Two orphaned and hairless baby squirrels

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Tiny arms intertwined with one another, the two orphaned baby squirrels lay sleeping. I gently disentangled the little girl for a feeding. So tiny they fit into one half of my hand, eyes tightly closed shut, delicate pink skin still unprotected by fur. The little boy stirred and started to protest, looking for his nest mate. They came from different mothers, different trees, in different neighborhoods, but probably blown out of their nests by the same ill wind that gusted fiercely a couple of weeks ago. Motherless, they found comfort in one another. When we got the little girl, she still had her umbilical cord attached. It was touch and go. At first she...

Mango

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — A timid knock sounded on my hotel door the night before I was to return home from a family wedding. I opened it and there stood Cece, a sweet little eleven-year-old with both hands outstretched, holding a large mango. “Here,” she said shyly. “This is for Teton Totem.” It was a beautiful mango. A large, round, beautifully-shaped, unblemished mango, perfectly ripe. I had spoken to her earlier in the day about our animals---our bears in particular---and I said how Teton was a mango kind of bear. She was enchanted and asked a lot of questions. At lunch, there was an island in the center of the kitchen piled with fresh fruit. I watched, fascinated, as she...

Porcupine napping on a log

— by Dawn Harrison — Moving days are stressful enough, but imagine if you were moved and no one told you what was happening. That would quickly turn a stressful day into a scary day. For Piney the Porcupine, moving day was a little scary. He had to wait in an unknown area with the sounds of construction going on around him. Luckily, it was a short-lived experience and he wasn’t actually getting relocated---he was getting an upgrade. Even then, I wanted to make sure he knew what was going on, so I did something that usually works for calming down kids and dogs: I sat and told him a story: Once upon a time, there was a handsome porcupine named Piney. One morning, Piney woke up to find...

Fox standing on a log

— by Dawn Harrison — Foxes Sprite and Ghost got to enjoy some beautiful weather while stretching their legs in one of the animal gardens. Ghost took his cues from his elder at most turns, many times with a look that seemed to say "Wait for me!" But when he decided to go swimming, he was more than happy to take the lead. Sprite, not one to follow the younger fox, used the respite to inspect the recently downed tree instead. To each their own! Sprite and Ghost in the Grass | Dawn Harrison Bluebell Approves of Hay Delivery Every year, one of the big questions is “Will there be a hay shortage?” This is a critical question, and the only one that matters as far as Bluebell the...

Two baby raccoons in an outdoor enclosure

— by Dawn Harrison — This has been a difficult week for rehabilitation efforts here at Earthfire, having more losses than wins. They warn you when you start that it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows. You won’t be able to save them all, and it can be heartbreaking. But knowing something intellectually and handling it emotionally can be quite different. Flightless Duck We received a call that a Momma duck and five ducklings were left in an intake pen at a local shelter. Momma had been injured and wasn’t able to walk well. Although it was late in the day, I loaded a crate into my car, stopped and got some feed for them, and made the hour-plus trip over the hill to bring the...

Large salad with lettuce, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and ranch dressing

— by Dawn Harrison — We received a donation of 30 pounds of organic meat and salmon, much to the delight of the animals. I felt bad for the couple whose freezer decided to stop working, but I was hard-pressed to stay sad after seeing the joy that it brought to certain individuals on property. The cats (Tahi the Cougar and Better the Bobcat) got some of the most beautiful steaks I’ve seen in a long time as well as a slice of salmon---and showed their appreciation in their own feline way. They quickly nabbed their bounty and stole off to the corner to savor it. The wolves, coyotes, and foxes also enjoyed their meaty treats, devouring their choice bits with zeal. But the bears, as...

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