BY MARCY SHORTUSE - At the Wildlife Center of Venice, there is no such thing as a typical day. You’ll never know what you’ll find when you come in, or what might happen. One thing is certain, though, help is needed.
Whether you’re interested in doing a little training to become a volunteer wildlife handler (to respond to calls on or around the island to pick up injured wildlife), a transport person (one who is willing to pick up animals that have already been contained and take them to the center), or a volunteer at the center itself, let them know what you’re capable of doing and they’ll find a job for you.
The center’s website, wildlifecenterofvenice.org, says:
“On any given day, there are a couple hundred patients at the center. We release several patients each day, but they are often replaced by a steady stream of new patients. Prioritizing who needs attention the most is the name of the game each day at the center.We start the day early in the hospital and nursery. We make our rounds paying particular attention to the critically injured and baby animals. We give medication, food and water. We observe the animals as we go, paying attention to any changes in behavior or physical condition.
Cage cleaning in the hospital is an important part of the health and well being of the animals. Rotating the patients during cage cleaning also allows us to get a closer look at the patients to observe any conditions that may not be obvious within the cage.
We then make our way out to the outside recovery areas where we give food, water and medication as needed.
Throughout the day we have projects such as outside habitat cleaning, repair and improvement. During the day, there is an ongoing process of cleaning food dishes and bedding blankets. We use hundreds of food dishes, blankets, and feeding instruments throughout each day.
A second round of medications and hydration may be needed by some patients. We also give a second feeding and water to all patients. We pay close attention to making sufficient amounts of water available to each patient.
As the day closes, we give a last round of medications and hydration and evaluate all patients to ensure they are in safe places for the night.”
There are many items needed as well. Everything from heating pads (without auto-shutoff) to wheelbarrows, scrub brushes and mops to bleach and laundry detergent, kitten milk to baby food jars and medical supplies; if you’re cleaning out the house or see a great sale, there are many, many supplies the center finds indispensable. Go to their website and click on “donate to the center” to find a complete list.
Right now the center is running full, and with it being hurricane and storm season, they are bound to receive more animals needing care.
Call (941) 484-9657 if you can help with any of these items.
Marcy Shortuse is the editor of the Boca Beacon, the Gasparilla Gazette and Gasparilla Magazine.
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