Thursday, May 30, 2013

Updates on my wildlife charges

First of, yes, the little wood chuck girl survived and is doing extremely well!

She was teetering right on the edge when she arrived, she was ice cold, starving, I could feel the hip and shoulder bones jutting through the skin underneath the thick fur, she would not have survived another day without immediate intervention.  The vet had given her lots of rehydration fluids under the skin and she was shivering from the spilled fluids despite rather warm and humid weather.  I had to turn a heating pad on the medium setting to get enough warmth into her hypothermic body in hopes that she would come around.  Eight hours later she was finally warm enough where I could risk a small feeding to get her stomach working again.  At first she could only drink a few cc's, her stomach was too shriveled already, and it took time to get it to expand again.  But each time we managed an additional cc, and the next afternoon she was able to thermo-regulate her core temperature enough where I could risk reuniting her with her sister.  It went well, she got beat up only a little bit before her sister recognized her, and the two immediately curled up into a tight ball together and went to sleep.  They have been together ever since.  Her sister is of course heavier because she had been brought to me right away and put on weight at a staggering speed.  In three days she went from 247 to 358 grams.  The half-dead little sister weighed only 227 grams upon arrival. 
This first picture might not be the best, but it proves that there are two wood chucks.  As for the paper mess, the newspaper was UNDERNEATH the wood shavings to keep them from falling through the grid, but wood chucks dig and do they ever!  They immediately rip all the paper up and then use it to hide behind it. 

 Here is the bigger girl, unsure of the camera.  This is their sleep corner, usually it's dark over there. 

Here is the smaller girl, busily munching away on sweet potato, a favorite food.  She is doing incredibly well considering how close to death she was.  She is the nicer one of the two, the larger girl likes to bite. 

The two slightly older cottontail bunnies.  The one in the corner is washing its face.  The smaller one still shows remnants of formula he let run down his chin and which was next to impossible to completely wash out without drowning him. 

And here is something you don't see every day either:  a baby black squirrel.  It's a little girl, and here she is munching away on her piece of banana.  She is not jet black, her underside is a chocolate brown and she has some yellowish brown on the sides.  But the overall appearance is black.  There are small pockets of black squirrel populations in Massachusetts, and with any luck she will start a population here if her mutation gene is strong enough to come through. 
I hope you enjoyed this peek into my rehab room!  Wish I had a genie that can snap her fingers and Whooosh!!! all the cages are clean!... 

Cheery Lynn Build-a-flower #2 and Embellishments #2

Hi everybody!

I truly apologize for being so late with posting this latest release done for Dutchpapercrafts.  Darlene always surprises us with the publishing of our releases, and this time I got caught with too many other things going on.  My wildlife youngsters HAVE to come first, and taking care of this many (28 right now) is an awful lot of work.  But more of that in my next post!

Darlene had teased me with this Cheery Lynn die set, the Build-a-flower #2 and Embellishments #2 die plates.  These are large plates with lots of individual pedal and leaf shapes to choose from.  The Build-a-flower #2 plate is a solid plate, but the Embellishments #2 can be cut apart, which I did.  Otherwise it would be hard to position smaller pieces of paper under the individual flower shapes.  Just don't lose any of the small pieces once the die is cut apart.  I store mine on a magnetic sheet which is actually a floor duct cover I found at Home Depot.  A LOT cheaper than the craft magnetic sheets, stronger, and the sheets come in packs of three measuring 8 x 15".  I cut each sheet in half and use Scor-tape to adhere the white (non-magnetic) side to a piece of card board measuring 8 1/2 x 11".  Then I stick the dies on the black surface and write the die's name and number with either a white or a gold Sharpie pen.  Then the finished sheet goes into a clear page protector in a ring binder.  This is an effective and very inexpensive way to store your valuable dies! 

But back to the release! 

Darlene started off with the Heart Wall Hanging I had made as a Valentine's greeting for my fellow Dutchpapercrafts DT "sisters".  I bought a wooden heart shaped plaque at Michaels and liberally spread Modge Podge over the front,
then added Martha Stewart glitter.  Oh, and as for cleaning up glitter messes I also found an inexpensive way to do so:  Tacky Cloth, also from Home Depot.  Martha Stewart sells basically the same thing in tiny sizes for a ridiculous price, but you can buy a large baggie full of the stuff for a few dollars or less at Home Depot.  Works GREAT!  None of our pets ran around glittering red this time! 

When the heart had dried I finished the glitter job with a spray sealer so it won't glitter all over the place.  Then I placed my rose center piece and baby's breath from the Embellishments #2 die, added all the hearts with names which I cut out with foam as well to give them dimension in alphabetical order, and lastly I added the flower bouquet on the top and the heart ribbon to hang the plaque. 

I'm not the biggest glitter fan because the stuff usually ends up everywhere in the house, but in this case I had a lot of fun AND got the glitter cleaned up before it had time to grow legs and run and hide everywhere!

Next I got to work with the Build-a-flower #2 die.  Once I started to run the die through with different color card stock and took a closer look at the shapes I realized that I could either make extremely dimensional or extremely flat and probably boring cards with these flowers or build a shadow box instead.  The size of the flowers almost cried out for that treatment, so I went to work.
  I enjoy "building" flowers, but working with the stacking tag the Cheery Lynn pedals come with was both easier and at times more of a hindrance than the usual way I build a flower, which is one pedal at a time.  Glue that sets almost instantly is an absolute must for building flowers, also, the glue must dry clear and be used in minute quantities only.  Aleene's fast grab was NOT right for this job, I needed something even quicker.  The best glue out there for this is Crafter's Pick The Ultimate Super Glue, a white glue that dries clear.  I have no idea why the craft stores in my area do not carry this glue, I have to order mine online.  It's worth it, though, even with shipping, so take my word for it. 

As for the flower shapes and colors, that is totally up to individual preference.  I chose to go with more realistic flowers and colors, but only your imagination limits what you do with this die. 

Darlene mentioned in her video that I will build shadow boxes if you would like to order one, from smaller to larger, and I will hopefully soon find time to upload pictures of the few shadow boxes I have here for sale right now, each a one-of-a-kind box, which I created over the winter. 

Proceeds from my crafts help offset the extremely high cost of wildlife rehabilitation.  Right now, as all my little ones are eating fresh produce in addition to formula, my grocery bill is 80% wildlife.  I go through two apples, one banana, half a bunch of Kale, 25 black grapes, 5 organic carrots, 1 sweet potato, and two ears of fresh corn for my charges per day, and I know that I am forgetting something.  That is in addition to picking gobs of dandelion greens, Plantain greens, fresh clover, and grass.  I go through 20 ounces of formula right now that the squirrels are in the weaning stage, whereas the two wood chucks drink down 55cc each per feeding.  This is special formula for wildlife, and often we have to mix several formulas together to meet a particular animal's needs.  My cost for just formula runs around $500, and that is not counting the feeding tubes, nipples, feeding syringes, Probiotics, amino acids, vitamins, and boosts that are also needed, especially for cottontails.  A feeding tube costs $2 plus shipping and gets chewed up either on the first feeding or, if I am lucky, lasts two days before it gets stiff and becomes unusable.  The average is one tube per day, and that gets expensive.  As for nipples, I've gone through as many as five per day when a squirrel bites through the nipple every time I feed.  The cheap silicone nipples still cost around 50 cents per nipple, so that little stinker alone cost me $2.50 for just nipples per day.  Then I have to buy laboratory quality rodent block for the squirrels and high quality rabbit food, timothy hay, and alfalfa hay, for the cottontails.  The opossum eats dry food plus gets thawed whole mice and whole sardines in addition to the fresh fruit and vegetables each night.  A small bag of whole sardines at Market Basket is $6. 

I hope you enjoyed this latest release.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will try my best to help you out.  I check my emails at least once a day.

Have a great rest of the week, and happy crafting!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Video of baby woodchuck

I just uploaded a video of a baby woodchuck that arrived about two hours ago. The story is as follows:

Friday afternoon I got a call about a baby woodchuck that had been found by a woman walking her dog in a public park.  The baby approached her dog and tried to get under its belly to suckle.  The baby responded well to formula and is now quite feisty. 

Today I received a call from a friendly vet who treats wildlife:  he had people here who brought in a baby woodchuck that was very cold and lethargic.  It had been found in the same public park but had changed hands a few times.  They only brought it to him because they were afraid it might die.  They had been on YouTube and found videos about pet woodchucks and thought this would be a cool pet... 

I had to put out this video to counter all these cutsie videos of people feeding baby woodchucks and some even giving advice on how to capture a baby.  It makes me cringe to see that, why would anybody want to cause such pain and heartbreak for the mother? 

I don't know if I'll get this baby through, it has trouble with thermo-regulation because of the way it had been kept.  It also may well have pneumonia, I don't like the way it gasps when it tries to suckle.  I started treating it with antibiotics in hopes to save it.

A baby bunny arrived last evening that had been brought in by a very experienced killer cat.  Yet the owners of the cat don't seem to "get it" that cats kill when they're allowed outside, and this poor bunny fell victim to the cat.  I could not save it.  The woman who brought it was sad to hear the news but hopes that the picture I emailed her will show to the owners of the cat what their cat did to the bunny, and maybe, just maybe, its death will be a wake-up call for them. 

It's been a very tiring non-stop weekend.  I had to reorganize my rehab room with the help of my husband who put up shelving so I can stack more cages to accomodate all the animals.  The phone rang non-stop, and between all this work and feedings and treating newbies I have not had a lot of sleep. 

I neeeeeeed to find some time to craft, it is my anti-dote to stress! 

Update, 11:35pm EST:
The baby woodchuck is improving slightly.  She is nice and warm now and is starting to show interest in formula and suckles for short periods at a time.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update on the seven cottontails

All seven little cottontail bunnies made it through the night, and after a typical non-drinking start I called Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton, MA and asked if I could come down and have someone teach me tube feeding and hopefully get a tube until I can order some?  Okay, 2pm...

I observed how one was being tubed and then had to do it myself. All six went well, even the little runt.  Two hours ago I sat down and tubed all seven without any problems.  One more feeding to go at 1am. I hope you all are keeping your fingers crossed?

The sad part at Tufts was that they had gotten in a deathly ill black bear cub and had to euthanize it.  It was the size of a human baby, so heart breaking, poor little baby.  Hopefully a necropsy will shed light on the baby's illness.

I feel a lot let stressed out now that I know how to tube feed and have the equipment to get started.  Will have to jump online and order a supply of different size feeding tubes since eventually these will get chewed through.

I think I'll take a nap prior to the last feeding...

...and then there were seven more... plus a picture of Blacky, the black squirrel

Late last night came the phone call:  a cottontail's nest had accidentally been destroyed by a back hoe and there were seven survivors.  They had also found what looked like pieces of the mother...

Cottontails cost about $40-55 per animal to raise, and these are only about 10 days old.  The family was at most willing to donate $50.  I really had to think about this one, because that is a hard hit to absorb, and I have no way to generate additional income except through my crafts.  However, I said yes.  Not sure why, but somehow things have always worked out in the end although the stress over money woes is probably taking years off my life...

The litter of seven tiny cottontails.  Left top corner is the tiny runt, you can see the size difference.  He is wrinkly due to dehydration.  

These seven had been given cow's milk and six had badly bloated bellies.  One is a lot smaller than the others and probably had been pushed aside by the bigger siblings during feedings all along.  I had to rehydrate him quickly and then tried go get the others to drink some medicated rehydration solution to combat the bloat.  There was nothing else I could do for them until the bloat subsides except empty their bladders, hopefully the bloat won't kill them overnight.  The little runt had refused the cow's milk and, once he came alive after the hydration fluids had kicked in, was later able to drink a good size portion of formula.  Fingers crossed that he hadn't been without food for too long already!

 These are the two smallest in the litter, the runt is on the left.  A very skinny baby, I don't know if this baby will pull through.  The baby on the right has a bloated stomach.

Timing had been perfect:  I had just  received a shipment of  bunny meds and additives in the afternoon.  However, I will have to buckle down and force myself to try and tube feed if the bunnies lolly-gag during feedings or I won't be able to keep up.  I don't want to, but feeding now 26 babies will otherwise take up the majority of the day and night.  Too much, way too much.  Tubing will insure they get the correct amount of formula every time, but it could also kill them if placed incorrectly.  And the only one who tubes bunnies regularly not only lives nearly 3 hours away but is also not available due to family illness.  - This could turn out to be the most stressful season yet!

Here are two baby squirrels, on top a regular gray squirrel baby, below a black mutation squirrel.  There are pockets of black squirrel populations throughout Massachusetts but they remain quite rare.  Hopefully the genes of this little black female will dominate and she will produce black offspring. She won't be a tiny squirrel, she is robust and promises to grow rather large.

If you want to help, please consider a small donation or visit my Etsy shop.  You may contact me directly anytime via the email address listed on my blog. I try my best to check emails at least once a day.  My handmade cards stock is a lot larger than what I have been able to upload onto Etsy, I just don't have the time right now to do that.  Whenever new babies arrive there is a period of nonstop work until they are stable and we all are settling into a routine.  Of course, the phone doesn't stop ringing, and the next arrival will create a new hoopla all over again.  That is because intake consists of an exam to determine the condition of the new arrival, warm fluids and set up a new cage, clean off any parasites, hydrate the newbie, and then catch up on all the other animals which means yet another late night and little sleep...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Will the calls ever stop?...

It is 9:45pm and I am awaiting two more baby squirrels tonight.  That will up my count to 17 baby squirrels.  The three cottontail babies are doing well, and today a fourth joined them, but this one is critically injured.  It got accidentally hit in the face by a weed whacker.  Please send prayers its way because it needs them!

One of tonight's squirrels has either a broken or bitten wrist, so I will be busy until who knows when.

One a more uppedy note, two baby squirrels that arrived this afternoon are doing well and one of them is a black squirrel!  I will upload a picture soon, this is my first black squirrel and I am tickled pink.

Time to try and feed the injured cottontail before the new charges arrive.

Update, 3:43am:  The severely injured cottontail baby did not make it through the night.

It is always sad to lose an animal, but in his case it was merciful.  At least he passed away warm and somewhat comfortable and safe.  Sometimes that is all I can do, ease an animal's suffering until the end.

The late night arrival baby girl squirrel has sucked down 12cc of rehydration solution already and still has no desire to pee.  She would not have survived the night but is doing pretty well.  I am still on the fence about her wrist, she does not react when I move it.  Because of that, I decided to put her in with the others, it will keep her warmer and make her feel safe.

I am exhausted, it's been a long and stressful day.  Time for a few hours of sleep...