In the News
GEORGETOWN -- The loud squawking of parrots, not being able to take a vacation, being on-call 24 hours a day, an average food bill of $600 to 800 a month, lots of cleaning up, getting a series of rabies vaccinations and learning to care for many different species of animals — this is just part of the life of a wildlife rehabilitator.
It takes a great deal of commitment and a belief that what they are doing is worthwhile.
Cindy and Skip both work seven days a week taking care of the animals they already have at the sanctuary and building new exhibits, as well as running Sweeties. Cindy routinely gets up early, feeds and takes time to visit with all the animals and give them individual attention and physical contact. Then, after what is already a full day’s work, she showers and heads to Sweeties to run the shop for the afternoon.
Skip usually stays at the sanctuary to oversee the animals’ care and work with their current volunteers on the next project. There’s always a “next project.”
On one of the first sunny spring-like days in March, the project of the day was to finish building a raptor rehabilitation cage. Skip had a good bit of help. When The Times arrived, several people were busy putting up the vertical slats on the frame of the cage.
Skip had gotten the lumber for the cage at a discount price from Stock Building Supply in Pawleys. He explained that, around the base of the cage, they put down chain-link fence (donated by East Coast Fencing in Georgetown) on the ground to protect healing raptors from any critters trying to get in to harm them. In addition to the material donations, Skip was also the happy recipient of donated time and energy.
Donna and Vic Yarborough were hard at work on the raptor cage. Donna said she met Cindy when she wandered into Sweeties one day. They got to talking, and Cindy told her about the sanctuary.
The Yarboroughs own Yarborough Home Services, a home improvement business, so they were more than qualified to lend a helping hand. The two couples have become good friends, and the Yarboroughs have put in many volunteer hours helping out.
In addition, Donna’s son, Rick Ranalli, and his friend, Lindsay Kozel, both students at the College of Charleston, came up during their spring break to help build. Both students say they like animals a lot and they enjoy volunteering on important projects.
By the time The Times left several hours later, the raptor cage was almost finished. Its first inhabitant will be a great horned owl named Chester who will come in from an N.C. sanctuary where he currently resides. There are already other educational raptors at that center, so Chester must find a new home or be euthanized, according to federal law.
SC-C.A.R.E.S. came to the rescue and they are building the cage and awaiting federal approval, then Chester will come to live with them and a be a “spokesbird” for wildlife.
Skip and Cindy don’t need any additional volunteers at present, as they are just getting the sanctuary started. But down the road, when the sanctuary is in full swing, they will need more help. The life of a rehabber is an unending chore list: records to keep, cages to clean, animals to pet and feed and spend time with, permit applications to fill out, cages to build, food to buy ... But Skip and Cindy treasure every minute.