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Volunteering as a wildlife rehabber

Baby raccoons.
Notice the huge belly of the kit I'm holding.
They were all like that. The raccoons get huge fat bellies that are so cute. Raccoons are really cute in general, they have such expressive faces and have the greatest sounding purrs.
Squirrels and Rabbits don't get large fat bellies since they are not free fed like the raccoons. Rabbits raised by their mothers however can get so fat they can't roll over.

My Daughter Carly is syringe feeding a gray Squirrel
In Ontario, Canadian Gray squirrels come in Gray and solid black.

Below are photos of a baby red Squirrel.
I loved the Squirrels, they where the easiest, fastest animals to feed.
They are incredibly fast movers and the most cheerful creatures I've ever encountered.

Feeding the fawns.
The one fawn is trying to nurse off the dog. It shows how tiny they are.
Fawns are cute but really stupid. Two of the fawns caught onto bottle feeding, the other two still acted like they've never seen a bottle in their lives, even after being fed several times a day for 3- 4 weeks. They were my least favorite critters to feed. 
They lose their grip on the nipple constantly, lose interest in feeding or be fearful of the bottle. If I touched their head or neck to support them while feeding, they'd panic, usually ending up on their backs and flail they're legs. At one point we had to place one to stand in a rubber storage bin to prevent it. It took forever to feed them.

There where 55 raccoons, 20 baby squirrels, four fawns and an Opossum. Sadly the cute baby porcupine didn't make it. 
The baby animal population explosion lasts 8-9 weeks in the spring.
I volunteered at a wildlife rehab run by a retired vet.  I volunteered on Thursday nights plus four extra shifts. I'd arrive at 7:30PM and would finish around 11:30 to 12:00 at night. I lived over an hour away so it was a long drive home and hard to get up for work in the morning. By the time the critters where weaned I was ready to go back to my normal routine.

Below are three of the 12 cages housing the raccoons. 

Most of these babies arrived so young that their eyes weren't open yet.
They spend weeks in plastic dog carriers with blankets, stuffed animals and a heating pad under the carrier. 
They graduate to the 12 larger cages. The babies have a marking in their ear to identify them since by law they must be returned to the area from where they were found.
It was not fun trying to remove one raccoon at a time to feed while the rest tried to pile out of the cage. The bigger they got the more aggressive they became. 
They truly are wild animals and would never make a good pet.


Carly has always wanted to be a vet when she grows up. This was a great experience for her. Unfortunately they needed a volunteer on Thursday nights so she couldn't come with me. So I had to volunteer four more shifts covering for folks on the weekends so that Carly could have a chance to help. Children are allowed to help so long as the parents are present.
We where in a rabies free zone. The animals arrive extremely young and are wormed and vaccinated so we had no worries about diseases.


Carly with the SPCA horses.  I helped worm the 12 Belgium mares & weanlings.
These mares had very little handling but being such a docile breed worming them was surprising easy to do. I didn't even attempt to put halters on them. 



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