Publication: Freedom — OCR - Placentia News-Times; Date:May 26, 2017; Section: News; Page Number: 3
WHAT A DAY
Mothering all creatures, great and small
We celebrated Mother’s Day recently, and for the past couple of weeks, I’ve had an extreme case of motherhood. Yes, raising Marcus was filled with motherly moments, from diapers to diplomas.
Still, the events around me stirred my maternal instincts even more than usual.
It began with my 13-year-old show horse. He’s wonderful to ride, but his personality is that of a 6-year-old with ADHD, and he has a fused joint, a metal plate, and six screws in his leg as the result of an injury when he was four.
I knew I would not be able to ride him as long as a normal horse, but it is now obvious that I have to retire him, which means finding a new, cheaper place for him to live, probably in Temecula. I’m devastated to send him so far away from me.
Marcus’ birth was wonderful, but I helped pull Snoopy out of his mom. There’s something magical about helping a horse give birth. Plus, I didn’t have to be drugged.
So he’s my baby, too. I’m worried that he won’t understand, that he’ll think I abandoned him. It’s like putting my child on the bus for sleepaway camp. What if he cries for his mom?
I had just begun to think rationally about Snoopy when the raccoons showed up in our chimney.
On Monday night, our dog, Duffy, spent the evening standing in the fireplace and barking at the damper. I spent the evening yelling at him to get out of the fireplace. Dale came home and tested the contents of the chimney flue by tapping on the damper with his golf club.
The flue growled at him.
We considered our options, one of which was to light a fire and force the critter out. That option was off the table when we heard babies chirping. Dale climbed on the roof and shone a light down the chimney. He could see four little bodies squirming around, and one pair of angry mama eyes, glaring at him.
After consulting with experts, we decided to let the raccoons leave voluntarily and then put on a spark arrestor to discourage them from returning. Friday morning, I heard chirping babies and tiny feet scurrying across our roof. They were gone.
Except they weren’t. One little baby was still in the nest. From Dale’s view on the roof, looking down, it was huddled in the corner. When I tapped the damper with the golf club, it moved around.
All day, I heard chirping from the chimney. I hoped Mama Raccoon would come at dusk to pick up her last little munchkin.
No such luck. I went to bed that night feeling worried about the baby. He had to be missing his littermates. He was probably hungry. As a mom, I wanted to swoop in and take care of him. Nature has a way of weeding out the weak and infirmed. I just didn’t want it to be on my watch.
I tried to think of a plan to rescue him. I even Googled what to feed a baby raccoon, and where was the nearest wildlife rescue center.
By Sunday, it appeared that he had left the chimney. My optimistic heart is hoping Mama returned and he rejoined his family.
Feeling maternal toward horses and raccoons may seem silly, but I guess I’ll always be a mother, even for four-legged critters.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].