Medium 9781574412161

Through Animals' Eyes, Again

Views: 3218
Ratings: (0)

From the author of Through Animals' Eyes come more true stories from the rare perspective of someone who not only cares for the animals she treats, but also has never wanted nor tried to tame or change them. Lynn Cuny founded Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRR) in 1977 in her backyard in San Antonio. It has since grown to 187 acres and now rescues more than 7,000 animals annually and maintains an emergency hotline 365 days a year. Native animals are released back into the wild, and those non-native or severely injured animals that cannot be released become permanent Sanctuary residents. Through her stories, Lynn hopes to dispel the belief that animals do not reason, have emotions, or show compassion for each other. Lynn's stories cover the humorous and the tragic, the surprising and the inevitable. The animals she describes range from the orphaned baby Rhesus monkey who found a new mother in an old monkey rescued from a lab, to the brave red-tailed hawk who was illegally shot, but healed to soar again. The stories will touch your heart and help you see "through animals' eyes." "These true accounts, as amazing as some of them are with their unlikely bondings (a porcupine and a rabbit, a duck and a cat) will captivate, fascinate, educate, and often move you deeply. It's an inspiring read for animal advocates and a must-read for those who have not been exposed to the beautiful experiences of the animal-animal bond."--Loretta Swit, actress

List price: $11.95

Your Price: $9.56

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

23 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

The Lady Hawk

PDF

The Lady Hawk

Have you ever been driving or sitting and reading or just going about your daily chores when something you see or smell or hear enlivens the memory of a particularly sweet and meaningful event in your life? This very thing happened to me when my partner, Craig

Brestrup, and I were driving into San Antonio. As we drove through the remaining wooded areas along 281 North we passed a giant golf ball towering over the trees advertising a totally out-of-place golf course. I have seen this gaudy edifice countless times but for some reason this time I was reminded of the area that is situated well beyond that turn in the road.

When I was growing up in San Antonio in the 1950s, my parents purchased a small lot in a new “development” called Cypress Cove. I was the youngest of six and had the good fortune to be blessed with parents who were two of the finest people I have ever known. My mother and father loved nature and had a dream to one day, after all of us kids were raised and on our own, build a small house on that lot in Cypress Cove and spend their retirement years in the peace and quiet of the Hill Country. There was little or no peace and quiet for them while they were raising my five siblings and me, and they so loved the outdoors that this seemed a very fitting way to live out the last years of their lives. In preparation for the realization of their dream, they used to take me and a brother or two out to their favored spot so that we could all enjoy a day away from the city. And we kids would go there on our own to swim in the ponds and run off some of our endless energy. Thanks to our parents’ influence we all loved nature and were happiest when we were climbing trees or sitting by a creek. It was not by accident that the Cuny home was the place to go if you lived in our neighborhood and had found a homeless dog or cat or if you encountered an injured or baby opossum, lizard, frog, or on one occasion, a red-tailed hawk.

 

An Unusual Adoption

PDF

An Unusual Adoption

It is hard to believe that autumn is approaching because the calendar says August, but as I look out on the sanctuary grounds I see the shadows lengthen and each evening the stars appear just a bit sooner than the night before. Oddly enough, we are the happy beneficiaries of an unseasonable cool front, one more element that contributes to the overall autumnal mood of the last month of summer.

It was an August much like this one nine or more years ago when

Wildlife Rescue was called to rescue a tiny, orphaned cacomistle.

This is the beautiful slate gray and white nocturnal mammal so many folks refer to as a ring-tailed cat. The fact of the matter is they are not in the feline family at all; they are more closely related to their cousin, the ever-popular raccoon. It is this relationship that could help explain exactly why the unusual events unfolded as they did.

The baby cacomistle had lost her mother and her siblings to dogs who discovered the family nesting in the hollow of a huge, ancient hackberry tree. The mother had done her best to distract the curious and ultimately destructive dogs away from her young, but the dogs were persistent, large, and aggressive and the nocturnal family of this delicate species was none of those things. When the bloody site was discovered the following morning there was no one alive except for the, I suspect, “runt of the litter”—a little female who was now in our care. It was ironic because, not only was she small, but this remaining survivor was frail and probably would not have survived the rigors of growing up in the wild. But this is something we will never know— for now her family was dead and she was in our hands. And as is the norm, it was the time of year when our hands were very full.

 

One Lonely Goose

PDF

One Lonely Goose

It is always a comfort to have the privilege of observing members of the non-human animal kingdom. So often we think of them as victims—helpless, voiceless, and incapable of creating situations that make their lives more enjoyable. Fortunately, this is not the case.

Often, when given the opportunity, non-human animals make the very decisions that significantly alter their lives. A perfect example of this is three geese who now live at WRR. The first is a tall and lanky

China goose who came to us after his mate died.

For several weeks, the residents of the community surrounding a small pond had watched as a regal male and female China goose swam with the other geese and ducks who inhabited the neighborhood. It was obvious when the female became ill. She would sit listlessly at the pond’s edge, protected by her faithful mate. Her head hung limp, her breathing was labored and slow. But as soon as anyone would approach her, she would waddle into the safety of the water, followed dutifully by her mate. Though the residents knew she needed help, they were unable to catch the goose or offer her any relief. Several weeks passed and the female showed no improvement.

 

Home Is Where My Sheep Is

PDF

Home Is Where My Sheep Is

Many times in its history, WRR has been called on to rescue animals who do not fall under the heading of “wildlife.” Often, in the very early days, we were not usually able to take these animals in as we do today. Instead, we had to do our best to place them in good, caring, and permanent homes. Fortunately, in those days, many of the homes were provided by our members.

Early in the year of 1978, WRR was called on to rescue one very large, yellow and white tabby cat named Seymore. His person had just passed on and there were no family members who could take

Seymore. About this same time, we were asked to find a home for an elderly Suffolk Sheep named Shefield. When these animals arrived at

WRR, it was easy to see that both had been well-cared for and were not happy about having to leave their familiar surroundings. While working diligently to locate the perfect people for the two, Seymore and Shefield were kept together in a large outdoor enclosure. Seymore had a cozy cat house and Shefield preferred the green grass and his favorite spot under a small oak tree. Often you would find the two sleeping together. Seymore enjoyed curling up on Shefield’s back and Shefield would often assist Seymore in finishing off his bowl of dry cat food. Every time a volunteer walked into the enclosure to play with Seymore, he was always followed by one large, wooly sheep.

 

Rookery Rescue

PDF

Rookery Rescue

It seems that almost every day we learn that another green space has fallen under the blade. Even though we are disturbed as more trees are killed and more natural habitat destroyed, we watch from a safe distance as this occurs. For the wild animals living in these areas, the experience is quite different.

Late in the summer of 1999, the local newspapers, radio, and television news media reported an incident that took place in south

San Antonio, Texas. There lay a quiet, wooded spot that for many years, hundreds of egrets called home. This home had everything the birds needed: tall, densely foliaged green trees, the nearby river, plenty of insects, and best of all, perfect nest sites. This quiet spot was so perfect that the egrets returned year after year to lay their eggs and rear their young. Sadly, all of that was soon to change.

It seems that an individual who either was not aware of the egrets’ presence or was simply not sympathetic to the birds owned this perfect spot.

 

The Egrets’ New Home

PDF

The Egrets’ New Home

The rains began late on a Saturday night. Here at Wildlife Rescue, we were initially grateful because finally it seemed that this parched, dry earth was going to feel some relief. For weeks we had been rescuing wild animals who were suffering because of the drought conditions in the area. By early Monday morning it was clear that this was to be something other than simply relief from a long dry spell. Heavy rains can be devastating to infant wildlife and floods are certain to take a tremendous toll on helpless babies of all species. The Wildlife

Rescue telephones began ringing early Monday morning. The majority of calls were concerning baby birds who had fallen from the trees, often nest and all. In most cases, mother and father birds were nearby doing their best to care for their young in the midst of the pouring rain. By midday, the calls were also concerning white-tailed fawns; some were trapped by the swollen creeks, others were soaked and cold, crying for a mother who had been washed downriver. The news had to keep reporting on the now dozens of people in danger from the

 

The Grand Old Girls

PDF

The Grand Old Girls

How many times in our lives are we faced with the opportunity, or perhaps a better word is challenge, of making what is decidedly a difficult decision? In the world of not-for-profit animal protection, these decisions usually consist of issues that deal with such things as: Which medication is the best for a particular illness? When is an animal ready to be set free? and Who will be able to adapt to a life in captivity? Then there are those decisions that make us step back and ask the question that goes to the heart of why we are here.

WRR learned from Craig Brestrup, Director of The Association of Sanctuaries, that there were twenty-three rhesus macaque monkeys in a lab in Michigan who were either going to be retired to a sanctuary or put to death. The day we received the call we were told that the monkeys had only two weeks to live and that we had to make our decision now. The image of twenty-three mostly elderly, female primates who had lived out their days isolated in small lab cages enduring heaven-knows-what and now facing imminent death was not an easy one to shut out. I knew we had nowhere to put them; I knew we were in the middle of organizing two major fund-raising events; and

 

The Grand Old Girl Adopts a Daughter

PDF

The Grand Old Girl Adopts a Daughter

We rarely have the privilege of getting to know a tiny baby wild animal, to watch her grow, and to finally see her once again in the company of her own kind, thriving and being loved and cared for close to the very way nature intended. But this past year I was just so privileged.

It was early summer when we received the call. An infant rhesus monkey had been a victim of the cruel trade in wildlife. She, like all helpless infants who are exploited by this business, had been ripped away from her mother’s care shortly after birth to be sold into the

“pet” market. These sensitive, intelligent animals are abused and exploited—all for the sake of profit to the breeders and dealers who continue to benefit by making innocent animals suffer. This particular baby had been purchased by someone who was no longer able to care for her. She had become “destructive” and had to be removed from their home. The fact of the matter was that she should never have been made available for purchase; wildlife belongs in the wild, not cooped up in living rooms or in backyards forced to live out their days in cruel confinement.

 

Thanks, But No Thanks

PDF

Thanks, But No Thanks

If we were asked, most of us would say that we have a favorite animal or at least a favorite species of animal. Some of us favor raccoons, some of us armadillos; some prefer eagles or feel a certain fondness for monkeys. It is often the case that the animals we feel most connected to are animals whom we have read about or had the opportunity to see or even care for. Perhaps this is why dogs and cats are often the first creatures we think of when we say the word “animal.”

Wildlife Rescue has, through the many years, done its best to care for an incredibly wide range of wild animals. It has usually been easy to tell their stories and to evoke sympathy and understanding for these amazing creatures. For the most part, all of us have seen a raccoon, opossum, or skunk; we have watched mockingbirds and cardinals flitting about in the trees in our yards and city parks. It seems that the human experience is one that encourages us to feel for what and who we know or are familiar with. But there is an entire population of silent, night-dwelling birds whom few of us have the privilege to ever see, much less really get to know. There was however, a couple in Marion, Texas, who did have the unique opportunity to not only observe but actually save an entire family of these seldom-seen birds.

 

No Fowl Play

PDF

No Fowl Play or

This Duck Means Business

As every new morning dawns, it is easy to see that we are completely surrounded by another beautiful and fortunately green summer. Walking about the grounds here at the sanctuary in Kendalia,

Texas, my eyes are often met with the site of multiple small flocks of who I like to call, “mixed ducks.” These amiable, feathered beings waddle about in their colorful coats of snow white, brown, mixed lush greens, blues, and coal black. They quack and squawk and call to one another creating such a cacophony of sound that at times it is possible only to listen to their conversations instead of having one of your own.

We have been rescuing ducks here at WRR throughout our history. Most have come from private hands, the unknowing public who purchased a fluffy, yellow baby from a roadside vendor or feed store.

These babies, along with helpless orphaned chicks, have been exploited for decades; for years they were dyed every hideous color imaginable and were never allowed the loving care of their mothers. They are sold to a public who does not realize that, before what seems like overnight, these precious little ones will grow into mature adults with needs very different from that of a youngster. Ducks are intelligent, curious birds who enjoy the company of other members of their flock and who seek out and need the close-knit relationships that are a natural part of their society. There are ducks who are considered

 

A Prickly Friend

PDF

A Prickly Friend

In only a few weeks, spring will be tinting the treetops green and the wildflowers once more will cover the Texas landscape. Already the sparrows are flitting about gathering bits of dried grass and discarded feathers to construct this year’s nest for their soon-to-be-laid eggs.

Baby opossums have bravely ventured out of their mothers’ pouches and are clinging tenaciously to their backs. All of these harbingers of spring do not seem quite so real when you look at the calendar hanging on the wall. But today is warm and sunny and if we are hit with an end-of-winter blizzard, as we were over twenty-five years ago, we might be surprised with late-winter, early-spring babies.

In February of 1980, all of Central Texas was enjoying springlike weather; the days were sunny and breezy, the nights cool and calm. The weather forecasters were confident that the Arctic front that had slammed into the Midwest would have little effect on our part of the world. Not surprisingly, they were mistaken. Early one morning just before daybreak, the wind shifted, and when it did there were no more cool breezes. Now in their place were ice-chilled gusts of no less than thirty miles per hour. The severely cold wind would have been enough to convince us that winter was still present, but Mother

 

Seeing with New Eyes

PDF

Seeing with New Eyes

It seems to me that it is all too easy to take animals for granted.

Those of us who are fortunate to live in the company of dogs and/or cats see them every day; we feed them, brush them, take them to the vet, fuss at them when they annoy us, chastise them when they do something we perceive to be wrong. Usually until their later years we assume they will always be around, always be a part of our lives.

On a larger scale, our society views animals as voiceless, emotionless creatures living their lives with an utter lack of desire, needs, or reason. I have often wondered what would happen if one day everyone decided to spend one week of their life quietly observing a backyard full of birds, or followed their beloved companion animal about doing as the animal does, walking, scratching, napping, simply being.

Or really getting to know a cow or sheep or a chicken. Perhaps ancient, now sleeping sensitivities would once again awaken in us. I firmly believe our lives would be enhanced. If we were keen observers what would we see; how would we label what our eyes and hearts took in?

 

Strength in Timidity

PDF

Strength in Timidity

Once, many years ago, Wildlife Rescue was called on to help save dozens of monkeys who had been confined in a woman’s basement in

Iowa. As you can imagine, suddenly being called on to take well over a dozen primates is quite a challenge. But we had been rescuing primates for many years and these animals were in particularly dire straits, so we felt it was critical to do whatever we could to make certain they did not find themselves in the hands of another collector.

Many of the monkeys were ill, some were elderly, and all were in need of fresh air, sunshine, and a nutritious diet. The individual who had the animals had continued to get more and more of them until her entire house was filled with cages full of monkeys. After she showed up at her veterinarian’s office repeatedly with dying primates, he decided it was time to contact the local health department. When the authorities arrived, they were barely able to spend ten minutes in the house before the odors of urine and feces overwhelmed them.

 

They Never Gave Up

PDF

They Never Gave Up

You could probably ask anyone who works as an intern, volunteer, or staff at Wildlife Rescue and they would all tell you there are no dull moments here. If anything, we offer our fine, hard-working people plenty of excitement, and all in the name of saving animals.

What could be a better way to make a living?

The excitement started one day when we received a call about some domestic ducks who were doing their best to carry out a peaceful life on a suburban park pond. Sadly, there were some individuals in this same suburb who had other ideas for these peace-loving water birds.

A concerned caller told us that they had seen two ducks who had arrows piercing their necks and heads but were somehow managing to survive.

Staff member Rob Koger went to the rescue of the troubled fowl to see if he could capture the birds and bring them to the sanctuary for help.

Rob arrived in late afternoon and found that there was a construction fence surrounding the pond, but a section of the fencing had been torn away so that people could come and go in the area. There were well over three-dozen Peking, Muskovy, and Muskovy/Mallard ducks living on this mid-sized lake, and most were ready to settle in for the evening. As he surveyed the area, Rob noticed that about 100 yards from him was a small, quiet gathering of feathered friends and there in the midst of these was one of the wounded birds. With net in hand, Rob ever so slowly approached the resting, yet agile, duck and gently captured and carefully placed him in a carrier. On closer examination, the arrows that had been shot into this bird looked almost like heavy bolts possibly coming from a hand-held crossbow.

 

Gentle “ Bear”

PDF

Gentle “Bear”

As we celebrate each anniversary of helping animals, it is natural to look back, to remember animals both human and non-human, to reflect on why some things happened, to mourn, to be thankful, and to plan ahead.

Wildlife Rescue is evolving into the very organization that I had always dreamed it would. I remember well those difficult days in the late 1970s when all WRR could do was manage to exist day to day, but always present was the very real dream of a beautiful 200–acre sanctuary. Now we are literally living and building that dream. But, as with so many things in life, along with dreams and plans there are often aspects of sadness. Growth and change are funny things. We usually look forward to them, fear them, get excited about them, welcome them, and dread them all at the same time. But one thing is certain: with life comes change and with change, if we are wise, comes growth.

The most important component of Wildlife Rescue is that we save the lives of animals who otherwise would most likely perish. Many of the animals we care for are brought to us by people who found them in dire need of help, hit by a car, poisoned, or trapped. Some are found motherless, lying on the ground waiting to die; then there are those who are left at our gate, tied there with a note, hoping that we will help. This was how Macy the Dog came our way.

 

Determined to Survive

PDF

Determined to Survive

Suddenly it is spring once again. Only weeks ago the rains came every few days, the skies were gray, cold, and cloudy, and the trees were bare. Now the sky is vibrant blue, little rain graces our days, the trees and grasses are bright green and soft and full with new life.

Wild animals in need of help have been finding their way to our doors. Every day it seems another peaceful, green space falls helpless before the blade and bulldozer. Where are the animals supposed to go when we relentlessly destroy their homes? How do we expect them to survive, or do we expect them to? Do we think of them at all when we decide to create one more housing development on a once peaceful stretch of nature?

On Easter Sunday I was sitting in my car just outside of Boerne, off of IH 10 West. I was waiting for members of my family, and I could not help but notice a huge earthmoving/destroying machine parked in what used to be a green, tree-covered pasture. For some reason, the machine and its driver had stopped just short of the one remaining mid-sized tree; all other lives had been crushed and piled up in a now-smoldering heap. I stared at this tree, a tangle of grapevines coursing through its branches, and suddenly I noticed movement in the dark green canopy. There in that lone surviving tree was a common scene. A pair of cardinals was diligently working to build their new nest. First the female would fly out of the tree, return with some grand treasure in the form of a piece of dried grass or brightly colored string, then the male would emerge, fly out of sight and return with an unidentifiable piece of fluff. I could only imagine that this slice of nature had for some years been their traditional home. Very likely there had been generations of cardinals raised in this very tree and in many others in this now vacant meadow. The beautiful red, topnotched birds seemed to have decided to go forward with their plans no matter what disaster humankind could dish out.

 

The Sweetest Flower

PDF

The Sweetest Flower

Many winters have come and gone since 1977 when Wildlife

Rescue was founded. It is truly astounding how quickly time moves through our lives. How rapidly the years flow past, and how little we are aware of this passing until one day we stop, look back, and immediately grab hold of the perspective that shakes us and wakes us to the reality of how short our time here on Earth really is. For me, looking back includes memories of animals who have changed my life every step of the way over the years.

Because WRR has so much to be thankful for these days, I often catch myself remembering the early days in that small, two-bedroom house in San Antonio. Our nearly two-hundred acres was but a dream then, a very well thought-out dream, but hardly more than the faith that one day it would be ours. In the late 1970s, time was filled with an early morning paper route, days of phone calls, animal rescues all over the city, and struggling to raise funds to keep WRR going, growing, and on solid footing for the future. It was not long after the word went out to veterinarians, “pest” control companies, police and fire departments, tree trimmers, and the all-important media, that the calls began coming in. There were the usual opossum-in-the-trash-can calls, the raccoons in the attic, the deer eating the rosebushes, but there was one call regarding a rather unusual little animal.

 

Skunks Welcomed Here

PDF

Skunks Welcomed Here

It was about the fourth call Wildlife Rescue had received regarding a skunk in trouble. The year was 1977, early summer, and people were just discovering that there was a new organization in San Antonio that was willing to rescue this much-maligned mammal. The first few calls asked us to rescue skunks who had yogurt containers stuck on their heads, but this call was considerably more involved than that.

It seems that there was a mother skunk who had dug her den under a sidewalk near the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. She could not have chosen a busier site. Because it was near such a popular nightspot and because skunks are nocturnal, we had the perfect recipe for chaos. We contacted the city public works office, asked them to meet us just after sunset, and hoped for the best. The restaurant owners in the area wanted the mother skunk killed. We explained that not only was that not acceptable, but there were babies under that sidewalk who would starve to death without their mom. Saving a protective mother skunk who is inclined to spray at the approach of anyone threatening her young was not going to be easy. Getting to the babies under that horizontal wall of concrete was also going to present some challenges. The owners of the restaurants agreed to give us two days to “get the family out of there.”

 

Load more




Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023672
Isbn
9781574413922
File size
1.65 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata