2015 Year in Review: Peg Leinbach, Treatment Team volunteer

It’s time to look back on 2015! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2015 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

As a member of the hospital treatment team on Tuesday mornings, my dear friend Deb (another volunteer) and I share responsibilities for retrieving and holding the patients who require treatments for that day. As I look back on 2015, I think of two days when we could not stop laughing at the situations that unfolded during treatment time.

On the first occasion, I was holding a Canada Goose and was asked to kneel on the floor and to extend the patient’s neck straight up in the air so that he could be tube-fed. The goose and I assumed the requested position and the vet student proceeded to press hard on a 60 cc (BIG!) syringe filled with the prepared food mixture that was “securely” connected to the feeding tube. Suddenly the syringe became unattached from the feeding tube and the mixture shot straight at my face, shoulder, and T-shirt. It really was a mess but we could not stop laughing. After a few adjustments, the feeding was successfully resumed while I cleaned up to be ready for the next patient.

On the second occasion, Deb was asked to bring a vulture to the treatment area. The vulture clearly had other ideas about where to go but, Deb (who is very experienced in handling patients) managed to maintain control of the bird who was spewing food and feces in several directions. Unfortunately, Deb was the recipient of some of this activity and ended up with some of it in her hair. Again, it was a messy but hysterical situation that we fondly recall whenever someone is asked to bring a vulture to the treatment area. We now arm ourselves with protective covering when asked to “pull” a vulture, especially if it is a feisty one. Deb even received a shower cap for her birthday the following week. It is fun to be part of a team that can laugh when things go wrong and can then work together to re-adjust.

Because all of our patients do not appreciate the care and treatments they require, there are unexpected situations that occur and it is essential to maintain a safe environment for the individuals who are administering treatments, the patient, and the restrainer. Unusual challenges present themselves every day so the team must be very flexible and creative to work with these unpredictable patients. I find it very rewarding to work in an environment where the experienced staff are always teaching and creating a positive learning environment for the many students and volunteers at the Wildlife Center. 


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