When we first met him, his eyes had not yet opened. Weighing in at a mere 32 grams, he was tiny enough to fit in the palm of a hand.
He was frail and dehydrated, having been separated from his mother for some time.
Had a concerned citizen not taken this orphaned Long-tailed Weasel to a Montesano veterinary clinic, there would be no more to his story. But that kind act did occur, and after a short stay at the veterinary clinic the weasel came to PAWS where we were able to ensure that his life story would have many more chapters to come.
Our part in this story lasted 61 days. Those days were filled with top-notch medical care, species-appropriate caging and nutrition, and enrichment that helped to prepare the growing weasel for his eventual return to the wild. By the end of his stay, the weasel had grown to a sleek, 256 gram predator. Not only would he no longer fit in the palm of a hand, no one who wanted to keep their fingers would ever dream of trying to pick him up.
I had the privilege of seeing the weasel off as the PAWS chapter of his life came to a close. This took place in a secluded forest along a stream just outside the town in which he had been found. At first, the weasel was uncertain about what was happening. When I opened his transport container, he cautiously peeked out from under the towel beneath which he had been hiding.
He was clearly interested in what was outside his transport container, but the weasel was not yet willing to leave its familiar confines. He walked around the lip of the container, sniffing as he went.
As the weasel left the transport carrier behind, he closed the PAWS chapter of his life story. In the same moment, he began a new chapter, but this one, and all subsequent chapters, will be under his own authorship.