Dear Royal Rebels,
Please excuse the absence of Judy Jeute as she has been sitting around pouting.
No, I'm mostly kidding, but I have been having quite a pity party. See, a very difficult part of being an animal "sanctuary" is that animals tend to find us, and that is not always a good thing; because sometimes they are coming here to die. And it really breaks my heart.
Take Monday morning for example, I dropped my daughter off at the bus stop and headed off to do my chores. Rosie made it to the hay stack first, as usual, and I heard a hissing and then saw her jump back, and then lunge forward! I knew to call her (good thing she's such a well trained dog!), and ran to see what it was that she was so interested in:
(Please excuse the mess, obviously I wasn't prepared to take a picture!)
This is what I saw. A full grown, full blown, pissed off (well, kinda), porcupine! Now, if this rings a bell, you're not crazy, this recently happened with a fox too. Blessedly, we were able to chase the fox off, this guy... no such luck.
After taking the dogs home, grabbing the camera, and making sure that a porcupine is an herbivore and not there for food (like my chickens), and this is important to determine normal behavior or not, I headed back up to try and assess the situation and get this somewhat dangerous critter off of my ranch.
Now when I say dangerous, I mean dangerous in how my animals will react to him, and also if he was sick. And don't forget that I'm not moving too quick myself, so thank goodness my renter was home to rattle his cage first thing in the morning!
So, being the mountain loving people that we are, we did everything we could to make sure that this was not a typical porcupine. We talked it through (I know it sounds funny, but in a situation like this it is important not to panic), and then tried to chase him off and then even got a shovel and literally was able to physically move him around with it; problem was all he wanted to do was go into the llama pen. And they were waiting to attack him with their front legs, and that would have been a huge disaster for me!
This fella was terribly injured and so the only humane thing to do was to put him down. Again, the Porcupine Gods were smiling on me, and I did not have to do it myself, although I was prepared to. I have spoken with my vet since then and he agrees, which makes me feel so much better in my heart, but mostly I feel better about rabies. It appears that porcupines are not prone to rabies like other rodent species and he agrees that it probably got hit on our new speedway of a road and came up here to die. How sad.
But I will place some of his beautiful quills on my altar, and who else do you know that would be bummed out over a porcupine for two days? So, I guess he chose just the right place to come maybe. I honor the Porcupine God... and did I mention there is never a dull moment here at The Royal Ranch?