When I was a child, my dad worked for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. We would often rescue and care for animals in our home until they could be released back into the wild. It seemed I had every animal imaginable: baby rabbits, a number of fawns, and I even had a baby raccoon named Tornado.
Tornado was my most memorable. He lost his mother in the devastating tornados that swept through western Pennsylvania in 1986, which is how he got his name. Tornado followed me everywhere; I even taught him how to climb up my slide and slide down! As he got a little older, my dad became concerned he would begin to exhibit behaviors of raccoons and become dangerous. We donated him to the Erie Zoo, where he lived a very happy life with other raccoons.
We had a number of fawns the same year, which had also lost their mothers in the tornados. The fawns were still nursing, so we would prepare bottles with milk to feed the fawns. I have a vivid memory of a baby playpen full of 4 or 5 fawns in our kitchen.
We never did have an opportunity to foster a bear. We once were supposed to receive a black bear cub to help rehabilitate and I remember my mom being particularly excited about having the bear. We were extremely disappointed when the bear cub went to another Game Warden to care for.
I’ve always had a love of animals from a very young age. It would be a dream to volunteer at the bear sanctuary in Romania! Not only would the experience bring back fond memories from my childhood, I would be helping rehabilitate brown browns.