Wildlife Rehabilitation. What’s that and how does it work? I’d love to help, what can I do?
These are the type of questions we get all the time from people; some have no idea what we do. One lady on a phone call we received, had an injured animal. She was so afraid of it and didn’t know what to do. You help them through it and help to get the animal to the Centre. What will happen now they ask? God willing, we will be able to help that animal to get better so it can go home and go free again. That is our number one priority. Our goal.
But sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. After exhausting all of our efforts they sometimes do not make it. But we give them every chance available. So every animal that comes through our door gets the best of care in hopes that it will be released back to the wild.
They get a thorough check over and if needed, pain meds and antibiotics.
Sometimes we need to get a vet in to check them or take them to get X-rays, maybe needing a cast on a broken leg or a wrap or bandage depending on the injury. Sometimes surgery. It’s like a regular hospital sometimes.
One thing you as finders need to know, however, is that these are wild animals we are dealing with. Not pets. Not ever meant to be pets and wouldn’t be happy to be pets. They may carry disease, may bite and might be very destructive and if it’s a baby, can become nasty, over time as they grow. All babies are adorable, but they all need a special diet, need to be kept warm, fed often, sometimes by bottle or by tube feeding, sometimes they need an iv or to be sub cued (hydrated) and you can not and should not attempt feeding tiny babies, you can do way more harm than good. And please remember that keeping a wild animal is illegal. And if caught could mean that animal’s life if it is too tame. We then have to try “wild them up” for release. It’s very cruel to the animal. So please do not get caught up in the cuteness of a baby. Do the right thing for that animal.
When our animals are big and strong enough or healthy enough, then they all need to go free. If you find a sick animal. Do not touch them and definitely do not cuddle them. They may tolerate it when they are very sick. However, in reality, you are really stressing them out. They are just too sick to stop it or react. And an injured animal could lash out and bite because it is in pain and it is scared. Remember they do not like us. And that is the way it needs to be for their survival. And one big thing is they need to come to us ASAP. Don’t feed, don’t give milk, and don’t keep them. You might need to keep the animal overnight but you will get instructions when you call us, on what you need to do or don’t do on your end. We know you mean well, and you have big hearts, however, they are special little beings, and they need the right diet and to be fed by trained wildlife volunteers.
Calling us right away is best, leave that detailed message and wait for us to call back. We will. We check the messages every hour. So if you call at 12:05 pm for instance it will not be for an hour before we call you back. And depending on how many calls we get it could be a little longer. We check the phone messages from 8 am until 8 pm. Every hour. Meantime, do not give food or fluids and keep quiet, covered and warm. Make sure they are in a container with air holes as well and in a container from which they cannot escape. Please also be careful when you cover an animal that they can not pull that cover inside with them. Porcupines, for instance, can run into trouble with their quills getting caught in the blanket pulling out the much-needed quills they need for their survival. So you can try taking the corners and carefully tying them to each corner of the cage. Giving them the cover they need but not allowing them to pull that cover inside with them.
When we get your message we will call with instructions and take admitting information and give you a time and number to call when you get here. Or direct you to the right centre if we can’t take them. Covid-19 has made things different for us all, and we are not allowing people into the centre, we come out and meet you. Your phone volunteer should direct you on what to do. But we all can make it work by working together.
So make that call right away. We always need reliable volunteers as well. Our centre depends on volunteers and on regular donations to keep operating. Any amount of money helps and you can go onto our web page www.procyonwildlife.com and go on to see our wish list for donations we need. Or call at 905 729 0033 if you have something you think we may be able to use and ask us.
You can also sponsor an animal with the cost going toward its care. A great Christmas gift for kids or adults alike; we will issue a collage picture of the baby of your choice and a certificate. Click here for more details on our Sponsor a Baby program.
Now is the time our animals who can be released are being released. While others are bedded down for the winter and will go free come spring. All warm and snuggled in with us for now. The work never ends. Winter is the time we clean up, straighten things out and fix buildings and even build new ones. Laundry and toys get sorted out, supplies get checked over. Everything in its right place. Come spring, everything is ready to start all over again when those first little orphans arrive. Then the hectic pace begins all over again. So, if you think you can become a volunteer, get in touch with us. Training is supplied. You will get all the information you need to know. You will tag along with experienced volunteers for a bit as well. Or you can work from home and become a phone volunteer. Calling into the Centre every hour from 8 am until 2 pm or 2pm until 8 pm. Again, training will be given. And only one 6 hour shift a week is required. I find it extremely rewarding as you are helping to get that animal there. You get to talk to people and help them rescue an animal in need by getting it to us. You educate the public. It’s great and it’s important.
And don’t forget. Nothing is ever just dumped on you. Don’t want to care for animals? Don’t worry there is plenty to do. Food preparation, laundry, dishes, floors and more. Doing those things is a huge help to those caring for the animals. Everything is important to keep the centre clean and healthy for all. To keep everything running smoothly. A win-win for both wildlife and us. It can become extremely busy with a lot of little mouths to feed.
A lot of love and a lot of care go into running a wildlife rehabilitation. A lot of responsibility. But when they get to go free, well no words can describe it, it is just beautiful. It’s what it’s all about, and for those sweet souls you couldn’t bring through, you still saved them from no more suffering and from spreading disease to others, from a horrible death of suffering in the wild. You still saved them. You must remember that. We all care and we all shed tears, you can’t save them all. We are human after all. We do get attached, however, we also know there comes that time to let go, to let them grow and get wild, ready for release, and that stage is extremely important for those animals. So they will survive. You release them and bid them farewell in their new lives’ adventures. You hope and pray they will live happy safe lives for a long time. But you never know. You did everything you could do, now it’s up to them. But they are wild and instincts do kick in. It is with your help that these animals get to us. And for that we thank you.
We all must work together. Help each other and make it work. When you admit an animal to the centre, you, the rescuer, can ask for the case number of that animal, you can call and get updates. I recommend waiting a few days, however. And if you call and we don’t have good news for you, you must remember, you still helped that animal and that we did absolutely everything we could to try to save it.
No question is a silly question and all questions will be answered. Or we will do our best to find out the answer for you if we don’t know. So make that call because, we are all in this together, and remember, “HELP is in YOUR hands”.
Enjoy this gallery of images of animals cared for at the Centre this past year!