My Wildlife Rehabilitation Experiences and Northwest Trek
Hello again! It has been a long, long time since I updated this blog. I’ve been so busy keeping my other two active (wordwhisperer.net and yellowballoonpublications.com) that I’ve been neglecting this one. But since I’ll be visiting Northwest Trek in August, I thought I’d better get back on here and start interacting again with my “animal people”!
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m related to the Brothers Grimm. The oral history I learned from my mother is that one of my Grimm forebears was what was commonly referred to in eras gone by as a “white witch” … that is, someone who had wild animals as “familiars” (or “unleashed, untamed pets” in today’s vernacular!)
My mom said she never believed in the oral history much until I came along. She said birds and butterflies used to land on me when I was a child (like something out of a Disney movie!) and later on, when I learned how to string words together in school, she found out what a natural I was as a storyteller (something I have in common with the Brothers Grimm). She told me, “Storytelling and animal charming skipped a few generations, but it came back full force in YOU!”
If you’ve read my books LET NO DAY DAWN THAT THE ANIMALS CANNOT SHARE and SERVAL SON: SPOTS AND STRIPES FOREVER you already know of the many adventures I’ve had with animals during my lifetime, from the bullfrog I hijacked from its home pond in Spanaway, to the deer, skunk, and red tail hawks I raised and released as a teenager living in Cle Elum, to the serval I raised from the time he was five years old until he passed away at 17 1/4, to the fawns who were orphaned by the Mt St Helens eruption in 1980 to the raccoon named Gabriel who I raised and released in 1979 or 198o (and whose image graces this post).
I also volunteered at PAWS (The Progressive Animal Welfare Society in Lynnwood WA), at Tippi Hedren’s Shambala, and at the long-since defunct Cougar Mountain Sanctuary in Yelm, WA.
And when Deaken (my serval son) needed to have a rear leg amputated later in life, I helped the surgeon who operated on him as he checked on and fed the wildlife that he was assisting at the veterinary school in Davis, CA because the students were off on vacation that week and I was there and had experience.
So, animal care and rehabilitation comes almost naturally to me after 50+ years of doing it.
These days, animal rehabilitation requires a license and the passing of a test. I heartily agree in most cases, but in some (mine, for instance) I could probably write the test myself! But at age 71 and counting, I don’t intend to become a full-time wildlife rehabber, so getting a rehab license isn’t high on my priority list.
That said, in the not-too-distant past, I have been known to rehab pigeons, possums, rabbits, and other wild ones who are in need of a few days or weeks of assistance. If I call several local rehab places and they can’t take on a new ward, I do the work myself — and it is work, requiring a lot of hours and painstaking dedication!
Since I never needed a license to help out the vet who sent me the Mt St Helens fawns, or the red tail hawks that Fish and Game brought to me in Cle Elum all those years ago, and since Deaken and his licensed facility was fully and frequently “assessed” by AWA professionals and there were never any problems, I consider myself an extremely rare exception to the licensing rule. Wildlife care is actually in my genes. It comes from the Brothers Grimm family!
That said, my wildlife rehab days are over now, so please don’t contact me with your tale of woe if you come across a wild one needing help. Call your local rehabber and beg them to help you. A large donation will help grease the wheels. Taking care of wild ones is an expensive proposition and most animal rehabbers are nonprofits. They NEED your financial help, even when you don’t have a critter that needs help. There are always critters who do!
In Other News…
My friend Helen Schofield will be visiting from Auckland New Zealand in mid-August for almost two weeks. One of the places she wants to go is Northwest Trek. I am going to get a pass to take her in my van (or in Lisa’s, if Lisa can get away from work for the adventure). I will take a camera along and share the images here when we return, but probably not until the first week in September.
I haven’t been to NW Trek in more than 30 years. I’m looking forward to going again. And I may go a second time this year when Hannah McCrane, my WONDERFUL co-host on EVER NEW flies here from New Jersey to spend several days with me. We haven’t discussed what she wants to do when she gets here yet (other than see my DeForest Kelley archives and video, which could take days!!!), but she’s an animal lover, too, so I suspect NW Trek might see me within their gate TWICE this year. That would be fine with me.
And that reminds me. I need to call them and make a reservation! I’ll do that right now!
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