SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - Tahoe the bear cub is one very lucky critter.
She showed up inside an animal carrier last Tuesday on the doorstep of the Bear League offices in Homewood, on the west side of Lake Tahoe. She was then taken by the league to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) facility.
"A little lethargic, a little dehydrated, but not bad shape at all," LTWC's Tom Millham said.
Tahoe is the second youngest cub to be brought to the facility, weighing just 5.4 pounds and estimated to be between 8 and 10 weeks old. She is still so young that she can barely walk.
LTWC's Cheryl Millham said she is grateful to whomever saved Tahoe.
"Somebody was compassionate enough to take the time to pick her up and bring her down," she said.
The person who found Tahoe may not have known how or what to feed her because she's still voraciously drinking a special formula from a bottle.
Cheryl Millham said Tahoe's mother may have been killed by poachers, hit by a car or possibly died of old age.
"She could have gotten too close to a marijuana patch and they kill everything that comes into those," Cheryl Millham said.
Tahoe was lucky someone found and rescued her.
"She doesn't even have teeth yet," Cheryl Millham explained. "She can't eat. She would be dead, probably, by now."
Tom and Cheryl said they let Tahoe "do her own thing" to try to help her stay as wild as possible.
"We don't cuddle her. We don't don't do any type of bonding with her. She doesn't want to bond to me," Cheryl Millham said.
Eventually, they hope they'll have another cub to keep her company until they are ready to be returned back into the wild.
Tahoe's second chance at life is a rare treat for both Tom and Cheryl Millham, who don't tire of helping save the lives of the animals brought to them.
"This is what keeps me going after 37 years," Cheryl Millham said. "This little girl now will have a chance to grow up, be a healthy, normal little bear and maybe be a mom herself someday."