Some say that first impressions are what count most. Others feel you have you have to give it time before getting to know someone. I’m not sure which I choose to believe, however I can tell you with a smile that within the first hour of my arrival Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary had made a great impression on my outlook on life. I don’t foresee the euphoric feeling I felt upon arrival leaving my heart anytime soon. If I did not have ties back home, I would certainly live here.
Sanctuary for wildlife, a haven for humans.
Jon Marleau, back centre, and other volunteers from Canada and Europe enjoy an afternoon playing with Zoey the coyote at Aspen Valley.
I heard about the intriguing sanctuary from a friend a while back and it sat in my mind for weeks as something I would enjoy being part of.
When a close friend passed away at the age of 23, it drove me to quickly realize that life is too short. I almost immediately made my decision. I made the decision to start doing volunteer work, with AVWS being my trial run. I got a month off work, rearranged schedules with both of my bands, informed family of my goal and went to work with planning. I planned my food situation and clothes quickly, and off I went with a friend.
The work here is very rewarding. We do everything from feeding wolves, to bottle-feeding baby raccoons. The regular workday rarely feels like work and each time you see one of the many animals here you quickly realize why you‘ve come here yourself. Each creature has its own personality and charisma, humans not exempt.
The rest of the crew here are incredibly helpful, caring, and respectful. During the day we work hard and at night we sit aside a warm fire to gaze at the stars with our ears contentedly soothed by the majestic wolves’ howl.
This sanctuary may be intended for animals but I too have found a haven here. This incredible landscape is a postcard at every turn and you never know what new creatures you will see or hear.
I’ve become very attached to the animals and volunteers that I would be happy to call my family. I’m happy to say that I am a volunteer at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and that I may have made one of the best decisions in my life thus far. My name is Jon Marleau.
(These weekly articles are contributed by staff at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with a mandate to educate the public towards a better understanding of local fauna. Jon Marleau is a volunteer spending 28 days at Aspen this summer.)