Dancing with Cranes, Cuddling with a Panther, Wrapped in the Wings of an Eagle” my life with the Wild Life

Part of this project comes out of living with animals, more wild than others, and looking past the outside to recognize the individuality of each one.  There are different ways to accumulate an education: one is to go to school and become book smart, the other is to become hands on and life smart.

After an accusation of being too “Anthromophoric” in my dealing with animals I decided to set our and prove science of the day wrong.  At that time, the 1990’s, science did not recognize the individuality of animals.  It was also thought that there is no form of communication, verbal or telepathic, between animals, animals and humans and Vis versa.

I have always been intrigued with a certain passage in Genesis, one that many ignore.  It states that the animals were “created after their kind”.  I often got into serious conflicts with my Roman Catholic teachers, the Franciscan nuns.  Neither they nor the parish priest who visited school could answer my question; “Who or what is Their kind?”   Always some what flustered, they would not address my question as to my wanting them to admit that animals have spirits.

It is clearly stated in “Genesis” in this order that the animals were created after their kind, and then man was created.  Later the animals are given bodies and brought to man for names.  Why is this something that is not even though about in our society?  I think it is because if we thought about them in the manner that they have spirits like us we would not be able to set down and eat.  That right there affects large markets, businesses and billions of dollars. 

So there it is again, the money thing, being able to market out and conform our thoughts to fit the economy and corporate/government needs. 

The time has come now in the twenty first century and it is already showing itself in the scientific community today that animals are just as individual and feeling as we are.  They may all “look” the same but that all are not the same; each one is self aware and a product of their environment. 

I can identify the most with Dr. Temple Grandin, the autistic professor from Texas that has released in her book "Animals In Translation, Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior"  observations and findings are very similar to those of mine.  There is hope that by our work we can make difference in how this planet will continue to grow and respecting the God in all life.

Raquel:  A beautiful female raccoon, she was an incredible insight into the world of animals.

 At the age of 10 my father got a 3 day old baby raccoon for me to raise, I named him “Racky”.  Up until that time it was baby song birds that I rescued so this was a treat.  What I know now about these animals gives me a better insight into why my mother was so upset. 

These animals have hands like ours so they can open things.  They have an intelligence superior to dog or cats.  That is primarily due to the instinct of having to survive in the wild still in them.   A wild animal will always exhibit a “Fight or Fight” response, it is up to you to learn which one they will choose.  You pray you have made the right choice when you react to a situation.

Raccoon babies along with most mammal babies are treated gingerly and tended by the mother.  A mother animal protecting her young is a fierce thing; she will fight to the death to save her young. 

She nurses them and washes them with her tongue.  She nuzzles them and plays with them and will give a nip when it is too much.  She takes them from the nest as they mature and follow her every move about the wild.  Learning everything they can and must from her in order to survive.    It was understanding this particular matter that made me so intrigued and a good rehabilitator. 

Raquel was found at a pet store in 1986.  She was only a few weeks old and her eyes were still close.  I knew instantly that if some one bought her and didn’t know how to handle her, she would be doomed.  So I talked my then fiancé to buy her for me.  Now he had no idea what a raccoon could do, he had no clue what he was in for…..

Taking care of her at this time was like taking care of an infant.  Bottles every four hours, burping, tummy rubbing and stimulating for urine and feces to move.  I did draw a line at using my tongue for this along with cleaning instead using a warm wash cloth.

At first she was cute and cuddly and a lot of fun to play with.  But as she grew she bonded to me and became a bit nippy with other family members.   Her world revolved around her and me.  Every place I went she went, following right behind my every step.  

We would go outside and play in the yard, she would wander off, but not out of sight as she got older, exploring nature.  We developed a vocabulary of different commands with no being number one.  Load up, night night, love you, and give a hug all verbal commands were rewarded with a response from her.  I could see the individuality in her, a personality a being.

By nine months of age she developed a sense of independence when she ripped of the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinets and made it her den.  She then became the biggest thief and if you didn’t get it before she got into her hole it was long gone.  Never to be seen again by humans but a treasure trove for her.

At night I would have to bribe her with food to get her into her night time quarters.  Being nocturnal the last thing you want loose in your house at night or alone is a raccoon!!

As she got older she bonded more and more with me and became at times a bit aggressive with other family members so she had to get more and more confined when family or visitors were around.

The times we had together were very enlightening regarding self identity, awareness, thought process, affection, bonding, sharing and many more emotional and personal issues presented themselves to me.  Again I began to question the aspect of who is their kind????

Her favorite thing to do would be to climb up to where ever I was and wrap her paw in my shirt and suckle.  While doing this she would purr constantly exhibiting very comforting and emotional behavior.  She did this until the day she died.  For some reason I always remained a “Mother” figure to her, I guess because I always played dominate one with her she never developed the mate aspect of our relationship. 

I also found most of the above being true in raising my big cat, “Faith”, a North American Puma that I acquired at 2 weeks old.  To this day I can rub on her and she purrs, also when given a chance she will try to suckle on my hand.  I feel bad that I can’t let her do this due to the fact that her tongue is like sand paper and can take skin off.  But she does exhibit the same characteristics and behavior as the raccoon Raquel.  She has self awareness, individuality, personality and a need for affection, love.

I know this to be true and so in each living thing that lives on this earth.  But what I was to experience with the “Avian” species would far out exceed what I have learned and experienced with the “Mammal” species.

Kaley, a beautiful Sandhill Crane was the first one that ever took me as a mate.  The only reason I can think of this behavior happening with them was that I had no need to be the dominate nor the enforcer or disciplinarian. 

Kaley came from a nest that was going under water after a lot of rain flooded the swamp his parents selected to nest in.  A wildlife photographer had been documenting the nest and when arriving one morning after a night of rain saw that his sibling had hatched and drowned, the parents were frantic so he took the egg safely home with him. 

After a call to a local Ornitholigest who then called me, the chick ended up a part of our life here.

When I picked him up he was so tiny and I knew I was in trouble.  I had no permanent “Sand Hill Cranes” for this youngster to look at and knew of no one who did.  The end result is an “imprint”  that is to dangerous to release back into the wild so in essence I was taking on a life time commitment. 

Just like Raquel, he followed me every where when I took him out for walks and later to learn foraging. Later at about 3 months he would follow every one around the yard, foraging or waiting for hand outs.  He would follow my husband every where in the yard.  While mowing or digging a choice bug may appear.  It was also quite funny, instead of a man and his dog it was a man and his crane.

Kaley was an adolescent here on the property for 4 years before showing explicit signs of mating behavior.  It was a wonderful experience to dance around the yard throwing sticks and grass in the air and jumping in circles with a crane.  It was not a haphazard movement, but choreography of steps and movements.

If any one had ever stumbled upon us they would of thought me to be crazy!!  What a sight we made and at the end he would trumpet proudly and call.  I was quite surprised to learn that this particular bird “Purrs” also, just like a cat,

This verbalization of contentment surprised me but I began experimenting with it in different tones and different times and soon found myself communicating with him. 

Kaley being a male and my not being able to lay eggs for him and go through the breeding cycle left him some  what confused,  At the time it didn’t occur to me because I didn’t know then what I know and have experienced now with Lili Crane which I will write about later.

Kaley became a nuisance and had to be contained when ever a non family member was on the property.  This was the beging of my seeing and studying a “Pecking Order” that developed among all the animals living together on property.  This is another studied animal behavior that warrants further explanation later.

Enter content here

Enter content here

Enter content here

Enter supporting content here