When Creatures, Compassion, and Creativity Collide

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What do you get when you bring compassion and creativity to the problems of a one flippered turtle?

Stories of compassion and animal rehabilitation are marked by patience and remarkable ingenuity.

Aside from demonstrating that there are still plenty of good people around the globe, stories like the ones we’ll share today remind us of the boundless human capacity for compassion: we forgive, we help those in need, and perhaps most perplexingly, we extend our compassion beyond our species to the vast animal kingdom.

Image: Sea Turtle with prosthetic fin
Source: SPLASH

Today, we bring you three stories of compassion and animal rehabilitation at the intersection of  innovation, kindness and creativity. Take a look at people facing some unique challenges with admirable grit and determination…

Dentures for Don…

Because EWC founder Dr. Lynda is a dentist, I had to put this one first. Here is the story of Don, a crow who lost the top of his beak in an accident and was left unable to eat as a result.  The fix?

A crow denture!

Via: Nature 1

Allison, the one flippered sea turtle…

Allison is a sea turtle at Sea Turtle Inc. a sea turtle rehabilitation center in South Padre Island, Texas. She lost three of her flippers to a predator attack, so in an effort to improve her quality of life, a canoeing intern decided to invent a rudder that would help her swim once again!

Via: Nature 2

Meet Mr. Stubbs…

In this last story of innovation in animal rehabilitation we bring you Mr. Stubbs, an alligator that lost is tail to a bigger gator. In a collaborative effort by Phoenix’s Core Institute and Midwestern University professor Justin Georgi they built him a new rubber tail that uses his natural mechanics to grant him aquatic motion.

Via: Nature 3

These stories of compassion and animal rehabilitation remind me of my own childhood.

Image: Liesl and a baby moose, stories of compassion and animal rehabilitation
Little Liesl with Clifford the moose

My parents were wildlife rehabbers so, I spent a great deal of my childhood hanging out with orphaned moose on my deck, playing with herds of baby deer in the woods, feeding various three legged deer (Bamboo and Tripod), nursing squirrels and chipmunks back to health, waking up to broken winged turkeys at my doorstep, and checking on the turtles, snakes and frogs we had rescued from various roadside hazards. Oh, and caring for a menagerie of “normal” creatures like cats, dogs, birds, and goats.

This was a unique way of growing up, but it taught me a great deal about compassion and creativity. We constantly had to find new ways to feed, house, and rehab animals, and no two cases were the same.

While my current life is populated by far fewer creatures than was my younger life, my upbringing, along with stories such as today’s, remind me of the enormous capacity humans have for compassion and creativity. If all of us strove to have a fraction of the compassion toward humans that most animal rehabbers have for other species, imagine how much more peaceful this world could be!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV


Scroll down to see six more articles proving “it’s still an amazing world,” or head to our homepage to check out the our latest articles, circles and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber is a camera toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yogi. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV


  1. “Injured Crow Gets a New Acrylic Beak.” PBS. Nature, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2365206601/>.
  2. “Sea Turtle With One Flipper Gets New Rudder Prosthetic.”PBS. Nature, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2365206593/>.
  3. “”Mr. Stubbs” Alligator with Prosthetic Tail Learns to Swim.” PBS. Nature, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2365206502/>.