To the Editor:
If you have ever found yourself wondering who you would call to help an unfortunate skunk to dislodge a plastic cup, stuck hopelessly over its head, you can relax and wonder no more.
Steve Serwatka did exactly that in a recent morning encounter at the Cape May County Zoo, much to the relief of onlookers, and especially the skunk.
Steve is an animal control officer, heading Animal Control of South Jersey, operating from his home, in Delmont, Cumberland County, where he also maintains a wildlife and nature sanctuary.
Steve has been assisting both wild and domestic animals alike, providing valuable services to much of Cape May County, as well as partial areas in Cumberland County, for over 30 years.
I first met Steve in the early evening of March 9, when earlier that day, our son's young border collie, Mina (pronounced my`na) became lost in Eldora, a rural community featuring a wonderfully diverse area of dense woods, pines, thickets, water bodies, and marsh.
The area is pure country beautiful, yet an area that was unfamiliar to Mina and us. Fortunately for us (and Mina), Eldora is a tight knit community, where neighbors still look after their neighbors.
Mina, to our great relief, was found, after three days, by a concerned woman traveling along Old Route 47, where she had observed Mina trotting along on the shoulder of this very busy road.
Mina hopped right into the anonymous woman's car as she pulled alongside and opened her car door. Our (and Mina's) brand new Earth angel had quickly learned from a member of the Eldora community that Mina was indeed “the dog that everyone had been looking for.”
Within minutes of her rescue, Mina was turned over to Dave, at Steve Serwatka's Animal Rescue Sanctuary. We cannot thank the woman enough (whose name we never learned) for her wonderfully kind act, which likely saved Mina's life.
We continue to be grateful for the support of Steve, and especially wish to thank all the many members of the Eldora and Delmont communities, who, without exception, were kind and gracious, as well as extremely patient with our interruptions as we searched, handed out flyers, and talked with so many wonderful people during that time.
A special thanks to Dave, and also the young lady who, after work, went out walking both nights with her husband, to look for our beloved Mina.
We met with Steve again recently on a sunny Saturday afternoon, at his nature sanctuary, to talk about his important work (which seems more like a passion), and to see how we might help with any of the sanctuary's immediate needs.
We were, of course, treated to a tour, and Steve talked about his many wildlife residents, and their stories. Steve is always grateful to receive dog food and canned fruit items (don't forget the apples for Elmo), and, of course, monetary donations are always welcome, and can be made as well, along with further information regarding the local communities directly served by Animal Control of New Jersey.
You can contact Steve via his Facebook page, Steve Serwatka New Jersey Nature. You can also see pictures and get firsthand accounts of Steve's various wildlife residents and rescues, like Scarlett the fox, Moo the potbelly pig, Elmo the emu, and even a skunk who had a plastic cup successfully removed from its head.
Thank you, Steve, for all that you do.