Manager of Wild Friends
Carmen Smith came to Best Friends in 1999 as an avid birder and animal lover with a B.S. in philosophy and religious studies. Her first job at Best Friends was working as a caregiver in Feathered Friends, the bird department, which housed state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitation and education programs as well as domestic and exotic animal rescue programs. It was a smaller sanctuary back then and one department handled many species, including songbirds, raptors, mink, ducks, chickens, cottontails, squirrels, parrots, finches and peafowl.
Around 2003, Carmen transferred to the clinic and worked as a technician, learning skills such as anesthesia, triage, radiography, and critical care for sick and injured patients. In 2005, she was asked to return to the bird department, and she became a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and educator. A few years later, growth in Feathered Friends resulted in the need to divide the department into two, at which time Carmen became the manager of the new Wild Friends department.