Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rehabilitation Updates

Demetrios (husband): Had his cast removed, x-ray made. It showed, after 5 weeks, some healing, but not very much, due to his age and diabetes. Doctor put on a new cast, complimented Demetrios for having been compliant about not putting any weight on the broken foot, and said, "See you in four weeks." So we are hoping the healing will continue and he will not need surgery. Meanwhile, he sort of half stands in front of his walker (on his right leg) and half kneels on the cushioned seat of the walker (with his left leg) and rolls it along and keeps us both hopping!

Mozart and Beethoven (squirrels): Mozart's eyes came open on Sunday and Beethoven's will open any time now. Their feedings have increased in amount to 8 ccs and have been reduced in number to 4 per day, at 7 a.m., 12 noon, 5 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. Baby cereal, rice, has been added to their formula. Their tails, although fully furred, are only about as big around as a pencil, maybe slightly thicker.

Puer and Puella (squirrels): It seems to me they have about doubled in size. They no longer fit entirely within my hand. Instead, their heads stick out one end of my hand and their feet stick out the other end. They are beginning to get fur, although right now it's so short it looks more like a dark gloss. They suckle very, very eagerly; whichever one has to come second roots around frantically in his box to see where his formula is.

Archie (another squirrel): Archie came to me from a neighbor on the block, who actually witnessed part of her nest blow down. Her mother never came to retrieve her. Well, she's too big for that, too heavy. (Yes, Archie is a girl, the neighbors having named her before they were aware of her gender.) She came with her eyes already open, her tail fur already fluffed out to about the diameter of a man's thumb, and terrified of absolutely everything. It took her 48 hours to learn to take a mixture of formula, applesauce, and baby cereal from a bottle; now she takes it eagerly. Too eagerly. She should be nearly weaned by now. Once she is better acclimated to captivity, I will have to use some "tough love" on her, that hunger may induce her to explore her cage instead of hiding under her blanket all day and all night, and find the goodies I've put there for her: cheerios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, apple chunks, and other munchies.

My neighbors who rescued her were at first keen to keep her for a pet, but when they saw how much work it would entail, and how much expense, they wisely changed their mind. Archie will be released back into the wild when she is ready, which is the right and legal course of action.

Unnamed Baby Opossums: No, I don't have them. I arranged their rescue. Their mother died on a man's back porch last night, leaving three live babies. This morning, when they were still there, the man filled a ziplock bag with hot water, wrapped some towels around it, laid the babies atop it to keep warm, phoned us at ARK (Area Rehabbers Klub), and went to work. I got the call. None of us was immediately available to go pick up the babies. Finally one of our transportation volunteers, Veronica, did, and took them to Chris. Probably Colleen the Possum Queen will end up with them because she is our top expert on this species, but she wasn't home when all this went down. Two babies of three have survived, a boy and a girl, each weighing 18 grams. Their mouths are mostly sealed shut at this stage. They have to be fed by snaking a tube directly into their stomachs, as in the photo below.