Peggy DiMauro, Wildlife Rehabilitator

My childhood was spent on a family farm in Indiana. From an early age I had responsibilities for animal care for a range of domestic animals – cows, sheep, pigs, horses, kittens, puppies, chickens, ducks.  I learned from my grandparents at an early age, that animals were important and that responsibility for their care was a given for everyone in the family.

By the age of eight my job in the spring, as babies came, was to bottle feed and watch over those babies who, without extra human care were likely not to survive.  Calves in particular could be problematic and often I was allowed to sleep overnight in the fresh straw with a newborn to ensure that blankets and cuddling kept them warm and gave them a fighting chance.  So for me, loving and caring for animals was the natural order of things.

With a move from Massachusetts to Florida and being self-employed, I volunteered at the South Florida Wildlife Center, became a certified wildlife rehabilitator and embarked on an opossum research project to try and find out why the mortality rate was so high and why so many infants were being euthanized because they did not do well in rehab.  I did my research primarily at Nova South Eastern University, connecting primarily with scientists and veterinarians in Australia, as well as commercial marsupial milk manufacturers.  As a licensed rehabilitator, I set up a neonate nursery in my home, began developing an infant opossum protocol and trained four caregivers, three of whom were registered nurses,  to help provide round the clock care.

Fast forward, it will be 12 years in April of 2018, now licensed in the state of Massachusetts, we have a protocol based on scientific data and species specific biology. There have been significant advances in this increasingly successful neonate protocol which has reduced the mortality rate of these babies and has led to many successful releases.  Much has been accomplished, much yet remains to be researched. Passionate belief in the importance of human moral responsibility to respect and preserve other life forms drives my continuing dedication to all creatures wild and wonderful.

Reach Peggy at peggy@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Peggy DiMauro

Debby Walther, Treasurer

I have always loved and respected all creatures. I grew up surrounded by animals wild and domestic on a 240 acre farm in the Poconos. After working as an IT professional in Boston for 30 years, I had the good fortune to be able to retire early to Cape Cod in 2000, and almost immediately got involved in care and rehabilitation of local wildlife after discovering a shot and wounded white-wing scoter on a beach in Chatham.

After she was successfully rehabilitated and released, I was so impressed with the effort that I began volunteering with local rehabilitators, and have stayed involved in efforts to help local wildlife ever since. I am convinced that education of the public about our animal neighbors, how the public can find help for them when needed, and how we can all coexist peacefully with them is key to wildlife survival in our heavily populated area, and I am delighted to serve on the board of the Friends of Cape Wildlife, whose mission is to make wildlife information and services accessible to all.

Reach Debby at debby@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Margi O’Neill, Event Chair

Born and raised in Short Hills, NJ, Margi moved to Cape Cod five years ago, after spending twelve years living and working abroad in England.  She is the proprietor of a UK and internet based antiques business, Serpentine Antiques.

A former volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, she is currently volunteering locally in West Barnstable, as well as caring for animals at the Cape Wildlife Center and serving as a rescue team member of critically endangered stunned sea turtles at Sandy Neck Beach Park.  This continues a lifelong interest in caring for both wild and domestic animals.

She feels privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of Friends of Cape Wildlife to help encourage successful interactions between humans and wildlife.  She believes that rescuing and rehabilitating our animal neighbors is a critical responsibility of human kind.

Margi and her husband Tom share a home in West Barnstable with their two rescue dogs.  They are parents to two grown sons, and grandparents to three grandchildren.

Reach Margi at margi@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Elizabeth Brooke, Founder and Board Chair

I moved to Provincetown in 1974 and over the next several decades I wore many entrepreneurial hats with business startups including kite store owner, printmaker, website and design firm owner, restauranteur, photo studio owner, press photographer, advertising marketing director, innkeeper, educator, non profit founder, therapy dog trainer and boat captain.

But my core love has always been for animal welfare, environmental preservation, and wildlife and nature photography. As a volunteer first responder and transporter for wildlife on Cape Cod, I have learned first hand how vital the life saving work is that wildlife rehabilitators perform every day. Every animal matters and deserves to enjoy it’s life without suffering. I am privileged to be part of this work to help rescue and protect our wild neighbors and support those who care for them.

Reach Elizabeth at elizabeth@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Heather Fone, Photographer and Wildlife Rehabilitator

Very shortly after moving to Cape Cod in 2004, Heather Fone became a volunteer at the Cape Wildlife Center. During the next few years, what began as a four hour a week volunteer position transcended into her becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and a full time staff member as an Animal Care Technician.

Heather combined her passion for wildlife rehabilitation, helping the sick, orphaned and injured wildlife with her passion for photography, focusing her camera on the endless array of animals and documenting their rehabilitation and release back into the wild.

Heather is now a Teacher Naturalist with Mass Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary and continues her commitment to the Cape Wildlife Center as a board member of the Friends of Cape Wildlife.

Reach Heather at heather@friendsofcapewildlife.org

John Small

My lifelong love for animals and the natural environment began in Old Mystic, CT, where I was raised in a house filled with dogs, cats, hamsters, pet mice, and quite a few humans (I’m the youngest of seven children.)  The mice joined our party when, at the age of nine, I found a small family of pink baby mice exposed outside in a grassy area, where it seemed they had been born in haste and abandoned. Their tiny eyes hadn’t opened yet and despite their little silent squirms they couldn’t really move about. After some study of the situation, I gathered and whisked them into the house, committed to feeding and keeping them alive. Fortunately, my older siblings helped, as did my parents. The mice grew strong and each survived, becoming part of our family (although safe from the dogs and cats) for a year or so.

As an artist, I strive to capture the unique qualities and endearing features of animals through my work, with attention to domestic pets, local wild fauna in their natural  habitat, and make-believe critters for children’s illustrations. I often like to tell stories from the animal’s perspective: whether a timid mouse working on a vital task or a dignified papa polar bear sitting for a portrait. That magic moment of inspiration that opens the creaky door of everyday life onto the dazzling world of our timid-yet-frolicking neighbors where the wild things are, is beyond delightful. 

I live on Cape Cod, now marking the 10th generation of Smalls who have made their homes here, dating back to 1700.  I am grateful for the abundance of wildlife on our beautiful peninsula and appreciate the glorious bio-diversity here. As I continue to learn about the struggles of our wildlife, it has become clearer that our wild neighbors need advocates to protect them from harm, mend them when they are wounded and anticipate their needs for whatever scenarios they encounter. For the greater good of all of us on Cape Cod whether we’re bipedal, quadrupedal, winged, or just plain wiggly, we need to learn and understand what we can do to live and work together for our collective benefit.

It’s an honor and privilege to be involved with the Friends of Cape Wildlife.

Reach John at john@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Paul Carr, Marketing and Communications

One Saturday morning, when I was around the age of seven or eight, I walked down the main street in my hometown outside Boston and came upon an egg on the sidewalk that had fallen out of its nest. It was cracked open, revealing a partially developed beak, head, and furry, veiny body—a sad mess. I was pretty sure there was no future for this bird but picked it up reverently and carried it home carefully. My parents and older brother confirmed that nothing could be done, so within minutes Ned and I were in the backyard conducting a solemn burial.

Until that day I hadn’t reconciled anything between the eggs on my breakfast plate and those coming from birds. No one had mentioned it. And not much later, I connected the dots between eggs and chickens and, then, on another day at a farm in nearby Dover, I stared into the face of a friendly young cow who had sauntered over to greet me at a fence. I knew the question to ask my dad on the way home, and so it was confirmed that my sweet new pal may be eaten one day. I had walked into my own Charlotte’s Web reality, and, as it’s turned out, in some ways, I’ve never left.

This describes the seminal awareness of my own reverence for animals. If you ask me, every living creature on Earth is an innocent, sentient being. That includes mosquitoes and the wild boar who charge at us because we’re all here as part of a natural system – we need to survive – and often we need to muster up and demonstrate mercy for one another especially when we’re on a higher rung. From our back woods to our living rooms, all animals around us are subject to us. This implies a degree of responsibility for the welfare of all animals, wild and domestic.

All of this helps explain my happiness at having been asked to join the Board of The Friends of Cape Wildlife (FCW). I recognize my privilege in being among an extraordinary team of like-minded people who help shoulder the burden for suffering that occurs in hidden places around us … the broken-winged birds, the frozen turtles, and the innocent coyotes who are slaughtered for sport. Each of these innocents is calling out for us. If we could hear them all, could we turn our backs? The Friends of Cape Wildlife are saying open your ears.

What better call to answer?

Reach Paul at paul@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Joan McLachlan, Secretary 

Joan’s history with animal and wildlife welfare began with a dog, left behind when neighbors moved away, and has continued through the years with various cats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, dogs and even a horse. After relocating to Cape Cod from the New York City area in she volunteered for several years with the Cape Wildlife Center.

Joan is a partner in Internship Quest, an educational consulting and publishing firm specializing in career internship program development and is also the co-author of two books on internship development: Internships for Today’s World and Get an Internship and Make the Most of It.

During her twenty-five years in education, she has taught Library Research, English as a Second Language, Special Education, Writing, and English both on the secondary level and as an Adjunct at Baruch College in New York City.

She is also a Senior Educational Consultant to the Program Evaluation and School Improvement Services Division of Measurement Incorporated, based in Durham, NC.

Reach Joan at joan@friendsofcapewildlife.org

Joan McLachlansm