A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Sealed with a Birthday Gift

Young girl helps injured seal return to the ocean

Risa opens the door for Garland the seal to return to the ocean. (Video courtesy of NECN)

The seal had been found stranded on a beach in in Southern Maine in August. Dehydrated and underweight, she was brought to the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center at the University of New England with deep neck wounds.

When 7-year-old Risa Sanders of Scarborough, Maine, heard about Garland, as the staff at the rehab center had named her, she wanted to help. So for her birthday a few weeks ago, she asked her parents if she could adopt Garland. She also asked her friends if they’d like to help sponsor the seal.

Impressed with Risa’s generosity and caring, people at the rehab center invited her to join them when it came time to release Garland back to the ocean.

With full sun, calm winds and two healthy animals, it was the perfect day to release harbor seals back to the ocean off the coast of Maine.

It was the hands of a 7-year-old girl who set them free, because her generosity helped nurse them back to health.

So, two weeks ago, Risa joined them on the beach and opened the cage for Garland. Close by, another seal was also released. The two found their way to each other and made their way down to the ocean.

As Risa watched from the shore on a beautiful, sunny day, Garland turned to look back at her – an appreciative farewell, perhaps – before plunging back into the ocean where she belongs.