Kathy Rogers, revered founder of Dallas' Rogers Wildlife Rehab Center, dies
A major figure in Dallas' animal rescue world has died: Kathy Rogers, who rescued and rehabitated thousands of birds in the Dallas area, passed away on April 9. She was 73.
Rogers was founder of The Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, an animal facility at Samuel Farm in Mesquite, which she built into the largest not-for-profit avian rehabilitation center in North Texas. The center provided top notch care for more than 5000 wounded and abandoned birds brought there every year.
Rogers and her wildlife center had followers from around the world who cherished her dedicated service to birds, including some that became famous, such as the sick orphaned barn owl named Pearl that Rogers lovingly brought back to life and re-released into the wild.
Rogers Wildlife Center also figured prominently in a 2022 documentary called Honk - A True Story, about a goose that was abandoned at Turtle Creek.
Rogers was known by her outward beauty, infectious laugh, dry sense of humor, and her generous heart and compassion for all creatures great and small. A lifelong lover of animals, she worked for the Dallas Zoo and consulted at the Dallas Aquarium and Busch Gardens, among many others, before going on to found RWRC in 1989.
RWRC's focus is on birds but Kathy helped other abandoned species that were brought to the center. For animals that could not be released, it was not uncommon for them to end up at Kathy's home as part-time or sometimes permanent companions.
Animals were given charming nicknames such as "Tom and Eddy" the Turkeys, stories that she shared on social media in a touching yet whimsical tone.
For example, about the two unlikely birds that became friends during the pandemic, she wrote:
"Clearly, there is no social distancing with these two best friends. Last September we got a baby Peacock. That is really late for Peacocks. They usually hatch in May. So now we had a lonely baby with no comfort companion. The very next day, Animal Control came in with a baby Turkey. How random was that? We just don't get many baby Turkeys, ever. Of course we put them together. Ever since that day, these two have been inseparable. If one wanders out of the other ones sight, there is mass panic and calling. I just love that once again, two wayward souls in need of love and comfort made their way to our place."Kathy Rogers releases Pearl the barn owl.Kathy Rogers
Volunteers past and present, who'd been inspired by her welcoming nature and commitment, expressed their condolences on Facebook, and the post about her passing drew comments from other rehabbers and bird fans across the U.S.
"Such sad news. I’ve taken birds to you and have followed her on Facebook for years. Her compassion, knowledge, and dedication to saving wild birds and housing those that couldn’t be returned to the wild was unrivaled. She will be missed but her mission will live on. Thank you, Kathy, for all that you did."
"The loss of Kathy is a tremendous loss to the bird world. Her expert care saved many birds that would otherwise have perished."
"The DFW area lost a great resource warrior and I pray her work continues as we need it and especially all the birds that are part of our lives."
"As a fellow licensed wildlife rehabber, I can't begin to express the sadness and huge hole that now fills our community. Kathy was a true pioneer and advocate for all wildlife. What a beautiful legacy she's leaving. Thank you Kathy for helping the thousands of lives critical to our ecosystems a leaving this earth a better place. You will be missed.I came across Kathy and her sanctuary through following Honk the Goose and was so happy that Honk had an amazing home in his latter days."
The team at the wildlife center say they'll continue to operate the facility and provide a resource for animal lovers who find a sick bird, squirrel, turtle, or other fauna in their yard or on city streets.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Benjamin and Harriet Fillmore, and brother Benjamin Fillmore. She is survived by sisters Jeanne Larson and Bitsy Lee, son Patrick Rogers, grandson Ethan Rogers, two nieces, and a nephew. Information about and donations to the Center can be made at: https://rogerswildlife.org.