Why Do We Do this?

All around us, the natural world is under siege.  We’ve altered the Earth’s landscape drastically–destroyed many  habitats, fragmented and degraded many more.  We’ve added glass windows, cars, lawnmowers, pets, pesticides, and countless other hazards that bewilder and wound wild creatures.

Our work is about giving a second chance to those we’ve injured.  It’s about renewing and strengthening our bond with nature and our fellow beings.  It’s about exercising our compassion and altruism.  And finally, our work is about learning to live alongside our wild neighbors, and ultimately, transforming our world into a healthy, vibrant place we all can share.

We do this work for the sake of animals brought to us.  We do this work because we believe it makes the world a better place, both directly and through a ripple effect.  But most of all, we do this work for you, the people who go out of your way to save these animals.  We are grateful that you care enough to help, and we strive to bring your act of compassion full circle.

Below are some of our favorite answers to the “why?” of wildlife rehabilitation, expressing the essence of our human need to help our fellow mortals.


The StarFish Story

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking things up and gently throwing  them into the ocean.  Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” “Throwing starfish back into the sea,” the boy replied.  “The sun is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“But son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach, with hundreds of starfish along each mile?  You can’t possibly make any difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the water.  Then he smiled at the man and said,” I made a difference for that one!”

(adapted from Loren Eiseley’s The Star Thrower)



Birdfoot’s grampa

The old man
must have stopped our car
two dozen times to climb out
and gather into his hands
the small toads blinded
by our lights and leaping,
live drops of rain.
The rain was falling,
a mist about his white hair
and I kept saying
you can’t save them all,
accept it, get back in
we’ve got places to go.
But, leathery hands full
of wet brown life,
knee deep in the summer
roadside grass,
he just smiled and said
they have places to go to
(From Joseph Bruchac’s Entering Onondaga)


“Our nature is human nature, and we’re made a certain way too. You’re made so that, after you’ve run your fingers over Pup’s ears and looked into his eyes, after you’ve felt him breathing on your chest when you hold him, you can’t let him die. It’s our nature.”
(from Ann Klefstad’s Pup and the Dog Lady)

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”  – Albert Einstein