Nugget and Heart

We had an eventful week last week filled with some emotional ups and downs. With my semester coming to a close, I had anticipated spending most of my time in front of the computer taking tests. The last thing I expected to do was rescue animals, but that is what happened, much to my children’s delight.

It started last Wednesday right after we had some storms come through. I noticed my lab, Hershey, had picked up something, moved it a few feet away, then started nudging it with his nose. I thought it would be a frog since there are usually several in my yard at any given time. However, I was shocked when I saw what looked like a feathered wing.

I called for my son to get a couple of plastic sacks and, using them like a glove, picked up this tiny little bird. It couldn’t fly and could barely keep itself upright. I knew right away it had been knocked out of its nest too early.

I really had no idea what to do with it. If I tried putting it back somewhere in my back yard, my dogs probably would have discovered it again. But if I put it in the front, I knew it would be found by one of the neighborhood cats. So, I left it in a container on a table outside with some paper towels, hoping it would dry off then possibly fly away.

We checked on it regularly. Over the course of a few hours it had gotten better. It was dry, more alert, and would move its wings. But it still couldn’t fly or even hop around. My daughter decided she would try to do what was needed to help it until it was able to fly.

She named it Nugget and was extremely attentive to it. She delighted when it would make little chirping noises and flap its wings. We were hoping it would only take a day or two for it to fly.

Unfortunately, it didn’t make it through the night. We went over everything thing that it went through: Falling from a tree, being played with like a toy by our dog, the injuries it might have had, what we might have done, trying to pinpoint what actually happened to it. But, after a lot of tears, I told her to think about all it did go through and kept on going.

Three days later with two exams due in less than 48 hours, I was taking a break from studying and went outside to enjoy some warm weather and fresh air. My neighbor was standing next to my fence pointing towards the back of my yard. Even though my whole back yard has a fence around it, secure enough to keep in a lab and a chihuahua, a small dog was able to make in inside.

He was very timid and scared of my other dogs. I could only imagine what he went through before making it into my yard and me finding him.

My son secured our dogs so I could try to coax him out, but he wasn’t having it. He was perfectly content staying in the little corner of my yard.

I posted some pictures and tried to contact neighbors I thought he might belong to, but no one claimed him.

Since he was scared of our dogs, we kept them separate, which was a bit of a challenge. That also meant we weren’t able to keep him until we could find the owners. But with no collar or tags, it’s was possible he was a stray. We called the pound, but since it was the weekend they waited until the next morning to pick him up.

During the afternoon and evening he became increasingly sweeter and more open to attention. When I would try to walk him, we would spend the entire time with his paws on my leg wanting petted. My daughter named him Heart because of the heart shaped spot in the top of his head.

I really wanted to keep him, and had decided that if no one claimed him after a week or two I would go back for him and work with him to get familiar with our dogs. We called a couple of times and found out someone did take him. It was a bitter-sweet feeling knowing he was out of the pound. I can just hope the people who took him will give him the love and patience he needs.

The absolute last day I had for tests with the one I had been dreading ahead of me, I was ready to get it done and over with it and start my summer break. But not before taking care of one more animal.

I heard my dogs barking and birds chirping with alarm. Going to the back to see what was going on, there was yet another bird that my dogs had found.

Calling on my son, which by now he knew what to do, he brought me some plastic sacks and helped keep the dogs away.

This one was a bit older and was just learning to fly. Which was bad for it landing in my yard because it was more attractive to my dogs. But since this one was learning and its parents where close by, I was able to put it in the front yard with little worry it would be found by a cat.

It was an extremely crazy few days. Other than a baby opossum that was in our yard a few years ago that had be cornered by our dogs, which my husband was able to move to where he believed the nest was, the birds and the dog were the only other animals we’ve rescued. As rare as it is to have to rescue any animal from my yard, it was kind of shocking to have so many in just a few days.

I’m real proud of my kids. They both stepped up and took on the responsibilities that came with caring for these animals. They’ve even become more aware of even the little animals around our house and are both wanting to start volunteering at our local dog shelter. I’m happy for the experiences, but am also hoping rescuing animals in my yard doesn’t become regular event.