Disclaimer, or warning, or whatever: The beginning of this post is not a happy one… if you want sunshine and roses, skip to paragraph 7.
I may possibly have a couple of new friends who don’t actually know what I do during the day… I work for a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility. I am not a rehabber… I cannot work medical magic on wildlife. I am, however, the animal 9-1-1 operator of the Seattle area, from Blaine to Tacoma and beyond, and I am also one who will occasionally go out and rescue, and every now and again, I get the opportunity to release wildlife back into their area.
Sometimes, I have really bad days or weeks. This was one of those weeks. The following is just a sample of what I encounter day in and day out. While I usually have to hold back on what I say and how I react, this post is aimed at letting those people know how I really feel. Just consider this cathartic for me, because that’s exactly what it is. I never actually said what I thought, but boy, would I have loved to.
To the woman who brought the baby American beaver in one full week after you called for advice… bad move. You stated on the intake form that it had been “run over by cars.” Had it been your cat or your dog that you’d seen being run over, would you have waited an entire week?! How is it okay to watch an animal be run over by a car, and then wait 7 days to get it medical help? Especially when said medical help is free?? I will never understand, but thank you for bringing it in. Due to severe pain and internal injuries, it was humanely euthanized. We quite possibly could have saved it and reversed its injuries, but you didn’t even give us a chance because you were selfish and didn’t bring it in as you were advised.
To the woman who felt it was necessary to “raise” a wild baby bunny for 2 weeks all by yourself without any experience or knowledge… bad move. Had you brought it to us in the beginning, it would have been properly nourished and released back to the wild to be free. The bunny you brought us, after 2 weeks of improper nourishment, was emaciated, dehydrated, and dying with agonal breathing. As for the “lack of compassion” you accused me of having because I didn’t “pity” your situation… where was your compassion when you found this baby? What made you think you could possibly raise this bunny to good health when you have zero wildlife rehab experience? People… I will tell you right here and right now… don’t trust what you read on the internet… wild bunnies are different from domestic bunnies, and their tummies do not absorb “goat’s milk” or “kitten replacement milk” as domestic bunnies may. Do not feed wild bunnies milk or it will kill them. And the reason the pet store won’t tell you this is because they want to sell you a load of products. End result: Euthanized, because it was suffering thanks to human intervention.
And, lastly, for the man who came upon a hawk while he was out on a trail riding his bike, a hawk that had a bag tied to its leg, the man wanted someone to come rescue the hawk after it had flown up to the underside of a bridge, a man who had no problem telling me I didn’t have “the balls or compassion” to rescue this animal with a bag tied to its leg… please, tell me, how would YOU catch a bird who can still fly?? You were afraid of its talons so you were frozen and just stood there until it flew away. For crying out loud, put a sheet over it then put a box over it. But no, instead you decided to lay blame on me and the organization I work for because we didn’t “have the balls or compassion” to rescue it, even after I explained to you that I can’t rescue a bird who can still take flight. I personally have lifted a full-sized deer into the back of a truck without hesitation, because my compassion gives me the strength and the balls to do so. You, sir, however, only want to put the problem in someone else’s hands and then complain when they don’t do what you’d like them to do to solve your problem. But please, if you know of anyone who can catch a bird mid-flight, I’m all on it… give me that resource because I’d love to meet this superman. The end result: I redirected him to Fish and Wildlife so that he could tell THEM they didn’t have any “balls or compassion” as that’s what F&W get paid for.
However… all that being said… there are some really good and happy endings that make my job worthwhile. I received this text from a lady in Issaquah, a single mom who had 4 children. She texted me a photo of a deer dying on her property and asked for advice. Unfortunately, I told her it had to be dispatched. This was the final response from her (notice… I had compassion):
I was on the phone most of the day with a man who was concerned about a fledgling barn owl and he was reporting its every move. We went and got the owl, and it was eventually released healthy and happy.
A baby raccoon was feared to be abandoned. However, the man who called sent me a picture of the baby raccoon, and there was no evidence that it had been abandoned because it was clean and healthy. I advised him to leave it alone and keep an eye on it. Guess what?! Mom came back.
Got a call from a lady who felt a fawn had been abandoned by its mom because it was sitting in a road. I told her to put it back exactly where she found it. Mom immediately came. The lady didn’t even have time to drive away.
And as for Daryl, the domestic bunny I babysit all day at work (he belongs to the clinic manager), he’s still alive and kicking, getting bigger and better and more and more spoiled. He’s standing up in his enclosure, wondering why I haven’t picked him up recently to give him cuddles. He knows me well and totally knows how to play me.
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10 (KJV)
If you run across an injured or orphaned animal, please, please, please contact your nearest rescue center. And if we occasionally say that sometimes it’s best to let nature take its course, believe it to be true. Nature has been around a lot longer than we have.