· 10 August ·
You’ve been up since 6am when the babies needed their first feed. It’s been constant ever since, feeding every 15 minutes. Despite your best efforts, five babies have passed away so far today. You skipped lunch because you didn’t feel particularly hungry after spending 30 minutes pulling maggots out of a hedgehog’s ear. You’re glad the baby squirrels are wilding up nicely but you could have done without the down-to-the-bone bite one of them gave you when you were transferring them to the outside pen. You’re pretty sure you have pigeon crap in your hair but it’s way down on your list of things to worry about. At the top is whether that RTA badger will pull through and, if he does, how on earth you’ll find the £450 needed to pin his broken leg. The phone rings and you wipe the blood from yet another catted blackbird off your hand onto your jeans to answer it, conscious that it’s been ringing off the hook while you’ve been fighting fires. Someone’s dog has caught a hedgehog in their garden and the caller wants it picked up NOW because they ‘know hedgehog are riddled with fleas and they don’t want them to infect the dog’. No, they can’t bring it to you, they don’t drive (if you only had £1 for every time you heard that, the badger’s vet bill would be covered in a week!). You explain that you cannot leave the rescue, you need to finish cleaning, feeding, medicating etc but, if they can get the hedgehog to you, you’ll help as you scan the room desperately looking to see where you can fit in another cage. There’s shouting down the phone – they thought you cared. They’ve been calling round for hours and no-one gives a shit, no-one wants to help this poor hedgehog so they might as well just let it go. You’re told in no uncertain terms and with very colourful language how useless you are and the phone is put down.
When you ‘finish’ after 10pm (not counting the baby feeds at midnight, 2am and 4am still to do), you check emails and messages for the first time. There’s another fifteen animals needing help and a 1 star google review about how someone had emailed you this morning but no-one bothered to answer and now the bird has died.
You ask yourself why you bother, knowing full well you’ll do it all again tomorrow. It’s your calling.
This is what Spring and Summer look like in wildlife rescue. I’ve had enough of the people criticising rescuers to us recently because they’ve not answered the phone/couldn’t help/wouldn’t pick up. These people are living on the edge this time of year. Do something to help them PLEASE!