Saturday, January 8, 2011

So since this is MY blog.....

You know, as a rehabber not employed by some huge medical facility (which by the way, are few and far between), I have a lot of freedoms that some do not. I have friends that rehab under the umbrella, so to say, of large conservation groups so they must hold their tongues. We speak often, and frequently vent to each other, seeing things that no other people can possibly relate to. And since it's wildlife, the other frustrating side of which are the laws, or lack there of, protecting and prosecuting. You just want to scream. Thank God we have other rehabilitators or animal welfare workers to vent to. But as I was saying, since I'm not "employed" by an entity, I can speak my mind and say things that others may not have the freedom to do openly. So today, I'm going to update everyone as usual, but also speak about a few personal things.

An issue I'm very passionate about, is the still legal use in Utah of leg-hold traps. They are horrific, mid-evil devices that are still used in some state legally. I've always vowed if I ever 'retire' from rehabilitation, I would spend most of my time at our states capital, fighting, trying to change this law. For the last month, a large 'hunting' group has rallied it's members into changing the already horrible law of checking their 'set' traps at every 48 hours, wanting to extend that to 7 days. Now, for humane reasons alone, this should never happen. This group is focusing on coyotes, blaming them for the supposed drop in our deer populations. Rubbish.
Selling too many permits, trying to raise more money for the state is the reason our deer population is in potential trouble. But you see, the numbers are cyclical, meaning they follow a pattern. Based on natural predator numbers and other factors, such as hard winters. But in Utah, their answer is to target the predators, doing their natural things. And coyotes are NOT the main predators of deer. This 'hunting' group just wants all coyotes gone, period. There is no justification for this, so they put out this crap and hope the public buys into it. It just isn't so.
I've been attending meetings, when possible, around the state in hopes the Wildlife Board in Utah isn't swayed by this group, but they are powerful in numbers and money.
The final meeting regarding this issue (for this year) was last week and we prevailed, but it was a close call. At a time when people are realizing that yes, animals feel pain and suffer, to want to extend their suffering when many states are ending the barbaric practice permanently, is insane and shows just how backward Utah is in this respect. Now we need to gear up for next years battle as I'm sure, they are as well. At least many of Utah's citizens have been made aware through these events, that this practice is still going on.

The other thing that has been an issue, stress wise during this last month or so, is lack of donations. I know things are hard for many non-profits, but when we don't have funding, lives are truly on the line. If little 'Johnny' doesn't get a bike at Christmas, he will still be alive. Yet every year, there are millions of kids "needing help". I know last year alone in Utah, there was a news story about a warehouse in North Salt Lake filled with bikes and toys that "weren't needed" as there were so many donations. God! Why can't animals get that kind of help. I know huge organizations such as the Humane Society get great support, but there are so many local groups doing the same work with nothing! Some times I get so depressed, I just want to quit, but who will help the wildlife. I've dedicated everything I have and am to them. And all we ask for is some support and it's like pulling teeth.
This last two weeks has been especially hard, so when two large boxes we dropped off by UPS, I started to cheer up a little. My friend and fellow rehabber, Carmen Smith, from Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, sent us a "care package". She knows what I do, hell, she does the same thing. We do it without paid employees however and no paychecks.
I opened up those boxes and the tears started to come. Thank God for Carmen!
IV fluids, gauze, syringes, needles, swabs and latex gloves, just to name a few things. All very important and things we go through like crazy. These are ongoing needs. Patients come in, supplies get used. It's that simple!
This is the reality of rehab. It's very stressful and trying, even without all of the financial issues, so when those aren't good, it's almost unbearable.

Ok, so let's get started on the patients.

Our Bald eagle "Crash" has had surgery on his leg. It's amazing the complexity of these orthopedic surgeries, rivaling human surgeries similar in nature. We held off on the fracture we believe is in the pelvic area as this is so risky, that we would only want to go forward with it if the eagle is not progressing in standing, so we will hold off for now.
I'm including pictures of his leg in this post. He is still not wanting to eat on his own, so when we pull him to give him his medications, twice a day, we feed him as well. He is also plotting Connie's demise!

We also got in a female Sharp-shinned hawk with a closed fracture of both the radius and ulna in her right wing. She had surgery to repair these and hopefully, she can return to her normal life in a few weeks. Once the pins and device holding those pins is removed, then we will need to rehabilitate that wing and hopefully she will have full use of it once again. I don't have any photo's of her at this point, but I'll take some and post them next time.
The Merlin is doing wonderfully and almost ready for transfer. We are working on his paperwork anticipating a week or two before he can go! Yeah, Peggy!

We also have a dove in our care that a cat tangled with. My God, there are punctures and bruises everywhere and most of his body feathers are gone and he only has one tail feather left. He will be with us for awhile as many feathers have to grow back before he can be released. He is also currently on antibiotics for the cat attack. Without those he would certainly die. Sorry, no pictures of him yet either.

And last, another new Great Horned owl. Looks like this year is going to be a repeat of last year. This guy has a fracture to the hand portion of his right wing. The bones cannot be repaired due to the state of healing already in place. There is still a chance of release, but only time will tell. He came from the Teasdale area of Utah in Wayne county. Some wonderful people found him while out hiking. It took an extra day to get him to us as an avalanche had blocked the road between me and them, so the following day, a friend of mine who lives there in Teasdale, drove him the long way into Green River and we met her there. Thanks to all involved in that rescue; Ronni, Giles, Ben, Rick and Laurie!
The owl is now eating on his own, so we have been taking him outside for the daytime and bringing him in at night. Soon, we can let him stay outdoors full time, but still, under confined space so he doesn't disrupt those already healing broken bones any further.

Well, that's it for now,
Enjoy the photo's.

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Feathered brothers and sisters, you came to us broken and as you bled…….we saw you desperate, dehydrated, desiccated, diseased, distressed, emaciated, famished, frayed, frightened, helpless, hungry, ragged, ravenous, shaken, shocked, shot, sickly, stressed, stunned, tattered, thirsty, traumatized, torn, weary and wounded. Defiantly, you stood us off with your last breath as we tried to tend to you. We saw you come in as cute, naked, fuzzy, cuddly youth, as mischievous, defiant adolescents, as fierce, regal rulers of the sky and as cunning, maimed elders whose time on earth was almost done. You endeared yourselves to us, bit us, charmed us, footed us, delighted us, hissed at us, talked to us, mantled at us, and graced us with your presence.

Some of you mended and were able to go on your way, never looking back. Some of you were injured in ways that prevented you from going, so you stayed with us to teach us…….And we came to love you. Others were too far gone, and you went home - where you fly free from pain with the Great One. All of you have touched us, and we are changed because of you.

used with permission by Arlene Powers