“A few weeks ago, we learned that our grant application to WDFW (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife) had been approved for partial funding of a new rescue transport van. Every two years, a biennium grant for wildlife rehabilitation is available for distribution to competing WA state rehab facilities. Following the good news, we established a fundraiser on our FaceBook page and raised another $4675 to help with the cost of the new van. The next step was to find our van and we met with Mike Bickford of Bickford Ford in Snohomish. We knew that Transit Connect vehicles were becoming hard to come to by, due to manufacturing slowdowns caused by COVID. Turned out it was our lucky day, as there was only one van left in stock, and it was exactly the one we wanted. Bickford Ford offered it to us at their cost, so we could purchase it on our budget. THANK YOU, Bickford Ford, WDFW, and all who supported this fundraiser. (Our new van, Sarvey logo, website details and wrap design coming soon!)
On July 1st, we went to pick up our new ambulance and immediately drove it out to the first rescue! Earlier in the day, we had a call from a homeowner in Snohomish and they had a baby raccoon stuck in a pipe on their property. One of our licensed rehabilitators, Amanda, was scheduled for the afternoon shift, so we sent her to assess the situation and see if she could help the raccoon. She discovered that the baby had gone into a drainage pipe near the side of the home and had made her way down the pipe. The homeowners had heard the raccoon for a couple of days, but initially it was not obvious that she was underground. It was now clear that the raccoon was deep in the length of pipe which was buried under their lawn near a walkway.
Amanda knew she’d need some help and tools to cut into the pipe, so she reached out to her parents living nearby. Together, they dug up sections of the yard on opposite ends of the part of the pipe where the raccoon was stuck. The pipe was cut open and small sections were removed in the hopes that the raccoon would see her way out. The other sections were blocked off so that she did not just run into another part of the drainage system. After a couple of hours, it was clear that the raccoon was not able to get out and we made the decision to have Amanda return to the clinic. Of course, we did not want to leave a baby raccoon trapped in a pipe, so discussions on the next step in the plan occurred.
Our Executive Director, Suzanne, had finished up the paperwork at the dealership and headed to the rescue location to determine what other options were possible. Her husband was with her and after a discussion with the homeowner, they decided the only solution was to dig up the pipe. A neighbor at the scene had a small camera hooked to his phone and was able to snake the string camera into the pipe. The baby raccoon grabbed the other end and pulled on the camera, but we were not able to see much due to the mud and rocks inside the pipe.
The remaining section of the grass was dug up and the dirt and rocks holding the pipe in place were all removed. It was important to not hit the pipe, so the raccoon was not injured with the shovel. Once the pipe was fully exposed, it was lifted out of the dirt and turned on its end to see if the raccoon would slide out. First, a lot of dirt came out of the pipe and then – out popped a baby raccoon! She was startled, like when you come out of a dark theatre and are hit with bright daylight. However, she quickly realized she was free and tried to scurry out of the box. Suzanne grabbed her, as the baby did her best Tazmanian Devil impression. The raccoon was tiny, but very feisty despite her subterranean experience. Once we returned to the clinic, she was given an exam. Her eyes were flushed with saline and the dirt was cleaned out of her ears. She was dehydrated, but otherwise healthy and will now join the dozens of other orphaned raccoons in our care this baby season. (Notice the small section of pipe on the top right photo? That was her point of entry.)
Rescues are an important part of our mission, and we are grateful to everyone that helped make this one possible. Our staff, volunteers, and interns are frequently sent out on wildlife rescues, but our families and friends often help too! We appreciate the homeowners that are more concerned with saving a life than their lawn, fence, or whatever else has to be destroyed in the process of rescuing an animal in need.”