Special to the Westerly
So, there I am, standing up in a little, beaten-tin boat slowly filling with water, with my dog carrier, long welding gloves and phone on the seat behind me, when a tourist on the dock nearby offers their guidance, “Don’t fall in!”
“Thanks,”I sarcastically mutter. Summer’s almost over, right?
Fortunately, it was a short paddle to my rocky destination under a pub to rescue a baby raccoon, and I didn’t fall in. However, the guy videoing this odd scene may have preferred that Instagramable outcome.
When the already-dented boat clanged against the rocks, the crying baby raccoon, the size of a kitten, started desperately running over the rocks toward me. Her mom had been viciously killed by an off-leash dog two days prior and she obviously needed help.
I quickly unloaded the carrier, put the gloves on, and picked her up.
I think it was at this point that she realized I was probably the wrong species to be a mother figure and she was having second thoughts. But, it was too late. I lowered her into the carrier and her near-future fate was sealed—we would have her at a wildlife recovery centre by nightfall.
As I was getting set to re-board my slowly sinking ship, I was alerted to another crying baby raccoon. This one was under a dock, perched just a few inches from the water.
With the bright yellow, arm-length-long gloves still on, I quickly loaded my new, cute, bandit-looking passenger aboard and paddled over to the dock. After making some quick preparations—setting my phone aside in case I ended up in the drink—I got onto my stomach, hung over the edge of the dock, and pulled out the second crying baby.
He was quite the wiggler, resulting in his lower region getting a quick plunge. However, he was immediately reunited with his sibling in the carrier and then loaded into the CARE Network van for their next adventure.
It’s hard to say what a typical day includes for a local CARE Network volunteer. But, things like scooping up baby raccoons and getting them to professional help is definitely on the list.
Fortunately, the pub and marina staff knew who to call (CARE Network, 250-266-WOOF) to help these crying, suffering animals who were also an attractant to predators who we’d like to keep out of our communities (and safe).
CARE Network are the local folks who have been helping raccoons, birds and of course dogs and cats, from Ahousaht to Hitacu since 2012. We are neighbours working with neighbours to improve public health, safety and wellbeing for all residents and visitors, whether they have two legs or four, fins or feathers. Facebook.com/coastalanimalrescue.
James Rodgers in the Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network’s co-founder.
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