Most of the winter days in Kako, were cold and dark. I never ventured far from the house unless it was to go to the main meeting hall to watch a movie (if the generator was turned on). Since I couldn't play outside much (due to the extreme temperatures), I found ways inside to entertain myself inside.
One evening as I was preparing to take a shower, I pulled back the shower curtain and was greeted by a furry creature. I little vole had gotten himself trapped in the tub. Normally, I would have not been so eager at such a find, but since I had no other pets and not much to do, I thought I would make a pet out of the trapped little creature. If I had put him outside, he surely would have frozen to death, therefore, I thought I would give him a chance at life. I found an empty 5-gallon bucket, put a little towel in it, a bowl of water, and some food. My furry friend had a new home.
I was very excited to have a pet, something that I could take responsibility for. However, the creature was not used to being in a 5-gallon bucket and on one attempt to jump from his "cage," he landed in the water bowl. It wasn't too deep, therefore, he didn't drown, but did manage to get himself very wet. I put his bucket near the wood stove so that he could get warm enough to dry off from his swimming adventure. I had never considered that my little charge was used to much chillier temperatures.
When I came back from playing to check on my pet he seemed to have some problems. He was starting to loose his hair and was acting somewhat sickly. As I watched him over the next couple of days, he continued to get worse. I thought, oh, dear, I have given him cancer (I didn't understand that chemo is what makes people loose their hair).
I woke up one morning and he wasn't moving. Now that I look back, I think I cooked the poor guy to death. Putting him next to the wood stove, with its high temperatures was probably not the greatest idea. I'm sorry that the creature died the death that he did. Now, he's just another memory of the many pets I had growing up (even if he didn't last a week).
I didn't have any other experiences with animals while I was out in the bush unless you count the dead ones that our neighbor, Mark, caught in his traps. Sometimes he wouldn't have time to skin them right away, therefore, he would leave them out the front door of the main building where he had his room. It's a bit frightening to walk out the door and see the snarling frozen smile of wolverine. I guess it's just another one of those things that a person gets used to after living in the bush for a while.