Last Friday evening my daughter and I decided to take Chewie (our dachsund) to a park that S remembered from her early day care days years ago. She directed me to a park I never heard of called Peanut Park, and we got out with Chewie on his leash. Just as I was getting a blanket out of my trunk, Chewie ran forward in the grass and sniffed at a little black object, which Sierra kept Chewie from until she could discover that it was a bird. A live bird. Obviously a fuzzy baby bird who should still be in a nest.
We poked at it for awhile with a stick to see if it showed signs of injury, and it would open its mouth really wide and squawk at us. I got it to walk a step or two, and it didn't look injured, just hungry. I knew that she was worried about the bird because she couldn't play in the sand without looking over at the spot under the pine tree where she knew the bird was. Every time a person walked their dog down the street near the bird's hiding spot in the grass, she'd run over and protect it by standing between it and the dog. So cute.
The entire evening I knew what was coming: "Mom, we can't just LEAVE IT OUT HERE TO DIE!"
I tried without much success to discuss the circle of life, and how nature is sometimes cruel...and I knew without a doubt that I didn't want that bird to come home with us and DIE ON MY SHIFT. I also didn't have the heart to drive away and let her worry about cats feasting on her bird. So when it was time to leave and pick up J from work, we took a winter scarf from my trunk and picked up the tiny bird, and we decided to make it a nest in a box and leave it at the veterinary hospital next door to J's work. S got a box from J's work and filled it with a huge wad of paper towels while I stood outside my car (away from Chewie's curious mouth) holding the bird in the scarf.
So she got a piece of paper after creating the nest and placing the bird inside it, and wrote this note, complete with my phone number and "thank you!!" at the end (which I cropped out):
We drove with J to the vet hospital, and S placed her box carefully on the doorstep. We closed it to protect it from cats again, but there was a small hole at the top just above the bird so it had enough air. She had such a hard time walking away, and she watched the box until it was out of sight as I drove around the corner.
The next day, I drove by the vet's office at 9 a.m. after taking J to work again, and the box was no longer on the step. I reported this to S, who proceeded to ask me about twenty times over the course of that day and Sunday if the vet had called me yet. They hadn't. I told her I bet they are taking good care of it for her.
Meanwhile, I think I may have lost a scarf. But bird lovers don't care about such things.