The HEALING touch

LET'S TAKE a break from caring for our pets and look at how we can help orphaned wild infants such as squirrels, crows, owls, bats or even deer.

At no time should we attempt to retain them as pets but learn to set them free when they're ready.

Fostering is also an ideal opportunity for those who have restrictions about keeping pets, to enjoy short-term interactions with an animal or two. Or for those who cannot leave the house but want to help animals.

The first thing to ascertain when you find an injured baby animal is to make sure if it's really orphaned. If crows are hovering and hollering nearby or squirrels are screeching away, then help is at hand. You may even expose yourself to defensive attacks while trying to help. If all is quiet and the baby/injured animal is in danger of being attacked by predators, we can bring it home and start caring for it.

Apart from a loving heart, two things are essential for a young wild creature to survive — warmth and a proper diet.

Warmth can be provided with a makeshift incubator — any perforated cardboard box with layers of soft cloth or coir inside. The box is placed inside a wire cage or behind a wire mesh with a 10 watt bulb warming it up through the mesh. There should be enough space for the animal to crawl to a cooler section of the box if it gets too warm.

We'll look at the diet at a later date.

Question corner

My doctor warns that pets have to stay off onions but your recipes contained daily doses! Please clarify — Sabita Nawaz, Chennai

There are contradictory opinions. Some vets feel it's great for skin problems while others feel it's slow poison and can damage the liver in the long run. It also depends on the breed. So it's best to follow your vet's advice.

Pet's choice pick of the month is Antony, who doesn't believe in locking out his pet for the night.

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