2017 Year in Review: Amanda Reap, Front-desk Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2017! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2017 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

As I look back at my time here at the Wildlife Center, just like most of us, I can’t choose just one special moment to write about, because I’ve had so many! I could tell you all about the time I was fortunate enough to release an Eastern Screech-owl who had one eye! My stepdad was so excited that he actually made an EASO box in hopes the little owl would stick around, but I haven’t seen an EASO on the property since. Or, I could even tell you about the time I released a Virginia Opossum who had most of his tail amputated! If you can imagine an opossum getting any cuter, it’s by having a short stubby tail. Or, even the time I got to witness the release of five Broad-winged Hawks during migration season! OR I could write about all my vet and rehab days I have had here at the Center, where I’ve learned how to successfully give fluids to an Eastern Box Turtle, medicate a Red-tailed Hawk, and even (very carefully I might add) how to handle a Snapping Turtle!

Those are all memories I will certainly not be forgetting, and trust me, I never miss an opportunity to share with staff members how cool my days back in the hospital are. But when I truly reflect back on my seven months as the Front-Desk Coordinator, one thing really sticks out, and that one thing is the compassion I see EVERY day. From the citizens who call in asking for advice, to the volunteer transporters that bring in animals, to the Wildlife Center staff -- compassion is something that is not lacking in this job. I may not have the most glamorous position at the Wildlife Center, but trust me -- I have one of the most fulfilling ones. Even on my hardest days, when I answer 74 phone calls, or when I admit 36 patients IN ONE DAY (23 of which were Virginia Opossums), someone reminds me what it’s like to be compassionate. This job could not be done without some feeling of compassion, and no matter the reason, we all share that quality.

I was truly moved the first day I read Dr. Peach’s biography, where she wrote she “became extremely passionate about directing her career path in a way that would benefit the ‘un-owned’ animals of the world.” Think about that for a second … all the “un-owned” animals. How are they supposed to get treatment and care if they don’t have owners who notice their behavior being slightly off? I know the answer -- and it’s through compassion! Compassion that private citizens show when they bring these animals to the Wildlife Center or call us because they can walk right up to an animal that should be running for its life. In that moment when I read those words, it hit me -- Peach wouldn’t have chosen this career path if it had not been for the compassion she feels towards these WILD animals.

We all know how it feels when there is something wrong with our pets, that feeling of “OH MY GOSH Ninja didn’t finish all of her breakfast, something has to be wrong with her!!!” Or, “why has Winny been sleeping in the EXACT same spot since I left for work this morning?!” Mind you, these are just examples of my helicopter parenting style toward my cats, who we all know are just being cats. But it’s that compassion I feel that makes me stop and think, “is everything alright?!” And it’s compassion we all show for these wild animals that keep the Wildlife Center of Virginia up and running for 35 years and counting. Thank you all for showing me what it’s like to be compassionate and for being the voice for all the WILD animals out there.

-- Amanda

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!