Woman holds animals in her hands

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Mike Heine
Sunday, January 20, 2008
— Yvonne Wallace Blane felt horrible.

It was her fault that she ran over a nest of baby bunnies with the riding lawnmower.

She disrupted their world and needed to take responsibility for her actions. The bunnies didn’t deserve such a cruel fate.

“I was 24 when I ran over that nest of bunnies,” she said. “I was suddenly aware of what was going on in the same environment that I was always interacting with.”

She and her husband, Steve Blane, nursed the surviving bunnies back to health and released them to the wild. It was the start of her unwavering love for our fur and feathered friends.

Since that incident in 1985, Wallace Blane’s life turned to rescuing animals whose worlds were interrupted by human interaction.

That passion continues today at Fellow Mortals, a licensed sanctuary and wildlife hospital the couple run in rural Lake Geneva.

“We’re making a statement that all life does matter and that we need to be aware,” Wallace Blane said.

Blane, for a while, kept his full-time job. Wallace Blane took over running the nonprofit sanctuary, which now takes in some 2,000 animals yearly.

Almost every animal, from the tiny sparrow that flies into a windowpane to the fox trapped in a snare, stays under Wallace Blane’s care until they can go to back to the woods and fields.

“Everything is so perfect,” she said. “Everything is in its own place. Everything has its own intelligence, and they have a right to be here.”

The injuries inflicted on the animals brought to Fellow Mortals are usually human related. When that happens, nature is not running its normal course, she says.

“Is it natural for a duck to be shot? Is it natural for a deer to be hit by a car? Is it natural for a bird to fly into a window?” Wallace Blane asked.

It is thankless work that takes long hours, but it’s passion that keeps Wallace Blane motivated.

“With Yvonne, it has a lot to do with her passion for what she believes in,” said Jess Massaro, a staff rehabilitator. “I don’t think anything or anyone would ever persuade her to give this up.

“There has been a lot of ups and downs and a lot of difficult situations. She’s able to overcome a lot of them. No matter what, she will always strive to do better.”

“It is a thankless job,” Blane said. “You’re really putting yourself on the line physically, mentally and fiscally. Believe me, it’s a real battle.”

Wallace Blane “saw a spot that needed to be filled and never backed off from it,” he added.

And she won’t. Not so long as there are animals in need.

“There’s that little grebe there waiting for its fish every day that is doing well and will be released.” Wallace Blane said. “The rabbit that was hit by a car is totally upright and eating and will be releasable.

“We know what we can do. We know we can make a difference. The animals can’t tell us, but we can see it. And we know we’re making this world a better place.”

Age: 50.
Community: Lake Geneva.
Occupation: Wildlife rehabilitator and executive director of Fellow Mortals.
Family: Husband, Steve Blane, of 25 years.
Favorite hobbies: Reading criminal mysteries and historical fiction.
Favorite author: Poet Robert Burns.
Favorite music: “I like classical, but I also like new age music like ‘Secret Garden’ Christian music.”
Favorite movie: “Cider House Rules.”
Role model: “My mother, Elizabeth Wallace. She lives alone. She’s 95. She is still very busy helping people.”
Three words that best describe you: Passionate, particular, committed.

Last updated: 1:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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