And Bingo was its name-o! We know this, b/c said gamer named the skunk. This is the saga of Bingo.
Thursday: The boy likes to wander outside while talking to his BFF. At one point, he came in and told me I had to come outside, I needed to see this–a baby skunk toddling about!
It was so young, it could barely walk in the grass. BFF, his mom and sister all came over to see the darling. A neighbor told us she’d first seen the kit a couple hours before about 40 feet away. We watched him walk to the sidewalk and fall asleep. Eventually, the boy couldn’t resist, and picked up the skunk. BFF’s mom mentioned the rabies risk–skunks are as high as bats. We tried to find the mother’s nest near the spot the neighbor pointed out. No go. The kit had apparently been wandering awhile before he got there. I remember the strongest baby hamsters wandering away from their nest, but this varmint didn’t have a cage to limit its exploration, and no way mom was coming to claim him with all these peeps around. We put the baby in a safe location under a tree.
About half an hour later the husband came home. The boy took Dad to see “Bingo.” Dh thought Bingo had zero chance for surviving the night, and we took him in the house. As soon as we put him in what would become his box, he tried to get out. He was too little. 🙂 The men went to shop for food. The pet store was closed, as dh didn’t get home until 9pm. They got baby formula, a bottle and an eyedropper from a pharmacy. It couldn’t drink from the bottle, had to be fed with the eyedropper. He wanted a warm body to snuggle to. He made the cutest chirping noises–like a bird, almost–and he purred. Aaaawwww! He was so small, I could hold him with one hand. He curled into a ball and fell asleep in my hand. We put him into his box, and the boy had a roommate for the night. Dh did the mid-night feeding, the dear. We took more pictures, but they were mysteriously deleted. Bummer. I put in a plea for help to some friends on an email group and looked for numbers to call online.
I’m sure you can imagine some of our conversations: the boy would take a skunk as a pet over a dog, for sure! Um. No. I was later informed that skunks make good pets, if you have their skunk glands removed. I’m sure they do. But not in my house, thankyouverymuch. Bingo is beyond adorable, but no. One thing I learned in my research is that it’s legal to have a skunk as a pet in MI, but it is restricted. You must get the skunk from a licensed breeder, and DNR will visit you before issuing a permit. Wild skunks, however, are strictly verboten.
Friday: We got up, fed him, took his box downstairs. I knew the Humane Society didn’t open until 11am. The gamer cheerfully said his goodbyes and went to school. I jotted down a couple more numbers. Since it was 7am, I decided to put on a (bad) audiobook and wait. I put Bingo on my chest, covered us with a blanket and began to listen. I dozed off. Because the book was that good. ugh. I realized I’d missed a bunch of the story, and I didn’t care. But where was Bingo? He wasn’t on my chest anymore! Dear thing had crawled down to the crook of my elbow and burrowed itself in! Aaawww! The story had become so riveting, I dozed off again.
When I woke up, I put Bingo in his box and started making calls. I had to leave messages and wait for call backs. The Michigan Humane Society told me I could take him to one of their offices to be euthanized, and that no licensed rehabilitators would be able to take him. I steeled myself to take him to his doom after an afternoon appt. I had to be back before the gamer got home. One of my online friends led me to Skunk Haven, an organization outside of Cleveland, OH that holds a permit to rehabilitate wild skunks. I called dh, and he said he would be happy to take Bingo there, and use it as an excuse to visit his daughter in Pittsburgh, PA. Skunk Haven is the halfway point to her house.
After my appt, I spoke with Deb, who told me she could not accept a skunk across state lines, and there is much paperwork involved, so we couldn’t just appear with Bingo. She knew we were in a tough spot, b/c MI is, as she put it, a “kill state.” She gave me advice on how to care for Bingo (no more human formula, use puppy formula, wear gloves, FI), and wished me luck.
When I told dh my disappointing news, he began making his own phone calls. He researched taking him to Illinois (who recommended releasing him on the side of a road), Kentucky and Indiana. Turns out it’s illegal to transport wild animals over state lines. He even called Skunk Haven himself (“Do you know Terri?” she asked. lolz). I resigned myself to taking Bingo to the Humane Society in the morning. There was one more hope: we could Bingo in his box near where we thought the nest might be, be sure to stay away for 4-6 hours, and hope for the best. When the boy got home from school, I told him an expert told me he had to wear gloves to hold Bingo, and that I wanted him to cuddle Bingo in his towel. He was upset. He couldn’t believe I was being so mean to him! I let him hold Bingo before! Finally, he agreed to wear the gloves and use the towel. I told him we were going to take the skunk to the Humane Society. I told him it was Bingo’s best chance. He started to cry, until I reminded him that they don’t always kill animals there, that we got our cat at the same place we were taking the skunk. A necessary obfuscation.
We went to Petsmart to get puppy goat’s milk Esbilax. He much preferred that over human formula hubby got the first night! We put Bingo’s box on the side of the building where the neighbor initially saw him. We figured that would be the closest spot to mama’s nest. The boy wanted to check on him every 5 minutes. I was successful in making him wait until Dad got home from work, about 3.5 hours.
Bingo was in the box. There was a bird on the box. The bird didn’t leave when the men approached. I suggested the bird was guarding Bingo. Hubby scoffed. The wind kicked up. Later, it started to sprinkle. Then, thunder. The boy brought Bingo back in. The bird was still there. We fed Bingo, he fell asleep.
Saturday: When we got up in the morning, Bingo was crying to be fed–he was definitely feeling stronger, and better. His eyes are wide open now. The Humane Society didn’t open until 11am. The men fed Bingo one last time, put him and his formula in the car and took him on their errands before arriving at Bingo’s final destination. I went to the bead store. I could have done it on Friday, but now my big, strong man was around, I was happy to let him do it. I’m a wuss, I admit it. While I was in the bead store, dh called me to let me know Bingo was in good hands. When they announced they had a skunk, the folks stepped back. They relaxed when they found out he’s a baby. They were concerned about us having been bit, until the boy explained Bingo doesn’t have teeth yet. The guy at the Humane Society agreed with me that the bird was most likely looking over Bingo. Bingo started crying while they were there. The HS people didn’t know what was up until the boys told them he was just hungry. The boys fed him one last time. Because he’s a baby, he will be rehabilitated! Yay!! They charge a $35 fee, but dh donated $100 to be sure Bingo is rehabilitated. He’ll probably be released in about 3 weeks. Dear, dear hubzband called me after they left the Humane Society. I started to cry in the bead store. :o) When I got home, he told me he was relieved, not only b/c Bingo will be OK, but b/c we don’t have to lie.