I have volunteered for 10 years helping to rescue, rehabilitate and release wild injured, ill or orphaned seals and sea lions. It has been the most rewarding time of my life. I loved corporate life for all the years I did it but this has had so much more meaningful. The best part of the corporate life was coaching people who worked for me and helping the outstanding ones move up in their careers. After experiencing a divorce and the deaths of my dad, mother-law to breast cancer, and my only uncle I needed a break from the business world to get the focus off myself. I had only intended to take off 6 months, but instead found these wonderful animals. I decided that volunteering full-time with them outweighed a need for material things. I scaled my life back and begin my passion. Working with animals is an amazing experience. Watching them come in so ill or injured and recovering warms your heart. Releasing them back to their home, the ocean is the exciting end to our time with them. You don’t interact the same way with wild animals that you do with domesticated ones but you still have the time for observation to see their improvement and unique personalities.
Some days are hard because you can’t save all of them. Some are just to injured or are to far gone to turn around. These are difficult days because it is hard enough to lose an adult but a small one is even harder because you feel like they didn’t even have much chance at life. I know we are there to help as many as we can have a second chance and that is why I do this as much as I do. The long hours never feel that long because I know I am there to give the best care possible.
Today is hard because I found out the littlest one didn’t make it. California sea lions are born around the month of June at 14-20 pounds. This little one came in a few days ago at 21 pounds and at least 5 months old. We have gotten so many that are in 3rd or 4th stage starvation that their little systems can’t turn around. You see their little faces and feel bad for them. We do great work and I always know we have done everything possible to save them. Sometimes it just isn’t possible. The good news is we save the majority of them. I just wish they could have stranded sooner to have a better chance. This year has been so hard, due to the effects of El Niño. The ocean gets warmer and the fish go to the colder deeper areas. The little sea lions get separated from their mothers to soon and just aren’t strong enough or fat enough to get to where the food source is. This effects all the marine life. We got more little sea lions this last year than any year in our 38 year history.
Baby northern elephant season will start in March and we will get many of these guys born in January but were not able to find enough food on their own. Right behind them will be the start of pacific harbor seal pup season. This begins our busy time of the year. Last year during that time we had 107 animals in house and you can just imagine how busy we were.
If you have never been to our center please come by and visit us. We are open to the public 10am to 4pm every day. We run on donations, memberships, fund-raisers, gift shop purchases and grants. If you are looking for a well deserving animal non profit to help please come see us. You can see pictures of our patients from out website under photos and the releases from the release link under our current patients or you can click on the links I have listed.