Wildlife Rockstar Ari Denton talks about her porcupine friend , as well as her experience as a member of the group
FARMINGTON — Ari Denton's journey into Wildlife Rockstars started after a catastrophic car accident. As Denton was on her journey through rehabilitation, she discovered Bridges for Brain Injuries and its Wildlife Rockstars and animal co-stars program.
"I was just surviving in my house, and they gave me the tools here — and now I'm thriving," said Denton, who has since graduated from the program and is now a hired staffer. "I love working with all the animals here and the people as well."
The agency works to bring awareness of the effects of brain injury and disabilities on individuals and their families. The folks there assist Rockstars in rebuilding their skills to complete everyday tasks they were once able to do independently, before tragedy struck in the form of a car accident, stroke, assault, fall, brain surgery, sports- or combat/blast-related concussions as well as debilitating diseases.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation brought "Phyllis Quiller" to the brain injuries facility in Farmington. The mother porcupine was shot by a kid who thought it was a raccoon and when he discovered the porcupette (or baby porcupine), he thought he was doing the right thing by raising it domestically. But that is actually illegal and when the state Department of Environmental Conservation found out about the porcupine, they had to confiscate her. But she was already too domestic to return her to the wild.
Luckily, Phyllis Quiller landed on her feet at the Bridges for Brain Injuries facility, where she serves as a therapeutic friend helping those with traumatic brain injuries recover. Phyllis has found a pretty nice gig now where she gets to show off her quills while eating one of her favorite snacks, a granola bar.
To support the program, go to its Facebook page where you can donate through the United Day Roc the Day Campaign, which is Nov. 27.