This week’s post is not so much a TBT but more of a look into what goes on here. As I mentioned last week, the facility is full of baby animals as we enter the fall birthing season. Right now I have well over 30 squirrels and chipmunks, a dozen opossum, a goose and one on the way, a woodpecker and three birds waiting for pickup at the vet’s office. Did I mention I am hand feeding most of these animals? I love what I do; I give 110% to my wildlife work and I do NOT take a paycheck.
What many people may not realize is that Operation Orphan is primarily Fran Kitchen. I bring this up because I often get people who don’t understand why it is sometimes hard to get ahold of me or why I don’t have voicemail. Today, I thought it would be a good time to share a glimpse into what a normal day or week looks like for Fran Kitchen.
A DAY IN A LIFE
Most mornings start off as early as 4 a.m. Aside from preparing meals, formula and feeding animals around the clock (baby animals are just like human babies: they need feed every 2- 4 hours), my days are chock-full of errands, tasks, shopping and paperwork, not to mention taking care of my own household and eating (yes, I do try to get that into my day! HA!). Here’s a sample of those tasks:
- Answering the phone: Assisting the public and helping get the baby wildlife back with the mother, or if all else fails, have them bring them to me. Note: During my busy seasons I’ve been known to get as many as 150 – 200 calls a day. We have actually had to replace a phone because the ringer wore out!
- Trips to the veterinarian (somedays, multiple times).
- Daily cleaning of cages, washing bedding and towels.
- Shopping for food and supplies.
- Filling out reports, other paperwork and the bookkeeping (which I hate).
- Producing the membership newsletter (my baby and something that I love to do).
- Daily caring for the animals which includes: raising, conditioning, releasing, nursing back to health, and therapy for the ones needing it.
- I can’t forget the educational programs that are a big part of what I do.
Most of these tasks are time-sensitive and since volunteers have lives of their own, I find it easier to just get the jobs done myself. I do have volunteers that help me with things like setting up and tearing down displays, the baby viewing and on occasion, a fundraiser. Volunteers also help with picking up animals that need brought to the facility, except for those that could cause harm or injury to the public, in which case, I will handle. I also get help with my website and Facebook page.
The only thing I can’t do is provide the financial support of the work done at Operation Orphan. Operation Orphan has been fortunate since 2001, after my husband had a stroke, to be supported completely by the public and program fees. OOWR DOES NOT receive any federal or state funding of any kind. Without monetary and material donations, there would be no Operation Orphan as it is today.
Back to why I don’t have voicemail. As I have already mentioned, I can get hundreds of calls in just one day. When I use to have voicemail, I would spend hour a day listening to the messages and still had to call people back. That took a lot of time away from the caring for the animals, which always comes first. It may be a pain to have to keep calling me, but please understand that there is a reason and a method to my madness. I try to educate through our Facebook page as much as possible so you’ll know the RIGHT thing to do when you find an animal you think may need help. There is so much BAD information on the internet! If you click on a photo within our Facebook page, most will take you to information about them. You can also visit our website at: www.operationorphanwildlife.com, where I have a lot of information as well as alternate contacts if you can’t wait to talk with me.
One other thing: If you can’t get ahold of me, please, please, please, DO NOT LEAVE AN ANIMAL unattended at the facility. This past weekend I was at a program and someone left two baby squirrels on the front porch. By the time a friend and volunteer found them, they were cold (babies need warmth to live – For more Information: http://www.operationorphanwildlife.com/learning-center/squirrels/). By the time I got to them, one had died. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking that is for me!
I hope this helps give you an idea of what goes on here at Operation Orphan and why it may take a while to get ahold of me.
- To those that have donated and continue to donate, hold fundraisers for us, and those that have made material donations instead of money, purchased items through Amazon Smile or off our Amazon Wish list, I want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. It all helps keep Operation Orphan running and helping our wildlife.
Copyright 2017 Fran Kitchen
Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and does not receive federal funding. We are supported entirely through private donations, memberships, and proceeds from our education programs. To Donate visit our website at: www.operationorphanwildlife.com