Breaking News
More () »

Rescuing wildlife to give them a deserving chance at life | Pay It Forward

Pat Denzer runs a wildlife rescue and rehab center with the end goal of returning the animals back to the wild.

HILLSDALE, Ill. — Jamie Trudell has been volunteering at Pat's Bandits Rescue and Rehab for a couple of years. She has developed a close relationship with the owner, Pat Denzer. 

“Watching and going through some of the processes with her when she rehabs animals and seeing the behind-the-scenes and how much blood, sweat, and tears she puts into this. And sleepless nights," Trudell said. "And stressing isn’t going to be enough money to pull through to give them the proper formulas and stuff.

Knowing that Denzer really needed some money to help with the animals, Trudell nominated her for the Pay It Forward award.

Denzer has been rehabbing wildlife animals for about 8 years. She has a location in Hillsdale, Illinois where most of the animals begin their rehab process. Then the critters are moved to a location in Port Byron where they work on transitioning back to the wild. 

“First time I picked up a baby raccoon along the road it touched my heart. And I fell in love with them. That’s all it took," Denzer said. 

She takes in any animal from foxes to opossums to birds of prey.

“When we first get them, normally they’re abandoned, orphaned, maybe injured. We bottle raise them, we wean them, and our ultimate goal is to turn them back into the wild," Denzer said. 

This time of year, however, most of the animals are raccoons. 

“There’s close to 100 in here right now," Denzer said. 

All the funding to the rehab and rescue is out-of-pocket and donations. She receives no help from the state or government. She also devotes all of her time to helping the babies.

“I’m here 24/7. I keep my camper here and I’m here 24/7," Denzer said. 

The cost and time are just a small part of giving nature's creatures a second chance at freedom. 

“Most people say insanity… because it’s not a paid proposition. It’s just the love of the animals. It’s just giving back to what God gave us," Denzer said. 

Pat's Bandits Rescue and Rehab are always looking for donations and volunteers to help with cleaning and feeding the babies. You can find more information on their Facebook page. 

Do you know someone that goes above and beyond for his or her community? News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union would like to help you Pay it Forward to them. Click here to nominate someone you know.

See previous Pay It Forward award winners:

Download the WQAD News 8 App 
Subscribe to our newsletter 
Subscribe to our YouTube channel 

Watch more news, weather and sports on News 8's YouTube channel

Before You Leave, Check This Out