'Critter Gitter' in Clarkston Heights acts as first responder for injured wildlife

CLARKSTON, WA - We take you to the home of a good Samaritan in the Clarkston Heights who cares for injured animals.

But this animal rescue operation isn't for pets, it's for wild animals.

Deborah Cook isn't your average animal lover. She's not a vet, she's not an animal control officer. She's a 'Critter Gitter.'

"You know when you have a first responder at an automobile accident?" said Critter Gitter volunteer Deb Cook. "I'm the first responder."

For six years she's been working out of her home, rehabilitating wild animals for free.

"It started with a baby chipmunk and I couldn't leave that out there to die," said Cook.

Since then she's taken in raccoon's, deer and skunks. Even hawks.

"It is illegal in the State of Washington to have any wildlife as pets," said Cook. "So anything that I get must be released back into the wild once it's healthy."

"She does what's correct in terms of asking professional advice from the vets at the vet clinic or from the department when we have a need for something to be handled in one way, Deb has been great," said District Wildlife Biologist, Paul Wik.

Cook and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have developed a working relationship over time. Paul Wik said they'll give her a call when they don't have the resources to transport small animals.

"I don't get paid to do this, it's strictly a passion," said Cook.

A passion that gives wild animals a second chance.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife leaders want us to remind you that catching and keeping wild animals for pets is illegal.

Cook has a standing agreement with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on her rehabilitation of the animals. So don't try this at home.