Sunday, May 28, 2006

the (long) raccoon story

well my friends, it turns out that the raccoon story is much longer than i thought it was going to be.

it started monday night when a baby raccoon managed to fall down our wall.

it was 11:30 at night and we could hear the wee thing crying and crying, but didn't know what to do. we thought of cutting it out of the wall, but weren't sure what to do once we had freed the critter, so waiting would be the name of the game. after a night of fitfull to non-existant sleep i rejoiced at the fact that it was morning and i could call someone to find out what to do. the humane society reccommended a specific raccoon extraction company and we promptly called them.

the woman i spoke with said all they would have time to do that day was take the baby out of the wall and leave it near the entry the raccoons are using to the attic so that the mum could find it. i mentioned that we were going to do that but didn't know what to do specifically, i asked if there was any reason we couldn't do it ourselves and she said not at all and then proceeded to give us instructions on how to go about it safely. she also assured us that this was a fluke, that before raccoons can walk, but have become mobile through squirming, they can sometimes squirm to places they aren't supposed to be.

so, a hole was cut, insulation pulled out, and a tiny terrified thing was pulled out of the wall and put into a towel-lined box. i held the box on my lap while john went to get tools to open the attic access and while i wasn't looking the little critter reached up, grabbed my shirt and pulled himself up on me and snuggled into my arm (i had noticed by this point). after he'd snuggled for a bit he started looking for something to nurse on. apparently my neck was the best option. also, apparently the side of my neck is very ticklish...

john put him up in the attic. we both rushed away, late to work.

that night i went out for dinner with my friend caroline, it was wonderful. we talked for ages and ages. she was walking partway home when i got a call from john. he asked me how late i thought the pet store was open. this was not a good sign. he then said that he hadn't noticed, but our neighbour (in the ajoining house) had called him asking if he knew what "that sound" was. he did. the little bugger had fallen down a different wall. the ajoining wall. so much for "don't worry, it won't happen again".

we tried for pet stores before getting the little guy out, but they were all closed, the best we could do was wiskis cat milk and a baby medicine dropper. so, we were set, now for the relatively easy task of cutting a hole in the wall and extracting him.

four holes in our house and one in our neighbour's later we were able to pull the little guy out, who had fallen hard enough to get wedged between a pipe and a stud. he was cold, shivering, and crying. i held on to him and he snuggled in immediately. john, the brilliant fellow that he is, suggested we heat a magic bag for him. so, he was cradled against my chest, in a magic bag. he started to calm down. feeding him was a tad difficult though, he couldn't get the hang of the eyedropper thingy.

by about 1:30am we had managed to get a bit of food in him and he was ready to sleep. we put him back in the attic, but in a box this time, with the sides high enough that he couldn't climb out, but low enough that his mum could reach over the edge and scoop him up.

we fell into bed exhausted for another night of fitfull sleeping and worrying about the little guy.

we both talked thinking we'd heard mama raccoon sounds that night and went to work hopeful that our little guy had made it home finally. we were wrong.

john checked to make sure the box was empty, it wasn't. so, john went to the pet food store, bought some kitten forumula and a feeding bottle. we warmed up some milk, fed the little guy because he was starving (he had a weird thing where he'd drink from the bottle for a bit, but then he'd need to nurse on me, then bottle, then me, then bottle, then me, weird, but cute) and put him back in the attic. we decided he'd be there for 24 hours and if his mum didn't come we'd have to take him to the humane society.

24 hours later we checked (it's now friday for those of you keeping track) and a little hungry guy was still there. so, we fed him again, he demanded a fair bit of snuggling time and protested everytime i laid him in his little bed, even though the magic bag was there to provide warmth, and then we took him to the humane society.

it was a bloody exhausting week. and it was bloody hard to take him to the humane society. and yes, i miss him. i imagine they wouldn't take kindly to me asking if i could come visit him at the humane society, wouldn't do much in the 'trying to make them independant from humans' thing.

throughout the week people asked if we had named him yet. i always responded with horror, saying no, absolutely not! the horror was only at the fact that i knew he was going to be hard enough to part with as it was, naming him would only make it worse.

but we did name him. we named him on our way home from dropping him off at the humane society.

good luck rocky, we'll miss you.

*Edit* (By John) here he is:

In an uncharacteristicly immobile moment.

And with bits of dinner around his mouth.

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