Why I became a wildlife rehabilitator

Why I became a wildlife rehabilitator

Recently a few friends asked me why I became a wildlife rehabilitator, so I thought I would share my story for anyone who is interested.

I have always had a deep affinity for the natural world. This was not nurtured; it was just something I was born with. In fact, as a child I had little understanding of the natural world, but I saw the damage that mankind was inflicting on it very clearly.

As I became older, my understanding of ecology grew. So did my knowledge regarding the devastation being wreaked on our environment by humanity. I became acutely aware of profound suffering.

Over time, the awareness of this suffering turned into despair within me. I felt the deep pain of the disconnect between humans and nature, even though we, ourselves, are a part of the great web of life. I became consumed by this despair. It haunted me everywhere I went and it kept me up at night.

I wanted to escape the despair – to run and hide or to drown it out. But I couldn’t escape it no matter how hard I tried. Eventually, I realized that in order to ease the pain of despair, I had to turn and face the suffering – to look it squarely in the eye, to understand it, and to look at it with compassion. That is what led me to become a wildlife rehabilitator.

Being a wildlife rehabilitator has given me the opportunity to face the suffering inflicted on our natural world and the miraculous creatures that share our earth-home. The sad truth is, the vast majority of animals that come into rehab come in due to human-related activities.

It is a deep honor to be able to look into the eyes of another living being, to hold space for suffering, and to act with compassion to try to alleviate it. It is not easy, but it has been an incredible opportunity to more clearly ascertain the thread of inter-being that connects all living things and to gain better insight into the sacred circle of life and death.

My heart has been filled with the knowledge and understanding that humans and nature are one and the same. I believe that once we start seeing ourselves as a part of nature instead of separate from it, we will be able to heal the wounds of our world.

Here is one of the orphaned squirrels I released last spring foraging under my bird feeder

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