Saturday, May 7, 2011

Call to the Wild

The West Sound Wildlife Shelter is the only wildlife hospital/rehabilitation/educational center on this side of the Puget Sound. It is an amazing facility complete with flight cages, educational raptors, an on-sight hospital and so much more - but most amazingly, this facility is run almost entirely by volunteers. There are three paid staff working there - but their paychecks come from people volunteering their money to the shelter and their support comes from other volunteers who volunteer their time. Even their vets are volunteering their skills. Every ounce of help they can get, they appreciate and welcome with open arms - as you can imagine, these few amazing employees are somewhat over worked, and yet, the cause is so worth it, they don't seem to mind... too much.

Their main source of income for the last few years has been an annual event. An epic event! A high class auction, a "Call to the Wild."

Basically, it runs like any other auction: people get dressed up, sit around tables, in a huge dinning room, eating a delicious dinner and bid on items. The only difference is, here, all the auction items were donated, a red-tailed hawk greeted you at the entrance, and all the money involved went directly to the shelter.

Meet Yukon, the shelter's Red-tailed Hawk
This year the auction was broken into 5 auctions: 2 silent, 1 semi-silent, 1 live, and a rapid fire. Chad and I were only able to participate in the first level silent auction, which was full of items such as gift baskets, local services and some art. We totally "won" two items! A two night stay on Bainbridge Island and a paddling adventure! I was so excited! We're gonna make a whole weekend of our winnings this summer! Some of the other, more high brow, items available were a 7 night stay in Paris, France, a 6 person cruise in Alaska and cheese making tour at a local creamery. Seriously, it was an amazing thing to watch people bidding 2, 3 and 6 thousand dollars on these things. But more amazing was when the auctioneer started just calling out for general donations! Starting at $5,000 then going down to $50 - people bidding at every level and all to support a wildlife shelter!

It may seem crazy but running a shelter is expensive. Just to keep a bunny or small bird alive costs about $50 a week, whereas an eagle costs upwards of $200. Keep that in mind when you think that every Tuesday I see and take care of our residents which currently is made up of 4 bald eagles, 3 owls (one an abandoned baby), 1 hawk, 3 baby raccoons, 4 juvenile squirrels, 1 kit red fox, 2 opossums , 4 little bunnies, 1 pigeon, 1 mallard duckling, 1 junco, and a mink AND CHANGING DAILY! Just wait till baby season (starting in late Spring)! Usually there are upwards of 50 baby racoons, opossums, squirrels, and chipmunks, who all need to be tube/bottle fed 3-5 times a day! 

 This eagle's wing had to be pinned and set.

This is my mink! The first day I took care of her she escaped TWICE! But I got her! She's missing her two canines on the right side of her mouth.
Even though I volunteer there every week, Chad and I still thought it was a worth while cause. I even told him WHILE we were at the auction that I wanted to go next year - he totally agreed! It was an experience that I am so glad we were able to share together! A date night of epic proportions!

If your interested in helping out at the shelter, giving a donation or participating in next years auction, please visit their website at: