The definition of compassion according to Webster is: “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”, so here at Heart To Heart Animal Rescue Sanctuary we will use it as one of our slogans. The past 24 hours has been a roller coaster ride, a wonderful new family has moved onto The Triple J Round Rock Ranch, a team of plumbers were on site helping to get things in order, someone tried yet again to buy the ranch from us (even though this person has been told multiple times it is NOT for sale, this is very distressing ), and last but most certainly not least…we experienced our very first rescue, meet Melvin The Gentle Opossum.
I am fighting back some more tears as I type this, rescuing injured and disabled furry little beings is an emotional experience but so rewarding because every living creature has a right to life, including your dog or cat, that chicken or cow or turkey you may have ate for dinner, and all wild animals in the world. Melvin here is no exception, we stumbled upon him accidentally, near The Big House, in an area we don’t normally look at but were scanning for old junk and debris, when he just magically appeared in the leaves left over from last fall. No doubt he was a fighter, laying there in frigid temperatures, for who knows how long, hanging on to life, silently breathing, all alone, no family or friends. At first we thought he might be sleeping but then knew he was in serious trouble.
Heart To Heart put in call to Dr. Jenny Brown Todd of the Brown Animal Hospital in Russellville Kentucky, she gave us a phone number to text and call. After a few text messages, we were informed a little later by Heather Dawson of “A Stable Place Wild Life Rescue” in Olmstead Ky, that very few wild creatures in our state actually have rabies. She has done extensive work with Opossums, and is really excited about our teams working together. Prior to Heather returning our call (it didn’t take her long), we carefully attempted to get Melvin to respond but he was not in good shape although still breathing pretty well, then respectfully placed him on a board, brought him into the living room of The Big House, gingerly transferred him onto a cushioned mat with a sheet over it ( a fancy one so he would feel honored), positioned a heater near him to try and warm him up, and put cardboard around him to contain the heat.
Heather taught us that the average lifespan for Melvin and his relatives is about two years, and last summer we encountered a group of them in the lane one night, probably 4 to 6 adults and youngsters, they scurried away as the car head lights approached, one of them may have been Melvin. Here you can see him getting comfortable, there was a lot of pain but he was so brave and inspirational, more humans could learn from beings such as Mel.
We made sure to take the time and rub him, saying encouraging things to him, telling him he was OK, and that we were there for him. Next, we went to the well, got some good clean water, and tried to get him to drink some, pouring a few sips into his mouth, he seemed to respond but we knew the end might be near. We were perfectly willing to drive him anywhere necessary but we didn’t know where to take him, so we did the absolute best we could with what we had on hand. It was an emergency situation but we stayed calm so he would not feel anxious.
After he was warmed up, and started to relax some, Melvin seemed to know that everything was going to be alright, he was not out in the cold leaves on the ground, he had someone there rubbing him and talking to him, there was heat and water, and he was very comfortable. It was time to “let go”, we kept assuring him that it was alright, he was with friends…
Out of respect for this courageous loving gentle sentient being, we will not go into detail about what transpired next, we will say he was extremely strong, inspirational, and kind as we held his paws and he….we then took our phone and marked his quiet passing as 6:34 PM Central Standard Time, Thursday January 30th 2020, The Triple J Round Rock Ranch, The Big House Living Room, Heart To Heart Animal Sanctuary, Logan County Kentucky, United States of America.
Melvin, from all of us here at Heart To Heart, and R.E. White Consulting, and The Triple J Round Rock Ranch, and all of our supporters including Ms. Heather Dawson, it was truly an honor to know you and spend a couple of hours with you. The world was a better place with you in it, and you will be forever missed by everyone here. Rest easy now, your journey is over but will resume again one day, until then, R.I.P. our friend, we miss you already!!
The images below were texted to us by Mrs. Heather Dawson of A Stable Place Wild Life Rescue, she was telling us all kinds of amazing facts about Opossums while we were digging the final resting spot for Melvin out on the edge of The Garden. She rescues raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and all kinds of wildlife, soon she will visit Heart To Heart and we are so excited about that!!! We can unequivocally state that as of tonight, Heart To Heart Animal Sanctuary is officially open for business!!! Thank you SO much to Dr. Brown and Heather for your, assistance, compassion, help, leadership, and emotional support during our very first wild life rescue of Melvin The Opossum!!! Fighting back some more tears here, have a good night, and thank you for being here on the website with us….feel free to call, and we will be glad to show you around.