Gary Bogue and I have done many events together for our book projects, talking with kids and groups about the wildlife we depict in our nature books. We've signed books in redwood forests. We've done book readings and signings in gyms full of elementary school students. We've done readings and presentations in libraries, bookstores, museums, book fairs, pet fairs, newspapers, regional parks, nature groups, at a store aptly named Wild Birds Unlimited and even at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation. We've signed books next to folks handling snakes, and spiders and birds of all shapes and sizes. Around Gary you never know what wild tale will happen, particularly at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek, CA.
The Lindsay is close to Gary's heart. He was curator at the Lindsay Museum for 13 years, and during his 42 years of writing his pets and wildlife column for the Contra Costa Times he helped raise awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the important work that they do in the wildlife hospital and in their education programs. Gary and I have been fortunate to have the resources of the Lindsay in helping us research our books and we have done many events there together. I also have a special connection to the Lindsay. I've exhibited artwork there and I've created artwork for permanent displays. The Lindsay is a special home to both of us.
We were scheduled to do a storytime and book signing of "Is That a Skunk?" at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience on Saturday, March 9. As Gary and I made arrangements, he said that they had asked us to be there early so they can take some photos before the event.
Little did I know that we wouldn't just be taking photos, but that we would be going to the wildlife hospital. ( Ok Gary...here is another fine adventure you've gotten me into!)
Lindsay staff member Heather Haas and two photographers greeted us in the exhibit area and led us back to the the animal hospital area. I should have known, it wasn't just a photo shoot. They asked Gary to assist in the rehab of some wild patients in the hospital examination room.
Shannon McClain from the animal hospital brought out a couple of her patients scheduled for physical therapy for Gary to help out with. The red-tailed hawk came into the hospital with a broken wing. The wing was surgically repaired and the hawk is expected to make a full recovery. Gary gently exercised the wings of the beautiful raptor and examined the hawk's head.
The next patient was a great horned owl. Unfortunately the owl was admitted to the wildlife hospital with a badly injured eye and was badly emaciated. The eye had to be removed. Amazingly after the owl heals, Shannon explained that if it can test hunt successfully, they will be able to release the owl. Gary examined the eye and exercised each wing. The owl was calm, and watched intently as Gary stretched the majestic wings.
I got to witness firsthand the great work being done to treat wild animals and help them return to nature. (I was lucky to take a few photos with my iphone, I can't wait to see what the professional photographers captured.) Magical!
And if that wasn't amazing enough, Gary and I then went to a filled room of curious kids and eager fans to talk about stinky skunks. Gary read from "Is That A Skunk?" as I held up the artwork from the book to show to the audience.
After the presentation and a skunk Q&A, we spent time chatting with fans and signing books. We are thankful to all of the folks who came out on a rainy Saturday. And we extend our extreme gratitude to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience for such a warm welcome and giving us another wild Gary Bogue tale to tell!