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14 July 2010 @ 07:53 pm
The runaround  
Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ri— "This is the veterinary clinic." I need to know what to do. "We don't take wildlife; you'll need to call this number."

The bird is trying to stand and can't. It's listing. Its head is twisted oddly.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. "Please leave a message." Message left.

Ring. Ring. What would you do with an injured bird, friend? Brief discussion. Go to the emergency vet? Do they take wildlife? Even if they'll only euthanize, I just don't want the bird to suffer, but what I need are instructions from someone, somewhere. Voicemail message beep, with never any incoming call notice.

"Call Deb X at this number or Ally Y at this number for help and what to do."

It's still trying to stand. Should I put it in a towel-lined box or something? Birdseed, water?

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. "You have reached the random wildlife center. We're not open. Our hours are seven to four." It's evening. "We do this, that, and the other. We can do this but not this. Don't come here without an appointment. Don't try to find us without an appointment. You're not allowed to do this other thing with wildlife. It's baby bird season from month blee to month bloo." This one's an adult. "Measure the tail to tell the age. Baby bird this baby bird that baby bird the other, do this don't do that baby bird. Do not give Brand X food, Brand Y food, Brand Z food, foo food, bar food, baz food, yak food, llama food, or this other food. The only food you can give, if you absolutely have to, is mashed berry by tweezer. Do not give water. Baby birds can aspirate water. Predators might try to eat baby birds, so do not attempt to restore baby birds to their nest even if the parents are around. Follow our instructions instead. You can call us when we're open. We won't return calls until then. Baby bird blah —"

Movements are weaker.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. "You have reached the other random wildlife center. We're currently closed. Our hours are ten to two. If you need immediate assistance, call Tufts Something-or-other at this number. You can leave us a message, but we won't call you back until tomorrow."

Very weak.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. "You have reached the Tufts wildlife whatever. We are currently closed." Apparently wildlife never get injured off-hours. "If you have a pet or own an animal in distress, call our other department. We cannot do something-or-other. Do not drop off wildlife. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call that same small-pet number we mentioned before. If you want to blah blah —

Full-body stiffening.

Ring. Ring. Ring. "You have reached Tufts emergency whatever. If you have a large animal, press one to speak to blah blah. If you have a small pet in distress, bring it in. We're located at blah blah blah." Slight twitching. Do you even take wildlife, even if it's off-hours? Who the hell gives instructions on what the hell to do? "There is an automatic $150 fee to see any pet. For directions to our facility, press two." Slightly more movement. "To discuss billing and repayment options, press three. If you need to speak to someone, press zero to —

"Operator. Well, you could bring it in. How far away are you? Oh, yes, that's about an hour away. Oh, it's stopped moving and isn't breathing anymore? Well, we don't take deceased animals." As if I couldn't figure that out.
Okay, I'm pissed off here. I had to place six calls and deal with five voicemail systems, wasting how much damn time, when all I needed to know was if there was anything humane I could do for an animal in distress. Did it never occur to any of these people to front-load the off-hours contact info, or instructions for non-baby birds? Did it never occur to anyone that time might fucking matter? Do they think people really want to stand around watching an animal slowly asphyxiate (I'm presuming) while they can do absolutely goddamn nothing but listen to one completely useless recorded message after another while crying over their own futility?

Wildlife rescue my ass.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
Current Mood: angryangry
Sophia: TDS: Stewart: hmm...no.sophia_sol on July 15th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
*hugs* That's terrible. I'm so sorry that you and the bird had to go through that.

Did you at least manage to find someone willing to tell you what would be the best strategy in a similar situation in the future?
michelel72: DW-Hugsmichelel72 on July 15th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Thanks. And no. I think I'll need to do some web research or call Chatty Cathy the baby bird obsessor (between 10:45am and 1:13pm, first three days of the week, or some damn thing), and it may easily be that there's nothing I could have done, but I'd seriously rather know a quick and painless way to end its suffering than have to watch like that again. Dammit.

But seriously, thank you.
Frith: Hotch+Jack - hugfrith_in_thorns on July 15th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
Oh no. That's just so useless.

We had that sort of situation once - a long-tail tit smashed itself into a window of our house but was still alive. We have a friend who is a vet and he told us there was really nothing we could do other than keep it warm and quiet, and hope, because it was already in shock (apparently birds go into shock very easily). Poor thing did die pretty soon :(
michelel72: DW-Hugsmichelel72 on July 17th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, my suspicion is that this one hit the window; the nearest one has no screen right now, because of the air conditioner. I doubted there was much I could do (though I hoped, so badly), but I just so very much hated not being able to do anything.

Thank you.
Daughter of Sweetness and Lightlucretia_borgia on July 15th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)
My thought process would involve the type of bird I was looking at. A large unusual bird, I'd call Audubon, followed by Boston Animal Control, followed by the Boston Police. A small common bird (sparrow, finch, pigeon) or baby bird, I'd probably euthanize it myself. Not sure about a middle case (cardinal, for instance), but I'd likely go on the side of euthanizing it. Degree of suffering plays into that, and the awareness that my handling the bird is probably increasing its stress and suffering would also play into my thoughts. If I didn't choose to euthanize it but could not get help for it, I would most likely tuck it into some dark place under a bush or whatever, so it could die in solitude.

At the same time, I suspect that while getting *help* for the animal was probably impossible, euthanizing it may be illegal. I'd ask for a jury trial.
michelel72: General-Pets-AnimalRescuePawsmichelel72 on July 17th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, this was an average bird, probably between a sparrow and cardinal in size, soft black in color, adult or nearly so. I just didn't know at all; if I knew for sure there was no chance of recovery, I would have preferred to euthanize, but I was sure I'd botch it if I tried since I had no idea how to do that (quickly, safely, painlessly) either ... and I'd be terrified that I'd have judged wrongly and killed a bird that could have recovered ... and I couldn't tell if it was legally a "migratory songbird", the killing of which even accidentally is in fact a federal crime (and yes, even that thought was in my head at the time).

In the event, I stayed near as I made calls, trying not to freak it out by getting too close, and it died in front of me, so it presumably was a hopeless case and I probably did the best thing possible by doing nothing (lacking the skill and judgment to euthanize myself). But still ... not something I wanted to deal with at any rate.

Regardless, thank you.
Amy- ninja extraordinaire, bad monkey: KP Wibbleninjamonkey73 on July 15th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Dude. So not cool. I like to think that I'd do the same as Lucretia and call Audubon or euthanize it myself. The how is the sticky part. I'm sorry you couldn't find anyone for at least moral support. Wild animals should know that office hours end at 4pm. :(
michelel72: Cat-Daisy-Glaremichelel72 on July 17th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, I would like to have known how to euthanize quickly/safely/painlessly/decisively, and how to be sure that was the only humane option, and how to be sure whether I was dealing with a "migratory songbird" since even accidental killing of those is a federal crime ... blah.

But yeah, the whole restricted office hours things bugs. Tell me up front how to contact a real person if I'm dealing with an emergent situation! Bah.
E.T. Davidoffvettecat on July 15th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
That's so awful! I'm sorry you couldn't find anyone to help... wish I had something useful to suggest.
michelel72: General-Pets-AnimalRescuePawsmichelel72 on July 17th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
I do appreciate it. Thank you.