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A Letter From The President of DHWS

Hello Friends of Dogue Hollow,

I fell in love with raccoons many years ago and became a Virginia state licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in 2004. When I made that decision I had little idea of what to expect, but learnt fast!

In order to obtain my state license, I had to go through a home inspection by a Virginia state Game Warden who checked out where I was intending to keep wildlife and asked a lot of questions. I passed and was duly issued a permit. This gave me the legal authority to house and care for wildlife at my home. That first year I cared for about a dozen babies. In 2007, 48 raccoons, and a few other critters, were housed and fed at Dogue Hollow!

As I continue to get more deeply bonded with these animals, it has become very clear to me that there are not enough licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators to care for the number of orphaned and injured creatures, that the public bring to us. I also discovered that the public assumes we are compensated for our work! The only outside help we get is from the Wildlife Rescue League, located here in Northern Virginia, which provides us with formula mix, and some medications. These things are expensive so we are extremely grateful for their help, but the formula is only given for the first six to eight weeks. After that the youngsters progress to solid foods, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals, and dog food. The League is also the group that sends us most of the animals in need of care, after receiving calls through their Wildlife Emergency Hotline programme.

Without the required Wildlife Rehabilitators license, it is illegal for anyone in the state of Virginia to keep, in captivity, any wild mammal or bird. We must abide by the rules laid out by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, but they do not, in any way, compensate us for all our time and hard work. For me, during the baby season, which is May through September, this is a 24/7 kind of job, with babies sometimes needing to be fed every four hours.

Last year, it cost about $6,000 to house and feed the animals that were in care at Dogue Hollow. However, that figure does not include all the big item expenses, such as new or replacement enclosures, and in January we had installed a new, and much needed, nursery floor. The animals in need and the demand from the public, is huge.

My pocket is far from bottomless and as things got more and more expensive, I quickly concluded that, in order to continue without going personally bankrupt, I needed help. The only logical path to follow was to become a nonprofit organization so, in January 2008 we became a 501(c)3, Virginia state registered nonprofit corporation.

Some of you have been most generous with your support from the beginning, and I hope you will continue to help us. Of course, I’m hoping that many other animal lovers will follow suit, with tax-deductible donations.

Most of the orphaned and injured wildlife come to us as a result of calls from the public and more often than not the reason is because their natural habitat has been destroyed. Maybe a backyard tree has been felled, or wooded land has been cleared for new housing.

We must remember that it is humans that are moving into the natural backyard of wildlife, and not the other way around. If a family of raccoons move into your attic or a woodshed, it’s more likely because their neighborhood is changing or disappearing and they have nowhere else to go. Please be kind to them. If you can live with a family of raccoons for a couple of months, it is far better to leave them be. They’ll be gone just as soon as the babies are big enough to travel along with their mother, and then you can block up the entrance, so it won’t happen again. If that’s not possible, we are here to help, and will give them the best of care, until they are old enough to be released back into the wild.

I thank you, in anticipation of your generous tax-free donation.

          Jenna Such, President
          Virginia State Licensed Rehabilitator
          Category IIA, License # 025982

TO MAKE A DONATION – Please send checks to:
DHWS, POB 895, Lorton, VA 22199-0895
or: Click on Financial Donations, then click the PayPal button

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P.O. Box 895, Lorton, Virginia 22199  703-690-2168
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