It’s 3 a.m. and Nancy Golinia finally goes to bed after tending to the dozens of injured wild animals and abandoned cats on her property. She only sleeps four hours in her chair before it’s time to get up again.
“I can’t take any more sleep or the work will start to pile up,” Nancy said.
It’s been a difficult week at the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter. Nancy normally runs the shelter alongside her husband, Gunther, but the 85-year-old man has been in the hospital for a week recovering from blood poisoning.
Three weeks ago Gunther received a scratch on his leg from one of the animals. He tried to clean and treat the wound himself but it worsened and began to swell.
“He won’t quit. [But his leg] was two times the size of a normal leg.”
They wanted to take Gunther to the doctor but he couldn’t get an appointment for 15 days. But in that time his condition worsened, so they headed to the emergency room.
The decision to head to the E.R. was fortuitous, Nancy said.
Gunther almost lost his leg.
On Tuesday, he went back home, however while he’s recovering, Nancy is doing everything around the shelter. She cleans the pens, feeds the animals, keeps the woodstove running and takes care of her husband … and then herself.
“If one falls out we’re not operational,” Gunther said.
Even with Gunther’s injury, 2015 has been tough on the couple. The shelter has lost five volunteers and now they have six volunteers who come in for just one hour a week.
The couple have been doing this labour of love for the past 25 years, or unofficially since 1975. They say that they receive and care for anywhere between 700-1,000 animals a year. In busier years they’ve had up to 85 different species of animals.
The couple say they need more volunteers and donations, especially now that Gunther is in recovery. They also desperately need people to donate their time at the shelter who have some medical knowledge or experience with animals.
Nancy suggests that if there are any retired people who like cats and could come and socialize with them, pet them, she would be grateful. She’s spread thin helping the 30 cats, seven eagles, two owls and the other birds the no-kill shelter is currently rehabilitating.
Nancy said donations are of best benefit and very much appreciated because Gunther and Nancy know the kind of food and supplies they need.
Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter Wish List
• Wild bird seed of any kind, or sunflower seeds.
• Wood chips/shavings for animal bedding.
• Cat litter – preferably wood pellets (Third Avenue — across from Overwaitea).
• Dog food — dry or wet (small breed puppy).
• Cat food — both wet (especially Fancy Feast – less waste) and dry (Purina, Lams, or Medi Cal).
• Bleach, Palmolive or Ivory dish soap.
• Wipes — Clorox or Lysol.
• Garbage bags — regular or heavy duty.
• Paper towels and tissues.
• Frozen mice (for the wild owls)
• Cat beds and cat toys.
• Blankets, towels, comforters.
• Firewood — for the caregivers. The animals and birds have heat lamps and electric heaters.
Or contact the shelter at 250-624-4143