A Father’s Love for Wildlife

Coleen Doucette, Co-Executive Director shares her personal story

Father’s Day is an important celebration for many of us. It is an opportunity to reflect and honour the special bonds we have with our fathers and father figures in our life.

Recently, I had coffee with a friend and shared a very early memory of my father. Afterwards, I thought that this might be a story that our Wildlife Rescue supporters and friends would enjoy as well.  My father profoundly influenced my passion for wildlife from a very young age, and so today, I’m sharing this memory with you. I hope you enjoy… 

My father taught me a love for wildlife that grew into my lifelong purpose. I grew up in rural Maine surrounded by nature and animals. When I was a young girl, my favorite books were about animals. One book I loved was Bambi. So, when I heard that my dad and uncle had two deer in the garage, I was very excited to go see them, expecting Bambi. What I found were two deer that had been taken during hunting season to provide food for our families through the winter. I was about 5 years old and the shock was huge for me. I cried uncontrollably, repeating over and over that “dad killed Bambi”.  

Painting in Acrylic on Illustrator Board by Robert M. Doucette

My reaction had an intense impact on my father, who never took the life of another animal again. He put down his rifle and picked up his camera, pen and ink. My dad is an amazing wildlife artist and I have had the pleasure of spending time with him photographing animals and many hours watching him recreate their beauty on paper and canvas. During my teenage and early adult years, my dad began carving and sculpturing. As he is a detailed artist, you can see every feather on a bird in his carvings. He generally carves nature scenes such as a loon chasing a fish underwater.  

Wood Carving of Common Loon with base by Robert M. Doucette

My first career led me to managing a beautiful gift shop in Acadia National Park where I carried many local artists, including my dad’s work. It was an honor to share his talents with the world. During my time in Acadia, I encountered a family of beavers that had many challenges because of human disturbance. Somehow, the kits lost their parents and I found out that the state highway authority had plans to rip out the lodge with these young, helpless beavers still in it! So, when the equipment showed up to do the job, they found me sitting on top of the lodge with the local newspaper in tow.  I had the National Park Service on my side by then, so the State backed down.  

That was the beginning of my wildlife rehabilitation career as I researched how to care for orphaned beaver kits! For a while I considered flooding the basement of my house. My husband was very pleased when the plan changed to working with a national park biologist to live-trap and relocate the young with their older siblings to safety. I still get reports from the biologist on the generations of offspring from this family every once in a while. 

Sharing my father’s passion for wildlife led me to intercede on the beaver kits’ behalf which changed my life forever. I am forever grateful to have been taught to love and respect animals from a very young age. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY EVERYONE! 

Please donate to help wildlife today.

With warmest gratitude,

Coleen Doucette

Co-Executive Director


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