By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center

Rehabilitating wildlife can take you from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Take, for instance, the family of opossums in Houston that was purposely set on fire. The mom and all but two of the babies perished. Houston Police Officers were able to save two little ones who were found in Mom’s pouch. Burned, stressed and in obvious pain they were taken to and treated by the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists for initial treatment. From there they were brought to TWRC Wildlife Center for further care and rehabilitation. Sadly, the injuries sustained by one of the babies were so severe we were unable to save him.

Can you imagine the pain these little opossums experienced? You know what it’s like when you burn your finger or get a sunburn. Imagine these little animals, weighing about the same as an egg yolk, experiencing this excruciating pain. In addition to the pain, wild animals experience extreme stress, dehydration, infection along with the loss of mom and littermates.

The main priority of our staff and volunteers is to provide pain-free solutions to every animal we admit to our Center. The baby opossum that didn’t make it was treated with compassion, dignity and respect and we made his passing as easy as possible for him. At least he received the respect he deserved in passing that wasn’t to be his during his short life. The one that survived is now receiving home-based care by a State permitted rehabilitator and is expected to recover and be released back to the wild for a second chance at life.

So just in this one situation, we experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. Knowing these animals suffered needlessly at the hands of some cruel people is incomprehensible. However, we saved one even though the odds were against the little baby surviving. The absolute peak of our happiness and pride will come when we see the opossum walk off into the woods, healthy and free.

We can’t continue to save wildlife babies without your help. Won’t you consider a donation to help us? www.twrcwildlifecenter.org.