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There was a lobster crate on my doorstep.  I should say that strange and unusual containers were always showing up, a velvet jewelry box with a newborn Little Brown Bat; hats of all sorts; fur coats; shopping bags and knapsacks. Once I returned home from knee surgery to find a bear cub in a trash can. But this was something big, really big although not as big as the moose I got in a horse trailer. It turned out to be a 45-pound male bobcat, luckily subdued from a severe car hit.  Not lucky for him, but lucky for me as I was able to examine him and get him into a very large dog crate.

He had no open wounds or fractures.  But he had a severe hit to the head and was barely conscious. He couldn’t stand or swallow or open his eyes.  Head injuries are tough as there is little but nursing care that a rehabilitator can do. We make sure of a full exam before the animal awakens. We make sure that the patient is fully hydrated and fed something he can ingest and digest, in this case without him eating me instead.  We do not have the option of sedation as a vet has, or sweet talk as a medical doctor has. 

Many weeks passed while he very slowly improved.  I used a long stainless steel feeding tube with liquid food through the door of the crate as he became more aware.  But he had lost everything.  He was blind, could not smell, could not hear, was not able to stand, or feed himself.  He was not wickedly wild the way he was supposed to be.

Over the next three months, one by one his senses came back, all of them.   The last to return was wildness and I would go into his cage to clean and feed, and he would rub his gigantic head against my leg and purr. It was unnerving. Then one day I went in and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.  I looked at him- he looked at me. I left quickly.

He had a territory that was known.  We drove him there and set his carrier against a cliff (I won’t talk about how I got him back in the carrier.) We opened his door, and returned quickly to the edge of the field, cameras ready. He did not move.  We waited.  He waited.  Finally I said “let get in the car”.  No sooner than we closed the doors (cameras not ready) he was safe to leave and ran like a freight train back to his home.