Monday, October 26, 2009


Cody and I have been volunteered for various babysitting jobs in the past, such as the time we cared for six kittens for a weekend. Our most memorable adventure, though, was when we helped care for 252 chinchillas, two horses, three donkeys, six goats, seven dogs, five cats, and one baby raccoon.

If you've never raised chinchillas, you probably don't know that no matter how secure their enclosure, the little rascals somehow manage to get out. Which means that every morning when she took us to the chin building to check on our charges, Cody waited outside with the other dogs, while I escorted her inside. As she did a head count, I scouted around and started tracking whichever critter had escaped during the night. Usually, we were able to round up the furry bundles ourselves, but one particularly elusive chin had to be double-teamed by both me and Cody. He cut the critter off from the corners and crevices, while I herded the varmint into her waiting hands.

After the morning round-up and outside chores involving the horses, goats, and donkeys, we would head inside for a bit to eat. I would say a rest, but there was no rest for us that week. Not when a baby raccoon was sharing our quarters.

Rocky was not very pleased to see us when we first came through the door. Since humans have hunted raccoons for ages using dogs, the little tyke's fearful spitting and hissing was to be expected. But by day two he had warmed up to us, and was crawling over me and Cody as readily as he climbed into her lap for a snuggle.

Cody and I have both been around human infants, and we were struck at how similar little Rocky's mannerisms and cries were to that of a human baby. He was also as tenacious as a toddler when it came to getting his way and getting her to free him from the confines of his pen. If you've ever had a toddler rattle the sides of a crib, you can just imagine how noisy it got when Rocky banged and rocked his metal cage walls. But what really melted her heart was when he'd reach his little paws through the spaces in the cage and reach for her while crying. No mother could resist such an appeal.

I have included a couple of YOUTUBE videos here, for those of you who are interested in chinchillas and raccoons. The first reminds me of Cody and the chinchillas, though, in truth, Cody would have completed the task much, much, MUCH faster. The second is pretty characteristic of our time with Rocky.

No comments: