The Orphanage

Posted by Michelle B on

When I first started this shop, one of my main goals was to use it to raise money for different charities throughout the year.  Last year a bunch of amazing makers took part in an auction in my mom's memory with proceeds going to a local no-kill animal shelter, and earlier this year I did a short campaign with t-shirt profits going to the ACLU.  Between the two, almost $3000 was raised.  I honestly prefer to give to smaller local charities when possible because they are often the most in need.  










I've always loved animals, so when I found out one of my closest and oldest friends had started her own wildlife animal rescue, I felt like it was a perfect opportunity to try to raise a bit of money to assist her with their care.



I asked Dawn Lance Long, owner of The Orphanage, a few questions about what she does and how she got started with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.


How do you acquire your animals?

I volunteer with an organization called Bi-State Wildlife Hotline, which is a group of rehabbers that work together rehabbing animals, and operate a 24 hour hotline for wildlife info and services.  Since receiving my license this year, I am also listed on the IDNR website and on  The Orphanage has a Facebook page and a website too.


What are some common reasons animals are orphaned?

True orphans are usually left behind if mom gets scared away or killed, but we get a lot of babies due to “kidnapping."  Good-hearted people see a baby and scoop it up and take it away to “help it," even though mom may just be out getting a bite to eat or hunting for food for her babies.  On the hotline, we always stress to keep babies where they are (especially fawns and bunnies) and see if mom comes back.  We have reuniting protocols for most animals that we try to get people to do before we actually admit an animal.  Our ultimate goal with orphans is to get them back to mom as soon as possible, but that’s not always an option.


Is the hope to reintroduce them eventually?

Our goal is always to get the animals back to their wild habitat as soon as they are able to survive on their own.


What kind of animals have you rescued so far?

So far this year I’ve had fox squirrels, raccoons, bunnies and opossums. Right now, I have 10 raccoons and 10 opossums


What are some of their daily needs?

Babies can eat up to 12 times a day depending on size and age.  Little ones are bottle fed or tube fed.  Cages have to be cleaned a LOT (babies are messy). We vaccinate and worm them. Depending on the animal, they may need wound care or antibiotics. They need exercise, so there’s play time outside if possible, or at least outside the cage. It’s basically like having 20 toddlers all at the same time.


How did you get into this?

I’ve always been an animal person, so when I was “downsized” out of a job, I looked into my options.  I found Bi-State online, and signed up for a volunteer class.  I started working the phones, helping callers find help for orphaned or injured animals, and got to help our other rehabbers with their babies.  I was hooked.  So after a LOT of training and more classes, I applied for my license this year, and the rest is history.




You can also donate directly to The Orphanage here:

Visit The Orphanage Facebook page here:




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