Wondrous Wildlife
By Vern and Lori Gieger
Unsung Heroes

     This month we are straying a bit. We’d like to say thank you to those who are striving to make our community a better place.
     Few animal activists reach the notoriety of Steve Irwin; however that does not diminish the importance of their work. We have many here in our own community. The old timers still with us have since passed the torch to younger more able bodied persons. Looking back on their lives they have much to be proud of, and the memories of the animals they saved will live on in their hearts forever.
     Many new residents have never heard of them. Katie Lawrence started the original Lake Chapala Humane Society some 30 years ago, with the aid of volunteers like Marti Rossetti, Grace Contrades and others whose grass- root efforts continue to this day, through various groups and individuals.
     Founders of the Spay and Neuter Center, Gudren Jones and Diane Hazen, whose passion is dogs many times have put themselves in harm’s way to save them. However once they are rescued and receiving the care and compassion they need and deserve, it makes it all worthwhile. 
     Others who have a passion for cats have spent years rescuing them. Just to mention a few: Lila Kawananakoa, Barb Hess, Ann Heath and Aileen McTague, who is the President of Lakeside Friends of the Animals.
     Every individual makes a difference. Laura Goeglein, who has a love for birds, has contacted us several times to rescue many an egret. Wendy Johnson regularly speaks up to educate children and adults in her community regarding respect, care and compassion for animals. Aurora Michel, the head of our group, overcame her fear of snakes and has done much for the environment. Bob Hocking has done much to dispel people’s fear of snakes.
     Or the three young Mexican men who just rang our doorbell to give us an injured barn owl they took the time to rescue, in hopes it could be saved. Susan English, who shares her patio with the swallows allowing them to nest year after year (despite the fact they tend to be a bit messy). Jim and Debbie Wilson who are seeking to relocate a bat colony which set up house-keeping in their roof.
     There are other groups and individuals not mentioned here by name who also do what they can to help animals, so hats off to all of you. And a special “thank you” to Eager?y Asociados for sponsoring one of our booths at the Chili Cook-Off.
     Everyone has a favorite animal, be it a dog, cat, or wild animal. It is a hard life for our furred and feathered friends, who must survive on their own; neglect, highway accidents, poaching, loss of habitat, fires, droughts etc. They all need our help. 
     Animal rescue is not for everyone, but there are many other worthy volunteer groups such as Red Cross, Casa de Ancianos, Rotary Club, to name a few. Let’s make Mexico proud of the foreign community. We would also like to thank Tod Jonson for recognizing the great work of individuals in the community via sponsoring the community awards.
     Note: Once again it is the dry season so please be responsible and don’t start fires. Not only do they destroy much needed habitat, but also kill many baby birds. Remember that our small fire dept. does not have the manpower or the capability to battle fires which spread to the mountains.