Wildlife proceeded to thank us and wish us luck, and then say, “oh yea, and by the way, HIS name is Cocoa.”  All I could do is laugh and remark that I now understood why he was so angry!

Well, for the next several days I was always met with metal bowls being beat on his table, toys being launched at me, and the ever bearing teeth.  As I sat and tried to communicate with him I noticed two things, one that he not even once reacted to his name, and two, he had an extremely crippled back leg.  It looked as if someone had crushed it in a door and never took him in to get it reset.  Seeing that broke my heart and I was determined to have him realize that he had a safe home here with people who loved him regardless.  His name bugged me too because he didn’t seem to care about it and he was getting a completely new life, so we decided to give him a totally different name to go with his new life.  Because of his looks and fierce attitude we renamed him Chupacabra, Chupe for short.  Strangely enough he reacted right away to his new name.  Several of the volunteers started spending “quiet time” with him, sitting with him even when he was acting out at us, and he soon realized that if he didn’t continue the abuse, he was quickly rewarded with a treat.

This sweet boy seems much happier in his new home.

This sweet boy seems much happier in his new home.

Chupe is a very different little guy now, hardly ever flashing his teeth, and only banging his bowl when he knows we are close by and he wants us to come over and interact with him.  Chupe still has the big scary teeth but he himself is a lot less scary, especially with his latest actions of blowing bubbles, tilting his head and bouncing up and down on his teddy bear trying to look cute!

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