2018 Year in Review: Caroline Elpers, Front-desk Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2018! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2018 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Though I have not been here at the Wildlife Center for most of 2018, I have still had some pretty interesting animal admissions come in since I started working at the front desk in October. One memory that stands out of all others would have to be the call I received during my first week after training.

I was slowly getting the hang of things and thought I had mostly everything under control. I had already successfully admitted two eagles several days before, and I was thinking that those would be the most challenging events of the week. Boy, was I wrong!

I definitely was not anticipating a phone call from Dan at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries about an orphaned bear cub he was bringing in. Wait, a bear cub? It’s November! I wasn’t prepared for admitting babies this time of year!

Sure enough, a few hours later, in walked Dan with the bear cub. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but a cub the size of a house cat had definitely not come to mind! Maggie, who had trained me, was not here that day, but thankfully, Dr. Peach was able to help me intake the little bear. One of the most important parts of the front desk job is getting the full story of each patient and why it has been brought to the Center. As soon as we got the cub settled in, I made my way back to the lobby to speak with the VDGIF officer about where this patient had been found. To my surprise, the little cub had strolled into a Kangaroo Mart! Thankfully, the employees at the store were able to contain the cub in a back room before proceeding to contact animal control.

This bear’s story was so bizarre that it really took all of the staff by surprise, but it really threw me for a loop – being my first high-profile patient during my first week working the desk alone! If this story sounds familiar, patient 18-3024 was featured on our “Current Patients” page on our website on December 4th.

Since October, I have had my fair share of interesting patient admissions and I have no doubt in my mind that as the “baby season” comes this spring, I will continue to be surprised. At least now I can be more prepared! Let’s just hope no more wildlife decides to take a shopping trip anytime soon!

--Caroline

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

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