Ryan Law has squirrels in her bathroom at the moment.
No, that’s not some obscure euphemism, she has actual squirrels in her actual bathroom. Such is the life — and home — of a wildlife rehabilitator.
Law lives on a small farm with her husband near Viola and got into wildlife rehabilitation 13 years ago. She learned from an experienced wildlife rehabilitator in Clarkston and got her license and permit. She gets all kinds of animals — bats, skunks, ravens, foxes, crows, coyotes, deer — brought to her by individuals and by the Fish and Game department. Some make it and are released back into the wild. Others don’t.
“A lot of times my animals die. And the way I can pay homage to their lives is by creating my art,” Law said.
Law creates charcoal drawings and life-size realistic sculptures of animals that come into her care. Her work is being featured alongside several other regional artists in a two-day exhibit this weekend at the Little Pink House Gallery in Genesee.
Law has created art all her life and has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Idaho. When she started doing rehabilitation work, the animals emerged as a theme. She commemorates certain animals who die or are returned to the wild by representing their form. A porcupine is a recent example.
“She was the sweetest little girl,” Law said.
The animal suffered from internal infections but was gentle and would come mewing up to Law for care. It did not survive, and Law intends to create her next piece “to honor her gentle spirit.”
“Each one has a different personality, and each one is precious and valued,” Law said.
Law began her rehabilitation work after the unexpected death of her 21-year-old daughter. She needed a way to heal, she said, a way to give back. Being with animals who had lost a parent and those who were suffering was a way to honor her daughter’s life.
“It helps keep the memory of her alive,” Law said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “SPRING” art exhibit
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: 157 N. Elm St., Genesee