Over the last 11 weeks, I have had the opportunity to complete a rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia and it has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. While the first two weeks were a bit of a transitional period for me, I quickly realized just how amazing this experience was going to be.
Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog
It is Saturday, September 12th, 2020, shortly after 1:00 pm. A thick fog blankets Rockfish Gap as my 2009 Hyundai Sonata makes it way eastward toward my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. There is a Broad-Winged Hawk sitting in the back seat. This is distinctly not where I am supposed to be.
I woke up early that Sunday morning, climbing out of my tent before the sun clawed its way over the edge of the world. I knew I had to hurry. I’m not much of a morning person, and the dawn isn’t known for its patience.
Last week, Genesis came into the library and said, "We just admitted a painted turtle ." I perked up and said, "Oh yeah? That's an exciting patient!" (because painted turtles are cool!) Genesis responded, "Sorry, I mean a turtle that has been painted."
"Oh, that's not as exciting."
Unfortunately, the Center sees more turtles with painted shells than you'd expect. This one was decorated with shiny blue paint -- which appears to be spray paint.
On March 14, a rabbit that had been attacked by a cat was admitted by a kind, private citizen from Harrisonburg.
I happened to be in the clinic, talking to one of the rehabilitators, when the rabbit arrived. Rayshaud, our veterinary technician intern, went into radiology to start the patient admission exam. Instantly, Rayshaud’s gaze pointed toward me. As he held the box with this little rabbit in it, he realized the animal wasn’t a cottontail -- he was a domestic pet. It looked so similar to a wild rabbit — I’m not surprised there was a mix-up!
It’s not often that one comes into contact with a bald eagle, the symbol for our nation and an animal considered mighty and majestic by many. It is even rarer, then, to be holding one of these animals tight against your chest as it fights for its life and your coworkers fight with it.
This past year has been the biggest rollercoaster in my life since I migrated to the United States.
One of the best parts about this story is that it isn’t over – working with Buddy will be an ever-evolving relationship, and I can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring.
2019 year-end memory … and five fun facts. In the spirit of the season, let’s call them Five Golden Wings.
This variety also makes choosing a single patient as a favorite case very difficult, but one of the most memorable cases for me in 2019 was an adult Common Loon.