He gained local recognition earlier this year when America’s beloved entertainer and animal rights activist, Betty White, passed away and many of her fans made donations to animal shelters and rescue centers from coast to coast.
And, that’s how Eddie the Skunk made his debut as somewhat of a Savannah celebrity with tribute donations in the name of the late star to the Savannah Wildlife Rescue Center (SWRC), where he resides, and a feature article on his best friend and caretaker, Jeannie Paddison.
“We were thrilled to hear about Eddie’s honor,” said Paddison, the executive director of the SWRC. “He certainly deserves it.”
The SWRC is a non-profit organization that specializes in rescuing injured and/or orphaned animals, providing them with veterinary care, medicines, and a healing opportunity.
“We are literally here to help the orphaned baby mammals,” Paddison said. “Human intervention is usually the reason these babies come to our clinic because something has happened to momma… hit by a car, attacked, relocated, poisoned, you name it, we get the babies. We’re here to give the orphaned wildlife a second chance at a wild life, where they were intended to be.”
Eddie is one of those fortunate animals whose lucky path crossed Paddison’s and SWRC. He could not be more thrilled with this honor and appreciates everyone who voted for him.
In fact, Eddie said, “It’s no surprise I won this award because when people are around me, they always say I’m so stinkin’ cute!”
Indeed, he is, and Paddison is more than happy to share his brave story.
“Eddie is actually a transplant,” Paddison revealed. “He’s not a true Savannahian, but he is now.”
The story of Eddie’s journey to Savannah is one of inspiration, and one little guy’s fortitude and will to survive.
“Eddie came from north of Atlanta and ended up in Savannah because his mother and siblings got hit by a car. He was the only one alive. This [happened] in 2020, during COVID, so Eddie came to us because all of the other wildlife rescue centers in the Atlanta area and in North Georgia area closer to the people who had found Eddie…well, they were all closed.”
“Eddie got lucky. and we said ‘yes’ to him because we never say ‘no’ to an orphaned baby in need. The family who found him drove him all the way to Savannah—six hours—with Eddie being held in the 13-year-old boy’s arms who found him. The boy named him Thomas Edison en route because he was studying Thomas Edison at the time or something like that. We knew we couldn’t call him Thomas Edison, rather he needed something cuter and more appropriate for a skunk, so we shortened it to Eddie.”
Just look at that face. That’s an Eddie.
Eddie’s rescue journey is not finished. Paddison continued, “He has met two unfortunate turns in life: the first being losing his mother and siblings, and the second one was after he came here and had a lovely stay at SWRC, we sent him to our rehabber in Dublin, Georgia, so Eddie could go through the hacking process.”
Hacking is designed to reintroduce wildlife into their natural environment.
“This helps them acclimate to the outdoors before they’re released. They are put outside to get used to the sights and smells and the temperature and all that,” Paddison explained. “Sandra [the rehabber] is my skunk go-to person because we don’t have skunks in Savannah. Now, Eddie is the one and only (probably) wild skunk in Savannah.”
Eddie had to be acclimated to the life of a wild skunk.
“Sandra put him in his outdoor cage and he learned how to dig holes to get worms and how to be a skunk again,” Paddison said. “Then, she released him. Eddie found a nice place to live down the road at another farm beyond Sandra’s and he took up residence underneath the farmer’s Bush hog.”
This is where Eddie’s story takes a fateful twist.
“The farmer comes out, cranks the Bush hog, and it [almost] destroyed Eddie,” Paddison said. “... in more ways than you can imagine. He had about four surgeries just to get him all fixed up. It took a lot.”
She detailed his medical challenges.
“He had a broken upper jaw, crushed septum, a broken compound fracture in his back right leg, the skin on his back was completely gone; he had a slice through his nasal cavity and his cheek where it caused them to have to feed him through a tube because there was a hole in his face. He would try to eat and the food would come out through the cut. He had a lot going on and then we had to pull his canine teeth to line his jaw back up.”
After his many surgeries, Eddie received some caring treatment.
“He is a well-known customer of Hidden Well Acupuncture and Sue Finkle, a Reiki master. Between those two treatments, Eddie got a lot of tender loving care from not only the staff at the SWRC and the veterinarians we work with, but Eddie also got a lot of attention and everything he needed to heal.”
Paddison cuddles the little guy.
“He is just ‘Wonder Eddie’ now. He is gorgeous. He has this glossy coat that is the softest ever. He is very happy and healthy and has lots of big awesome super worms to eat every day.”
Eddie was thrilled to learn of his title of Most Crushworthy Savannahian. He said, “Well, I know I give good snuggles.”
Paddison confirmed that.
“He gives the best snuggles ever. He will get up underneath your chin and just cuddle with you. He is a honey-bunny and so sweet and nice for a little wild animal who could not be returned a second time to a wild life. He had just had too many surgeries [and had his stinker removed] and we didn’t want to put him out there when he wasn’t 100%.”
“Eddie is now not only the Most Crushworthy Savannahian,” Paddison said proudly. “He is now the Most Crushworthy Savannah Wildlife Rescue Center Patient, as well.”
Folks can meet Eddie and support his efforts for SWRC.
“You can catch Eddie at one of his fundraising events to help everyone who helps him. Eddie will definitely be at fundraising events to help support all the other animals that come in. He is an advocate for so much… for the other animals… for everything he has been through… and because he lets people know that these animals are wonderful. Even though they go through hard times—like being run over by a Bush hog or car—some people care and want to see the right things done for our wildlife.
They deserve our respect because they are part of our world and our environment. God put these animals on the earth to create this healthy environment of which Eddie is a part. He is now our ambassador to help us keep the clinic going so we can help all the other animals out there. There are so many out there in need of help.”
All hail King Eddie!
Follow Eddie’s journey and get more information on the Savannah Wildlife Rescue Center at savwild.com
- Marley Gibson