“I remember a horrific day in July when I had nineteen calls in one day,” Wakeman says. “Three boxes of squirrels, each a different species, on my dryer—and my family wanting dinner.” Luckily, she says, her husband “has come to like squirrels.”
FOW was founded thirty-five years ago by Pat DeLong. “I think everyone has a need to contribute,” she says. “We don’t just come into this life and just la-di-da along. You have some kind of work that you do that you feel is important.” DeLong, too, got into animal rescue by accident. She and her husband live near Dexter on a bluff overlooking the Huron River. “Raising four active, inquisitive children, wildlife was destined to be a part of our lives,” she says. Seven people attended Friends of Wildlife’s first official meeting. Now the group has 110 active volunteers. That’s down from about 135 eight years ago, mostly because, DeLong thinks, today’s economy leaves people with less time to give to volunteering.