Each year thousands of ill, injured and orphaned wildlife get a second chance at life thanks to the dedicated volunteers and staff at TWRC Wildlife Center who care for them until they can be returned to the wild. If you have a deep appreciation of wildlife and want to join a network of people committed to preserving Texas wildlife, read further on how you can assist by becoming an Animal Caregiver or Helper in the Opossum and Pals Program.
The Opossum and Pals Program (or OPP) is a newer addition to TWRC’s onsite animal care programs. Onsite animal care provides relief to our rehabbers when they need a break or go on vacation. It also allows continued placement of animals when rehabbers are at capacity or can no longer accept wildlife for care. The OPP’s primary residents consist mainly of opossums; however, there are also doves that require care and tube-feeding. Other animals may be housed in the program until they are placed with a rehabber or are ready for release back into the wild. No rabies vector species will be allowed in the program.
The Program runs (roughly) from March through October of every year. Three shifts will be in operation 7-days a week starting at 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm, and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. If tasks are completed before the shift has ended, volunteers will be asked to offer assistance in other Center chores.
Our goal is to staff the Program with as many experienced and skilled volunteers as possible to ensure the best quality of care for our wildlife. We are looking for individuals who can administer hydration fluid via SQ injection, tube feed doves, and are familiar with medication and dosing. We will also provide training to those individuals who feel comfortable working with all species and are willing to put in the work to become proficient in all skills.
Program Job Duties – Each shift will be staffed with one Supervisor, 1-2 Animal Caregivers and one Helper. Supervisors will delegate tasks to ensure all duties are completed and monitor the progress of the animal for eventual transfer to a rehabilitator for conditioning and release. Both Animal Caregivers and Helpers will share the daily duties that include basic animal care – animal feeding, cage cleaning, food preparation, laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping. Animal Caregivers will be trained to assist Supervisors with the handling and weighing of animals, administering SQ fluids, medication, and the tubing of doves.
Program Requirements – Since there is a significant investment in training volunteers for this program, we ask for your commitment to work a minimum of one shift per week for at least 5-weeks. Animal Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age. Helpers must be at least 14 years of age.
Ideal Candidates for this program
- People who desire hands-on with wildlife
- People who have jobs or go to school
- People who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
- People who appreciate opossums!
New Opossum and Pals Volunteer
- RSVP online for an Opossum and Pals Orientation.
- New Volunteers must also register online and pay a $25 fee. The fee includes a program t-shirt, a name tag, and training provided by qualified and experienced staff. All volunteers must wear a program t-shirt when working shifts.
- We encourage new volunteers to pay the $25 registration fee online to prevent waiting in long lines to pay after Orientation. If you choose not to participate after attending Orientation, we are happy to quickly refund your registration fee upon request.
- If you prefer not to pay online, we will gladly accept your payment by cash, check or credit card after Orientation.
- Within 48-hours of Orientation, you will receive an invitation by email to sign-up for feeder shifts on SignUp.
Volunteers Returning From the 2016 Opossum and Pals Program
- Returning Volunteers will not be required to attend another OPP Orientation.
- Register and pay a $25 fee online using the link below. Ask for your program t-shirt when you work your first shift. All volunteers must wear a program t-shirt when working shifts.
- Within 48-hours of receiving your registration and fee payment, you will receive an invitation by email to sign-up for feeder shifts on SignUp.