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June 1, 2009

How do they know which house to come to? How?

On Saturday I discovered a teensy little furry baby opossum on my back patio. He was scared, as you can imagine, and he was clearly injured. It looked like he was missing a back foot, and he was cowering in the corner by the garden hose and the potted lemon tree and looking hungry and sad. And he was obviously a very smart little opossum because he knew exactly which house to come to in the neighborhood for love and attention and food.

Much to my parents' dismay, I have always been someone who takes in strays. And while I have been better in the past few years about no longer taking in strays of the human variety, I have yet to meet an animal I didn't love or want to take home or find a home or make well and happy. I had no earthly idea what to do with a baby opossum who was injured and all alone but I did the best I could, at least for the night. My vet was closed already and I had no one to call in the opossum knowledge department.


He had a little heated pad under his towel, there, and some kibble (which is probably not ideal but for one night was better than nothing) and some water and I have no idea if they use litter boxes but I made him one all the same.

The next morning I phoned my vet who immediately gave me the number to the California Wildlife Center. My vet assured me that these folks do everything they can to try to rehab and re-release an animal rather than euthanize. So I called them up and they said they would take him and Mr. No-Name Possum (because if you name it you keep it) and I drove to Malibu Canyon -- me in the driver's seat, opossum in a cozy box -- and the nice folks at the CWC took him in no questions asked. They didn't even charge for their services, they're a non-profit. The work these folks are doing is phenomenal, they take all kinds of injured and orphaned wildlife and help them heal and grow and then move back into the wild. As you can imagine my checkbook practically leaped out of my handbag to donate. I can't think of better ways to give money than to people who help the most defenseless of us all.

In fact! If you yourself are just sitting around today looking for somewhere to give a little donation of your own, might I recommend the California Wildlife Center? Take a look at their website, read a little about them, and if you have any to give here is their donations page with links to paypal. (They're a 501(3)(C) so your donation is tax-deductible, too.) I know these are tough times for a lot of folks economically. But just seeing what those folks were doing (they even had a little sea lion they were rehabilitating, and some orphaned fawns and all kinds of birds) just made me feel so grateful they're doing that work. And every little bit helps.

I was telling my mom about the opossum and the people who took him in at the California Wildlife Center and she said, "Doesn't it make you happier just knowing a place like that exists? It makes me feel better about the world, somehow." and I know exactly what she means. Like the world can't be all bad if there's a place for the little injured baby opossums.

Posted by laurie at June 1, 2009 3:37 PM