When Wildlife Rescue goes right! 3 baby Tawny Frogmouths at a care-giver's house cuddling up to a feather duster.
2014 was a difficult year for me personally. More than once I’ve found myself wondering why I put myself out there for animal rescue work. Some cases just break your heart, particularly if they’re due to something as fundamentally wrong as a human intentionally inflicting pain. I saw things last year that make it hard for me to sleep at night. There’s a reason I do what I do though, and I have to admit that coming home to my own pets and their antics gives me the motivation to get up each day.
That brings me to my New Year’s Resolutions. I want to find the positive in 2015. Like most people I’m fairly hopeless and tend to break resolutions within the first month of the year. The main problem seems to be that they’re just too unrealistic and hard to keep. We’re little more than a week into the year, and my resolution to not fall off any more ladders has already been broken. There was a possum rescue related injury that motivated this one. Luckily, apart from my knee I seem to bounce.
I have made one resolution that I think might make 2015 a memorable year for the right reasons, and it’s one that I’m sure other people might like to copy. I’ve found a use for the gift that my brother gave me at Christmas, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I tell the Christmas story, I'm going to give you a little background. I promise that all the details will come together in the end.
My brother and I don’t have much in common, but we’ve managed not to kill each other yet. He also moved house last year. While cleaning his house before he left, he somehow mixed up his rubbish bins. Recyclables were put in the garden waste bin, and the garbage collectors refused to take the bins. He telephoned me from the interstate telling me he’d gone on a holiday and couldn’t get back to fix it before his agent handed the keys to the new home owner. Could I go over and do it? Mentally calling my brother a few names, I did.
Do you know what happens to a carton of pineapple juice if it is left in a warm rubbish bin in the sun for a few weeks? It isn’t pretty. All I had to do was lightly touch the carton, and it exploded all over me. The smell was something awful! However, the experience really improved my relationship with my brother because he found that particular incident highly amusing.
How is this relevant to birds? Well think of the times you’ve had someone visit your house, and they’ve done something to annoy you. How do your birds treat that person? Birds have an amazing ability to pick up on the subtlest emotions of their favorite humans. It goes without saying that my brother, who already dislikes birds, is automatically in trouble when he visits.
Insert a Christmas family gathering into my situation. Picture the expression on my face as I opened the following gift from my brother: a hard-covered notebook covered in pictures of pineapples. The sight of a pineapple is enough to make me nauseous. So, while it was an amusing gift, I can well imagine that my facial expression showed some sign of the memory the gift brought up.
I actually do like it, I’m just not that fond of pineapples anymore!
Before I could even react to the gift, my birds responded accordingly. The next thing I knew Fid, my blue and gold macaw, was pelting my brother with walnut shells. (Note: he won’t share the nut.) My brother was less than pleased and said something suitably nasty to Fid. Fid promptly roared, “SHUTUP!” This made all of the other guests laugh and say, “Yeah, shutup!” to my brother pretty much anytime he spoke during the day. I almost felt sorry for him.
If I’m honest, I have to admit that bouncing sharp bits of broken walnut shell off my brother’s bald head looked like a lot fun. My brother turns a particular, pretty shade of purple when he’s annoyed. One of the downsides of becoming an adult is that this kind of behavior is no longer excusable. I know better. Unfortunately for my brother, I just happen to keep a range of pets who don’t.
That brings me to my New Year’s Resolution. I’m going to use that pineapple notebook weekly to record an example of something that my animals have done to make me laugh. My first entry is obviously a description of walnut shells bouncing off my brother’s scalp.
My pets make me laugh daily. So by the end of the year I should have a book that will make me smile no matter how horrible my day has been. I’m thinking weekly is more realistic and achievable than daily; therefore, this is one resolution I’m hoping to keep! A book like this should be something I can treasure long after my pets are gone.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Tell us in the comment section below.
Mel Vincent works as an animal rehabilitator out of Australia.