Empathy wins again.

Well, it happened again. For some reason stranded/wounded animals are drawn to me like a magnet. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Long story short, this poor gosling was found severally wounded. It’s leg (which you can see there) is almost assuredly broken. It was bloody and unable to walk. IMG_3775 IMG_3777This baby’s family was desperate to keep it safe. The flock (a handful of adults and several babies) would cross the street to a nearby pond and when they realized that this one couldn’t follow, they would stand in the middle of the road honking…practically yelling at it to come with them. The whole flock would then turn around and head back to the injured bird. They were fiercely protective. Well we all know how this story would have ended. The bird would have either starved, drowned or been eaten. That and the flock was in high risk of more injuries crossing the road so many times. Another concerned animal-lover helped fend off the geese, while I gently tossed a towel over this baby and placed her in my car. Then over to the Audubon Society in NW Portland we went. While they cannot guarantee that they will release him/her back to it’s original location, their goal is always rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. They get hundreds of injured goslings a year. They group similar aged geese together, and over time they bond and create their own flock. Then they are released back into the wild with their new posse. Sounds a whole heck of a lot better then a slow painful death.

What is it with my intense empathy for animals? A couple months ago, Portland had this bizarre heat wave. Two very large and very hot looking dogs were spotted wandered around my church, where I work. A man told me they were following him around and narrowly escaped death-by-car a couple of times. My first reaction was, “Oh I’m sure they live right around here.” In my head, “Those are some huge and scary looking dogs.” The guy insisted they were really nice but didn’t want them to keep following him into the busy street. He also pointed out that the one very big and very furry black dog was struggling in the heat. Well there we had it. I was suddenly hooked and immensely worried for these pups.

So I gave them some water and called the local shelter. There are so many strays on the streets that shelters can’t pick them up unless they are aggressive (a danger to others). They just don’t have the resources. In the meantime the pups had begun wandering back into the busy street. So what do I do? I opened up the back door of my Ford Escort sedan and hollered, “Come on guys! Up! Come on! Get in!” And up/in they went. They were so huge that my car visibly sagged when they jumped in.  IMG_2774 IMG_2773So here I am suddenly with two hot, slobbery, huge dogs in my car, heading towards a dog shelter. I was so worried about dropping them off. I’ve heard horror stories about animals being mistreated in places like that. But the moment I got there, they assured me the boys would be kept as close to each other as possible (as it was obvious they were “siblings” at this point), and that if someone out there loved these dogs, they would check the local shelters and they would be going home.

The next day I got a call from the animal shelter, letting me know the owner had picked up her boys and wanted to speak with me. She was overjoyed! Her dogs had never left their backyard until that day. Huckleberry and Shadow just decided that it was the day they were going to dig out of the backyard and as it turns out, travel 20 blocks away from home. I was so thankful their momma found them. I can’t imagine losing Gideon. The shelter posted a description of the dogs on their website the same day, which the owners happened to see when looking for the shelter info online. So they knew they babies were ok!

I felt that God had opened up an opportunity for me to care for those pups and in turn to help out their owners. I went with my gut (AKA God saying, “Just throw them in your car!’) and it worked out. I’m so blessed to helped their little family. I know they were thankful too. Look what she dropped off at my work a few weeks later.



3 thoughts on “Empathy wins again.

  1. Alright, the doggie story totally made me cry. Honeydew escaped once and I was in an absolute panic for almost a half hour before we found her at a neighbor’s house. I absolutely understand how those pups’ owner must have felt!

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