It's lunchtime in the small Regina home of Megan Lawrence, director of Salthaven West Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre.
She shares the space with a menagerie of patients — snakes, owls, beavers, eagles and other wildlife — that come through her home on daily basis.
Salthaven West rehabilitates injured animals and promotes animal wellbeing through public education. The facility is now raising money to pay for a bigger space to keep up with an increase in demand.
Lawrence said more and more people know about Salthaven West. This is good for the animals, but has also led to overcrowding at the facility.
"Now when they find an injured animal, they know who to call, they know what to do with it," Lawrence said. "We typically would sit around 40 patients or so during the winter and we have over 70 now, so we're almost double what we typically sit at."
Lawrence, who volunteers her time running Salthaven West on top of her regular job, is happy to receive the calls. She spends her weekends and evenings helping take care of the patients.
"Sometimes in the summer we can get over 20 patients in one day, and then we go through the triage for the animal medications. We reach out to our vet clinics if we think they need X-rays or surgeries, but it's just basically feeding, cleaning the animals, making sure they're healthy and OK."
She saw the need for a wildlife rehabilitation centre eight years ago when she first moved to Regina. She noticed there were only a handful of rehab centres in the entire province, with the closest to Regina being in Moose Jaw.
Since then the number of patients brought in daily has grown, Salthaven West has outgrown its 600-square-foot space. Now fundraising for a bigger clinic is underway.
The first campaign started on Nov. 23, 2022 and ends on Tuesday next week. More campaigns will follow, along with other fundraising efforts such as selling T-shirts and Sarcan drives.
Lawrence said no donation is too big or too small.
"We've gotten several donations this morning already since we've launched the campaign and we're hoping over the next week leading up to giving Tuesday that start off the campaign, we can raise $10,000," she said.
Although it may take months or years to get enough to move into a bigger space, Lawrence said the centre will continue to take in whatever patients need help in the meantime.