What would Neko Case be if she wasn't a musician? -- The alt-country singer/songwriter talks about a possible second career in wildlife rehabilitation

By Karen Valby
Updated November 19, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Neko Case, the redheaded muse of the country-noir movement, dropped out of her Tacoma, Wash., high school, ran away from home, and discovered the raw power of her pipes when she was a teenager. Now 34, she’ll hit the road this month to promote her new live album, The Tigers Have Spoken. But if the tigers had their way, she’d drop this music game and come to their rescue…

”Lately, I’ve been considering going back to school for wildlife rehabilitation. I have this excellent little visual fantasy of myself in a little green ranger uniform and boots with my dog [Lloyd the greyhound] next to me, opening the cage and the condor flies out over the canyon, or pulling the lever and the bear cubs run out into the woods. That’s the good part of the rehabilitation. I wasn’t visualizing myself gauzing bears’ mouths shut and then giving them enemas, although I’m sure that’s what you have to do. I know a wildlife rehabilitator in town, Diane, because I found a baby white-winged dove that had been abandoned, so I took it to her. Her house is just a regular-looking house in the neighborhood, but then you go out back and it’s this compound that’s got all these rooms and cages with baby quails and rabbits and all kinds of stuff. She’s totally kick-ass, a real hero of mine. But she’s always like, ‘Don’t do it! It’s an all-year, 24/7 job! You’ll never leave your house!”’