Sunday, August 31, 2008

The end of the road

Death unfortunately is a common occurrence around here. Animals with severe injuries will die on their own, or sometimes mistakes are made that may cause an animal's death. Many times an animal will come to the center with an injury that is so severe that rehabilitation is just not an option. Other times an animal will be rehabilitated but won't recover enough to be released back to the wild. In those cases an alternative home--such as a zoo, or other place that houses animals for education--will be found. With the more common animals, like some owls and raptors, it is difficult to find an institution that needs an animal such as that. When this scenario happens the animal is put down.

So far I have witnessed several animals be euthanized, and it can be difficult to watch. I have had to assist with a couple, holding the animal while the injection was given. We euthanized a raccoon a couple days ago who had broken its back. I wasn't quite prepared for the process of euthanasia of this particular animal. After the drug had worked through its system, it continued to take residual breaths after it had offically died. The movements were very exaggerated and choppy as it opened it's mouth again and again in an attempt to suck in air.

This type of field truly isn't for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared to watch things die, sometimes in your very arms. On the other hand, there are many cases where you are successful in returning the animal back to its natural habitat, and that is the best feeling in the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Releasing the animules

Yesterday I got to tag along on a release. We released two mink that had been brought in when they were just babies. Now they are full grown feisty carnivores! We also released a quail that had finally healed from a luxated wing. I do have pictures, but apparently my connection here at the center isn't good enough to upload them. I promise on my next day off I will find a place with better wi-fi so I can show you all the cool things.

Today I had a day off. I did laundry and mostly poked around the surrounding area. Minocqua is very beautiful and there are lakes everywhere you look. I am excited to take pictures in the fall since the majority of the trees around here are deciduous. I found a good trail nearby that will be absolutely beautiful once the leaves being to change.

Mid-day we got a bobcat kitten in. He is big enough to be mean, but still oh so cute! I'm not sure if I'll have an opportunity to take a picture of him, but if I do I will definitely share!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeding the critters!

Wildlife rehabilitation is a field that keeps you constantly busy. We start in at 7:30am, preparing food for a variety of creatures. After feedings, cages need to be cleaned, dishware needs to be cleaned, medications need to be given, and more food needs to be prepared for the next feeding at noon. The cycle starts over again for a feeding at four, then a few of the animals need a feeding at five, then more feedings at eight and nine at night. Also, we take in injured wildlife 24/7. If something comes in needing attention, we have to stop what we're doing (be it eating, hanging out, or sleeping) and take in the animal and give it the care it needs.

I've only been here two days and I already feel exhausted! Granted, much of that is because I am learning something new, and it has an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be absorbed. It seems I'm always nervous about doing animal handling right off. I am sure this will go away after the week is over, but I still hate the feeling of being unsure about my abilities.

Today I mostly learned about raptor handling, and how to tube feed animals. I tube fed a baby bunny, bottle fed some deer fawns, put out food for bear cubs, fed baby squirrels, watched a baby bunny get patched up from a cat attack, and held a morning dove to be tube fed. It was a pretty interesting day, and I am sure it will only get more interesting from now on. They say that things will start slowing down for the fall, but I think that will be nice being able to take things at a slower pace, pay more attention to detail and not screw up and kill something. Already two baby squirrels and and 4 baby mice have died since last night. Don't worry, it wasn't my fault. Lets just say the previous interns leave a lot to be desired in the responsibility area.


I made it here to the center in Minocqua. It is a nice center and I am definitely going to be staying busy. There are everything from bears to little baby squirrels here. We do feedings from 8am to 9pm, so the work is long, but rewarding by far. I have to start work here in fifteen minutes, but I will post later, hopefully with pictures.

Love you all!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Almost there

I got a relatively decent night's sleep at my Milwaukee hotel. Thought I got up at 3am because I was so paranoid about over sleeping and missing my flight at 8:30am.

So, I signed up for a skype account so people can get a hold of me if they need to. My skype name is akmelissadale. Also I have a landline number through skype so those without the program can get a hold of me using their normal phones. I had to settle for an Oregon number since skype doesn't have numbers in Alaska. You can reach me at (503)766-4105. If I am not at my computer to answer the call, there is voice mail so leave me a message!

Love you all!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not quite there yet

My flight to Rhinelander was delayed, and then eventually canceled. Luckily I don't have to stay the night at the airport, they gave me a hotel room across the street. I leave first thing in the morning and then it will be on to Minocqua.

I met two guys who were also supposed to be on my flight to Rhinelander. They just got done with basic training in Oklahoma. I found it quite interesting noticing people's reactions, as we waited for our shuttle, to these two guys in uniform. Most people just stared and gawked like they'd never seen a soldier before. I found it quite rude, honestly. Then there were people honking with encouragement, wich is nice I guess, but I could tell that the two soldiers were getting quite annoyed with it all.

All in all, my traveling is almost done for a while. It will be nice to settle in to someplace and stop living off of animal crackers and the cheapest airport food I can find.

Leaving on a Jet plane

I am sitting in the Portland, Oregon airport waiting for my flight to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I have spent the last several days in Sweet Home, OR visiting with my biological family for the first time. I had a blast! Everyone was super sweet and surprisingly it was a pretty easy transition.
The couple of days there went really fast, and I wish I had more time to spend getting to know my second family. I guess I'll just have to plan a stop down there whenever I am in the Oregon area.

For those curious here are some photos of people who actually look like me!

This is a photo of the Bose side of the family, from left to right: Me, Sally my Grandmother, B.C. the eldest brother, Byron my father, and Caleb the youngest brother.

This photo is of the girls, from left to right: Me, Charlotte my mother and Michelle my sister.

I drove back from Sweet Home yesterday and turned in my rental car. I then got a ride from my first family sister to watch my youngest nephew's first football game. I had such a good time, he even made his first interception! It was great to see them again and I hope I'll be able to catch more of their games in the future. Sadly, my camera was all packed away so I couldn't take pictures. :-(

I am going to need to get to boarding my plane soon. I'll write again as soon as I can. Love you all and take care!

Monday, August 18, 2008

PC Interview

I had my Peace Corps interview this morning and I think it went fairly well. Phone interviews are very difficult to get used to in my opinion, but being this was my second phone interview, I think it went well. Now I have to fill out a couple more questionnaires and have a follow up phone conversation with my recruiter. Sadly she is going to be up in Fairbanks recruiting for the Peace Corps in late September, but I will be in Wisconsin by then.

I leave tomorrow for a few days in Portland before I head on to Minocqua. I still need to pack, as well as go down town to do some absentee voting. I also need to clean up my sewing room before I leave, which will be a challenge unto itself!

The leaves are starting to fall. I think winter will come early this year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Blog

I created this blog mainly to keep family and friends informed on what is going on in my life. I have many exciting plans for my future and with how busy I tend to keep myself, I may not always find the time to pick up a phone and call you. This I feel is the next best thing.

In the coming months as I head to Wisconsin for an internship at the Northwoods Wildlife Center, I will update this blog with pictures and stories of my time there.

Keep in touch and I will see most of you in November!