Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Weekend At The Wildlife Rescue Coalition of North East Florida

This weekend I was bored so I figured I would volunteer at the local wildlife rehabilitation center. I really didn't know what to expect when I decided to volunteer, nor did I know what types of wildlife I would be encountering. But I set my qualms aside, put on my working jeans, and headed myself over to the clinic. Upon my arrival at eight in the morning I was greeted by a lady who goes by the name Miss Kim. She's one of those characters who obviously is selfless in every aspect, she's constantly answering the phone and always seems to be nursing an animal in her hand while walking directing the clinic with the other. She offered a tour of the facility but I was rather hesitant to ask her to stop what she was doing just so I could see what the place looked like. I replied "I'll see it when I'm cleaning it." Then I asked what needed to be done. The clinic itself consists of two mobiles, one with the main office and a nursery room for the more delicate animals, and the other for the more mature and obnoxious animals, they certainly wouldn't make good office company.

My first task was to clean the terrarium of a gopher tortise who was the victim of a dog attack, his shell was near healed but you could still see the injuries and stitch marks. So I cleaned his housing and supplied him with some vegetables, (mind you all of the food at the clinic is donated)

Then my second task was to feed and clean the opossums. They're rather comical seeing as how they're just a step above a rat. In a way, they are pretty, with their masked faces and outlandish looking jawline. They certainly are something you don't see everyday.

I believe my last task for the day was to feed the baby squirrels, now for me this is like helping the enemy. Now I know that no life is worth more, or greater than another but i really have a dislike for squirrels, but no prejudice should ever be exerted towards any animals, no matter how destructive they can be in the garden. When you think of a squirrel you think of an animals that's either on a battery or doing some sort of performance enhancement drug, and let me say this, you're exactly right. The squirrels are housed in separate bins with mesh lids, of course they being squirrels, all run out at once. They go for the door, your head, your arms, or elsewhere where they feel needed. After two hours my daunting task of feeding about thirty or so infant squirrels was over.

After my day at the clinic which was a positive, albeit messy one, I gained a certain respect for the people who dedicate their lives to this work. They're the most selfless and most colorful people I have ever met in my life. Each of them have their own ambitions but they put them aside at the door for the sake of the animals. I know that as long as the clinic is open Ill always be a volunteer.

Because the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of North East Florida is a non for profit organization it relies entirely on donations from the public. I urge you to help by either volunteering or donating to this wonderful rescue center that rehabilitates injured or orphaned wildlife to release back into the wild.. The people at the clinic truly are some of the kindest people I have ever met. My time there was well spent.

Here is a link to their Website please consider donating.

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