A Helping Hand

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Pictured Above: Fred, A Sugar Glider From a Past Clinic

“I have no fear of losing my life—if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.” -Steve Irwin, Wildlife Conservationist

I grew up watching Irwin as a kid and was fascinated by his devotion to the wildlife around him. His desire to help never faltered despite the situation presented. Sure, there were moments where he was fearful, but his driven passion helped override his apprehension.

I knew animal medicine and rehabilitation was the route I wanted to take when I found my Eastern box turtle, Eartle. A little over the size of a quarter, he was dropped by a bird and suffered a hairline cracked shell. After movement made a slight improvement within a few weeks, I looked at the percentages of survival with young box turtles: mortality rate rests among 95%.  I took one look at the little guy and how hard he was struggling to eat his cucumber slice and knew he was going to be my long-term companion.

More recently, I was walking outside my complex when I noticed a female sparrow convulsing. Her leg was awkwardly bent inward, forcing the bird to drag herself when trying to move. There was no hesitation. I asked my boyfriend to go inside and grab the softest kitchen towels I had. With a scooping motion, I picked up the sparrow and brought her inside to be placed on a heating pad. She laid there, allowing me to stroke her head with her shaking decreasing. Together, my boyfriend and I pondered what to call her, but I knew eventually she would be released. To avoid getting attached, he suggested we just call her Bird. I reminded him she was indeed a lady.

Miss Bird it was.

Over the weekend she remained on low heat, as well as was transferred to a larger enclosure. Around two days after finding her, with a belly full of sunflower seeds, Miss Bird flew on home.

There was no tangible reward for helping that sweet bird, as there isn’t for helping most wildlife. What you do receive, however, is what I felt that day—a deep and joyous satisfaction knowing she was pruning in a tree somewhere, spending the night with her own kind versus lying on the harsh cement.

I guess you could say stories like Eartle and Miss Bird are what my blog is about. I’ve never been one to walk away from an animal in need, and I hope that by documenting my path at least one more person will realize the importance and beauty of the creatures around us.

There’s a lot out there to learn, and I know I am just at the beginning of my journey. What I can be confident about, though, is it only takes a little compassion to get started.

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