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Dr. Deb Eskedahl hand feeds a baby sparrow rescued when its nest was knocked down. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

State's injured wildlife depend on "Dr. Deb"

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The patron saint of Minnesota wildlife doesn't dress in monk's cloth or go by the name of Francis.

She's a slightly built, freckle-faced, quietly determined woman known throughout the state as Dr. Deb.

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Garrison veterinarian Debbie Eskedahl expanded her practice in 1985 to minister to the state's ailing, abandoned fauna and fawns. Her Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, nestled into 18 acres of forest near Mille Lacs Lake, sees 450 animals yearly.

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