Archive for Volunteer Stories

Reasons To Volunteer by Sharran Raney, MLS

Our guest blogger is one of our volunteers: Sharran Raney, MLS. We asked Sharran to give us some of her thoughts about “reasons for volunteering” and here are her top 9 reasons:

Meet new people/Make new friends: for “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” (generally attributed to Actor Will Rogers, n.d.). So if you are new to the area, your friends have moved away, or you are finally in a phase of life that allows you time to cultivate new friendships, volunteering is a great way of finding others with a common interest.

Strengthen current friendships or family connections: by encouraging them to volunteer with you.

Get healthier: for according to the University of California San Diego [UCSD] (2014), moods and emotions like optimism and joy “strengthen the immune system”. In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), “…maintaining social engagement, and participating in intellectually stimulating activities” helps keep your brain active and lessens the risk of memory impairment such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Promote personal growth and self-esteem: as you develop empathy, gain additional abilities to work in collaboration with others and discover your self-efficacy (UCSD, 2014). East Valley Wildlife (EVW) has many knowledgeable volunteers and have periodic training sessions to help you gain skills needed to be successful.

Temporarily forget your troubles: It is true that volunteering will not rid your life of all troubles, but it may help provide you with an opportunity to focus on something else for a little while.

Gain professional experience: Having volunteer experience on your resume lets employers know that you have a passion and enthusiasm for that subject area so much so that you are willing to give of your time and talents. For those of you that are thinking about majoring in or those of you who have majored in subjects similar to Veterinary Medicine, volunteering with EVW may be a chance to see if you will like your major or what area you may actually like to specialize in. Finally, for those of you who need references for a resume or application, one of the best ways to find a good reference is to make those connections even before you need one and then you have them when you do.

Childlike wonder: Get that Christmas-like magic back when you see the birds and small mammals in your care do something charming or remarkable.

A sense of accomplishment: You can know that you made a difference.

Volunteering with EVW is flexible: What I mean is that you can volunteer from home, at someone else’s home or at a community event. You can provide hands-on assistance by directly caring for birds or assist EVW with another specialty and passion such as drawing, painting, writing, marketing, raising money, computer graphic design, or photography. You can help simply by providing encouragement to those who are caring for hundreds of babies during the baby bird season such as by setting up a time with certain volunteers to drop off meals, help them with their dishes (as making baby food for lots of baby birds really causes your dishes to stack up), or write notes of encouragement to those volunteers. The best part is that this is not an exhaustive list. If you have other ideas or ways you could help please let us know!

In summary: Just as each bird is created with their specific beauty and special qualities so is each person created uniquely with their own beauty and qualities. No one can complete certain tasks and help East Valley Wildlife quite the same way you can. We would love to hear from you.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (October 4, 2013). Mental health: Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from

University of California San Diego. (2014). Community service: Top 10 reasons to volunteer. Retrieved from

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Gabriela and Peeper-A Rescue Story

Gabriela feeding her 'orphan"

Peeper the white wing dove

Peeper ready to join his dove family

On Memorial Day 2011 Gabriela, age 9, found a bird’s nest on the ground. In the nest was a dead mother and dead baby bird, but miraculously the second baby bird had survived.  The birds were white winged doves (a larger species of the mourning dove).  Gabriela convinced her parents that they could save the second baby and rehabilitate it for a return to the wild.  The family did their research and began preparations for the rescue.  They prepared a box with paper towels and warm light and placed the box atop a heating pad. 

Their local pet store recommended a special food for orphaned baby birds.  The family, well actually mainly Gabriela,  began the tedious process of feeding the orphaned dove with a small straw. 

Against all odds, the orphaned white winged dove, now named Peeper,  managed to survive, grow feathers and learn to fly.  The major problem was that Peeper did not feed himself.

Gabriela found out about East Valley Wildlife and talked with Darlene, an experienced wildlife rehabilitator with EVW.  Darlene contacted Jeanni, another volunteer with EVW.  Jeanni is a quail specialist, who just happened to have some white winged doves that she was rehabbing. Gabriela agreed to entrust her beloved Peeper to Jeanni.  The dove was placed with other white wing doves in the hopes that Peeper would soon learn how to eat on his own.  It was also important for Peeper to be with other birds and learn more about being a dove so that he could be released together with his new dove family. Peepers thrived and although Gabriela had found it difficult to give up her “orphan”, the dove rescue was a great learning experience for the whole family. ….Could Gabriela be a “budding” volunteer for East Valley Wildlife?  Only time will tell. Our thanks to Gabriela, her family and others who take action when they find an animal that needs their help!

-Submitted by Darlene and Gabriela’s family.

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A Happy Christmas Story

No, I haven’t gone crazy. This story came to me from Ginger around Christmas of last year.  Being a hoarder of good news, I kept the blog on file. As Ginger wrote…timing is everything.

Submitted by: Ginger

“I got a call in November about a cockatiel that was found in a city park.  It was weak and seemed to be lost.  One of the Scottsdale employees was kind enough to bring it to me.  I made an appointment to have it seen by Dr Driggers, the avian vet we use for all the birds.  The day of the appointment, I got a call from a woman who had found a cockatiel in her backyard.  She brought it to me that morning.  Timing is everything!  I was able to get both birds to the vet at the same time.  The vet said that both cockatiels were severely underweight and that I shouldn’t be surprised if they did not survive.  I nursed them along for several weeks and they did great.  I kept the birds in separate cages in my quarantine room so that I could monitor their progress and make sure that both were eating.  In mid December, after all the tests came back negative, they were ready to be moved out of quarantine.  I brought them up to be with my other birds so that they could have more activity around them, and I even placed them both in the same cage so they’d have each others company.  Then, the week before Christmas, I got a call from a woman that adopted a Cockatiel from me two years ago.  She wanted to know if I had any more that might be up for adoption.  Again, timing is everything!  She came and picked them up two days before Christmas.”

Blogger’s Note: Not all such stories have such happy endings.  Our volunteers, those who handle domesticated species, are finding that there is an increase of abandoned birds, some left in foreclosed and empty homes, some released “back to the wild”. The domestic birds that are released have very little chance of surviving on their own. “Released” birds cannot feed themselves and most often fall victim to predators, both human and animal.



As promised, I went back to some archived articles to repost a few of them. This gem came from our volunteer, Ginger, about a chicken rescue.

I got a call last week from a young man in Mesa.  He had a chicken that hopped the block wall into his yard and fell into his pool.  It was bitter cold that night.  The poor chicken was soaked to the bone.  It was evident that she was under attack, most likely by a dog, and that is what caused her to leap the fence.  She had most of her tail feathers missing.  Poor girl!  I wrapped her in a warm towel, brought her home and put her in an aviary holding pen with a heat lamp.  I checked on her several times during the night, and she seemed okay, but she was whimpering and shivering.  I wasn’t sure that she’d pull through.  Next morning there she was standing in the pen all bright and cheery ready to face the day.  It turns out that she is a Black Australorp chicken.  Very pretty girl, well except for the torn tail feathers.  She’s very friendly and can be pet and picked up easily.  She is up for adoption, but I’m pretty sure that Jeannie will be taking her into her flock.



This morning I overslept until 8 AM.  When I walked out the front door to get the newspaper, I noticed a neighbor’s cat by my gate.  I shooed him off and then noticed a little baby dove in a plastic container that someone had put by the gate where the shade was.  If I had walked out there 30 seconds later, that bird would have been cat breakfast! 

 Later a guy called, said he lived nearby and had found the bird and brought it over.  (If he knocked on the door, I didn’t hear it.)  But he did get instructions to never do that again.  People need to realize that they can’t show up at a rehabber’s house unannounced with a rescued animal. And, leaving a rescued animal on the rehabber’s doorstep, especially in this  hot weather can be a death sentence for the animal.  Remember, contrary to popular opinion….Rehabbers are human…they do oversleep; they get sick; they even go on vacation (rarely); or like many of us they use their garage door and never look on the front stoop.  Also, most volunteers specialize in certain animals…SO taking a Cactus Wren to a rehabber who handles only doves or ducks is like taking a parrot to a vet that only takes in cats and dogs.  The right diet and housing is needed for the various species. 

Luckily this story has a happy ending…the little dove was literally saved in the nick of time and is happily cuddled up with 5 new nestmates.

article submitted by: Nancy

Blogger’s note:  East Valley Wialdlife wants to thank all those kind-hearted people who take the time to rescue an animal…but Please, when you find an animal and bring it to a volunteer, call ahead, find out if that volunteer takes that species and don’t just leave the bird on the stoop!