Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Animals, Real and Imagined

While we were in the midwest this summer, Grandma N took us to the wild animal rehabilitation center where she works.  It's a charming vintage house that has been converted to hold cages for animals in each room: Birds with damaged wings, orphaned baby squirrels, the occasional ill-advised wild pet that has outgrown its owner, that sort of thing.

Buster is a little skeptical of some residents.

The whole crew admires the birds.  The center is focused on caring for and the releasing the animals back into the wild, rather than fancy viewing enclosures, so most of our pictures were of the kids and not the creatures.

Hmmm, this guy seems a little subdued.  Is he ok?

We read his tag - oh, he's an opossum, so I suppose this is normal.  Just playin' possum, ma'am!

Next, we went upstairs to a little room and gathered around a cage with two pretty birds.  I can't remember what injuries they were rehabbing, because we were startled by a massive thudding sound behind us.

I turned.  Something, something big was throwing itself against the other side of the door, a door that was barricaded by a cinder block.

Time for the Harry Potter-induced overactive imagination to go wild!  What is it? A hippogriff?  A three headed dog?

Grandma N told us the story.  Apparently, someone kept a coyote cub as a pet until it got big and couldn't be controlled.  The animal center retrieved it and determined that it was too domesticated to be re-released  - it would come to humans and eventually bite someone or be shot.  Instead, they are training it to behave so they can bring it to educational events about wildlife. We were assured that he had a comfortable space on the other side of the door, even if he was kind of restless.

 I like the emotionally intelligent sign: Any unauthorized contact could result in euthanasia for the coyote!

They know the type of people who come to the center love animals, so they don't want someone overeager to get into harm's way.

After the excitement, we headed back home for popsicles. It was a good day.


Bob said...

I think every animal shelter, or zoo should have a "Do Not Open" door with low lever thumping sound ( recorded or otherwise).
That will make the visit so much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

You should submit to Daniel Pink's Emotionally Intelligent Signage blog!

Fourth B

Mayberry said...

Wow - I wonder how long it will take to train the coyote!