Goodbye August

9-8-22 – I’m not sure where August went. First it was my sister’s birthday, then a program on the 10th with Max, Smudge Hedgehog and Burt Parrot. The program went well but everything went downhill from there. Smudge started leaving her fruit untouched but would still come out for mealworms but that stopped on the 13th. I got her into the vets on the 15th because I had scheduled the chinchillas for an initial exam. So, I was able to bring her instead of them. Thank goodness I did or perhaps she would not have had a good last week. Seemed she caught a cold. I don’t believe from anyone because she was held with gloves and people only touched her spikes. I could have missed her slight behavioral changes before the 13th but she was always greeting me, so maybe not. She could have caught a chill when I started leaving the windows open at night for the fresh, cool air. It had been wicked hot for weeks and when we finally got a cool front, I was delighted. I took her outside on the 14th for sunshine and took photos. She seemed slow, wobbly but interested. Anyways, she first sneezed at the vets. Okay, we can give her fluids and antibiotics. She was a trouper. However, the vet noticed her heart was beating irregularly and surmised that she had heart disease and was missing teeth too. How could that be? She was only maybe 2.5 years old. I got Smudge in January of 2021 and was told she was “about a year old.” Hum, evidently that was wrong. Smudge’s cold got better but her heart seemed to be overworking. I thought she was taking a turn for the better when I caught her drinking water on the 19th. I guess not. On the 20th in the evening when I tried to medicate her, she refused. So, I held her and was talking to her asking why she didn’t want to take her medicine. She looked at me and took a breath. It was her last. I just stood there looking dumbfounded and kept calling her name. My head could not wrap around the fact that she was gone. Being the curious person that I am, I looked at her teeth and yes, many were missing or worn down. Smudge was an old hedgehog. Had I known she had heart disease from the beginning, perhaps, I would have prevented educating with her due to the stress and always have a warm pad for her to help with circulating. But darn if she didn’t move off that pad when I put it in that week. So, what the heck? Little prey animals mask their illnesses so not to look weak. I created a video of all my beloved animal ambassadors over the years and posted it on YouTube – Loved and Lost. It was sad and wonderful remembering all my little pals.

I got to meet a 1st cousin on the 22nd for the first time. However, she gave me Covid, and I came down with it on the 24th. I had to find coverage for me at the museum and had little interaction with the animals including Max. I was fearful one of them would get sick from me. I handled the cold part of it but the fatigue and muscle weakness wreaked havoc. However, since I had animals to care for, there was no lying around feeling sorry for myself. I continued to do my animal care as best as I could and took multiple breaks. I did catch up on my sleep which was a good thing! I lost my taste and smell 4 days into it, but it slowly came back a week later. As of this writing, I’m still coughing and have sinus issues but am negative. Heck, I was having those issues before Covid.

Let’s see. While I was out mowing the lawn on the 27th, I noticed my car in the garage leaking. Called for a tow that Monday and it went to the shop without me. Seems my power steering sprung a leak. It was probably a mouse! I hadn’t driven it since the 10th. I’ve been using mom’s car since it has less mileage. Well, that got fixed and I picked it up once I was out of quarantine.

On the 30th, we had a major rainstorm, and my house was hit by lightning. I don’t think it was a spike but more of an electrical flash. It sent the cable out which also works the phone line and three of my outlets went dead. Lucky, I flipped the breaker, and that took care of the dead outlets. It was a couple days for Spectrum to get to me to replace the fried DVR and Wifi router. My new phone/answering machine arrived on Friday but what I didn’t know was that the lightening killed the old phone, not just the power cord. I was listening to a message yesterday and it was all static. So, I’m thankful I didn’t send the new phone back when I purchased a new power cord. Though I now have an extra power cord! It also fried the power cord to LED lights in the kitchen. I know it could have been worse and for that I’m truly grateful. Imagine the cost of replacing Max’s meat freezers? Phew.

At times like this, I tend to forget that there have been good times, too.

I look back at some of my messages & photos to my sisters and friends. The 19th was a beautiful day when I sat on a bench at the nature preserve where I work and watched the bees pollinate. I watched a butterfly make it’s rounds to the plants and then stop for a drink of water in the bird bath. I remember thinking how lovely and wonderful nature is.

The morning of the 20th, I gave Lil Bun new flooring. Yep, I don’t get new flooring, but the rabbits do! This will make it much easier to clean up after them. I still need to do Poppy’s flooring which I will get to this weekend. It’s a bit time consuming with the cleaning the wood, cutting, and placing the vinyl squares and kneeling! I love the results. It will help preserve the wood base too. What you don’t know is this is my 2nd upgrade on their living quarters. Lil Bun would run and scatter poo, hay and litter outside his bars. So, I created a baseboard around the cage to keep in the mess. Poppy is not as messy. Lil Bun is a joy. Sometimes in the evening he runs circles in his cage. I usually put him on the porch to help him with his energy. I would put Poppy as well but he was neutered at the beginning of August and will still try to hump her. No, I’ll wait another month before I combine their cages into a larger one. Though I might have to get rid of the couch and rocker!

Max…last photos I took of him were on August 1st. On the 21st, I got a photo of him carrying around his purple puff ball like a baby and mewing. He then tried to hump it. OMG, that cat is so funny!

Good news, Ruby will sit on my shoulders and be okay if I don’t touch her much! Progress! The photo is from August 31st.

See, not all of August was a bust!

New Chins

8-18-22 – I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to post that I got two new chinchillas to be ambassadors for my program. I was told they were friendly. Haha. Where do I start? I drove 3 hours one way to pick them up from a guy who had more than the two. When I first contacted him, Coco had just passed away. He didn’t tell me how many he had but said there were male and females with ages from 4 months to 3 years old. The colors were beige, regular grey and black. I decided to wait to give myself time to grieve and decide which Saturday I would have time to pick one up. I did a lot of thinking and contacted others that had a chinchilla to rehome. One did not like to be held. I was told that the species didn’t like it. Ha! I had two chinchillas ever and both loved to be held. I decided that perhaps I should get two chins to keep each other company. When I was ready I contacted the gentleman again and he had two left and both were bonded. He said they were siblings. As for age, one was almost a year and the other about 1.5 years old. They were siblings? Both are standard grey. On July 9, he loaded them into my carrier and when I got down the road to a pitstop, I pulled the little one out. She was very squirmy and her fur was greasy which meant that she had not dust-bathed. I named them Ruby and Pearl as suggested by my good friend Christine. Ruby is the baby who had mats in her fur on her backside. Pearl’s fur was greasy but no mats. Ruby doesn’t know how to dust bathe but Pearl jumps right in. Both DO NOT like to be held and Ruby is a nipper. Yes, she bites. Pearl will lunge at me and try to bite me when I reach in. It takes a lot of logistics to fetch them. I’m thinking dropping a towel over and scooping them up will be the easiest. Sometimes Ruby will constantly squirm and nip when I hold her. Pearl is a little better about being held. Both will happily take a cranraisin (dried cranberry) from my fingers. I try to hold them daily and talk to them every time I walk by their cage. Neither are litter-trained and will pee on the shelves. Ugh! I decided that they needed a new cage. The one was 10 years old and the shelving had been chewed on by many. The new one was a little pricey but is perfect for them. I have seen them using the bottom tray as a litter pan on occasion. I mean, chins will poop everywhere and that’s fine. Their urine is strong and it needs to always be in the bottom tray and not on the shelving. Sooner or later, hopefully we’ll get there. Right after getting them home I took a comb to Ruby’s mat. Underneath the mats were sores. As of now, the fur has been growing back nicely. She also had a sore behind one ear which has healed too. Because Ruby doesn’t know how to roll in a dust house, I got a sugar shaker and will shake the dust over her and fluff her fur. This will keep her soft, fluffy and greaseless. Sometimes afterwards she will roll on the shelf to get the dust off. That’s how she should roll to get the dust on! Anyways, these two are challenging.

New Ambassador

Hello everyone! I have a new animal ambassador. I’ve been trying to figure out a name for him and so far, Thumper “Thump” and Rascal fits, but Lil Bun is close. He’s a Holland Lop with a quirky left ear. Yes, a domestic bunny but we can discuss his wild cousins like the Snowshoe Hare with a pelt for touching or the Cottontail. Anyways, he’s likes to be held and who doesn’t like to snuggle a bunny? I know that it’s a 10 year commitment and I’m not getting any younger. I guess this will be my last baby ambassador. I am booking programs for summer now.

Rascal Thumper

Wildlife Festival

12-25-15 3356 cover copy (1)If you live in New York state or any of the neighboring states, Max and I will be at this Wildlife Festival on Saturday, September 18 from 10-4. Burt Parrot and Smudge Hedgehog will be with us. There will be lots of North American animal artifacts for touching and learning. Come one, come all. Here’s the link to their Facebook event – Blenheim-Gilboa Wildlife Festival

2021 News

Let’s see….

Velvet Hedgehog became sick late October. She had an infection in her mouth and a couple teeth were effected. We took care of the infection and it wasn’t clear if she might have cancer. The lump reappeared or maybe never left and we started treatment again and then switched to another antibiotic. However, it looked like the lump increased in size the other week and I switched back to the original antibiotic. She’s drooling and has lost weight. It looks like an abscess but then again, not. She’s eating, active and still spunky. She is also on pain and inflammation meds. So, for now, it’s a wait and see situation.

Max Lynx now has his own website. It’s all about him. I will be removing all the posts on him from my archives website transferring them over to his new site. Most of the posts here are about him too. I’ll keep the posts on all the other animals but I’m trying to consolidate and eliminate one site. If I had known how to decrease the file size of a photo years ago, I wouldn’t have needed the second site. On Max’s site, all photos are watermarked and reduced in size so I have plenty of room for years to come. I’m also taking ideas on a photo book title. It’s going to be a difficult decision as there are so many awesome suggestions. Once I get his website up to speed, I can begin working on the book. I hope to have it launched for ordering by May 4th, his 10th birthday.

2019 in Review

Well, 2019 was a heartbreaking and busy year for us. We lost two cats, Teddy in March who had a stomach mass and Spooky in September who we believe had cancer. Both were about 12 years old, obtained the same year (they were dumped) and both had the same eye removed due to health reasons over the years that we had them. They had to have been brothers but different litters and found their way to our house needing to be neutered, of course. Both were between 6 months and a year old.

My sister got married May 11th after 10 years of being together but then he had a stroke and died June 7th. She is still struggling.

And then I lost Willow Ferret in November. She just stopped eating, became lethargic and the vet said she had a heart condition. She was a bit over 4 years old. I have yet to own a Marshall-bred ferret live to 6 years old. I  believe they are inbred.  December 8th I rescued two adorable little ferrets but they are middle to late in age. Frankie is 3 and Frannie is 2 but I will love them like crazy in the little time that I’ll have them.

Poppy rabbit got a new hutch. Oh boy, that was a chore to put together but it gives her a chance to be on grass and out in fresh air. She loves it. Max loves it too as he can watch her from his enclosure. Enrichment! I have to move the hutch every couple weeks to give her fresh grass.

Lots of improvements were made to Max’s enclosure. I took down the wire roofing which was right under the barn roof. I had to attach it to the sides of the barn beams from the sides of the panels, so the little devil could not leap over the fencing. I never finished two sections but he hasn’t noticed.

May I installed bamboo fencing to give one end a cozy feeling. Of course I had to add Plexiglas behind it to protect the metal panels from rusting when he marks his territory. So, not a cheap improvement. I found a fake boulder online and purchased it. Max loves to hide behind it as if I can’t see him!

In June I created a corner cubby for the boy. It was not fun because the fencing had been delivered in the rain and got warped in their boxes but I managed. I finally got around to painting the shelving and bottom pallet in September.

In November, I hauled a dead tree into the enclosure and balanced a portion of it on the fake boulder. Now, Max loves the big old scratching post! I also built him an elevated walkway for days in the winter when it floods or gets icy. On the ramp, I had to add wooden rungs for Max to steady himself. I haven’t had a chance to post a video of him on YouTube using it but it’s on my to-do list. It took me days to get the posts in and then the shelving all before the snow and frost showed up!

I dialed it down with programs during the year. I presented five and Max was in four of them.

2020, I plan having a loft built under the pole barn on one side. Good friends Christine, Evan & Vinnie the cat have helped financially. I’m not sure when it will be completed but the contractor is good, reliable and says he will get it done.

A Name is Born

What’s in a name? Naming an animal is sometimes easy and sometimes not. We had a difficult time naming my new hedgehog. We took all the suggestions by you and picked our favorites. Then threw them in a jar & picked one out. The winner was Quillie Nelson Hedgehog UNTIL I was sitting at the table with the little guy and he was eating out of my hand but the least bit of movement sent him into all quills. He twitched this way and then that way and it occurred to me that his name should be Twitch. And so a name was born. Meet Twitch Hedgehog.

Twitch Hedgehog
Twitch Hedgehog

Baby on Board

Since I lost my two hedgehogs and following them Miss Pansy ferret, I needed the hole in my heart filled and we now have a new face in the house.

His name is …..??? No name yet. I’m grabbing suggestions from my Facebook friends. He’s a wee lad of 8 weeks old (born 1/15/15) with a pinto coloring or a high white pinto coloring. I’m going to have to research those colors. He’s all white with three patches of black down his back. Anyways, he is friendly but cautious. I gave him this big cage with three levels and sure enough he investigated every inch and found he really liked his wheel. He does like to snuggle but I didn’t want to overwhelm him too much. I’ll give him more hands-on as time flies.