Baby season is officially underway at the PAWS Wildlife Center, and more orphaned, sick and/or injured babies are rolling in every day. Working with these animals frequently elicits a contradictory emotional response. All of the babies are adorable, but they arrive at the center after something has gone horribly wrong in their lives. So at the same moment that you encounter their unbelievable cuteness, you are also faced with the terrible tragedy of their circumstances. However, any sadness that is felt about any given animal's misfortune is tempered by the knowledge that, now that he or she is in care, the animal has a good shot at a second chance at life.
Several patients that we have received in the past week have certainly fallen into this cute but tragic category. On April 29, we received two orphaned Raccoon kits that were found in Snoqualmie, WA. Thin and dehydrated when they were admitted, the babies have been thriving in our care. The photo below shows one of the kits five days after admission.
On May 2, we received a very young Douglas Squirrel after she was found, weak and shivering, in a yard in Duvall, WA. No sign of her mother or a nest was found, so the baby is currently being raised here at PAWS with an orphaned male that is about the same age.
On the same day that the Douglas Squirrel arrived, a property owner from Granite Falls brought in four tiny bunnies that he found in his fire pit. We identified the rabbits as infant Snowshoe Hares. Unfortunately, one of the fragile youngsters died in transit to the wildlife center. The remaining three have been slowly gaining strength in the days since their arrival. One of the hares is pictured below. The green stripe on the edge of his right ear enables us to distinguish him from his litter-mates.
These are but a few of the babies that are currently in our care, and many more will come through our doors as spring progresses into summer. Our goal for every one of them will be the same—to ensure that their tragic stories ultimately have happy endings.