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May 05.3

Second Chances Wildlife Center shares love on Mother’s day

Posted In: Charity Pot

In honor of all Mom's - human or furry, we're excited to share the story of Second Chances, our Charity Pot partner. Founder and Director, Brigette Williams joins the LUSH blog.

This Mother's Day, I am a Mom of two teenagers plus forty furry foster animals, most of which are infants. I celebrate my children and celebrate the life I am trying to offer to the babies that lost their Moms. In some way, I feel that I owe it to the Moms. Wildlife Moms are such wonderful and dedicated Moms.

When my children were a bit younger, I took them camping one weekend. That weekend played a key role in my thoughts of rehabilitating wildlife. There was a woman there that had just found two baby opossums. No one knew what to do or how to care for them. Not knowing that possessing any wildlife, even to care for it, was illegal, I took them with me; at least I had some background in caring for animals, as I have been a volunteer educator at our local zoo for almost 14 years. My children and I thoroughly enjoyed caring for "Peanut and Ginger" and we experienced our first bitter sweet release.

That was such a learning experience. I realized the critical need in our community and in 2010, founded the 100% volunteer 501c3 organization, Second Chances Wildlife Center. The need was for someone to help the often-overlooked and misunderstood wildlife. There simply was not an organization that cared for our native mammals nor used education as a tool to unlock the door behind many inaccurate myths. Puppies and kittens are readily supported, which is great, but what about the infant squirrel that lies helplessly in the grass crying for mom, for anyone to help? Or the opossum that was hit by a car with five surviving babies wondering around Mom waiting for her to get up? Who will help them? We have filled this important niche.

“Second Chances” passionately fulfills our mission of conserving wildlife through two channels: rehabilitation and education. We provide round-the-clock care for native mammal species. Our goal is to always release these animals back into the wild where they belong, only healthier, as they have all been vaccinated and de-wormed prior to release. Should an animal have an impairment and not be able to survive on their own, their life is given a meaningful purpose as education ambassadors.

They accompany us to school, scout, camp, and community programs to help foster compassion and a greater appreciation of our environment as a whole. Both adults and children respond very positively to these ambassadors.

Did You Know?

That bats are a keystone species? If bats’ numbers continue to decline at the alarming rate they currently are due to White-Nose Syndrome, our entire ecosystem will change.

That only one half of one percent of bats carry rabies?

That opossums can not carry rabies because their body temperature is too low?

That every skunk has their own unique markings, just as each of us have unique thumbprints?

These are some of the interesting facts that Second Chances teaches. Humans are encroaching into wildlife’s habitat's each day. We all need to learn to co-exist humanely side-by-side. For more cool trivia, click here.

Who better to help teach than one of their very own education ambassadors, Benny?

Benny was found in someone’s yard cold, all alone, and having been attacked by a dog. At two days new, Benny was wrapped in a towel and taken to Second Chances. Unfortunately, one of the towel loops got caught on his umbilical cord and was pulled off. This resulted in a hernia. Benny was only 35grams, the weight of about two packs of gum, when he arrived, so surgery was not an option until he was a bit bigger. While waiting for Benny to grow, the hernia grew with him, causing his back leg to grow in sideways and a bone to slip down where a joint should be. Benny healed nicely from the hernia surgery, but he does not have use of his back leg, therefore, making it difficult to survive in the wild. Benny inspires everyone he meets with his happy attitude and zest for living. Benny loves visiting hospitals, camps for disabled children, and mental health clinics as he gives them hope, confidence, and determination. All the while he helps to promote good decision making for our environment. And let’s face it, who knew that a skunk could be so dag-on cute?

To read about more of Second Chances’ educational ambassadors, click here.

Each year, Second Chances offers hundreds of orphaned babies a temporary home, a loving “Mom”, and a second chance at life. Although Second Chances is licensed through Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Federal Fish and Wildlife, and the USDA, the source of funding is solely through donations and fundraisers.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help save lives and to help promote sustainability in nature through education.