TRYING TO HELP
As soon as we had the doggy guys fed this morning we headed for the pond area where we had seen the Great Horned Owl Sunday morning. Our neighbor came out saying the crows had been harassing the owl & that this was the 4th day she had seen it on the ground at the far end of the pond. She had tried to call the MNR (Ministry of National Resources) but had no luck. Had we known the owl had been on the ground that long we may have tried putting a sheet over it yesterday, bringing it home & finding help for it much sooner.
THIS WAS THE VERY FIRST PHOTO I TOOK OF THE LITTLE OWL SUNDAY MORNING WHEN WE FIRST SPOTTED IT
Walking quickly now & rounding the first corner of the pond I looked to the far end hoping to see the owl but he was not there. Upon approaching a line of pine trees I saw a crumpled pile of feathers on the ground laying motionless in the grass. The owl never moved when we approached & I was sure he was dead. Max walked over & began to sniff the owl & suddenly there was movement as the owl lifted it's head slowly & opened it's big eyes staring at Max. It was alive, but just barely, & it was too weak to move. With the recent knowledge that it had been here 4 days I assumed it was dying of starvation. Our first thought was to try & get some food in him so we raced home & brought back some Tuna. We found out later this is not the right thing to do. I sat down beside him & tried to get a small chunk of Tuna in his/her beak but to no avail. We talked softly to the owl petting him very lightly trying to decide what to do. Just 24 hours before the little fellow didn't want our help, but this morning the little guy needed our help.
We knew we could not leave him there in that condition so I carefully picked him up & carried him home. He didn't try to fight or bite me and he was able to sit quietly in my arms with his eyes open looking ahead. I brought him into the kitchen thinking I could maybe get a little Tuna juice into him with an eye dropper. He tried to eat & at one point put his beak on my finger but didn't have the strength to bite. But, he was still strong enough to at least hold his head up & partially keep his eyes open. There was no movement in his wings, legs, or feet. Meanwhile, Kelly was working feverishly on the computer & phone trying to find out what we should do & where we could take him.
A computer site said to keep the owl calm by putting it in a small box with a blanket & place the box in a quiet dark place. I didn't attempt to feed it anything more because the site also said not to do that. Rounded up a box & carefully placed him in it & put the box in our workshop shed outside. It took Kelly half a dozen phone calls around the Province before she was finally directed to a facility west of London Ontario that could help us. The people at SALTHAVEN Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center asked some questions about the owl's condition over the phone & then said to bring the owl to their facility if we could. Didn't take us long to make the right decision.
Fifteen minutes after the phone call we were on the road headed for the town of Mount Brydges Ontario about an hour & half drive south of our place. I didn't have much hope for the poor little fellow in the box behind my seat because he could hardly move & I fully expected he would die before we got there. Kelly checked him once & got a slight movement but the second time she checked about a half hour later there was no movement. I pulled over to the side of the road & gently reached in the box to lift him up & see if his head drooped. He had felt warm when I carried him from the pond area but now he felt cold. He gave a slight shake so I knew he was still alive & we quickly continued on our mission.
KELLY'S CHECKING TO SEE IF THE LITTLE GUY IS STILL ALIVE ON OUR WAY TO MOUNT BRIDGES
By the time we were west of London we were in unfamiliar territory & Kelly had to haul out a map to navigate us through a series of left & right highway turns before finally making it to the town of Mount Brydges. With the directions SALTHAVEN had given Kelly over the phone we quickly found the facility. Staff came to the van immediately as I set the box on the grass beside the van. They began assessing the poor little guy's condition. It did not look good. They checked for wing damage etc & quickly got a heating pad under him. His eyes were open at times & he moved his head in the direction the help was coming from but for the most part he was barely able to respond. The girls placed him in a carrier taking him inside to begin the process of intravenously getting fluids into him. We had done all we could & it was now in the hands of the animal rescue staff. We gave them some more details on where we had found the owl plus our name, phone number, & email address. It was at this point where they explained about the complex eating & digesting process of owls & how it was important not to try to feed them no matter what. Of course I immediately felt bad for trying to get the little guy to eat some Tuna.
We left the rescue center & decided to take a different way home. We were both feeling a bit stressed & in need of a coffee. Decided to head west on highway 402 & then north up through the little town of Forest where we knew a Tim Horton's existed. This is the same Tim Horton's that we always first stop at upon returning from the American Southwest every spring. While motoring through the town of Forest, Kelly spotted a Chrysler/Jeep dealer so we popped in but they didn't have any used Bayfield Bunch Wranglers on the lot for us. We were back in Bayfield by 1:30 & stopped at Deer Park Lodge to see if Kelly had missed anything by not being there this morning. Fortunately everything was fine & we were home a few minutes later.
My Uncle Harry's health is deteriorating rapidly & an email was waiting for us from his good friend Grace with some grave concerns. Kelly was again immediately on the phone & in touch with Harry's care personnel people with inquiries, instructions, & changes. We feel we quickly have to get him to a nursing home facility for additional care. That whole process was started about a month ago but now we are thinking time is of the essence.
All & all, despite the sadness & concern over the Great Horned Owl, this was a good day. No time for my idle mind to grumble about itself. We were in a position to be of help to an animal in distress & it was just great going somewhere & doing something together just like when we are traveling. We motored down some new roads, saw some new towns, & briefly met a small group of volunteer people dedicated to the love & care of injured animals.
Late this afternoon we received the following email from Salthaven.......
Hi Kelly & Al
Unfortunately this little guy died just a few short hours after you got him to us.
Thank you for taking the time to care.
Brian C. Salt
Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation
Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Centre Inc.
P.O. Box 601 Mount Brydges ON. Canada, N0L 1W0
See how you can help: www.salthaven.org
B/N 85386 3546 RR0001
Out of respect for our little owl there will be no groaner's corner tonight.
Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
"UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED"
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