Wildlife and Squirrels in My Bra Tales

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin I shall not live in vain.” – Emily Dickinson


Welcome, and rest awhile. I imagine, if you’re like me, that you find tranquility in sitting in the woods or at the edge of the sea, and find wonder in all of earth’s creatures. I’ve been so blessed to be able to get to know many animals; to know their needs and their comforts, as well as their fears; to be able to heal them, or hold them gently when their bodies just couldn’t manage anymore.

I’d like to share with you some of those moments, in these pages. Scroll down or check out the pages under the Wildlife heading.

I’ve held a permit for rehabilitating wildlife for almost 30 years, for small animals and RVS species such as raccoons, foxes, and so forth. The latter requires a greater body of knowledge and very rigid standards for care, habitat, and disease protocols, much of it with the Rhode Island Wildlife Clinic, so I do know what I’m doing. People are sometimes driven by good hearts to try to care for wild orphans they’ve stumbled upon, but the reality is that these creatures need very specialized care and specialized diets. Too many times I’ve been brought a wild baby by someone who meant well, but by the time the baby got to me, it was already suffering from dehydration, infection, or a poor diet. There have been heartbreaking times in my care of wild animals, but there have also been funny, or touching times, and I wouldn’t trade my past experiences for anything.

Besides wildlife, I have rehabilitated orphaned and injured seals, under NOAA guidelines with Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic.

Local (Wildlife Rehabilitation Association of RI) hotline: (401) 294-6363. If clinic staff is busy with animals, you will reach a message machine giving you the names and phone numbers of rehabilitators in the area who might be able to help you.

Some answers to frequently asked wildlife questions can be found on Tufts Wildlife Center’s website here: http://vet.tufts.edu/wildlife/FAQs.html

Please note: In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, raccoons, skunks, woodchucks, and foxes are considered RABIES VECTOR SPECIES and a level IIX rehabilitator’s license is required for their care. Do NOT handle them. Infants that have been handled by the public will be considered a rabies exposure risk by the DEM and will be euthanized for rabies testing. Please don’t condemn these babies by improper handling! Call a rehabber, or for emergency care, please handle babies with thick, protective gloves and/or by wrapping them in a blanket or towel.

Squirrel Taxi, or Why My Daughter Doesn’t Eat in the Car

I don’t want to recreate the wheel explaining why you CAN’T raise and keep orphaned wildlife, so here’s an excellent article by my friend Annette. The laws she talks about in her home state of Okalahoma apply here, and the difficulties she faces apply to me as well. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to receive an animal from someone who tried to raise it, ran into trouble and is now ready to hand it over. For me, it sometimes means just having to watch that baby die. Please, read this: http://www.wildheartranch.org/?p=wildlifelaws

Shannon K. Jacobs, author of the book Healers of the Wild: People Who Care for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife has given us permission to use two excerpts from her book which might help you determine what to do now that you have found a baby animal. We thank Shannon for allowing us to put these pages on our site. For more information about her book, visit this web site.


Click here if you found a baby mammal. http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_mammals.PDF

Click here if you found a baby bird. http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_birds.pdf

Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island www.riwildliferehab.org

What is Wildlife Rehabilitation? www.nwrawildlife.org/page.asp?ID=4

National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association www.nwrawildlife.org

Useful web sites for wildlife rehabilitation: www.nwrawildlife.org/links.asp

International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council www.theiwrc.org/

Defenders of Wildlife www.defenders.org

International Fund for Animal Welfare www.ifaw.org

National Wildlife Federation www.nwf.org

World Wildlife Fund www.worldwildlife.org

Mystic Aquarium www.mysticaquarium.org

Species Specific Websites

Bear Cubs, Photo coourtesy of the Appalacian Bear Rescue

Bear Cubs, Photo courtesy of the Appalacian Bear Rescue

Black Bear



Appalacian Bear Rescue http://www.appalachianbearrescue.org/

Cove Bear Rescue http://www.covebear.com/BlackBearRescue.htm

Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation http://www.bearrehab.org/about.html

Bear With Us http://bearwithus.org/

Young beaver, almost ready for release.

Young beaver, almost ready for release.


Beavers, Wetlands and Wildlife http://www.beaversww.org/


Information Sheet and Track http://www.wild-life-rehab.com/Education-Beaver.htm


Sometimes you just have to convince them to leave. Haha Photo by Arthur Weichbrodt

Sometimes you just have to convince them to leave. Haha Photo by Arthur Weichbrodt





Coyote pup

Coyote pup


Blog on raising pups http://redcreekwildlifecenter.com/?p=102





Cougar kit. Photo credit unknown. Please let me know if it's yours!

Cougar kit. Photo credit unknown. Please let me know if it’s yours!

Cougar/Eastern Mountain Lion



Cougar Rewilding Foundation http://www.easterncougar.org/

The Cougar Network http://www.easterncougarnet.org/

The Cougar Fund http://www.cougarfund.org/

This little girl was found at the side of a road when her mom was hit by a car. She was eventually released. Photo by Lorna Steele

This little girl was found at the side of a road when her mom was hit by a car. She was eventually released. Photo by Lorna Steele





Every year we're inundated with baby bunnies. If you find them on your lawn, be aware that mom is nearby but keeping predator attention away from the nest.

Every year we’re inundated with baby bunnies. If you find them on your lawn, be aware that mom is nearby but keeping predator attention away from the nest. Photo by Lorna Steele

Eastern Cottontail








Red Fox








Grey Fox





Woodchuck pup, photo Lorna Steele

Hog Haven Groundhog Rescue  http://www.hoghaven.com/



Possum banner

One of my possum babies, some years back. Photo credit Lorna Steele




Cool little informational video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNtlMfrhbE4

National Opossum Society  http://www.opossum.org/

Opossum Society of the US  http://www.opossumsocietyus.org/

The Possum Pages http://opossum.craton.net/

The Opossum Page http://theopossumpage.com/



Photo credit acidcow.com








Baby raccoon. Photo credit Lorna Steele

Don’t even THINK about having one for a pet. And read this, by my rehabber friend Annette: http://www.wildheartranch.org/?p=wantacoon and this one: http://www.wildheartranch.org/?p=raccoon







River Otter






Photo by Katie Buffum

Photo by Katie Buffum

Excellent emergency care info by my fellow rehabber Mary Cummins: http://www.mary.cc/squirrels/foundababy.htm



Cheesy music but good message. lol http://www.greysquirrel.net/







Photo by Katie Buffum




Skunk Odor Removal http://www.skunk-smell-removal.com/content/



Yellowstone Wolves awesome reading list http://www.wolftracker.com/YAI/read/index.htm



California Wolf Center  http://www.californiawolfcenter.org/

Woodchuck (see Groundhog)


Tube feeding an infant eastern cottontail rabbit. Photo credit: Lorna Steele



Orphaned baby raccoons, who required bottle-feeding.

Left: Releasing a rehabilitated juvenile harp seal. Right: Taking an orphaned newborn harbor seal pup in to the Seal Rescue Clinic.

“If the beasts were gone, we would die from a great loneliness of spirit.” – Chief Seattle


The wildlife side of Gentle Paws Pet Sitting.

Founded as a labour of love about twenty years ago, I started Healing Paws as a non-profit organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation, fostering and released of injured and orphaned mammals native to the Rhode Island area. I am licensed by US Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Management in Rhode Island to accept all mammals, including Rabies Vector Species and hold a level IIX permit. I don’t get paid for this. There is no federal or state funding, alas. Why do I do it? Someone has to. I work in affiliation with the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, a small but dedicated group of rehabilitators. We rely solely on fundraisng and donations from the public, so if you bring an animal in need of care, please consider making a donation that will go toward the considerable cost of medications, medical supplies, food, caging, etc.

I Am An Animal Rescuer

by Annette King-Tucker

My job is to assist God’s creatures
I was born with the need to fulfill their needs
I take in new family members without plan, thought, or selection
I have bought dog food with my last dime
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid
I have fallen in love a thousand times
and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body

I have Animal Friends and friends who have animal friends
I don’t often use the word “pet”
I notice those lost at the road side
And my heart aches
I will hand raise a field mouse
And make friends with a vulture
I know of no creature unworthy of my time

I want to live forever if there aren’t animals in Heaven
But I believe there are
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind
We may be master of the animals,
But the animals have mastered themselves
Something people still haven’t learned

War and Abuse makes me hurt for the world
But a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind
We are a quiet but determined army
And making a difference ever day

There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan
nothing more rewarding than saving a life
No higher recognition than watching them thrive
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who only days ago, was too weak to eat

I am an Animal Rescuer
My work is never done,
My home is never quiet
My wallet is always empty
But my heart is always full.

Healing Paws Wish List for wildlife care

  • Oats, alfalfa, good quality hay
  • Baby flaked rice cereal
  • Good quality dry puppy or dog food
  • Canned puppy, dog or cat food
  • Newspapers (we throw away inserts, but we will seperate them for you)
  • Jarred baby food (any kind)
  • Raw meat
  • Antibacterial Liquid dish soap (Dawn Preferred, but I’ll take anything!)
  • Laundry detergent (Any kind)
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Gift certificates to any local agriculture store or pet store
  • Cash for special needs items for whatever may come in for care
  • Medical supplies such as gauze, ointments, wraps etc
  • Any animal supplies such as food & water bowls, cat trees or beds
  • Stuffed animals in good condition (will hold up in washing) and without beads inside them
  • Cleaning supplies such as lysol, Pine Sol, Bleach, hand soap, Clorox wipes, etc
  • Heating pads
  • Pecans, peanuts, frozen berries, trail mix, raisins, grapes
  • Soft baby blankets in fleece or flannel
  • Old blankets
  • Unfrayed towels
  • Rat food (the big pellet type) for our squirrels
  • Wild bird seed for winter feeders
  • Play pens in good condition