A couple of weeks ago David’s sister Denny, her husband Jay and their 10-year old daughter Annabel arrived for a three week visit with us. It has been five years since their last visit so it was great to see them on this side of the pond again and for Annabel to visit at an age where she can enjoy and appreciate Canada much more.
On their first full day we decided to head out to the Critter Care Open-House that we had seen advertised. We figured our newest visitors would want a fairly ‘easy’ day after their long flight and this seemed liked a good option that would please Annabel too.
Critter Care is a charity-based organisation located in Langley, BC. Initially started by a local resident who was taking care of some injured racoon in her basement, it has grown into BC’s only specialised mammal care facility and one of four Provincial bear rehabilitation facilities. Predominately volunteer based they now include 26 interns and 3 full-time staff.
While they do have one permanent resident, a bobcat who it was decided was never going to be able to survive on his own in the wild, the vast majority of the animals that come into the facility are rehabilitated back into their natural environment. These include bears, deer, coyote, racoons, skunks, squirrels, otters, marmots and pretty much anything else people arrive on their doorstep with !
Critter Care is not normally open to the public, but one weekend each year they open the doors to allow everyone to see what they do and of course make a donation to help keep the place running.
Far and away the greatest number of residents at Critter Care are raccoons. Considered by many to be annoying pests Critter Care still take them under their wing and nurse injured or orphans animals back into the wild.
There were raccoons of every age to see and watch them play.
Including some real youngsters
Looking for some cuddles since mamma’s not around to give them
Although once they’ve been fed and watered they appeared to have the run of the place
The interns that drew the short straw get to hang out with the skunks. Because these animals will eventually be released they must keep their noxious spray glands so the staff must try hard not to upset them !
There was also a large family of river otters
We also visited the medical area of the facility to see where the really young and poorly are treated, including this tiny days-old racoon being hand-fed
The feature on the news about the upcoming open-house had featured bear cubs and indeed their website confirmed that they currently had 16 bear cubs in residence. However due to the need to ensure bears stay away from as many people as possible and do not become used to human interaction bears are kept away from the public viewing areas on the open-house day and we didn’t get to see any.
There were however any other activities for families as well as the animal viewing, there were dog shows, pony rides, local artisans selling their wares and Annabels favourite – face painting.
Given Mojo can be pretty reactive to strange facial expressions, odd hats and clothing and things he considers out of the ordinary, we really weren’t sure how he would deal with Annabels blue and pink tiger half-face.
As it turned out he thought she looked pretty awesome !