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Published: October 2008The Life: Kathleen Ramsay
Photo: Kathleen Ramsay

Kathleen Ramsay: Sweet Release

For injured creatures of the American Southwest, the doctor is always in.

Text by Steven Kotler
Photograph Jen Judge

No job title quite describes what Kathleen Ramsay does for a living, but "wildlife first responder" comes closest. For almost a quarter of a century the veterinarian and raptor enthusiast has run a rescue, rehabilitation, and release program for ill and injured animals at the Wildlife Center she founded in Espanola, New Mexico. Her emergency room has treated gimpy bald eagles, black bears with bullet wounds, and malnourished frogs—some 1,380 cases last year alone. Ramsay is on call 24/7 but takes no salary from the clinic, relying on a rotating staff of four, plus 75 volunteers. The nearly 18,000 students she hosts each year repay her by taking a deeper understanding of American wildlife and respect for ecosystems back to their own neck of the woods. But her greatest reward is watching her patients hightail it back to the bush.

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