Jun 07, 2005 - (Pierceton, IN 6/7/05)

Rehab

By Eric Olsen

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 12, 2007 at 5:33 AM EST

Nature usually dictates that the fittest survive, and the weak and infirm do not.
Tonight we meet a friend in 21Country who has devoted her life to changing that in her own small way.

It is breakfast time at Luanda Ewell's place.

Luanda Ewell says, “I make about ten or twelve pitchers of this every day, and what this is, is a milk replacer. These people had a boat in storage and they went and got their boat. When they came home with the boat, there were four baby raccoons in it. Come on...come here babies. Hear the deer screaming. I have 37 right now. There's not any rehab-ers in the area taking the raccoons as you can see. They just keep coming and I keep taking them.”

On the edge of a wood just outside Pierceton, Indiana, a small woman with a very big heart is tending her flock of orphans and misfits.

Ewell says, “Two weeks ago, a lady brought what we thought was a weasel…turned out to be an otter. Six days and nights, I was up morning, noon and night feeding it. It was so tiny we couldn't save it. Cried for a week, I wanted that little otter to make it.”

As you can see, anyone is welcome at Luanda Ewell's place.

Some of these guys are injured.

This doe ran into a fence and broke her jaw...but most come here as babies, found in the wild by well meaning humans.

Ewell says, “People in general are very kind. They want to help. Sometimes the best way to help is to leave the babies.”

Luanda Ewell's life as a caregiver to orphan wild animals began three years ago when she found an abandoned fawn.

The youngster died, but Luanda was hooked.

She became a DNR approved wild animal rehabilitator and she has worked 16-hour days ever since.

When she's not feeding animals, she's on the phone raising money or looking for food donations.

There are plenty of people who think the Luanda Ewell's of the world are crazy.

Ewell says, “Raccoons all over the place, deer all over the place. People will tell you why not let nature take its course and let them die? I'll show you why. Look at this face, how can you look at a face like that and say there's just too many of you, you're just a varmint we're just not going to have you.”

There may still be some hard hearts unconvinced but Luanda Ewell doesn't care.

She's always short on sleep, always short on help and always short of money for medicine and supplies.

But she says she's rewarded each time she releases a healthy animal back into the wild.

Ewell says, “It gives me goose bumps. I've accomplished something. They're back where they're supposed to be. They get into trouble because of us, if I can get them back into the wild. Not everybody can say I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world, but I wouldn't live anywhere else in this world.”




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