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Soft Paws: If you care… leave them there


By Charlene Marchand

For Capital Region Independent Media

Clyde is a 2-year-old Bernese mountain dog mix, pictured with CGHS/SPCA Adoption Counselor Legacy Rhoads. He was unfortunately brought to the shelter due to his previous owners not having enough space. Clyde is good with most other dogs, but he would need management with cats as he will chase them. We believe he would do best with older kids. Clyde is very active and loves going out to play and to go on walks! Contributed photo

With the onset of good weather (finally), our properties are abuzz with deer grazing, birds and small mammals nest building, and hunts for food sources, always at the top of the list for our wildlife.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation puts out a leaflet regarding the care of young wildlife at this time of year. The buy-word is “If you care…leave them there!”

Many of us often see fawns lying, seemingly vulnerable and unprotected, with no doe in sight. We often come upon fledglings just leaving their nests, young rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. The DEC reminds us that typically our thoughts turn to abandonment by the parent, possible illness, or even injury.

When in doubt, don’t touch. Stay away, so the parent animal can return to attend to their offspring. If it is felt there is reason to suspect an injury, or if it is evident that a parent has been killed, call one of our local New York state licensed wildlife rehabilitators for counsel.

Many years ago, I found a young injured bat in my horse barn. I called and brought the baby to Jane Beaven. Three weeks later, that now healthy and healed individual was returned to my barn where he/she was discovered. I took personal delight in the fact that the rehabilitated bat took up residence in my barn for a number of years, keeping Dudley and SoFar in their glory by consuming tons of those pesky mosquitoes.

One of the few exceptions in handling young wildlife is given to hatchling songbirds. If you can identify the nest from which the baby bird has fallen, you can return it safely to the nest. It is a misconception that you should avoid transferring your scent to the probable fledgling.

Here is a list of go-to licensed rehab specialists:


  • Scott D Paul (small mammals), Cairo, (845) 518-7936
  • Terri L Esposito (small mammals), Cairo, (845) 867-6196
  • Petra A Link (gamebirds/passerines/small mammals/waterfowl), East Durham, (716) 697-0682
  • Robert G Shoemaker (gamebirds/reptiles/amphibians/small mammals), Hannacroix, (518) 312-9962
  • David A Loverde (gamebirds/raptors/reptiles/amphibians/small mammals), Hunter, (518) 989-6534
  • Casey M Seleman (small mammals), Lanesville, (518) 817-0748
  • Robert A Orin (small mammals), Round Top, (518) 965-8085
  • Tonya M Frickey (small mammals), Round Top, (518) 929-3003


  • Faith L Connolly (reptiles/amphibians), Canaan, (518) 965-3121
  • Maria P Geel (small mammals), Chatham, (518) 334-4446
  • Susan Geel (large mammals/small mammals), Chatham, (518) 528-4225
  • Rachel A Ford (small mammals), Copake, (914) 843-3281
  • Doreen Grand-Baretsky (small mammals), Hudson, (518) 828-0333
  • Rhonda Leavitt (reptiles/amphibians/small mammals), New Lebanon, (413) 446-1059     

We are so grateful that another generous benefactor has offered to cover all adoption expenses for the month of April! This is HUGE for our animals at CGHS – I pray our lobby is filled with eager families! We have many lovely dogs, cats, kittens and guinea pigs. Thank you, and may God bless our sponsor!

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at Our food bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at

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