Paws 'N Claws
News from All Things Wild Rehabilitation, Inc.
March 2019 Volume 5, Issue 2
-February 23, 1-4 PM: Volunteer Training for Teens at the center
-February 24, 1-4 PM: Volunteer Orientation for Adults at the center
-February 28-March 1: Amplify Austin
-March 5-9: NWRA Symposium in St. Louis
Rehab Recap &
What You Missed
"You want me to do what?!"
Those Crazy Cottontails
As the weather gets warmer, All Things Wild will take in hundreds of baby wild animals including squirrels, opossums, cottontails, songbirds, raccoons, and fawns. You can help ATW purchase the formula to feed all of these babies by contributing to ATW through Amplify Austin today!
Brooke W. released 7 fawns after hunting season ended.
Budgie T. took in 2 baby squirrels.
Linda M. took in a tiny baby squirrel-the first of the season!
Things are starting to pick up at Helen L.'s house. She now has 7 baby squirrels and 8 cottontail rabbits.
Kim F. rehabilitated 2 adult opossums.
What You Missed!
February 16-17: Over 40 new volunteers participated in orientation at the new ATW wildlife rehabilitation center. They received an introduction to wildlife rehabilitation, learned about the animals ATW rehabilitates, and met board members and other volunteers. We are excited to welcome them onto the ATW team!
Amplify Austin February 28-March 1, 2019
We have some exciting news about Amplify Austin Day! An anonymous sponsor has offered a $25,000 matching grant to be shared among all Animal Care & Services nonprofits on Amplify Austin Day. Each nonprofit will receive matching funds on a pro-rata basis based on their total funds raised on Amplify Austin Day. In other words, the more money ATW raises, the larger piece of the $25,000 matching grant we'll receive.
All Things Wild Rehabilitation (ATW) is participating in Amplify Austin Day
this year between 6 PM on February 28th and 6 PM on March 1st. Make sure to schedule your Amplify Austin Day donation to ATW today. When you make your donation, make sure to enter #LoveTitos when you check out and Tito's Handmade Vodka will add an extra $5 to your donation!
You can also create your own peer-to-peer fundraising page and use that to help encourage your friends and families to participate. If you have questions about building your peer-to-peer fundraising page, email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You want me to do what?!” or
How it is to be a new Volunteer at All Things Wild by Allyson Jervey
Sometimes it seems like all of the other volunteers at ATW have had many years of experience with either animal rehabilitation, veterinarian care, or human medical care. Not me…. I am completely and totally new to all of it. I began volunteering almost a year ago, and I still feel very much like a novice. I need lots of instruction and guidance and explanations. And you know what? Everyone here is patient and kind and happy to share their knowledge and experience with me.
Here are a few observations and tips I want to offer to new volunteers—to reassure you and encourage you and smooth the way for you to have the kind of wonderful experience that I am having with the animals and people at ATW.
Even though lots of volunteers here are soooo good at this work, don’t let that intimidate you—the animals need you, and once you get a little practice under your belt, they won’t know the difference. Don’t be afraid to try something new after watching someone else one or two times. You may be slow and clumsy (well, I am), but it is the only way to learn. The more skilled volunteers will offer helpful suggestions as they see you struggle.
Likewise, if there is something you really feel unprepared for (for me, it is tube feeding baby bunnies), it is OK to say I am not ready to do that yet. But know that one day, it will be time.
When you are handling and feeding the animals, slow down, take some time and really study them; get familiar with how their eyes look, their noses, their mouths or beaks, their paws or wings or talons, their bellies. Watch how they move and notice the changes from one week to the next. All of this will help you feel more attached to the work, and help you be more able to recognize when something is “off” with an animal in our care.
Study other, more experienced volunteers. Notice the way they hold the animals, and the various techniques they use for assessing, treating, and feeding animals. Ask lots of “dumb” questions.
Things you have to do at ATW can be gross. The staff just laugh at me whenever I say, “Ewwwww,” about some animal’s injury or appearance, or something I have to do, like rub my finger on a neonatal’s genitals to get him to urinate before feeding. They will have you convinced that it is all wonderful, even the “gross” parts. Before you know it, you will be loving the way skunks smell, kissing raccoons, and snuggling opossums.
Likewise, sometimes we take care of a creature that I never would have thought to care for in the past. I’ll say, “Really Helen, a family of tiny mice babies, a snake?” She smiles and says that all of Earth’s creatures deserve our support. She is right.
Stick with it, even when you make a stupid mistake. One time I didn’t attach a nipple securely to a syringe for feeding and the bird swallowed it. I wasn’t expelled from ATW…. Helen assured me that the bird survived, but I still worry…. You will learn from your mistakes, and then make different ones.
Take advantage of opportunities to do lots of different jobs—building cages, cleaning cages, making animal food, cleaning the kitchen area, doing laundry. Even though they may seem like just boring chores, you will be surprised at the new things you learn about animals while doing them.
Volunteering at All Things Wild is a real treat. I look forward to seeing you there. I will be the one asking lots of questions and looking awkward with the animals. And loving every minute of it.
Those Crazy Cottontails
The cottontail mothers are giving birth now while it is still winter, cold, and wet. The ATW hotline is getting calls from people finding nests in their yards or dogs arriving at the back door with a baby rabbit in their mouth. What can you do to help?
First, please understand that you will never see the mother. Cottontail mothers do not stay with their babies because their presence would attract predators. The moms come at night, usually twice, to nurse their babies and are gone when the sun rises in the morning. Baby cottontail rabbits grow very quickly and usually leave the nest at 3-4 weeks of age.
A cottontail nest that has been disturbed. If you find a nest of cottontails in your yard, leave it alone. The mother is taking care of her babies. However, if there is a problem with your dog, cover the nest during
the day while the dog is outside and uncover it when you bring the dog into the house at night so the mother cottontail can feed her babies. Some items you can use to cover the nest include an inverted wheelbarrow, laundry basket with a rock on top, tomato cage, or a heavy flower pot. At an extreme, you can pick up the babies and keep them warm in a small box on a soft towel in the house during the day and return them to the nest at night. Remember, you can touch the babies; the prohibition about touching baby animals is a myth.
If nothing else works, you can call ATW for help at 512-897-0806. Just remember that the mother's milk and care are best for the babies so it is preferable that they stay in the nest.
All Things Wild Rehabilitation, Inc., is a nonprofit tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax ID number is 46-1309620. Donations to All Things Wild Rehabilitation are tax-deductible as allowed by the Internal Revenue Code.