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Oak Harbor veterinarian leads a wild life

"Oak Harbor veterinarian Eric Anderson not only cares for the furry patients brought into his practice, he routinely renders aid to a host of species brought to him from the wild.Anderson does that through Wildlife Care Clinic, a nonprofit organization he founded with other concerned citizens.Let's embrace them and enjoy living among them, Anderson said of the wildlife. Seeing about 300-400 wildlife patients each year, Anderson displayed a stack of case sheets, one for each wildlife patient he has seen this month. During the past month just some of the wild critters Anderson has cared for include a wild rabbit, lots of birds, a newborn fawn, a great horned owl, and just last week, an eagle.The eagle had been hit by a car on Sherman Road in Coupeville, Anderson said. Reportedly, the accident was a hit and run, and someone driving the car behind the one that hit the bird stopped to help it. County Extension Agent Don Meehan called Anderson to see if he could help, Anderson said.The bird was paralyzed and the X-rays Anderson took of the bird in his office didn't show him everything he wanted to see, said Trish Rose of Whidbey General Hospital's community relations department. Rose said hospital staff offered to help.After all human patients were cared for, and following strict sanitary procedures, hospital officials told Anderson he could bring the eagle in to receive an MRI, Rose said. The MRI technician volunteered his time, after the normal work day, to run the diagnostic equipment.Unfortunately the detailed pictures produced by the MRI revealed that the eagle was too badly injured, and Anderson was unable to save it.It was very generous of them to offer, Anderson said of having access to the MRI services at Whidbey General Hospital. That was so nice to be able to do that.Anderson said there is a tremendous amount of wildlife in the Oak Harbor area, and humans and animals often cross paths. Sometimes human involvement is warranted, such as when an animal is injured. Other times it is OK for man to leave the animals alone. Just because a wild animal is within human sight, or appears to be alone or abandoned, doesn't necessarily mean that something is wrong, Anderson said. For instance, a mother animal will leave its young temporarily to gather food. If a person were to take the baby animal, thinking it is orphaned or abandoned, mother and baby would be permanently separated.Still, Anderson encourages people to call him if there are any concerns about the safety or well-being of wild animals. The number for Wildlife Care Clinic 240-1060. Concerned citizens may also reach him and the other veterinarians that donate their time at Animal Care Center and Laser Center at 679-6796.Wildlife Care Clinic operates solely with the donated time and services of Anderson and his colleagues. Private donations help to defray the costs. You can reach News-Times reporter Christine Smith at csmith@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611 "

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