For over a year, Charlie lived in the kitchen of a well-intentioned owner in California. Although his owner loved him, he knew he could not provide the specialized care Charlie needed.
Charlie had no tail or wing feathers when he arrived. Every time he tried to fly, he buzzed up a few inches before landing upside down, earning him the nickname “Bumble Bee.” We designed a cage to keep Charlie upright and, over time, added a variety of ladders so he could learn to clutch and balance. Charlie also faced another challenge: a misaligned bill (“scissor beak.”) Three times a day, he needed to be hand-fed small pieces of food and his bill massaged to train it back into a normal position. In addition to a healthy diet, supplements were added to his food so that his feathers would grow back without breaking off.
Progress was slow and it seemed that Charlie would remain in captivity for the rest of his life, but after two years his feathers were fully restored and his bill was normal. Once he was able to eat on his own and walk without flipping over, he was moved to a flight pen to strengthen his wings and get him used to open spaces. Another crow began visiting Charlie, and after several months Charlie was ready to fly free with her. They both still protect the grounds and are a lovely reminder of what love and patience can achieve.
Jack is a wonderful and patient big boy, who will live out his life as part of our family here at Sara’s Sanctuary. A desperate woman in California called us when her attempt at hand-raising a raccoon failed miserably. Like too many other people, she did not realize that the adorable baby available on the internet would become a rambunctious, curious adolescent that was too much for her to handle. After outgrowing her home, Jack was caged outside in a tiny dog run. Typical of caged, wild animals, Jack soon became aggressive. Luckily, she found Sara’s Sanctuary before he ran out of options.
Jack now resides in a large enclosure with lots of toys, pools and room to climb and play. This is not freedom, but he is a very happy, content raccoon!
Toby’s previous owners loved raccoons in the wild and thought it was a blessing to find a breeder. They quickly learned that even a hand-raised baby was still an innately wild animal that could not be kept loose in a home. After ransacking the house and nipping the owner, Toby found his way here. Although Toby was too wild to be a house pet, he was also too tame to be released. We built him a large cage so he could climb, play and get into mischief. He loves to swim and wash toys in his pool, enjoying the most freedom he can in captivity.
Bob endured 16 years in a horrific, dirty, padlocked 8’x10’ cage before a family member helped his owner realize he deserved better. Bob’s body was plastered with dried feces; he had open sores on his belly, edema in his legs, and a respiratory infection. He could hardly stand and was literally at death’s door.
A local independent zoo veterinarian thought Bob would never regain the use of his legs and should be euthanized. However, Bob was alert and deserved time to heal. Many months were dedicated to his rehabilitation: massaging his legs, tending his wounds and giving him a healthy diet. Against what the experts told us, Bob not only survived, but is thriving with acres of open ground to run, play and forage on. Bob is a senior now, and to see him cage-free and active is a great reminder of how important a second chance is for these amazing animals.
Chad lived in a small, unsecured pen of wild bird netting and zip ties, in a crowded neighborhood. When we arrived, he was lying on the ground gnawing on a growth on his leg. The owners thought it was an abscess, but it was a painful, long-growing tumor. We can only assume the owners did not seek medical attention for him because they knew it was illegal to own this type of exotic wild cat in our State. Our veterinarian removed the tumor the next day and sent a tissue sample out for pathology.
Sadly, the tumor was a chondrosarcoma. Although he is not in pain now, we will have to wait to see if he will be able to survive this disease. In addition to his tumor, he was also very obese. This is commonly seen in wild cats that are not fed a proper diet and do not have enclosures large enough to run & leap and play. Only a few days after surgery, he began eating like a wild cat again!
Milly, such a sweet little girl. She was found by a passerby in a garbage can with her eyes missing. She was very weak and needed a lot of care to prevent a massive infection. After her wounds healed, she began to explore her new surroundings with the help of seeing eye friend, also injured by his former owner. She loved swimming in the pond, sitting in the sun and being held by volunteers. An incredible trooper, Milly was the queen of our flight pen until she passed away in 2011. She will forever be in our hearts.