Friday, August 30, 2013

30 August 2013: Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished

Injured American kestrel 
I make a point not to indulge in much personal commentary on this blog, but today i'm making an exception. This morning my dog discovered this kestrel sitting in the dirt at the corner of Glenwood and Farwell.  I could tell that something was wrong when the bird did not react to the dog, which was only a couple of feet away from it and straining at the leash.  I moved the dog away from the bird, took her around the corner to do her business, and then checked on the way back to see if the bird was still there. I would have liked to have been able to stay with the kestrel until i could get help for it, but since i needed to leave for work immediately, i did what i thought was the next best thing: i looked up the number for a local wildlife rescue center, and called and left a voicemail explaining where the bird was. Then, on my way out, i stopped by the construction site directly across the street from the bird and explained the situation to one of the guys working there, so that when the rehabbers arrived they'd know where to find the bird. 

A few hours later i got a phone call from the wildlife center. It turns out that one of the workers from the construction site had voluntarily taken the kestrel to another facility that he was familiar with, so when the people from the place i called arrived (about three hours after my call), the bird was no longer there. I was then treated to a proper scolding on the phone for all of the following transgressions:
  • making them waste precious time driving there only to find that the bird was gone;
  • not getting the phone number of the person on the construction job that i spoke to (why i would have done that, i have no idea, since i spoke to him only as a precaution in case the rescuers had trouble finding the bird);
  • letting the bird go to a facility that might not have a licensed animal rehabber on the staff. 

Bear in mind that i had no idea that any of this had happened. And to be perfectly honest, if i'd been there and someone offered to take the bird to a facility he knew of, i probably would have thanked him profusely and then called to let the other center know that the situation was being taken care of. But, i repeat, i wasn't even there. 

I hesitated to write this account because i have great respect for people who dedicate their time and energy to saving injured wildlife. And obviously, i love wild creatures too or i wouldn't have gone to the trouble of trying to help the bird. I realize that interpersonal skills are not necessarily a job requirement for working with wild animals, but still, it would benefit everyone if the public felt welcome to seek the help of these trained professionals and dedicated volunteers when situations like this arise. It was frustrating and hurtful to be made to feel like i had done a terrible thing when all i was trying to do was help an injured animal in the only way that i could under the circumstances. And it pissed me off. So much so that i thanked the woman on the phone for making me feel like crap for doing what i thought was a good deed, and i apologized as insincerely as i could for any inconvenience i had caused her. She then half-heartedly apologized, but the damage was done. I don't know what i would do if something like this were to happen again, but i'd be very reluctant to call there for fear that i would be subjected to another reprimand. 

If anyone from that particular facility--or any other wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center--should chance to read this blog, know that i appreciate the good work you do and wish you continued success in treating the beautiful wild creatures that need our help; but please, please take a few minutes to think about how you might better deal with people who, like myself, may not be experienced in treating wild animals but who know enough and care enough to call you for help. 

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