The unexpected is part of the routine at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
At Aspen Valley, one expects the unexpected.
A moose peers out of the backseat of a car after an unexpected trip to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
Even what might seem like a routine call can turn into something unpredictable.
This spring, there have been many such examples as staff have gone out on innocent trips running errands, or answered calls to rescue animals, only to stumble on more wildlife in unfortunate circumstances.
While operating the non-profit barbecue hosted by Robinson’s Independent grocery store in Huntsville, volunteers anticipated it would be an afternoon away from animal care. One of the customers who walked up to the barbecue let volunteers know that they’d bumped into someone with two orphaned raccoons at a nearby restaurant.
When the volunteers came back from the event, staff was surprised to find they had the two orphaned raccoons in tow. They are now in our care and doing fine.
On another recent trip, a staff member went to pick up an orphaned raccoon. On the way home on Highway 141, he found a sad scene, a dead fisher with an orphaned youngster nearby, and picked up the injured animal.
On another occasion, when a group of volunteers were about to leave the sanctuary for a shopping trip in Huntsville, Aspen received a call about a raccoon stuck in a dumpster. Catching them before they left, staff asked the volunteers if they could attempt a rescue when they went to town.
When they arrived, they could see how frantic the raccoon was. She appeared to be a nursing mother, and wanted out to rejoin her kits. Using a blanket, the volunteers enabled the panicking raccoon to climb out and scurry off. Then they went on with their shopping.
A few weeks ago, a staff member was purchasing supplies for the sanctuary in Bracebridge when she received a phone call from a local veterinarian there. Someone had found a moose calf wandering in backyards for a few days, and brought it into the vet clinic.
The Aspen employee, who was driving a small Toyota car, made the unexpected stop, shipping the moose to the sanctuary in the back seat – wondering if other commuters noticed the strange passenger as she paused at intersections along the way. It was an interesting commute, as she had to reach back and use a hand to convince the orphaned moose it should lay down, not stand on the back seat throughout the drive.
Often, amid cycles of baby feeding, cage cleaning and feeding other animals, we feel like we’re stuck in a routine. But looking back, every week seems to have an unexpected story that shows at Aspen Valley, life is anything but routine.
(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.)