At Home in a Local Wildlife Rescue Center
Sometimes you find yourself in a space and place that makes you feel so at home and at peace that you wonder what took you so long to get there?
I first experienced this feeling when I moved here to the desert over 8 years ago from Toronto. I just discovered the feeling once again, in a big way, during my second shift on the “Owl Team” at Liberty Wildlife Rescue Center last night. When I was a kid, I just loved all animals soooo much that I thought I should be a vet. Then as I got a little older, I decided that I was not strong enough to handle giving a critter a needle, or worse, seeing one die. So I wandered into the grown up corporate world doing and being what seemed to be socially accepted and expected. Sadly, it had nothing to do with two of my great loves; animals and art.
Earlier this year, I found the Liberty Wildlife Rescue center when I was “rescuing” yet another abandoned baby bird (somehow they find me!). I thought the place was wonderful and with all my heart wanted to be a part of helping our critters survive and thrive in a desert home increasingly encroached on by humans. I know that many try to live in this desert world in harmony and with respect for nature, but even so, sometimes our critters get hurt or need help…and it is largely because of us humans when this happens. So, the honorable and responsible thing to do is help these critters by rescuing, healing and nurturing them so they can get back to their world in one piece again. The ones that are healed but can’t go back, find another calling by staying on at the center to help the Liberty Wildlife organization in educating the public on the importance and awareness of cohabitating with nature’s creatures responsibly, sustainably, compassionately, and with heart.
As I stood there in the “bird room” watching a vulture receive a hydration shot, followed by observing the assessment of an injured dove that had just been turned in, I thought to myself “it is as if I have always been here. This is where I belong”. And you what? I want nothing more than to be able to administer a life sustaining injection, or be there as a last comfort should a critter’s time on this realm come to an end. More than anything, I just know that my heart and soul is peacefully “at home” in a place dedicated to rescuing, healing, and rehabilitating Gaia’s precious wild critters.
So! My newest friends are the owl residents at Liberty Wildlife – oh, and a charming raven named Beaker. An interesting lot the owls are. I have had the immense pleasure of seeing owls at their finest , prowling the neighborhoods and skies of our town at night, as well as roaming the forests fields here and afar. A great horned owl silently gliding within inches of my outstretched arms one evening left me in awe of its size, grace, and power. My new friends are a combination of young hooligans raised at the center by special “foster owl parents”, to rehabilitating injured owls, to resident “education” owls.
So far what I have learned is that whether a Great Horned Owl, A Screech Owl, a precious Burrowing Owl, or a ghostly Barn Owl, they all have incredible personality, fortitude, and a zest for life. These critters are very aware that we are there to help them and are more than willing to let us help. A grand testament to their powerful spirit and wisdom! My greatest challenge lies in the feeding of these critters (yuck), but my teacher, kind and patient Terris, is very easily winning me over on the virtues of the circle-of-life even when it means WE have to intervene and provide key parts of the circle. As if she wasn’t sure of my reaction, Terris ever so tentatively suggested a prayer of thanks and circle-of-life blessings before offering 49 live mice as a meal to the Great Horned Owl “hooligan gang”. She has no idea how much I appreciated that gesture ~ she will when she knows me better.
I eagerly await my next shift and visit to the center to see how all my lovely critters are doing. Not just the owls, but all of them; ravens, hawks, eagles, tortoises, vultures, snakes, gila monsters, quail, finches, you name it! They are all gifts from Gaia and put my soul in a good place. And in addition the critters, I look forward to sharing space with my fellow volunteers and staff. In a room full of these kind people, even though I really don’t know any of them yet, I feel nothing but high and light vibrational energy. Such good and kindred souls! I adore them and am so grateful that these kind and caring people are there for these beloved critters…and am so happy that I have finally found my own way there. I vow to do my part to support this worthy cause and organization, my new home, in as many ways as I can.
Always In Gratitude,
Andrea, “Critter Doc”
Click to learn about this organization Liberty Wildlife Rescue Center