Frozen mice, wild bird seed and cat litter are not exactly the gifts from the classic “12 Days of Christmas” carol, but they are on the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter’s wishlist.
Run by Nancy and Gunther Golinia for 28 years, the shelter is currently taking care of nine owls, nine ducks, four bald eagles, a rabbit and many cats. It’s obvious that the 81-year-old and her husband love animals, and both will tell you that the other has a huge soft spot for critters in need. It’s also obvious that they’re outnumbered.
“It’s not about us. It’s about the animals,” Nancy said. “When we’re not able to do it, the place is going to keep going. The need is here.”
This past year the shelter took care of more than 800 animals. But they stopped, for the most part, taking in cats and dogs. It’s hard for the couple to turn any animal away, but they can’t mix domestic and wild animals. The no-kill shelter prioritizes the wild animals that can’t be released in their natural habitat prematurely.
“One minute you’re dealing with a humbingbird, the next it’s a 12-to-14 foot snake,” Gunther said. “When you have 85 different kinds of animals, you get a tremendous amount of variety.”
Hence the wide-ranging list of supplies, which they’ve calculated to fit the needs of most of the types of animals the shelter cares for. Gunther and Nancy evaluate what kinds of animals they have, and combine the supplies they receive accordingly.
“We have to look at what we get the most mileage out of,” he said.
Various holiday fundraisers are donating proceeds to the shelter, like Leanne’s Pet Shop annual eagle drawings. The pet shop also sells much of the supplies needed, and is the Golinias’ preferred place to shop, since they try to support local businesses. Leah Thams will also be selling Hammy-themed Christmas ornaments at the Last Minute Market on Dec. 9 and 16, where donations for the shelter can be dropped off.
Volunteers can pick up a form in person at the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter.
“All they have to do is one hour, once a week. That’s just enough if I get enough volunteers to do one hour once a week, I can stay on top of things,” Nancy said.
“We’re crazy, yeah,” Gunther said, “but somebody has to do it.”