If you have left a message on our answering machine and are checking out our website in the meantime, here are some tips.


  • If you try to call and do not get an answer (the phone just rings), please try again.  Our phone can handle two calls at one time, but the answering machine can only handle one.  So if someone is leaving a message, you won't be able to do so until they are finished.  It's also possible I'm on the phone helping someone else, in which case the phone will just keep ringing on your end, as well.  While it is frustrating to have to try back, keep in mind I am giving another person the same undivided attention and assistance I will be giving you.  I do not put people on hold to take other calls, just as I will not put you on hold when I'm helping you.  Because of the high call volume we receive, it's possible you may have trouble getting through more than once.  Just keep trying every five minutes or so until you get the machine (or us!)  (We've been asked why we don't get an answering service where, if the line is busy, you can still leave a message.  Unfortunately, these avenues do not allow for a long enough outgoing message.) If the line rings busy, it means that in addition to you, two other people are trying to get through (or I'm on the line with one person and someone else is trying to call. Some days we get so many calls that while I'm handling one situation, four or five other people are trying to get through. It is certainly never boring here, that's for sure!

  • We triage calls, so if you have an animal on the brink of life and death, that call will be returned before someone checking on the status of a patient they brought us a couple days ago. In other words, we return calls in order of how critical we believe they are.
  • It is very important to leave a message vs. to keep calling, hoping someone will answer the phone.  The likelihood we'll be standing next to the phone and not caring for a patient is slim.  We have folks who will call every minute for hours whereas if they simply left a message the first time, they would have been called back in a timely manner.  We hear the phone whenever it rings.  We aren't ignoring the call nor are we watching television or lounging around.  We are working with patients and can't answer the phone when we're stitching up wounds and administering medicines.  So, leave a message and we'll all be happier.

  • We monitor voicemail 24 hours a day. Calls received after 10:00pm will be returned at the next wee hour feedings or after 8:00am, whichever you prefer.

  • Our phone number is permanently blocked. If you have Caller ID and your phone is set up to automatically reject numbers marked Private or Blocked, our call will not go through unless you turn off that feature by dialing *87. (We CANNOT unblock our number.) If you aren't sure, go ahead and dial *87. If you don't have that feature, it won't do anything. If you do have it and don't realize it, it will allow us to get through. We ask people to leave several numbers (home, cell, etc.). That way if there's any problem reaching you on one number, we'll have other options. It is extremely distressing to us when we try to return a call and it cannot get through due to a block. Without other numbers to try, we won't be able to get back with you, which can be detrimental to the animal in need, not to mention making you think your call was ignored.

    Privacy Director is different than a phone block and cannot be turned off with *87. You should have instructions with your phone on how to turn it off and on. If you don't turn it off, we can still return the call, but it is a tedious and lengthy process to get through. (Most folks with this feature have no idea what is involved in getting a call through.)  Some Privacy Directors are set up so we can leave a message if there is no answer, but a surprising number are not. Some even rudely state - This party does not want to hear from you.  Remove this number from your calling list.  -  Obviously it is meant for telemarketers, but is automatically given to everyone.  Keep in mind this is AFTER going through the very long, tedious process.  If your system does not allow a message to be left after going through that entire process, it will become your responsibility to call us back. We have lots of hungry patients waiting and cannot keep going through the lengthy procedure repeatedly while we wait for you to answer, especially given we are returning your call to begin with.  (Something to consider - if you do have a block that doesn't allow private numbers through or you have Privacy Director and your child gets really sick late at night, if you leave a message for your pediatrician's office, they are not going to be able to get through without unblocking their home or cell phone number and doctors are not going to do that.  Just something to consider.)

  • While waiting for our call, keep the animal warm, somewhere quiet (away from human type noises such as people talking, the television, radio, etc.), and resist the urge to continually check on him. Each time he sees you, it stresses him further. Do not give the animal anything to eat or drink until you have talked to a wildlife specialist. If you feel the animal will die without something, you can administer rehydrating fluids, such as Pedialyte or Gatorade, to a mammal as long as the animal can swallow.  Many animals that come in are dehydrated so fluids will be helpful and they certainly won't hurt anything if they aren't. Do not give milk or milk products and do not give plain water. Do not put fluids in a bird's mouth unless you are trained in how to do so or you could aspirate them.  You can administer fluids to a bird by putting a drop of water on the end of a syringe and gently rubbing along the side of the beak where the top and bottom join.  If you see the bird swallow, then you can repeat, but only if you see the bird swallow.  Do not put fluids in an open beak! 
  • When we call, be prepared for a lot of questions. Since we cannot see the animal, it is the only way we can ascertain the species, what type injuries it has, if it is in need of help or can be returned to the parents, etc. The questions may seem extensive, but they are necessary for the well-being of the animal. (Note: with the advent of cell phone cameras and digital cameras, we may ask you to e-mail us a photo if you have that capability.  That will cut down on some of the questions.)

    If your Call Waiting goes off while we are discussing your case, please do not put us on hold to answer it.  We've had people put us on hold repeatedly throughout a conversation or leave us on hold for long periods of time.  When we are working with you, we give you our undivided attention.  We kindly ask for the same courtesy.

  • Depending on the species and circumstances, you may be asked to do a simple, rudimentary exam on the patient, and/or be asked to get the animal in a box to transport to us. Please note that your willingness to do so is at your own risk. We cannot be responsible if you are injured in any way. We will, of course, advise you on the best way to avoid further injury to the animal and avoid you getting hurt as well, but anything can happen.

  • We ALWAYS return calls so if we do not return yours it means something is wrong.  For example, our answering machine is voice-activated, so if you speak too softly, it may not record or if you leave long pauses, the machine will cut off and you may or may not realize it.  You might have forgotten to leave your phone number (that happens a lot).  People are upset and worried about the animal and just don't realize they forgot their phone number.  Perhaps you forgot to leave an area code (to return long distance or toll calls, we need your area code!).  We've even had people leave our phone number as their own!  I guess in their panic over the animal, they glance down at our number written on a piece of paper and read that off instead of theirs.  On our message, we ask people to repeat their numbers twice. This is because very often as someone is leaving a message, someone else is trying to get through (we stay busy!).  As anyone with Call Waiting knows, you are alerted to another call by a "bleep, bleep."  If you happen to be talking during the Call Waiting bleeps, it literally bleeps out what you're saying.  I can't tell you how often this happens.  So if you only give the number once, there's a chance part of it got bleeped out...another potential reason for the lack of a return call.  Bottom line, if you don't hear back from us, there's a reason.  No matter what, we always, always, always return calls.  So if you don't hear from us, do not assume we're on vacation (what's that?), too busy to call you, closed for the day, or it's a holiday so we're not open (no days off!).  Call us back and leave another message, making sure to speak loudly enough, remember to leave your phone number, etc. 

  • If we determine your animal needs to come to our facility for treatment, we will give you directions as to where to meet us.  By law, we are required to meet in a well-lit, public location.  We have a place that's easy to get to on our end of the county.  We will arrange a time to meet (the sooner the better for the animal's sake).  We have recently incorporated a new policy that we will wait 15 minutes beyond the arranged time.  After that, we will have to leave to get back to our patients.  It's sad, but we have had people leave us sitting for over an hour. Some of the reasons?  Stopping by their child's school first to show off the animal to their kid's class.  Decided to stop and get something to eat first.  Got tied up on the phone with a friend and was late getting away.  We even had one woman at the meet site run into a friend of hers.  She saw me sitting in the car in 99 degree heat, but instead of bringing me the animal and THEN chatting with her friend, she chose to chat with him first for 20 minutes before sauntering over to my car.  I had seen her standing there, talking, but didn't know it was her since I'd never met her.  When she finally came over, she was completely unapologetic.  Anyway, it's because of people like that we've had to make the new rule.  If possible, we will get a cell number from you so, before we leave, we will call to see where you are at and what the hold up is.  Obviously there are some things, like a flat tire or an accident, that can't be helped, but if you're eating a Frosty at Wendy's while I'm sweltering in my car..well, that's just rude!