2012 Year in Review: Jackie Sheets, Treatment Team Volunteer

Last year, many of our staff, students, and volunteers recounted their most memorable moments of 2011. We had so much fun reading and sharing these stories, we thought we’d do it again! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2012 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center.

Volunteering on the treatment team at the Wildlife Center is an amazing opportunity -- so many ups and downs, so many fave and not so favorite memories. To pick out one specific time over the past year would be impossible – but I did have a special "friend"  that would make me smile each day I came to the Center.

Junior, an educational Golden Eagle, was quite the vocal bird. He would constantly make his presence  known when we were busy with outdoor rounds. I do believe Junior thought he was a human and he was constantly looking for the perfect mate. Trying to impress his potential mate, he would show off his amazing nesting skills, his ability to remodel, and he also showed that he was a mate that would help keep the house clean. Finding Junior a stick to give him to help with his nest building was always a goal for me at the end of rounds. Having Junior swoop down to take the stick was an added plus. But Junior really won my heart when he started bringing me sticks. What an amazing eagle!  Junior will always have a special place in my heart!

As for the patients, one "wild" patient really kept me on my toes!  This past year we have had quite a few snakes admitted to the Center. One particular Eastern Ratsnake was quite aggressive. I knew when I went back to the reptile room to retrieve him for treatment that gloves – red-tailed hawk gloves – were a must. I think this snake was quite confused about his breed. He would coil up and strike like a venomous snake. Quite a few times, I felt the pressure through the glove when he would strike. One particular day when I went back to get him, he not only coiled up but he shook his tail so fast that I actually heard a "rattler" sound. When I heard the "rattle"  I immediately shut the glass doors and pulled his information card off of his cage to make sure, he indeed was a ratsnake!   It definitely made my heart skip a beat or two!!!

--Jackie Sheets

Keep checking the Wildlife Center's blog for more year-end posts this week!


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