Issaquah Dock Heroes Rescue Harbor Seal Pup

Post by Mari Steeno  |  video by John of Issaquah

On Wednesday, March 16, Mark Lawrence and Kimberly Wright were relaxing at their home when they heard the cries of an animal they did not recognize. As they went across the dock to #68 Issaquah, they discovered a distressed young harbor seal, desperately trying to find a place to rest. Kimberly, with the help of Mark and a makeshift tarp, lifted the exhausted pup onto a float. They called The Marine Mammal Center and stayed with the pup until the rescue team arrived.

Mark knew I volunteered at the center and called me soon after the initial rescue. When I arrived, Kimberly looked as exhausted as the pup. She knew it was a baby as the umbilical cord was still bleeding. When the rescue team arrived, they carried it out to the crate and Kimberly was asked to name the baby. It was very emotional, both to name the pup and say good-bye. Through tears she said, “Issy. Is he OK?” How appropriate for Issaquah!

The Happy Ending as Issy Recovers

On Thursday, I checked in with Kimberly. It was such a profound experience for her and she knew her calling was to be a volunteer. She and Mark were lucky to be able to attend the Saturday orientation. The vet staff reported that Issy was resting and recovering.

On March 21, they had a private tour at the center and there just happened to be two spots on the harbor seal day crew! Go figure. They were able to see Issy and knew that if it wasn’t for their rescue, he would not be recovering and soon going back to his real home: the ocean.

The harbor seal pups that we have in our back yards are born February-April so this is the time to be more aware. It is also the busy season at The Marine Mammal Center—until August—and there are plenty of volunteer positions!

Addendum – from The MMC

The Marine Mammal Center advises that while the instinct to approach or comfort a marine mammal is natural and even well-intentioned, what is required in these situations is quite the opposite. In other words, keep your distance and do not touch or approach the animal. If the animal looks sick or injured, please call The Marine Mammal Center. Trained teams of volunteers are prepared to rescue marine mammals up and down the California Coast. These are wild animals that can bite and transmit disease, so for your safety, you should keep your distance. As importantly, we don’t want to cause any extra stress to an already sick or injured animal.


call (415) 289-SEAL  –  (415) 289-7325

– keep an eye on this space for Issy updates – 

March 27: the original post has been adjusted in response to The Marine Mammal Center’s request to emphasize safe rescue practices.