Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Adoption Story

As I have written before, I drive once a week for Wildlife Rehab and Release, a volunteer organization that rescues injured or orphaned local wild animals. Tuesday evenings is my day, and I had to drive a fledgling robin (adorable!), a couple of sparrows (one shouted from inside his box the entire trip) and some mallard ducklings. The place that took the ducklings had a pen with an assortment of chickens in it – I don’t know if they were rescued chickens or just acquired at random, but there were about six, no two the same breed. There was a magnificent red rooster that was the very image of a painting of a rooster I bought – in Thailand! I have also mentioned before that I like chickens, right? And that I had a quilt made of chicken-themed fabric collected over about two years? And that I’m running a contest to give away the leftover fabric, about two pounds of it? Tell me in twenty-five words or less why you think you should be the happy recipient of the fabric. Contest ends July 31. Contact me through my web site: Monica-Ferris.com.

The ducklings are orphans and at the home I took them to, there is a mallard female who will adopt them. She is herself a rescue, came in injured, starving, and confused early this spring. She had to be force-fed, as she was so far down the road to death she had stopped eating. About the time she began to realize her life wasn’t over after all, another mallard with four ducklings was brought in, so severely injured (struck by a car) she had to be euthanized. One of the ducklings was injured and died. In the rescue room at the Humane Society, Laura heard the desperate cheeping of the newly-orphaned ducklings, and saw the sad, confused mallard and put them together in a bigger cage. The adult pecked half-heartedly at one of the ducklings but then left them alone. They, on the other hand, crowded around her. When Laura came in the next day, one was perched on her back and the other two were under her wings. The mallard now has fifteen (FIFTEEN!) adopted ducklings of various ages. She cares for them all, and they cluster around her when she calls. I brought her three more Tuesday evening. This is not something that would happen in the wild; free adults don’t expend energy on any but their own offspring. Is she still confused, living in a strange new world whose rules she cannot understand? Or is she just big-hearted? Whichever, when the ducklings become ducks, they and their adoptive mother will be set free. And we are grateful. And charmed.

I failed to post last week because my computer and I were in Ft. Myers, Florida, in a "gated community" that has free wireless connections. But when I told my computer to listen for the connection, it muttered the computer equivalent of "I don’t hear nothin’" and so I missed my chance. I had taken my mother to Florida to live with my sister Dolores and her daughter Reggie. Mom is confined to a wheelchair nowadays and is not always firmly in touch with reality, so I was expecting a nightmare journey. Instead, it went very smoothly. The airlines are all up to speed on this sort of passenger, and handled Mom with efficient kindness. The only minor glitch came when we were deplaning in Ft. Myers and the wheeled chair they took her off the plane on was a little low and she could not rise out of it. A wonderful and powerful man bent over her and told her to put her arms around his neck. She did, and he straightened, lifting her easily. "Now, don’t go blowing in my ear," he teased, to her delight. Mom will be 90 in November.

9 comments:

Camille Minichino said...

We missed you, Monica! We're glad it something as simple as a Dead Zone that kept you from us.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Aha. So angels also ride airplanes. Glad the journey went smoothly.

Monica Ferris said...

A teenage boy, 15, lives in the house, and has teenage boy friends. One, naturally, is a computer geek. He did all kinds of things to my computer (it has several new programs I don't know the function of) but with no success getting me online. Couldn't do dial-up, either, as they have gone over entirely to cell phones.

And yes, angels work for airlines -- good to know!

quitecontrary1977 said...

i'd love to sew some kitchen goodies with that left over fabric, you're talking about! i love chickens, too! and goats..but that's another story!
glad you're safe!

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm glad to hear you are okay as I was concerned when there was no post from you last week. It is good to hear your flight went smoothly. These days with the lack of service who knows?

How kind hearted you are to help rescue birds and ducks and chickens.

I had a pet chicken when I was a kid. I surprised my mother with. She took it pretty well. I should add we lived in an apartment in Chicag. Not exactly a dream spot for a chicken to grow up. When it started to get too big to keep in our apartment, we took it to a farm in Indiana where I like to think it lived happily ever after.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Such a sweet and touching story about the ducklings, Monica. Animals don't always act in ways we anticipate. There are usually ducks, herons and even sea gulls around our waterfront property in Maryland--and there's also been a single swan with a broken wing. He was unable to leave when his flock moved on, and has become friends with the other water birds in the area.
Glad to hear you're okay!
--Linda

zhadi said...

Monica, is Wild Life rehab in San Raphael or am I thinking of Wild Care? Either way, good on you for doing what you do! I've taken several sick sea birds off of Ocean Beach up to the place in San Raphael and places like that can't run without volunteers...

Monica Ferris said...

Zahdi, WRR is in Minnesota, actually. But these organizations are all over. Volunteers are amazing, they really put themselves out! My role is minor, really, compared to some, whose homes are full all spring and summer with ungrateful wildlife yearning to run free. Or at least they work to get them so.

Disney Mummy said...

I missed reading your entry last week, but the comment about blowing in the ear, made me giggle.