Saturday, September 29, 2007

Northwoods Intrigue - the call of the wild

48 degrees in the Northwoods this morning. Louie caught a scent in the breeze the other day that made him curious and want to go find what the smells were and where they were coming from. He started pacing and his curiosity has him overwhelmed. He's aching for his Big Adventure. Not enough new things to feel and touch in the Coondo anymore.

The sense of touch is important to the coonies. It's keener than their sight. When they become accustomed to all the things in the Coondo and it's perimeter that they can touch, feel, and roll around in their hands before giving it a little taste, they need to find other new things to experience. Their world is so full of different textures, smells and tastes in the wild that it keeps them busy for a lifetime. But in the perimeter areas and the Coondos? Well, after a while they know what everything is and want to go find new and exciting things.

It's always hard to see they are aching to go on their Big Adventure as the apprehension of whether they are ready always sneaks in. But these boys, Leon, Louie and Oliver have grown big and strong and want to go explore more new things. Even fuzzy little Leon doesn't seem to be such a 'baby' anymore. After Kudos, Lillith, Blondie and Stanley went on their Big Adventure, much changed for the boys left in the Coondo.

At first they became very quiet and stayed close together, knowing something was very different. Then after a few days, they began to look out the fences to see if they could see any of their littermates. And with the smell of autumn in the air they know there is much more to life than just hanging out in the Coondo. They have spent the past 5 months learning how to do things coonies do and want to go try it out on their own. With our human kids we have 18 years to teach them and prepare them if we're lucky. With our fur kids we might have a year, but usually less. Letting go is no different for either. We hope we taught them well and the right things so they can survive with success. We hope they will know what to do when confronted by situations. But with our fur kids sometimes we never know and have to go on faith.

Little Shazbot has grown so fast and is nearly the size of Hiway now. She's still a ball of fluff, but she's no longer a baby coonie. She's not even a toddler anymore. Shazbot and Hiway are so good for each other. Shazbot convinces Hiway to quit her frenzied pacing up and down, but on the other hand, Hiway has taught Shazbot how to do a little jump hop on the fence. They have gone through changes having a littermate after so many months of being alone. It has allowed them to look to each other for companionship and comfort and rely less and less on us humans. It's a bittersweet victory for both of these girls. It's good to see them find comfort in their own kind, but it leaves the humans at a loss being no longer needed as much. I wonder sometimes who the adjustments are harder for - the humans or the critters.

Benjamin & Lillian have grown just as fast, they are bigger than Hiway now. But they have a lot more of a wild side than Hiway. As it looks now, Benjamin, Lillian, Shazbot and Hiway will be denning in the Coondo for the winter months. It will be time to hibernate when they are actually big enough to go out on their own and with our winter weather in the Northwoods, any release after October could be detrimental. The food sources get scarce, the water sources freeze over, and the cold North winds are brutal. Hopefully the warmer weather we've been experiencing will hold out for Leon, Louie and Oliver to go and get established in the forest. But for the other four it will be Spring before their Big Adventure time arrives.

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