It’s terrifying to have a wild animal in need of help, but to be unable to reach someone who can provide the care it needs. It’s no wonder that people sometimes get frustrated and even infuriated with wildlife rehabilitators, who might take hours or even days to return a phone call.
Many people envision wildlife rescue centers as large offices, with full-time paid staff, who can drop everything and help in any emergency. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of wildlife rehabilitation in most parts of the U.S.
The vast majority of the time, when you call a wildlife rescue, you are calling an individual volunteer or a small group of volunteers, permitted to operate out of their own homes. Because almost all rehabbers are volunteers, most of us have full-time day jobs, as well, and many of us have children and spouses.
If you call For Fox Sake, for example, you’re actually calling my personal cell phone. I always try to respond to all calls the moment I’m available, but I might be busy with as many as fifty animals at once. I might be at a parent-teacher conference for one of my three children. I might be responding to another wildlife call, or reading bedtime stories to my babies, or even just getting some much-needed sleep. I rehabilitate animals because it is my passion, but it’s not the only thing I do, nor is it actually my “job” or something I get paid for.
Please be patient. Rehabbers want to help and we are all doing our best, but most of us only have two hands, one body, and twenty four hours in the day.