Personal Stories from the Front Lines

By Linda Lloyd
After volunteering in the cleanup efforts of the big 1986 California coastal oil spill, I joined WRI. Showing films of pitiful oil-soaked birds flopping about on a filthy beach, television newscasters spread the word that volunteers were needed to clean them. I volunteered at the Alviso station, where Susie Brain was in charge that day. After a five-minute introduction to tubing water birds by a "senior" volunteer (I'm sure he'd spent at least one day at the task), I set about tubing murre after murre after murre after murre... for the next five hours. I was hooked.

In 1987, I volunteered weekly at the shelter. After one season, they decided I was Day Captain material (they were desperate). They also decided I was Board Member material (they were desperate). The next year (1988) I was on the Board and Day Captain.

In 1989, I quit my full-time paying job at Stanford to serve as President of the Board: another new president with lots of big ideas, half of which had already been tried. I bought some presidential-looking ensembles and a briefcase. I didn't greatly advance the development of WRI, but had a lot of fun trying. My biggest achievement was getting a "Yes" vote passed by the general electorate on the idea of a building a permanent, in-house shelter. Oh well, still trying...

In 1990 I served as Director of Education, a real treat for a born show-woman who loves to share her enthusiasm as well as (minimal) knowledge.

Since then, I have yearly taught classes in rehabilitation: orientation, initial care, avian diseases, opossum care and traumatic injuries. I've continued to work a weekly shelter shift. I've served as opossum co-team leader and finch team leader; I've served on-call (and gained a lot of experience "over-nighting" all kinds of animals); I've raised opossums, doves, songbirds, precocials and ducklings at home; and I've served on the Quality-of-Life Committee.

The knowledge and skills I gained in rehab (through training at WRI and IWRC skills classes) were put into use when I was employed for four years as Animal Care Specialist at the Coyote Point Museum wildlife habitats.

Rehab has allowed me an intimate relationship with a world I otherwise would not know. Working with and learning about these animals binds one to the planet in a way that others (who don't recognize the call of a white-crowned sparrow, the footprint of a young opossum, or the herbal fragrance of some songbirds) will never feel.

Discovering what has caused an animal harm, and making it whole again to continue its separate life requires both an exercise of the intellect and one's best performance in the healing arts. It is the greatest privilege of my life and brings me absolute joy.

By Jane Schaeffer
I enjoy being with Wildlife Rescue. I have been a volunteer for more than 17 years and took care of animals for years before that (otters, foxes, monkeys, deer). At WRI, I started with baby birds, went on to squirrels and once in a while a baby opossum.

My specialty is baby raccoons. My limit is four at a time. I never get attached, because they are not pets, and I only handle them for feeding and anything necessary in their growing time. I like to see them develop to juveniles. They have a lot of personality and are very robust.

Once a group of four-month-old raccoons played so hard, they broke a foot on another raccoon, and he had to be put in a cast. I separated them in different cages but kept them close so they could see each other.

We Save the Birds
Copyright © 1999 Wildlife Rescue, Inc.
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