Monday, March 30, 2009

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 03/30/2009

I want to write a bit of an editorial today.  Several times in the past week my attention has been drawn to incidents having to do with rehabbers’ interaction with the public.  

Without going into detail, one incident involved my dear family members out of state.  They found three baby Carolina wrens in the yard after a wind storm.  Finding the babies naked and helpless, they did what any compassionate people would do….asked for advice and made every effort to help which included warmth, some appropriate food, and an hour trip to a facility to leave the babies in good hands.  All of this would have been fine if the proprietors of the facility hadn’t berated them for their “premature” attempts to help.  Here are caring people who were following good advice only to be shot down for their efforts.  I take offense at that.  Instead of rewarding compassion, the take away for less caring people would be to turn away the next time they saw something needing help for fear of falling under the ax.  Shameful!

A second incident took place within our own fold.  A person who has brought in wildlife before because her cat had mauled them was berated by a volunteer for letting the cat go outside.  Bad form on our part…..despite the fact that unattended cats and dogs are unable to help themselves and will bring in wildlife…..the person does deserve credit for trying to help negate the impact of the transgressions of the cat.  

In both instances, gentle education is a better tactic.  In the first case, the lesson could have been a gentle accounting of what, in their opinion, “to do if you found a baby bird”….. for any future encounters.  

In the second case, an explanation whose message was twofold might have gone a lot farther to solve the problem.  Domestic dogs and cats are responsible for a huge number of wildlife deaths.  At this time of year a dead adult brought in by kitty probably means that there is a nest of orphans destined to starve to death, freeze or cook from elemental extremes.  And, dogs and cats who live in doors except when attended by owners have proven to live longer, healthier lives.  Keeping pets inside is best for all concerned.

The bottom line is to reward compassion no matter what…..the teaching of lessons will follow if the heart is open… will never happen if the feelings have shut down.

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