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Glenda’s Wisdom

In regards to this I wish that inexperienced people who decide to get a wild animal could be told a few things straight out. The reason for my list.
1. You have chosen to accept all of the problems and responsibilities that go along with the choice of keeping a wild animal in a captive setting.
2. Realize you may think that your new animal is the most wonderful thing since peanut butter was invented but law enforcement, neighbors, and the general public most likely will not.
3. Realize every action that you do will reflect upon every other person who cares for these animals.
4. It is your animal and you can choose to take the risk of interacting with it up close and personal, but it is unfair to others and puts them at risk to share your animal up close and personal with everybody you meet.
5. You do not train a wild animal; they train you. Although, with proper knowledge and experience you can get some conditioned safety responses.
6. Realize that we live in a human society and at any point in time your animal is a threat or even perceived as a possible threat to humans that you will be in a fight for the animals life.
7. If your animal eats your couch it is still your responsibility.
- If your animal bites you…
– craps on your bed…
– bites a hole in your waterbed…
– rips up your carpet…
– escapes…
– pees everywhere in the house…
– doesn’t play well with others…
– keeps you from going on vacation…
– doesn’t like your kids, spouse, relatives…
– dents your car…
– kills the neighbor’s chickens…
– kills the neighbor’s cat…
– kills the neighbor’s children…
– eats you out of house and home…
– gets sick and costs you lots of vet bills…
– doesn’t mind you…
– doesn’t like you…
– bites your private parts thinking it was a chicken neck…
– chews on a shot gun shell because you forgot to put it up…
– runs around the room screaming and shitting…
– is smarter than you…
I am sure that all of you could add to this list as well. I think it would make an interesting list for all breeders to give to potential new owners. I don’t know how any of this will fit in with things but I think all of us adding to this list and giving it as a separate bit of info might be a good thing. I know that I never could have imagined all of the things that my animals have done over the years and a combined list like this would give folks a very real view into the wonderful world of owning wild critter. :)
Glenda L. Ulery, Executive Director
Noah’s Exotic Wildlife Shelter

Our Volunteers

Animals For Awareness Volunteers

Our Gang


Where would we be without our amazing volunteers? ALL animal shelters and sanctuaries need them. Volunteers can be the backbone of organizations such as Animals for Awareness. Their importance CANNOT be stressed enough! Sometimes organizations take volunteers for granted. Often they put unrealistic demands on them. The fact is, WE are lucky to have THEM!

It’s not an easy job. In fact it can be downright dirty! It can leave you feeling rewarded, beat up, sad, happy, frustrated… you name it. Not everyone is cut out for volunteer work. Some people jump right in with both feet, and jump out just as quickly when they realize it’s not all glorious fun and games. Others get bored or lack commitment. Some are unreliable. It takes a very special kind of person to be a GOOD volunteer. At Animals for Awareness, we’ve got a handful of real champs!!

So, what do volunteers at Animals for Awareness do?

  • Clean cages – the #1 task!!!  (a very dirty job sometimes!)
  • Feed and water animals (usually done with #1)
  • Prepare meals and special diets
  • Develop enrichment programs
  • Research projects
  • Research animal care
  • General cleaning of animal areas
  • Help with cage construction
  • Assist at educational programs
  • Grocery shop
  • Donation pick-ups
  • Rescue pick-ups
  • Posting flyers for educational programs
  • Design brochures and other AFA materials
  • Run a critter to the vet or pick one up
  • Foster a sick animal that needs extra care until it’s recovered
  • Mentor a fledgling volunteer
  • Website and graphics design
  • Fundraising
  • Grounds maintenance and upkeep
  • Facility beautification (design, implement, artwork, etc…)
  • Landscaping
  • Handyman work i.e., plumbing, electrical, carpentry
  • Anything else that comes up!!

If you’re interested in volunteering to help with the animals, feel free to e-mail us for more information. All inquiries are welcome! However, due to the type of animals we house, volunteers are carefully screened, and you must be 18 years or older to be considered for volunteer work.

External Links

What would you like more information on?

About AFA

Animals for Awareness. This is the name I attached to my concept back in 1993. In 1997 Animals for Awareness was finally incorporated, and in July of 1999 we received news that we are now a 501(c)(3) organization! I’m Kim Schilling (right), Director of a very special place for very special animals. I’ve always loved animals, from the tiniest critters to the largest beasts, from the domestic to the wild and exotic. Like many people out there, I have a simple dream. To make a positive difference in the lives of a few unfortunate and misunderstood animals. Animals for Awareness accomplishes this through two things: Sheltering and Education.
Kim Schilling

Kim Schilling

This concept actually started to blossom in my head during the several years I volunteered at another animal shelter. There I saw many horrible things happen to even the healthy dogs and cats. The wildlife and exotic critters that entered that shelter faced an even more uncertain future. The staff was often ill equipped to deal with unusual animals. This sometimes led to starvation, illness and death. Some of the animals never even had a chance! They met with the “better off dead than in captivity” philosophy possessed by the leaders of that shelter. I had to get out and get out fast! I wanted to provide a safe alternative to this shelter. And it’s working!
Why a NO-KILL policy? First of all, we want to acknowledge to the rest of the shelters and community that the no-kill policy is not always recognized as humane, economical or logistically feasible. AFA chooses its no-kill status currently because WE CAN. A no-kill status does not mean “better” in all situations. Many shelters out there have no choice due to the countless numbers of animals being brought to them on a daily basis. There just aren’t enough homes and room must be made for new arrivals. Because we are a small, private organization we must turn away many animals because we just don’t have the room or the funds to care for all of them. Others believe that death is better than a life in a cage with no family to share it with. While AFA also believes this to be the case in some circumstances, our caged critters receive a great deal of attention and affection from volunteers and visitors. Every animal is viewed as part of the family.
Red Fox Kit

A Red Fox Kit

We take in exotic and wild animals that most dog and cat shelters aren’t equipped for or knowledgeable enough to deal with. With 4 exotic animal vets in our corner and hundreds of other resources, we educate ourselves and our volunteers thoroughly on every animal that enters our facility. We are not experts on any animal, and many times we learn as we go! If we can’t house the critter safely and permanently, we find a good facility that can.
Animals for Awareness is run by only a handful of phenomenal volunteers! Approximately 75% of our income is derived from educational programs. The rest comes from generous donations. Because of our size and our no-kill policy, we can’t take in everything that comes our way. For now, we often have to refer some of the animals to other facilities that share policies similar to our own. But we have BIG, BIG dreams of moving out and expanding to accommodate the needs of every animal as best we can! That means making more room for the animals and turning fewer of them away!
So where do these animals come from? They come from all over the United States! Many come via referrals or directly from zoos, animal controls and other shelters. Others arrive by word of mouth.
So, what happens once an animal is taken in by Animals for Awareness?
All animals are immediately given a thorough exam by one of our veterinarians. In fact, most intakes are done right at the clinic so that the shelter animals aren’t exposed to anything the newcomer might be harboring. If applicable, blood tests are done to rule out deadly or contagious diseases, and healthy animals are vaccinated appropriately. Some animals can’t be vaccinated because there isn’t an approved vaccine for them.
Sick or injured animals are assessed carefully to determine the seriousness of the illness or injury. ALL animals are treated fully unless the animal’s suffering far outweighs the chance of recovery. Cost of treatment does not currently influence this decision.
Kim Schilling with Goliath

Kim with Goliath

Injured wildlife is further assessed to determine if treatment will yield a releasable animal. If not, a decision is made to either euthanize the animal or proceed with treatment. Treatment is always chosen if a suitable facility can house the non-releasable animal AND the animal’s quality of life can be reasonably maintained.
Healthy, rehabbed wildlife is legally released in a safe, uninhabited environment as soon as possible.
Most healthy non-releasable wildlife and exotic animals are neutered or spayed right away. The youngsters are done at an appropriate age.
Releasable wildlife goes directly to one of our Directors who is a federally and state licensed wildlife rehabilitator with 20+ years of experience. Our rehabber Vicki is also licensed to care for raptors and deer.
Critters staying with Animals for Awareness are housed for the remainder of their natural lives. Occasionally an animal will be placed into another USDA facility better suited to meet that animal’s needs. Less exotic critters are often placed up for adoption. Animals with good temperaments or those that can be easily and safely displayed are used in our educational programs.

About Our Rescues

Coatimundi, Sebastian

All We Need Is Love!

Animals reach our doorsteps through various means. Some exotics are left at other shelters and we’re called in to pick them up. Some critters come directly from Animal Control or the police – either they’re confiscated or found wandering loose. The local zoos give out our phone number to people who call in thinking that zoos want the public’s discarded exotics. Some are left on our doorstep. Some are abandoned at animal clinics.

But it’s important to note that many rescues come from loving homes as well. Some people get in over their heads. Others find that their living arrangements are about to drastically change, or they can no longer care for their exotic for one reason or another. A rescue does not always mean abused, neglected, abandoned… Sometimes it’s really the people we’re rescuing.

Regardless, animal give-ups ARE NOT donations. It blows my mind that people call and say they’d like to “donate” an animal to our facility. Give-ups cost money. Cages must be designed and purchased. Supplies are needed. Sometimes airfare is required to get the animal safely to our facility. Despite this, Animals for Awareness does not require a donation to take in animals. It helps, but we feel that making it a requirement would mean that some animals would only suffer further.

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