Sunday, November 13, 2005

Playing Nurse

My little Coco is a born nurturer. This morning I let the dogs and the Taz cat out on the deck and a few minutes later I became aware of an air of excitement. Any time the dogs show an air of excitement, I feel compelled to check it out. There are snakes out here, for one thing. For another, I had to herd them away from a red wasp last weekend. He was stolling idly around on the deck, just daring somebody to come check him out. So I figured whatever it was, it was cause for investigation.

What I found was a bird on his side. I first thought it was a cat kill, so my first move was to keep the dogs from eating any of it. Then I realized he was still alive, breathing heavily and unable to move. I scooped up dogs and Taz and shoved them back into the house, pondering what I was going to do next.

He didn't seem to be physically hurt. No ruffled feathers or crippled wings. No blood. My guess was that he had flown into the patio door and had knocked himself out. So I decided to leave him alone and see what happened. I kept watch on him, in case a neighbor cat should come visiting, but otherwise kept my distance.

Coco was in a flurry of concern, wanting me to go with her to help the little guy. She stayed at the patio door, watching him, whining softly every so often. About a half hour later, he had righted himself, but was still sitting there with heaving chest. Another hour and his breathing was more normal, but he was fluffed up and his eyes were closed.

Coco made every trip to the window with me, checking on the patient. Looking at me and looking back, as if asking, "is he going to be ok?". Another hour and he was still sitting there, but opening his eyes wide and turning his head from side to side.

About two hours after the initial sighting, he tested his wings by flying from the deck to the railing, where he sat for another half-hour before flying away. The little sparrow must have had one heck of a hangover, but I'm sure a few more hours sitting in a nearby tree will probably bring him back to full health.

Nothing like good nursing. Her first trip outside afterwards, Coco investigated the area thoroughly and seemed satisfied to find him gone.

She would have been a great mommy. That's no longer possible, but she has a little brother, a big sister, a mommy and a grandmom she watches over faithfully.


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