woollen pouches

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve adored animals. I preferred stuffed, fluffy and cuddly animals to dolls with their jaggy fingers or rigid legs. I was the kind of girl who kept caterpillars and all sorts of beasties in a heart-shaped dish on my window sill. I thought if they knew they were being cared for in a heart-shaped dish they would know how much I loved them. That all ended when I came home from school one day to find my mother had ‘relocated’ the wee beasties. I often think it strange that I never embarked on a career with animals. There’s been many a day on a publishing deadline when I’ve thought how wonderful it would be to be outdoors in nature, roaming some wild terrain amongst the Silver Brumbies I used to read about. I think perhaps my life wasn’t really stable enough and I didn’t have the support structure to enter into that extra commitment in my younger years which is probably why today felt extra special. Today I made good on a promise I made to myself when we moved onto this property. I completed my training as a volunteer for WIRES.

WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation. If you would like to learn more about WIRES please visit their website by clicking this live link. Alternatively, stay tuned to Lorikeet Lane where I am sure I will regale you with endless animal-related stories in the near future.

The training itself wasn’t a stroll in the park by any means. I didn’t grow up in Australia so I feel I have to work extra hard sometimes to understand a bird or animal that others may have grown up knowing all about. There was an online component to the Rescue and Immediate Care course – which took about 8 hours. This had to be completed and passed before the physical one-day workshop and assessment. The number of physical workshops had been reduced because of COVID restrictions so WIRES had also put together an online version of their physical workshops and assignments in case they had to drop a workshop at any given time.

‘Just for fun’, I opted to do the online version of the practical workshop and boy it was intense. I had read somewhere you had to get 100% for a pass so I studied and put a lot into my answers to ensure the pass rate (the pass rate was actually 75% and above – oh well – I excelled – lol). It took about 10 days to complete (working for 2-4 hours at a time). So I actually passed all of these before I went along to the physical workshop that came up for my area. I have to say I’m glad I did the online version because, in all honesty, that’s what’s given me the confidence of knowing the information. The physical workshop/assessment session only picked one or two scenarios each for us to work on – whereas I covered a whole range of scenarios online in detail.

For any of you interested in training in the future, the course covers work health & safety, species identification, common rescue scenarios, safe handling techniques, first aid, physical examination, and immediate care for mammals, birds, birds of prey, reptiles & amphibians, flying foxes and microbats (aww so cute).

I am beyond excited that I will finally be able to offer some assistance to native animals in need – once I receive my ID badge and WIRES vest. Look out for proud photos coming soon. In the meantime, I am building up my Rescue kits so I am ready when that call comes in.

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