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Sunday, October 17, 2010

one mean mommy

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I saw the depth of my son's love for animals yesterday.  I got a glimpse of his caring heart, his sensitivity, and his sadness when Mommy wouldn't help a poor, possibly hurt bird.

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We were walking around the neighborhood, selling popcorn, as all good Scouts do during the month of October.  One of the first houses we came across had a large, curving, red staircase out front, in lieu of a regular, flat walkway.  You see, the house was up on a hill.  As we were trudging up all those steps, we came across a small brown bird.  It was just sitting there on the walk, obviously alive, but not moving.  Unlike most birds, this one did not fly away when we approached it.  I quickly pushed Alex past, knowing that the bird was probably injured, but also realizing that there wasn't much we could do for it.

As we continued up the stairs, my son asked me why the bird was just sitting there.  I answered honestly, that it was probably hurt.  This answer, though honest, was harsh to my little boy.  His face fell and he wanted to know why we couldn't help it.  In my head, I was thinking, "Because it is just a bird."  I told him that we would likely have to pay a hefty vet bill if we should seek help for the little bird, and it would likely die anyway.  At that, Alex became very quiet.

Now, if I had been thinking properly, I could have called the local Wildlife Rescue organization and they may have come out to collect the bird.  However, it wasn't my home, the owners were obviously home (though they did not answer their door to buy popcorn-- the turds!), and I didn't want to hang around any longer than necessary.  Nor did I want to call a wildlife group to their doorstep to collect a bird.  However, as Alex lamented the possible death of the bird throughout the rest of the day, I realized I made the wrong decision.

This could have been an opportunity to teach a special kind of kindness to my son, but I let it pass by.  What if it had been a dog or a cat, instead of a bird?  Would I have helped it then?  Yes, more than likely.  But, I still think that one must exercise caution when handling unfamiliar animals.  The last thing I want to do is bring a disease into my home, either by the actual animal or it's germs.  I don't want to put my children in danger for the life of a bird. 

What would you have done?  Would you have made the phone call?  Would you have collected the animal and taken it home to try to save it?  Or, would you have attempted to turn it into a failed lesson about the cycle of life?  That all things must pass away?  What are your thoughts on the matter?


  1. All things must die. Nothing to do in that situation except acknowledge death.

  2. I would have probably done the same thing. I'm not a bird fan. I can see the point you are trying to make, and maybe I would have called someone, or at least looked into it.

  3. I had a similar event happen with a turtle once--someone hit it, and its shell was cracked and bleeding but it was still alive. I scooped him up and took him to the vet, and they put him to sleep-but they didn't charge me. I was lucky, because I *have* done the same thing for a stray cat and they did charge me an arm and a leg. I always forget about wildlife rescue. You probably did the right thing--being in the care of people might have frightened him to death, literally. I think we often look for someone to call to make ourselves feel better about whats happening. at least it gave you a chance to see how much your son cares. I think its very touching.


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