Every day I handle many telephone calls from people who have come across a critter they believe is in distress. On a light day I have twenty-some calls. An average day I handle thirty to forty, and during baby season last summer I had a high of sixty-three. In these calls I lead the caller through how to help the critter. The first action I take is to calm down the caller. All of them are excited. “Take a deep breath,” I advise, “and calm down.”
Next I ask questions about what they have encountered. I usually need to ask several to find out what is going on. Based on what I am told, I offer suggestions of how to assist the critter and, ultimately, the person.
I thought you would find two from this weekend interesting.
A guy had found an 18” x 17” soft shell turtle with a muskie hook stuck in its foot. “Get a bolt cutter,” I stated, “and cut off each of the barbs. Then pull the hook through its foot. Turtle’s blood coagulates quickly so the bleeding will stop fast. Let it go. It will be fine.”
He calmed down, and a friend of his went to Menards to buy a bolt cutter. After following my instructions, he called me back, very happy. “It worked!” he gushed. “You were right; the turtle hardly bled.”
He was a delight. I enjoyed talking with him and appreciated that he did what I said. Some people seem intent on debating my suggestions rather than following them.
The second call tore at my heart strings. A mother called. In the background I heard crying. “Would you talk to my eight-year-old daughter?” she asked. “She is concerned about a squirrel up in a tree that has been whimpering.”
“Sure,” I replied. “Put her on.”
I asked the girl to tell me about the squirrel. I explained what had likely happened. “The squirrel has left the nest and is getting accustomed to being without its mother. It’ll be okay,” I began. Then for several minutes we had an interesting conversation about squirrels.
She was very special.
I’m always telling you about the critters I directly rescue, rehab, and release because they are my focus. I also do a great deal of work on the phone. These are two examples of those phone rescues. Some of my efforts have a direct impact on helping the critters, but all of them affect the people who call.
Thank you for caring about the critters,