Jul 2, 2009

Rainbow Wildlife Summer Newsletter

A very HOT Summer 2009 at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue

158 animals were admitted to the RWR in 2009 so far
My name is Birgit Sommer. I am a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for the State of Texas, director of the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue in Stephenville, TX , as well as a volunteer and foster parent for the Erath County Humane Society.

I, like many other licensed wildlife rehabilitators, work out of my own home and volunteer my time and just about every spare cent I can gather towards animal rescue efforts and public wildlife education.

No local or state funding is available for animal caging, veterinary care, medicine and food.

orphaned raccoon

That's why most rehabilitators gratefully accept donations towards the care of animals they receive from the public.

Some folks find the idea of wildlife rehabilitation ridiculous or claim it's "messing with nature". These folks neglect to see that most wildlife related calls that require our human intervention ARE the direct result of unnatural conditions such as careless behavior of people, toxins, poisons, automobiles, guns, traps, lawn mowers, to name just a few.

Often we are confronted with animals that have suffered traumatic wounds and horrific injuries. Some animals come in poisoned, shot, injured by cars and left for dead by humans. The stories and cases are endless and heartbreaking.

We, as wildlife rehabilitators, are dedicated warriors on the front lines between suburban development and natural habitat and are grateful for every bit of support we can get.

We need your HELP!

One morning last week, I was outside in the large enclosure, bottle-feeding Rocky, one of the 3 female raccoons living outside, when I glanced over to the neighbor's back yard and froze on the spot! This guy was aiming a BB gun at trees and shooting away happily! His toddler grandchildren were playing catch around his legs.

When I saw the first squirrel fall I was already so mad, that I had interrupted feeding Rocky and marched outside to call the police, because I knew for a fact that discharging a gun of any kind inside the city limits is illegal. Leave alone with small children running around.

The old man received a citation from the police, but I started to get very scared that he might feel like aiming his gun at my cages next time he gets the urge to take out his guns. After all, they are passionate hunters and just shake their heads about what I am doing here. To them I'm a complete joke. To me they are cruel and have no regards for life.

orphaned raccoon

So I spent all the money I had for July on privacy fence panels, poles, plywood, nails etc..

It was just enough to partially cover the side of the property behind the enclosures to block out the neighbor's view.

And prevent the older kids in the neighborhood from noticing the raccoons, because they "make such keeeewl pets" and "how much do you want for one?". Any attempt to explain or reason with them falls on deaf ears. Kids!

Now the coonies have more shade, are better protected and I can sleep a bit better.

This is one reason why I see myself forced to do a fundraiser this month. A lot of things have piled up during the past few months, that I was not able to take care of, because I had over a 100 animals to take care of first!!!

The most pressing items are as follows and are listed by priority:

  • 50 bags of Concrete for the large enclosure floor ($200)
  • Feline and Canine Distemper vaccines - (25 shots of each = $300)
  • Antibiotics Refills (clavamox and amoxil) - ($60)
  • Advantage Flea Prevention for Puppies - ($50)
  • 4 more Privacy Fence Panels 4x4x10 poles - ($250)
  • Drontal prescription de-wormer refill - ($90)
  • and various items such as Purina Kitten Chow, canned dog food, Purina Puppy Chow, rawhide bones, wood shavings, bark and shavings, cat litter, Timothy hay, fresh produce, detergent, bleach, towels, fluffy blankets, etc - ($100)

There are a few reasons why the large enclosure needs a concrete floor rather yesterday than tomorrow. At the moment only 3 raccoons are residing in that enclosure, but in 2 weeks three more raccoons will follow.

Having a dirt floor covered with wood shavings is nearly impossible to keep clean, leave alone disinfecting it.

The animals carry food around, eliminate in different spots and the insects are having a field day. The flies are horrible, ants are invading the place, mosquito's and fleas are present as well.

large enclosure

There is no way I can bleach a dirt floor. I had tried to put plywood down, but since the raccoons use a lot of water, the wood is constantly wet and I keep slipping.

A concrete floor would allow me to simply bleach and hose everything down.

Another huge hurdle that needs to be overcome is finding volunteers to help me mix the concrete and lay a somewhat leveled floor that will drain well. If you are local and know how to "play" with concrete or know of a company that might donate it's supplies and/or services, give me a call!!!

If you want make donation or purchase any of the needed items and have them shipped directly to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue, please click HERE!

Alternatively you can mail a check to the following address:

Rainbow Wildlife Rescue
502 E. Clifton
Stephenville, TX 76401

Phone: (254) 968 - 4626
Email: help@rainbowwildlife.com

What else is happening?

Raccoons, birds, opossums, cottontail rabbits, dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and even a couple of published newspaper articles!

coco puppy

Lets start with Coco Banana, the pregnant Chihuahua that was thrown over the fence at the Humane Society and ended up in my care.

Five weeks ago she gave birth to 6 beautiful and healthy puppies that all look just like her.

I'm happy to say that we found great homes for all puppies and even Coco herself!!! They will remain at the RWR for another couple of weeks before going to their forever homes.

Animal Control presented me with a very weak orphaned kitten 2 weeks after the puppies were born. The kitten had a hard time nursing from the bottle and since she appeared to be same age as the puppies, I offered the kitten to Coco and she adopted her without hesitation.

I named the kitten "Puppy" just to make the confusion perfect! Puppy spent 2 weeks with Coco and her litter.

Then the puppies outgrew her and she had to be removed. She is now in foster care with other real kittens.

orphaned raccoon

Thanks to my friend Loree, who has been such a great help with fostering the kittens, she's going to have a great start in life. THANKS LOREE!!!!!

While I am in the thank you mode, I want to say a very special THANK YOU to Tom Piperson!! He has been my backbone through all of the writing and publishing related ordeals! Thanks to his talents and skills, we were able to reach the public through newspaper articles and spread wildlife awareness as well as clearing up a lot of misconceptions. Thank you Tom, you are a true friend!

Psssssst, don't tell anybody yet, but Tom and I are discussing writing a book together! *wink wink*

Our newest articles are covering the rabies virus and the misconception surrounding it. The shorter version, suited for Erath County, was published in the Empire Tribune on Sunday, June 28, but they didn't put it online so you can read it HERE. The longer version is available for reading HERE.

Last but not least, a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU goes to my husband for his never ending support and sacrificing his weekends to help me with repairs and tasks that I can't do by myself!


orphaned raccoon

Birds that were admitted to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue since mid March 2009: 7 White-winged Doves, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Great horned Owls, 2 Black Vultures, 2 Mockingbirds, 1 Burrowing Owl, 4 Sparrows, 2 Grackles, 3 Phoebes, 3 Mourning Doves, 4 Starlings, 1 Killdeer, 1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 5 Blue Jays, and 2 Robins. That's a total of 41 birds!

Many of the birds were transferred to an experienced avian rehabilitator in a neighboring county, some were raised and released here, and some did not survive.

Raccoons and Opossums

This has been the year of raccoons and opossums for me! I have already released over 40 opossums!

6 orphaned raccoons are currently residing at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue as you have gathered by now, if you actually read this far down (thank you for that!).

They have literally stolen my heart! There are 5 girls and 1 boy from four different litters and different ages.

3 of the older girls named Pumkin (the oldest and sweetest, weaned), Sandra (2nd oldest and very feisty, weaned) and Rocky (completely Momma's girl and still on the bottle) are not related and already live outside.

orphaned raccoons

The other three babies, Abi, Lena and Ian, are 6 weeks old now and still inside. They will be joining the other 3 girls at the age of about 10 weeks.

All of these babies were rescued by kindhearted and generous people that have gone FAR out of their way to save these critters. THANK YOU Judy, Stephanie, and Robin!!!!

I have posted many many movies and pictures on YouTube and my Rainbow Wildlife Blog.

I think I have talked enough for the next 3 months! Thank you so much for taking an interest in my work!

Erath County Humane Society Animal Shelter

I do want to mention the ECHS, since I update their Adoption List on petfinder.com. I go to the shelter as often as my time allows it and take pictures to update the petfinder page. It has been a great success!

Don't Buy, Adopt a Pet

Don't Buy, Adopt a Pet!

Whether you adopt a pet from a local animal shelter, rescue organization, or human society, it doesn't matter because you're saving lives! You probably want to adopt just one kitten or cat, right? Adoption saves more than just the life of the pet you adopt.

If you adopt from an animal shelter, you're making room for another dog or cat, or you're allowing other dogs or cats at the shelter to be kept for a longer period of time, giving them a better chance at being adopted.

If you adopt from a humane society or a rescue organization, you're allowing that organization to rescue another dog or cat for adoption at a public shelter, which, of course, saves the life of that little guy plus the lives of others at that shelter by creating space so new pets can be kept longer. As you can see, adoption is truly a continuous cycle of saving lives and it's the right thing to do!

3 Orphaned Raccoon Girls

The 3 orphaned raccoon girls Sandra, Rocky and Pumkin are doing excellent. Rocky is still on the bottle, but does not fuss anymore, as you can see.

This enclosure was built by the boy scouts and was originally meant to be a flight cage for birds. That's why we put the fine screen inside, because the hardware cloth harms the feathers.

However, the boy scouts did not get to finish the enclosure to the point where I could use it for birds. I tried, but they kept getting out. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, rather the opposite! I'll be forever grateful to the boys and their parents for getting this enclosure up and standing.

When it comes to animal rescue, making plans usually doesn't work. It's all about juggling and adjusting and managing and going with the flow, at least to me. So when I needed this big of an enclosure for 6 orphaned raccoons (3 so far, the other 3 will be added to the enclosure within the next 2 weeks) and the birds kept getting out of the "flight cage", I decided to re-arrange everything.

The fine screen the girls kept ripping off the inside of the flight cage will go into a smaller enclosure, which will serve as a flight cage for now. More fine screen will be put on the outside of the flight cage to keep flies out, so no material has been lost but a few staples maybe.

Hopefully by the end of next week I have managed to raise enough funds and manpower to get a concrete floor into the flight cage that I can bleach and hose down for better hygienic conditions.