This is a story of how my Husband and I ended up meeting Lady Goat this past weekend and discovered a whole new world of a refuge for wildlife creatures ... goats, deer, racoons, rabbits......
Husband decided to check it out and over the next few weeks made almost daily strolls to see how the construction was progressing .....
.... which brings me to one morning in June -- garbage day, in fact, and this is significant -- when, as per usual, Husband was talking to the owner and along comes the manager with a cardboard box. In it are three small, scared raccoon tykes, their little faces pointed defiantly upward at the folks peering in. The builder explains that he 'found' the box down the street and it was obviously being put out for the garbage. Hmmmm... Well, whatever.
Within five minutes, the box has been placed carefully on our front porch with the young lad from two doors down and his dad guarding it while husband calls the Humane Society. I tried to give the trio a small can of water ... no interest .. and quickly decided to name them Huey, Dewey and Louie. Very gender neutral and, yes, I'm aware those names are already taken by Walt Disney's adorable ducks and these were raccoons. But the names just fit.
All the while, there is general outrage rippling up and down the block as folks scratched their heads perplexedly trying to figure out what manner of person would discard three baby animals -- ALIVE -- to the trash heap.
Ever resourceful, Husband persevered to find a centre to care for the babies. He called someone who knew someone who knew another and, lo and behold, he found a wildlife rehabilitator who was knowledgeable and capable with racoons and willing to accept the three little ones. Turns out this person would soon be associated with a new Wildlife Refuge, which was in the final stages of getting its licence and was located not far from Ottawa. The Refuge accepts injured and orphaned small animals.
So off drove Husband with Huey, Dewey and Louie, a couple of old sheets to donate and some money to help with the cost of their food. The rehabilitator took them in, checked them over carefully and we soon learned that they were very all healthy, very young, should not have been away from their mother, were a bit dehydrated and were being rehydrated and then bottle fed. They would be transferred and cared for at the new Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge when it officially opened.
Pictures of the three foundlings arrived over the next few weeks to show their progress and eventually, yes, they were successful released into the woods. I hope they lead a charmed life given the lucky break they got at the start of their lives.
The stroll around the Refuge was just delightful. Lady Goat pictured above was peacefully snoozing in an old bathtub, eyes closed, beard a-waggling, chewing whatever and in complete repose as dozens of people went by her through the gate and into the Refuge grounds.
The grounds themselves had feeding and water troughs scattered throughout the property and animals ... ponies, horses, alpacas, chickens ...roamed from trough to trough or ambled over for a scritch from one of the guests. In other areas of the Refuge were large, sturdy cages to hold rabbits and other small or injured folk. The racoon cages were in the back and not for viewing during the daylight hours.
And there were Dozens of friendly goats. The goats are very comfortable around people as they are the Galloping Goat Farm petting zoo, also run by the owner of the Refuge Centre, who uses the funds from the petting zoo to operate the Wildlife Centre. We watched spellbound as a videographer somehow coaxed two dozen goats to run en masse over small hills, jump a little creek and come toward him as he filmed. It will be fabulous footage.
Goats are pushy creatures. Two persistently nuzzled my left arm which held a water bottle. I learned quickly that you 'pet' a goat by scratching its ears and NOT by touching its horns, which are apparently very sensitive. No problem, I said, as I gingerly 'pat', 'patted' them. (The picture, right, was taken by another photographer at the Refuge and shows one of the buildings that house the horses.)