Sharing the planet with animals of all shapes and sizes is both a privelege and a pleasure that we are fortunate to enjoy. Sadly though, coexistence isn’t always easy or harmonious. However careful or considerate you are, sometimes tragedy is unavoidable when animal meets human.
For just such a situation (car vs. cat, for example), it’s good to have a basic idea of how to respond. Just the tiniest bit of preparation and consideration on your part could literally be the difference between life and death for an injured animal. I know that sounds a little bit dramatic, but it’s true! If ever you secretly wished you could be Superman, this could be your opportunity to rock the red cape (unless the animal in jeopardy is a bull – in which case, ixnay on the apecay).
So what can you do to be of assistance to an injured animal? Be prepared. What you see above is the Animal Rescue Car Kit from PETA. Designed to be kept in your car, the kit includes a cardboard carrier, nylon lead, small towel and a packet of literature on how you can help an animal in need. I’ve had this kit in my trunk for years. Thank God, I’ve never had to use it, but it makes me feel better knowing that it is there if I need it.
Obviously, you could pretty easily put something similar together yourself. In addition to what comes with the kit, I also added a thin pair of rubber gloves, a really thick pair of rubber gloves and a larger towel. Additional items that might make sense to include in a DIY kit include:
- Paper grocery bag or shoe box (birds)
- Small knife/scissors
- Trash bags
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Human first aid kit
Most importantly, put together a list of local wildlife/animal hospitals and keep it in your glove compartment or somewhere equally handy. If you do nothing else, this one thing could really help an injured animal.
If you live in or around the St. Louis area, there are a few places that should definitely be on your list (or in your phone!). World Bird Sanctuary, located in Valley Park, MO is one of the largest facilities in the country for the conservation of birds. If you find an ill or injured bird of prey, you can call them at 636-861-1392 for help.
Wild Bird Rehabilitation is a non-profit organization in Overland, MO that cares for sick, orphaned or injured wild birds. If you find a bird in distress you can consult their 911BirdHelp page for directions and/or contact them for help at 314-426-6400.
Finally, the Wildlife Rescue Center in Ballwin rehabs injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife. If you find an injured, sick or orphaned animal, contact them at 636-394-1880.
Obviously, unless you are a veterinarian or otherwise trained, there is only so much you can do when trying to help an injured animal. Always keep in mind that the idea with animal rescue is to do just enough to get the animal to people that can provide real treatment – which is why the first thing you should always (always!) do is call for qualified help. When help isn’t immediately available or in the event of a true emergency, having a game plan and a few supplies on hand is the next best thing. Think of it as being a good neighbor!