Local rescue weathers storm and major flood
By Jessica Coleman
When your animal rescue floods, what do you do? A lot, it turns out. This is a walk through of my day on Sunday, May 16.
I wake up in the morning, and it is pouring like I haven’t seen before. I have lived here almost 11 years and I have never, until today, had water inside my home from the rain. Mind you, This property has been through multiple hurricanes, including Harvey, and never had rain inside. It was a lot.
I have some animal pens outside that never flood, ever. Again, even in hurricanes. Still I go to check, just in case. I have to go outside anyway because I have a common snapping turtle named Jeff in a hospital tank outside and it is filling with more water, and I do not need Jeff floating away with his broken shell. I let some water out of Jeff’s tank, then go to check the opossum pen.
Thank goodness I do, because the mama opossum I have out there, with limited use of her back legs, has saved herself and her babies from standing water. Her “never floods” pen has several inches in it. She has dragged herself up the door with her babies on her back, all soaked, but alive. I get them all collected, and hear my dog yelp. Susie! Susie and Dewey both are outside, in previously “stays dry” areas, also soaked. I rush the opossums inside, and jet back out to grab Susie. Of course I can’t find a leash so I carry her, all 40 or so lbs, inside. Then back out, to do the same with all 50 pounds of Dewey.
Then, I realize, there is a red eared slider turtle with a broken shell in my bathtub (I see a lot of broken turtles), and I can not leave him there with Dewey, because Dewey will use him as a chew toy. I also can’t put Dewey in the main house the way it is right now, littered with four legged flood refugees, because he will also use them as chew toys. I move the turtle to the kitchen sink for now. Just for a minute.
I remember I have tiny sparrows to feed. Every half hour, all day long, I have to feed the sparrows. I also, at some point have to go outside and take some photos because I have to report on this flooding for the newspaper.
I take Grace, my one-legged chicken who is in the living room, and put her in a crate, just in case Dewey and Susie escape the restroom, so nobody gets eaten. I make sure Mama opossum and her babies are up off the floor in their bin.
My husband Brian gets home, I feed the sparrows again, and we take off to take a few photos for work. We don’t want to be out long, because we don’t want to send water up into people’s homes, but I do have a job to do, so I do it. We also stop by his parents’ house to move his Dad’s truck, because they’re in Colorado and it will flood where it is.
We arrive, and I hear “SQUAWK.” I know this sound.
A fledgling-aged grackle is trying to keep his head above the ten inches of water in the yard. I grab the grackle, and by now I am pretty exhausted, but we get everything moved around. It hits me. There is still at turtle in my sink. I’ll have to remember to move him when I get home. First, we have to move some things around for my in-laws.
When we finally get home the rain is slowing down a bit. Fortunately, where I live the drainage is good so we went from 10 to six, to two inches of water in the yard pretty quickly. We put the tiny, soaking wet grackle, who we named Roger after Brian’s dad, on a heating pad to dry and warm up, and go out to check the animals whose pens didn’t flood, and I see that the chickens’ house stayed dryer than mine did. Any more rain and I’d have had to move out there. You’re welcome, ladies.
Oh! I remember! There is a turtle in my sink. Let me go handle that.
I go inside and the sparrows are crying. They’re hungry! They’re only a few days old. I feed them, and the older birds while I am there. Dewey and Susie are very done with their bathroom adventure. It is time to go back outside. I grab Susie, and my child yells from the kitchen, “Mom, there’s a turtle in the sink! Crap. I have an armload of bulldog so the turtle is just going to have to wait. Again. So we carry the dogs back out (seriously WHERE are all my leashes?), make sure they have dry hay and food, and come back inside. The sparrows are hungry again. They’re screaming. I go into the back room to feed them, and we see that my guinea pig cage is full of water. Not from the flood. Their water bottle is broken. We grab the little play pen, assemble it, load piggies into it, take their cage outside for cleaning, and come back in. The turtle! I am going to move that turtle if it kills me.
There is a knock on the door. It is an acquaintance of mine, who has found a tiny kitten in the road. It is barely old enough to spit and hiss, but it does both of those things, looking about as scary as… well, a tiny kitten that just learned to hiss. “I don’t do cats,” I say, and the kitten into my arms.
Where am I going to put this thing? I move Grace the one-legged chicken out of the safety of her crate, where she is perfectly happy to be because what the heck is happening in this house today, and put the kitten inside it. Now I am going to go move this turt- “RING.”
My phone. It is my dear friend Mary. She has also found a kitten. The good news is she doesn’t need me to take it, just to look at it and help her guess age and care needs. She stops by and we compare kittens, and then take our respective felines back to our own homes.
I message my group chat with two of my closest friends and get great news! One of them is going to adopt the kitten, and the other is going to foster until she can take it. All I have to do is take it a few miles away, so I hit the road.
Katie meets me at the door, takes the kitten and I have one less life depending on me today.
I walk in my front door and the sparrows are screaming. I also have a guinea pig cage to reassemble We get everybody fed and settled back into their homes, and I am finally sitting down, resting my exhausted body.
All the animals are back into their homes except for Mama opossum and her babies, who will spend the night inside. I am done for the day, and. - Crap.
There is still a turtle in my sink.
Jessica operates Lumpy Lizard Reptile, Poultry, and Exotics Rescue in Edna. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lumpylizardrescue