It’s too easy to poke fun at this illogical stream of thought here; though I’m fairly certain that Rivera enjoys making Caroline a hypocrite. I think that Rivera means to provide some contextual drama to surround the basic plot of the story. In other words, it is not just a simple adventure. In the midst of a search to track down a dangerous chemical before it can affect additional animals (or humans), mundane events of life still occur and affect (positively or negatively) the mission.
It’s like police shows on TV and movies. In the early days of TV, cop shows were just cops solving crime. Nowadays, every cop or detective has a roomful of personal baggage and conflicts that have to be managed in between investigating crimes and cuffing the criminals. The old Mark Trail was just a guy solving problems and coming home to a superficial environment for a day before going out on a new quest. So, the new Mark Trail is a messier world with interruptions and detours.