Not Your Typical House Pet
At Nevada Humane Society we rescue animals of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what their backstory is or what type of care they require, we do everything in our power to help creatures great and small. Even when that means working with our rescue partners to get them the specialized care they need.
When mother-daughter sugar gliders Phyllis (mama) and Rhonda (daughter) were surrendered to our Reno Shelter late last year, it didn’t take long for our team to realize these two were a unique case, requiring specialized care. Due to airline restrictions in place at the time, it was impossible for our team to fly the sugar gliders to the Arizona Sugar Glider Rescue in Arizona that they desperately needed to get to for care. Our dedicated team of animal lovers quickly devised a plan to undertake the drive from Reno, Nevada to Phoenix, Arizona to get these kids where they needed to go…
When the tiny and adorable Phyllis and Rhonda first came in, it was under circumstances that made it difficult to get the information we needed. As far as what was gleaned during the surrender appointment, their owners had apparently purchased the two sugar gliders off of Craigslist at the beginning of the year. They were told at the time that Phyllis had a “scar”. Immediately upon getting hands on them, our intake team and exotics-trained staff knew that it was much more than just a scar. The area behind her head was raw and red, glistening like an open wound. Our Veterinarians determined that it was granulated tissue from a very, very slowly healing chronic wound.
Sugar gliders are tiny, nocturnal creatures with very specific needs that can’t be adequately judged during the day in the shelter. For that reason, these lucky gliders went home with Nevada Humane Society team members with experience caring for sugar gliders for fostering. Luckily, these two tiny gals came to us with everything they needed, including the specialized diet they were used to, so they were ready to go.
Long Journey to Healing
Once the gliders had time to really get out and move around that evening, their fosters realized that the once thought “scar” was much more problematic than they had initially thought.
The membrane that stretches between their feet and allows them to glide through the air (often referred to as a wing) was severely damaged by the healing wound, preventing Phyllis from doing much more than hopping around. It was clear that she needed special accommodations, and ideally to be placed with a rescue that specializes in caring for disabled sugar gliders. We immediately began searching for a rescue that could provide the care Phyllis clearly needed.
The Arizona Sugar Glider Rescue in Phoenix answered our calls for help and did their best to assess the situation without physically seeing these tiny rescues. Phyllis could most certainly have a long, fulfilling life with her daughter, but they would need specialized care and accommodations. They needed to find someone willing to devote their time and energy into these very sweet, handle-able, playful little creatures. The Arizona Rescue agreed to take Phyllis and Rhonda, and had already added them to their next scheduled vet visit for us!
NHS Takes a Road Trip
Due to airline restrictions that made it impossible to fly the sugar gliders to the rescue, staff had to undertake the drive from Reno, Nevada to Phoenix, Arizona to get these girls where they needed to go.
What they walked into was the converted garage of Tamra Rothenburger, the founder of Arizona Sugar Glider Rescue. It was perfectly equipped to care for groups of sugar gliders (and a few hedgehogs). Upon meeting Phyllis and Rhonda, Tamra deduced that the wound would continue to take a very long time to heal, and she immediately laid out her plans for their care going forward.
The NHS team members that made the journey to deliver Phyllis and Rhonda sat through part of an adoption appointment in which Tamra made it a point to tell the potential adopters: “You might have thought this appointment was for me to interview you, but the sugar gliders are. They have as much of a right to choose their new home as you do to take them.” She then carefully set up the meeting area and began telling the family everything she knew about each pair of rescue gliders they were introduced to.
“It was a huge relief to know that we had spent so much time and effort to get these special-needs animals to somewhere that fully valued them and would make every effort to find them an amazing forever home. The rescue stood on a foundation of communal effort between organizations, particularly in these times that have made it even more difficult to give every animal possible the care they deserve. It is through connections like these that animal welfare organizations are able to rely on each other to make a true difference in so many lives.” –Pryce Scott, Nevada Humane Society Rescue Coordinator.
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