Apr 30, 2009

Coco, a very pregnant Chihuahua

Coco was thrown over the fence at the animal shelter. Since she is very pregnant, we decided that a busy shelter is no place for her, so she is at a quiet place at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue, awaiting birth and hopefully healthy puppies.

She was thrown over the fence with a male Pomeranian who is most likely the father of the puppies, so I'm expecting some very fluffy Chihuahuas!

Apr 20, 2009

Orphaned Opossums, Beaver, Squirrels, Rabbits, Raccoons


  • Frosty and Flurry, the Siamese kittens, had to be humanely euthanized because they developed symptoms of feline leukemia. R.I.P. Babies...we all tried hard, especially you.

  • 3 of the 5 cottontails did not make it, however, the remaining 2 rabbits are doing just fine.

  • 6 of the 8 squirrels were released. The other 2 will be ready next weekend.

  • 2 opossums were released as well, which left me with 7. Then there came 7 more, six siblings from one litter and a loner, which weighs only 30 grams.

  • the 3 raccoons have opened their eyes this weekend and are doing great.

  • the beaver kit is also doing great, but he needs to be transferred to another rescue with other beavers present. There is a place in Plano that is willing to accept him that has already 2 other beaver kits, but so far I have not been able to turn up anybody to make that 3 hour drive. I can't get away for this long myself.

So if anybody close by is willing to transport this animal from Stephenville to Plano, TX, please contact me!!!

Here's the little 30 gram opossum girl. She's about 6 weeks old:

Noisy hungry raccoon babies:

And the beaver:

Apr 15, 2009

Orphaned Beaver, Cottontails, Raccoons, Opossums, Squirrels

We have a beaver! He weighs 566 grams and is less than 2 weeks old. I'm hoping to find a beaver rehabber in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, because a lone beaver is not going to do so good, nor do I have the proper facilities once he gets older. Isn't he absolutely adorable????

nice t-shirt, isn't it??

One of 3 cottontails:

I was going to feed the opossums today and do the daily check. They are outside in a large enclosure and have a dog house packed with old t-shirts to sleep in. When I opened the lid, all I could find was one opossum!

I thought "ohoh, they must have gotten out those little Houdinis", but I couldn't see how. So I got the idea to look into the squirrel house that I had still hanging in there. And this is what I found. It probably reminds them of momma's pouch:

Three orphaned Baby Raccoons

They are about 2 weeks old, eyes still closed. Their mother was run over and a caring lady took the babies in until she found me to take over. All 3 are in good shape and eating and drinking like they are supposed to.

I have given them Dontral, a dewormer, which is extremely important to give to raccoon, because they most likely carry a parasite named Baylisascaris, the raccoon roundworm which can infect humans, dogs, cats, and just about every other mammal.

According to the CDC, Baylisascaris, an intestinal raccoon roundworm, can infect a variety of other animals, including humans. The worms develop to maturity in the raccoon intestine, where they produce millions of eggs that are passed in the feces. Released eggs take 2-4 weeks to become infective to other animals and humans. The eggs are resistant to most environmental conditions and with adequate moisture, can survive for years.

Apr 9, 2009

Spring Babies Movie at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue


Currently residing at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue:

  • 5 kittens
  • 4 cottontail rabbits
  • 9 opossums
  • 8 squirrels

Apr 5, 2009

Trinity and Honey Story in the Newspaper

Today, Trinity's story made the cover page of the local paper's Lifestyles section. I don't think they put that part online, so I scanned the article and pasted the text below it for easier reading:

Click picture to view larger scan:

Honey and Trinity Success Story

How two dogs can create a lot of human winners.

Not everybody in Erath County knows about the Humane Society Animal Shelter and its adoptable pets. A few of the people that do know about it have the wrong impression. They often think of it as dog pound-hell. Maybe after reading the following story of the combined efforts of many people to make happy endings happen, they will change their minds and convince more pet lovers to adopt a pet instead of purchasing one from a pet store or a breeder.

It was a cold and damp morning on New Year's Eve 2007. My small wildlife rescue was empty for the winter and I was enjoying the relaxing moments before spring would present me with its orphaned critters again. That's when the phone rang and my life was about to be changed forever.

On the phone was Judy Hallmark, the Erath County Humane Society's shelter manager. In the previous 8 years, I have fostered quite a number of domesticated animals for the shelter in addition to my own wildlife rescue efforts.

Judy had taken me under her wing when I was new in town and encouraged me to become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. I admire her with all my heart and will be forever grateful for the help she gave me. She is a true hero to me with whom I have the honor to work hand in hand to do what I was born to do: to bring people and animals together so they may understand, assist, and complete each other.

On that particular morning of New Year’s Eve, Judy asked me to bottle-raise six newborn Yellow Labrador Retriever puppies. She told me there were eleven in the litter and that five were too weak to be saved and had to be humanely euthanized. They were found frozen half to death under some porch with the mother too far gone to care. She did not have the heart to euthanize the remaining 6 healthy looking pups, Judy said. I could hear her swallowing hard, near tears. "Too many innocent ones had to go this year before they even had a chance," she sighed.

I agreed to raise the puppies, but I also wanted to help their mother, so I took her home too. She was such a sweet dog that I named her Honey. In the following weeks Honey recovered from her obvious past neglect while her puppies grew strong.

The entire Lab family was such a delight to take care of, especially one female puppy, the only one with the tan nose. She was the first to walk, to eat solid food, and to be weaned. This puppy will play a bigger role later on.

Honey and Puppies

Six weeks later, in mid February 2008, the puppies were almost weaned, the phone rang again. Judy told me about a litter of five newborn Border Collie pups that had been found in a plastic bag on Alexander Road. A caring passerby stopped, picked up the bag, and drove it to the shelter.

I picked up the pups and brought them home in a laundry basket. I put the basket down to get fresh towels. Upon my return I found Honey sitting in the laundry basket with the five black and white puppies suckling peacefully. She looked at me with this glare in her eyes that only a mother has.Needless to say, Honey raised those puppies too.

Honey displayed such high intelligence that I decided to keep her a while longer after all the puppies were adopted into new homes. I had her spayed and vaccinated and took her to obedience classes. It was clear to me from the beginning that Honey had a higher purpose in life than just being a pet. My plan was to take her to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and more to make people smile while educating them about animal behavior. Honey was the perfect dog for such a job.

She stayed with me for eight months. Somehow the word got out about her skills and my phone rang again. This time it was a lady named Susan Branham. She told me about her son Jacob, who suffers from spina bifida, a serious birth abnormality in which the spinal cord is malformed and lacks its usual protective skeletal and soft tissue coverings. Confined to a wheel chair, her son had been having a difficult time lately and was not very motivated to do anything, she said. A dog might change that, but it has to be the right kind of dog.

Honey and I

With every word Susan said, that feeling deep inside us that tells us clearly what's right and wrong, grew louder and stronger, screaming at me that this is it! It was time to say good-bye to Honey.

Susan picked her up next day and Honey won everybody's heart in no time, especially Jacob's. There couldn't have been a better ending.

A lot people have asked me how I do it, why I am not sad that Honey is gone. How come that I don't miss her? My answer is always the same "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened!"

The story is not over, however, far from it. Remember the female puppy with the tan nose that stuck out? She was named Trinity and ended up being the "shelter dog", like a mascot to the shelter. She grew up amongst dogs and people, displaying the same sweet character and intelligence as her mother Honey, even though she lacked obedience and leadership. It was planned that I take Trinity in over the winter months to teach her the basics.

In November 2008 Trinity turned up missing from the shelter. Previous occurrences at the shelter led us to believe that she was stolen. We immediately started with the search efforts: printed out flyers, informed the police and animal control, called the newspaper; even Crime Stoppers offered a $1000 reward for her safe return. We all were worried sick!

Exactly a week later she was found at the Dublin animal shelter! How she ended up there will probably never be known, but she was safe and healthy. Or so it seemed.

It was obvious that life at the shelter was not in Trinity’s best interest. After she was spayed, I took her in to teach her basic obedience and then put her up for adoption.

Trinity looked and behaved so much like Honey, even my husband and my neighbors started calling her Honey.


Trinity turned out to be a fast learner and she absolutely loved to do tricks. As with Honey, I pictured Trinity visiting hospitals and schools. I taught her how to stop, drop and roll and dreamed about a future with the fire department. Surely such a smart dog had a bright future and if not, I was more than happy to call her my own. As with her mother, I knew Trinity was meant to be more than just my pet.

On a hunch I contacted Susan Branham to see how Honey was doing and if she wasn't by any chance interested in adopting a second dog. She replied stating that they are in the process of adopting a chocolate Lab from a Lab rescue in the Metroplex. What a shame, I thought, I asked a little too late.

I continued working with Trinity and started to look for ways to permanently keep her, when she screamed out in pain one evening and started to walk on three legs. She always had a slight limp to her right hind leg, but she never showed any signs of pain, so we didn't pay much attention to it. Her condition worsened and I decided to take her to the vet for an x-ray. The diagnosis was hope-shattering: she must have sustained a severe hip injury as a puppy which was left untreated. As a result her bones had suffered severe damage. Only extensive surgery or pain medication for the rest of her life would make her life comfortable. She was only one year old.

There was no doubt in my mind what had to be done. I immediately started a fundraiser and with the help of my own mother in Germany, Randi Baldwin from the TSU Wildlife Society, and many other generous contributors, we were able to raise the funds for the necessary hip surgery.

Trinity after surgery

During that fundraising process I decided to check back with Susan and see if the adoption of the chocolate Lab worked out. It had not. I explained Trinity's situation and Susan agreed to give her a chance.

We set up a visit and had Trinity spend a day with Honey before the surgery. If mother and daughter get along, they would consider adopting Trinity after the surgery and recovery. I was thrilled!

It all worked out like a Hollywood fairy-tale. The surgery was a success.

Trinity recovered nicely and was officially adopted by Susan Branham, her husband Weldon, son Jacob, and of course Trinity's mother Honey. "We are all enjoying her very much and think she is going to be absolutely as wonderful as Honey is," Susan says. “The two dogs make our lives so much richer. We laugh while they play and, honestly, I don’t know how some people live without having the love of good dogs as a part of their family like what we have here.”

Family Branham with Honey and Trinity

Animals like Trinity are taken to the shelter every day and without people to adopt them into their own loving families, many will be put down. Instead of going to a pricey breeder or a pet store to buy a puppy or kitten, please take the time to visit the Erath County Animal Shelter. If you have online access, their adoptable pets are also displayed on http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1178.html .

The shelter in Stephenville is open Monday through Friday from 9am until 3pm with extended hours available by appointment. Their phone number is (254) 965 – 3247. Donations for pet care items and repairs are always very welcome and extremely appreciated.

Apr 2, 2009

Frosty and Flurry

Frosty's sister was found too! I named her Flurry: