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Goodbyes are never easy

Goodbyes are hard. Anyone who works with animals, or has non-human family members, is likely to have many, many, goodbyes in their life. (Unless your pet is a tortoise, a parrot, or a tree). We all grow attached to the animals we care for — and we should. We welcome them into our homes and our hearts. We become their stewards and we are better for having them in our life. However, while most humans live over 70 years, that’s not the case for most of the Museum’s critters.



We’re sharing the sad news today about our beloved skunk Florian. Some would say — and I think they would be right — the cutest skunk ever. Florian would have been twelve years old this coming May. In the last few weeks of his life, his body could no longer manage the progression of his cancers and his arthritis.


In early 2019, Florian had his first cancerous growth, skin cancer, removed, successfully. Later in the year, we learned of additional cancers, with a couple of inoperable masses. We decided then, we would care for him as best we could for as long as we could, and as long as his welfare seemed positive.


I never thought 2+ years ago Florian would live for as long — and rather happily, I think — as he did. The Animal Care Team would prepare his diet in small pieces of food, or long strips, which he needed in order to successfully eat. The team would take him out to wander through Carolina Wildlife – just like guests do—before we opened. He would, at times, run, jump, and stop on a dime. He’d freeze, stomp at you, or flash his tail at you, and then go back to his exercise and morning routine. He would bring smiles to his caregivers — and Members watching through the exit door window. Goodbyes are indeed very hard.


For those who don’t know, his above exercise routine was very purposeful.  Florian arrived back in 2015, a rescue of sorts, weighing over 8 Kg upon arrival. Hefty would be kind. (No judgment from me — I am the last person to be judging anyone on their weight). He was a round, furry, skunk-colored ball, with some short legs. There was no space between his belly and the floor when he walked. The exercise, along with a purposeful diet regime, led to the weight loss we desired (4 Kg over 9 months), and a much more fit and active skunk on the other end.

Goodbyes are hard. However, when we bring to the surface our remembrances, we get smiles and laughs along with the tears. We did everything we could for him, and I think, in turn, he gave so many of us such a gift for so many years.

He will be missed.