Group seeks, trains volunteers to help with wildlife rescues
By PAMELA GRANT
Baby animal season is upon us for Save a Pet – Copperas Cove. The group takes in and rescues both domestic and wildlife animals. Currently, the group is looking for animal loving volunteers to help with the increased workload that comes with baby season.
Brittany Weimert, Director for Save a Pet, held a volunteer event at her home Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There, she talked to interested individuals about some of the needs of the organization and ways that volunteers can help the group whether physically or monetarily.
To prepare for the season, they need to build and set up new fences and enclosures to house the new babies; the group is still rebuilding after the damages from last year’s. There is a big need for volunteers willing to transport animals. Transporters are very important as some of the babies will need constant attention.
“The biggest thing we need this year are transporters. Without transporters, we would not be able to function,” said Weimert. “We pick up animals from Belton, Temple, Salado…all the way out to Waco. We do not always have enough hands or time to leave on these calls ourselves. Once baby season kicks off and the songbirds come in, the songbirds eat every 30 minutes, and if you miss just one feeding, that can mean life or death for that songbird. So, we need people who can go out, pick up animals, and bring them back.”
The group will also need volunteers to help feed the animals and clean up after them. Those who don’t want to work with the animals can help with fundraising, donating items, or helping with social media.
Weimert said that during the winter and the fall, the group mostly serves as a domestic rescue group, but in the spring and summer, they focus heavily on wildlife. Weimert said that there is a much greater need for those willing to work with wildlife and that there are not very many local wildlife rescue groups. Still, Weimert stressed the importance of caring for the animals.
“There’s not a lot of wildlife rescues. In this area…there’s just me and Rachel. There’s not enough people to help with wildlife, so we always need wildlife volunteers. And the wildlife is very important to our ecosystem and natural habitat,” said Weimert. “Without our native wildlife, we would be overrun with pests like rats and mice. We would have tons of snakes and bugs that are out of control. This little screech owl,” Weimert said, pausing to point to one of her rescues, “can eat between 10 and 20 roaches a night. Our birds eat an estimated 400 rats and mice a year.”
Weimert said that each year, the number of animals that they rescue doubles. They have animals that are blind and deaf, animals that are missing limbs, and some with prosthetics. The group does everything that they can to help. However, volunteers do need to be aware that the group cannot save every animal and they need to be ready for that.
Emmaree McCleary has been volunteering with the group for a long time, mostly helping with bottle feeding several of the baby animals, with Weimert even calling her a bottle-feeding guru.
“They need your help and you help them…It can be heartbreaking, but it’s very very rewarding,” said McCleary about working with the animals. McCleary said that she loved working with the babies and small animals. “I like the possums best, probably because no one else does.”
Those interested in learning more about how they can help can look up the group’s Facebook page at Save a Pet - Copperas Cove TX Area. There they can contact Weimert for information about volunteering, donating, or helping in other ways. Weimert’s phone number and email are available on the Facebook page.