OUR STORIES
Florida Wildlife Alternatives

04-05-2008
We always try to write and tell everyone the things that happen at our facility, but sometimes we have to write a story that does not have a happy ending. These stories are
very hard to write. With all the animals that pass through our way, we try very hard not to get attached to them. Of coarse when they are babies and its feeding time and they
open their eyes for the first time, they see these faces of ours, they see mom and dad. When we walk around the house, they run to keep up. When we walk to the kitchen or
sit on the couch they are near our side constantly until they go back into their housing. But then it's time for them to grow up and go outside to the juvenile and adult housing
and become raccoons. Sidney was the exception. From the beginning we new he was different. He always wanted to put his arms around your neck and give you a hug since
he was born. He always wanted to be held. He was a talker also. He would open his mouth wide with all his scary teeth showing and would make these noises like he wanted to
talk. Then he would give you a big lick on your face. He never showed or became aggressive. We had to separate him from the other raccoons. But then came another
problem of loneliness. A friend calls soon after and said they had a one year old male raccoon that had been in captivity since birth at a veterinarian. He also was in need of a
friend. We paired the two up one weekend and they became best of friends. For eight months, swinging on the tire, playing in their nest box, romping around till they were
exhausted. One morning we noticed Sidney was quiet and not wanting to eat. On June 21st we brought him to Dr. Szempruch at Three Oaks Veterinary. Blood work and other
test were done but nothing showed out of the ordinary. On June 23rd we noticed Sidney putting his hand up to his jaw like something was hurting him, similar to what we would
do if we had a tooth ache. We noticed a small lump forming on the side of his neck. Being a Saturday, we monitored Sidney and on June 25th Sidney went back to Dr.
Szempruch and immediately when into surgery to remove a large cyst. It was a very serious operation. We think while he was playing, he got a small bite mark and infection
had set in. Sidney came home that evening. For the next four days Sidney would eat very little and became very thin. Sipping water seemed to be a relief. On June 30th
complications were setting in. Antibiotics were being given. My wife and I took turns, sat and held him in our arms around the clock as we new the time was growing near. That
evening 9:30pm as I held him in my arms, Sidney turned his weak little head around to both of us and looked us in the eye's. I told him to go and rest in peace in heaven my
little friend and gave him a kiss. He put his arms around my neck, he opened his mouth with all his scary teeth: licked our face's for the last time. He closed his eye's and died
in our arms. We cried for days and I have tears running down my face as I write this story. A freak accident had happen. Sidney had the perfect disposition and was our
educational animal to show and teach children the beauty of nature and how to respect and take care of what Mother Nature has made for all of us. He taught us so much in
the behavioral and the intelligence side of a wild animal. So we will work harder in what we do. We will continue taking care of all of Florida's Wildlife and promise to give a
home to all baby orphans and injured animals no matter how hard it gets for us. Sidney, you touched our hearts and you touched our souls. You will always be a part in what
we do. We Miss and Love You so much.
To Our Beloved Sidney
10-05-05 / 06-30-2007
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                                     PLEASE CRUSH THOSE ALUMINUM CANS  

Animals are always looking for food. They are curious. They will put their paws inside these aluminum
cans looking for food and then they cannot get their hand out. Many animals die from this, having their
wrist severed as they struggle to remove their hand. The drinking spout is very sharp. This little guy
was lucky and got medical attention and was saved. So please, if you see a aluminum can on the
ground crush it with your foot. Make sure the drinking spout is crushed so these little critter's will not
get their paws caught inside.
Picture's from Humane Society
We called her our little baby girl. Laurie and I were sitting at a auction one day looking at all the farm animals being
auction off. Then to our surprise we saw a lady bring this little baby raccoon up on stage. The bidding began and I
didn't stop until I had her. We wanted to give her a home. She was a joyful little girl. We also thought it would be good
for Gizmo to have a companion. We named her Midnight.

Midnight would run around the house with Gizmo behind her but she had the advantage. Being younger and smaller
she would hide and then jump up into the air onto Gizmo's back and they would wrestle until they were exhausted.
Then they would find a place to sleep and cuddle up together. If you would listen carefully, you could her them both
purring. They fell in love and would not leave each other's side. Midnight had found a home.

Midnight grew up. She became the love of our lives also. Sitting on the couch watching TV she would be on my lap
sometimes falling sound asleep. She liked having  her cereal as treats and would follow Laurie to the kitchen. She
learned our way of life inside the house. Every morning while I was putting my boots on for work she would come and
lay down in front of me on her back with her legs stretch up high into the air. It was tickle time. I would reach down with
her mouth wide open and her scary teeth showing and tickle her on her belly. She would wrap her legs around my arm
and we would both laugh out loud to each other. She would look directly into my eye's and I could almost her say I love
you dad.

Every morning Midnight would go to the kitchen where Laurie was and would demand her little morning treat which was
a piece of Pop Tart. If for any reason Laurie did not give Midnight a piece, Midnight would chase Laurie around the
house until she got one. She would then roll over on her back and Laurie would tickle her on her belly. Then it was off
to bed.

On Friday 09-04-09 Midnight became sick. Laurie came home and found Midnight waiting at the front door alone. She
was not with Gizmo. Midnight gave Laurie a look that something was wrong and Laurie rushed her to Three Oaks
Veterinary Services in Brooksville. Dr. Ned Szempruch gave her an emergency operation for a urinary track infection
and she was their for hours while he tried to save her life. She came home in critical condition.

On Sunday morning 09-06-2009 Midnight had died. Laurie and I cried out loud. Hearing our cries Gizmo came down
and said his last good bye's. His girl friend and our little baby girl was gone. You gave peace and happiness to us all
Midnight.  The love and happiness you gave to this house will be forever missed. But most of all I will miss you coming
to me in the mornings while putting my boots on and laying upside down with your legs up in the air, your scary teeth
showing waiting to play and to be tickled on your stomach with us both laughing so early in the mornings.  I just want to
let you know that I did hear you say I love you dad and I know you heard me say I love you to my little baby girl. You will
never be forgotten and will always be part of everything we do. Our eye's are crying and our hearts are heavy. We
love and miss you so much Midnight.
Our Little Baby Girl Midnight
01-10-2004 / 09-06-2009
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called The Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of
Meadows, Hills and Valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The
old and frail are made young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again, They play all day with each other. There is only one thing missing. They are not with
their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches!
The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group! You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her into your arms
and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together,
never again to be separated.   (Author Unknown)
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE