Mom beaver was examined at Lindsay and found to be in a very poor state. She had lost a great deal of weight and weighed in at only 34 lbs. The exam showed that one of her upper incisors had broken, and the lower incisors had penetrated her upper palate. The wound was infected and it was thought she was not strong enough to treat. She was euthanized and Jon and I brought her body was brought to UCDavis for necropsy. It is essential that we learn about the cause of her death so that we can be sure the kits aren’t at risk. Clearly her teeth grew too long because she wasn’t feeding properly to sharpen them down, and this was likely the result of another health problem which made it hard to feed. It is unbelievable to me that the kits were first seen 19 days ago. She just barely made it long enough to send them into the world. They are 7-8 weeks old now. She gave them her very last strength, and for that I will always be grateful.
I got a call this morning from Moses who was at Starbucks and had been watching mom and trying to encourage her to go downstream. When Jon & I got there she was curled up in the grass on the starbucks side, very listless, soaking wet and disoriented. She tried once to swim and went across the creek and bumped into the cement wall. Then she came back to the grass and just lay there.
Lots of people were starting to come and watch, and mom was in no condition to get back to the lodge. She was staggering when she tried to move and her teeth were clicking sometimes, you could hear them. Lory came down after my email. Cheryl came out with an animal crate from IBRRC. She and Jon walked down from ward street in the creek. Mom didn’t move or react at all to their approach. Cheryl walked on the creekside and Jon carried the crate and set it with the door open in front of her. Cheryl put a towel in the crate and wrapped a towel around mom from behind and lifted her a little and she went peacefully into the crate. She turned around so she was facing the door, and just laid down. Cheryl and jon laid a towel over the crate and carried it down through the water and back up onto the bank at ward street.
The four of us drove to the Wildlife Hospital at Lindsay and Cheryl’s friend Pam(whose Martinez husband is appears in the video letter to the mayor) met us. Mom was peaceful and not reactive during the ride, chewing sometimes on her towel. She did not smell at all of castor meaning her oil glands had probably stopped working so she was completely unable to groom herself. They brought her in and will call us when they know anything. The vet on duty used to work with Cheryl at IBRRC so she knows all about the beavers and we told them about her condition. On the way we called Jean and she met us afterwards for breakfast where we talked about it.
Honestly when I went down this morning I purposely decided not to bring a camera because I thought it would just be too sad, but I wish I had filmed it so you could all see how completely calm and unpanicked mom was. she just was in no condition to react, and if we had left her alone she was in such a visible part of the creek that people would have intervened and/or called animal control. This way she was completely protected by us and not at all agitated or frightened. It was almost like she knew we wouldn’t harm her, and it certainly felt right, after everything we have been through and all the mornings I have spent with mom to have her riding peacefully in my subaru. We will be out tonight to make sure the kits are feeding and happy. It was becoming clear that the family has already transitioned and the kits have been relying on the yearlings care more and more, which is just like we’d hope.
I’m very grateful for everyone’s help this morning, and grateful that mom gave us the easiest possible decision about whether, when and how to intervene. The saddest part for me is thinking about how hard she must have worked to stick around and care for those three new lives. We can all be grateful for her remarkable parenting and the 15 live births she allowed us all to enjoy.
Lastly; the Hubermans
He was tall in the bed and I could see the silver through his eyelids. His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say, “I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.” Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places. This one was set out by the breath of an accordion, the odd taste of champagne in summer, and the art of promise-keeping. He lay in my arms and rested.
Markus Zusak: The Book Thief
Come tonight if you want to see reassuring beavers and comfort your hearts. Thank you all for your caring and concern. I will make sure to update as soon as we know anything about mom’s health.