How do you rescue a wild coyote trapped in an elevator in a downtown Seattle office building? How do you save an injured baby seal at the bottom of a cliff with the tide coming in? Fourteen-year-old Shannon Young, visiting from New Jersey, is about to find out.
Shannon's parents, both doctors, are working in refugee camps overseas while she and her little brother, Cody, are spending the summer in Seattle with their mysterious uncle Neal. To their surprise, Uncle Neal drives an ambulance for Jackie's Wild Seattle, an animal rescue center. Shannon and Cody join their uncle and his partner, a border collie, for nine weeks of breathless, sometimes reckless, often hilarious adventure chasing after whatever wild critters need help. When Uncle Neal is injured by a red-tailed hawk, Shannnon summons her courage and becomes the one who rescues the animals.
Jackie, who runs the center, believes in the "circle of healing," and in Shannon's circle everyone is in need of healing. Traumatized by the events of September 11, Cody is sure disaster is about to strike. Shannon wants to believe in Tyler, a teenage working off his court-appointed time at the wildlife center, but Uncle Neal thinks he's a ticking time bomb. Meanwhile, Neal is keeping secrets of his own.
Beneath the excitement, there's always an undertow of danger. Everything is uncertain, and home is so very far away.