DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter is hellbent on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator this spring. This volunteer job entails being able to take in animals from the region that have been abandoned or hurt. These animals range from tiny birds to skunks! I argued that I am against this, while she says the chances of us ever getting a larger animal are impossible because it is dependent on her to accept the animal. She can deny it if she does not feel comfortable. In addition to this volunteer job letting in wild animals, we occasionally have to buy food and supplies for them! I don't want vermin in the house, but my daughter has this passion to help them. I have a pretty strong feeling she won't grow out of this -- she's nearly 17, so I either have to crack down with my husband or allow baby squirrels to be nursed back to health in my living room. Should we let her go through with being a rehabilitator? -- Teenager Loves the Wildlife, Dearborn, Michigan
DEAR TEENAGER LOVES THE WILDLIFE: Your daughter's interest is noble, and I understand both why you don't want to allow the animals in your home and why you want to support her. Can you find a middle ground? Is there a school or community center or even another family with whom she can work so that the animals are housed there? Or do you have a basement? Perhaps you can cordon off an area that's just for her and the small animals so they do not have to inhabit your family space. If you cannot figure it out, it is OK to say no. She may have to wait for her animal husbandry. What you may want to do is help her find a college that promotes animal care so that she has something to look forward to doing very soon.