Working in animal rescue comes with breathtaking highs and devastating lows. People who work to help animals are often faced with the worst humanity can offer, but they also get to see the most beautiful moments life can offer. When everything works out, they can breathe a sigh of relief and know that at the end of the day, they did something that really matters!
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Gayl Males is an animal rehabber who gets a great deal of satisfaction from helping animals. Her specialty is nursing sick, injured, or abandoned animals back to full health so that they can be reintroduced to the wild. Recently, a couple in Inman Valley, South Australia presented Gayl with a challenge: a teeny-tiny western pygmy possum!
The couple discovered the juvenile possum in their home, curled up near their dog’s bed. They carefully put the tiny creature into a warm box until they could get it to Gayl the next day. Once she was safely at the Wildlife Welfare Organisation, Gayl got to work nurturing the little female to build up her strength. In spite of her weakened condition, Gayle felt sure that she could regain her health.
“She was uninjured and definitely was a good candidate to raise and eventually get back into the wild,” she explained.
Gayl fed “Possie” replacement milk using a tiny syringe. Five weeks later, the possum had gained enough weight to rejoin her friends in the wild.
Gayl set up a nesting box outside and filled it with yummy native flowers for Possie to eat. She made sure to include a little pot of supplementary nectar to ease her little friend’s transition from captivity to life on her own. Using this “soft release” method, Possie quickly took to being a wild thing again!
It’s bittersweet seeing an animal you care about leave, but Gayl is used to it. She says a successful release like Possie’s reminds her why she got into animal rescue in the first place.
“This is exactly what we do this for,” she said. “To return them to the wild after giving them a chance they would not otherwise have had.”
No creature is too small for the chance at a good life! Welcome back to the wild, Possie.
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