"It is impossible to choose a favorite animal because every single one is extremely unique and enthralling in their own way; however, I attained a special place in my heart for brown pelicans throughout my time at CROW. Midway through my fellowship, we had a lot of brown pelicans. It was fascinating to work with them and see their personalities come out more and more as they worked their way to good health. Watching the way, they interacted with each other and with us was entertaining to say the least. They are super curious birds and so they often would get themselves into trouble during the 'recess' time they received twice daily. There would be times that I would walk into pelicans perched on the mop bucket or on the top of tables. Other times, I would be working on patients with a pelican behind me biting my ankles. Occasionally we would have escapees venturing out of the recess area and into other parts of the clinic. They definitely bring a lot of joy and laughter to the hospital. After seeing these animals so closely, I now view them in a completely different way. It is amazing to work with them in a clinical setting and then to see them coasting across the shoreline where they belong."
"I am beyond grateful for my time at CROW, as there are too many memorable experiences to count. Every day I learned new things and got to work with an extremely diverse caseload. Towards the end of my externship, I overhead a phone call about a potential rescue of a Brown Pelican off of the Sanibel Boat Ramp. I had been absolutely dying to go on a rescue and so I asked if I could be the one who went to rescue the bird and bring it into the clinic. We were told the pelican was somewhere along the walking path next to the boat ramp and that he had been of concern in that area for the past 2 days. When I got to the path, I immediately saw the brown pelican and could tell he was in need of the care that CROW could provide. He had a severe wing droop on the right side and the left wing was also being held inappropriately upon first glance. As we approached the pelican, he jumped into the gulf. Instinctively I also jumped into the gulf and began to swim after the pelican. At the time I had forgotten that I was in my scrub top and bottoms and went chest deep into the water after this debilitated pelican. Luckily, I was able to safely and quickly get to him and secure him into a carrier for transport back to CROW. Upon his initial intake exam, his prognosis looked very guarded. He had a hook stuck in the left carpus, limited range of motion in the right wing, possible aspergillosis, and a suspected foreign body in his GI tract. We began the pelican on IV fluids, numerous medications, and a refeeding plan. To our surprise, when we repeated radiographs we were able to see that whatever was showing up on the radiographs had passed. Initially this pelican came in and I was fully expecting him to not make it through the initial first few days, but by just under a week after admission he had made great progress. We began to offer whole fish to him and he devoured the entire dish in under 30 seconds. As he started to feel better, he presented with an outrageous personality. He takes every opportunity possible to make sure that we know that the only thing we are good for is offering an endless supply of finger mullet. He also takes pride in making sure that he is not disrupted on his recess time by chasing staff and students away from his area with an angry bite. I am very hopeful for the recovery of this pelican and so proud of the important role that that I played in making sure that he was able to receive much needed medical help. Though I will not be able to see him through to the end of his treatments because my fellowship is ending, I will definitely make sure that I am receiving daily updates on his progress."
"When I am not working as a student at CROW, I typically try to spend as much time as possible outside. Whether it be hiking, kayaking, travelling, or spending the day at the beach I am always more than content. The beaches on Sanibel are absolutely stunning, so a lot of my days off consisted of checking out the different beaches on the island. My roommates and I also really enjoyed one of the restaurants on the island called the 'Tipsy Turtle'. We made sure to make at least a trip per week for food and drinks to keep ourselves sane. One of my last weekends, I went with a few other students to hike in the Everglades. Little did we know… the trail consisted of more swimming than hiking. Being the rainy season, the trail was covered in water but we decided to try and hike it anyhow. We ended up being in water above our waists and went a decent distance until we made the executive decision that we would rather live to see another day instead of rolling the dice on becoming alligator dinner. Though it was not exactly the hike we were expecting, we were able to see a lot of healthy wildlife in their native habitat. It was a great reminder of how important the work we do everyday is."
"This is an absolutely great question. Within the next few years, I have not a clue where life will take me. This fall I will begin my senior year as a pre-veterinary major and insectology/wildlife conservation minor at the University of Delaware. I am also spending this summer applying to vet school, keeping my fingers crossed that I will be accepted to one. If I could choose a dream career path, it would be as a wildlife veterinarian. Ultimately, I want to end up doing something that brings me as much joy as I felt during my time at CROW. Being able to help rehabilitate wildlife species and to advocate for them has given me a greater purpose. I want to be able to help make the world a place where we can coexist with the environment and the wildlife inhabiting it. Most people do not understand that they directly impact the animals living around them which is something that needs to change. Even if it is not as a veterinarian, it is my goal to help the animals who face the ramification of human actions and to simultaneously evoke change to stop it from persisting."