A dizzying death a.k.a ending suffering

I didn’t make it to wildlife rescue last week. I came down with a stomach bug and I was also way tired. I missed it, but I needed the break.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost three weeks since I’ve written. It comes in waves, all of a sudden I’ll have the urge and out it comes. Wish it was like this every day – but I cannot force it.

It’s baby crow season around the bay area. They are perching in the pines above my bank, looking inquisitively down at me while I eat lunch (they don’t take “bait” especially the croissant I was enjoying). I think my peers at work think I’m nuts – I’m always looking up and talking to the birds or chatting with the dragon flies in the duck pond. Oh well, it will give them something to talk about other than protocols.

Sigh. Well, I think I might be a little nuts sometimes, too. At least I felt a little weird at wildlife a few weeks back. First…dizzy. Then…curious. Finally…thoughtful.

Some of my buddies at wildlife don’t like to see a dead animal or watch one become euthanized. However, two weeks ago one of the animal care coordinators (Carrie) asked me if I wanted to “help with” a pigeon. I had seen it come in, saw the sideways glance and heard the dire prognosis. But you see, on earth when we euthanize an animal it’s about ending suffering and time is not wasted. I wish we could be quicker with humans, too. I mean, I wonder what are we waiting for with some of these lost souls hooked up to machines, dreaming of their next life. If I was in a terminal state and could talk I would say “let me go so I can see what lies ahead of me!” How exciting!

But I digress.

Jeannie and I held the pigeon’s wing out so that Carrie could administer the drug. She blew the vein, and it took a little longer for the pigeon to die. However, I don’t believe I saw it struggle or suffer – it was dying from severe malnutrition and weighed half what it should. She covered its face, and when it finally died and she saw me look at it longingly, and she covered the rest of its body. I don’t know if she thought I was weird or in shock – really I was just dizzy. When the pigeon’s soul finally left its body I physically felt it take a little of me with it. It was a feeling I had never had before. It was almost a relief, too, because I finally got to witness death.

Maybe that’s why Carrie was wondering about me, but I wanted to “hold on” to the feeling of loss. For the last 15 years or so all of the grieving I needed to do was kept from me in some way, either by myself or by others. But that’s another rumination altogether, and not about wildlife. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to write about the pigeon. But it’s not all about me, I remember. I hope that sweet bird got to see what lies ahead of it.

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