Couple takes in animals at Little Wonders Rescue

March 15, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Wanted: a pet to be a companion, friendly, good with children and can catch its own dinner with a sticky tongue.

Not your average dog and/or cat, obviously. But tastes in pets vary as Mike and Barbara Main of Little Wonders Rescue are quick to point out.

On any given day, the Main's rustic residence near Clear Spring could be home to several rabbits, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, sugar gliders. Sometimes, they care for injured wildlife, such as owls.


"It all started when my nephew came to live with me," Barbara Main said.

"He was 10 years old and needed something to do," she said.

Living in Woodstock, Md., at the time, Barbara Main saw a sign for Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Rehabilitation Center and stopped in to see if there was something there that might interest her young charge.

"I talked to a lady there, Colleen Layton, who is a wildlife rehabilitator," Barbara Main said.

It quickly became apparent that she was overwhelmed and before long Barbara was helping out.

Three years ago, Barbara and Mike Main were married and came to Washington County, where Mike lived. They have started their own rescue, often taking calls from Layton.

As far as the wildlife part is concerned, Barbara Main noted that she is not a rehabilitator. But she and her husband can act as an agent for Frisky's.

"We get wildlife from the local humane societies and then they go on to a licensed rehabilitator," Mike said.

A recent example involved a call about a screech owl that was found exhibiting signs of being off balance, Mike Main said.

The description of the owl's behavior led him to believe there might have been some head trauma involved, he said.

"I picked it up and it was in pretty good shape," Mike Main said. "Colleen (Layton) told us to feed it beef liver and it was better the next morning."

So the next day, Mike Main took the owl to Layton with the ultimate goal of releasing the owl back into the wild.

In February, Barbara said Mike Main picked up two rabbits that had been dropped off by people who didn't want them anymore. Those rabbits lived with the Mains for 10 days.

Sugar gliders are marsupials whose young stay in the pouch for 90 days. They occasionally show up at the Clear Spring-area home.

Both said they are amazed at the cruel things people do to animals - cats inside burlap bags used for pit bull training, ferrets in cages left in landfills, for example.

"We want to hear from people who want to adopt gerbils, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.," Mike Main said. Manager of Specialty Business Supplies Inc., on Pope Avenue in Hagerstown, Mike Main sometimes works out of his home.

The Web site for the Mains' animal endeavors is They can be reached by telephone at 301-842-1333.

In December, the local group joined, an online database of homeless pets of all kinds.

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