The car suddenly pulled up in front of the open doors. We all looked up, surprised. I could see the woman in the front passenger seat was holding the head of a Canada goose. I immediately noticed its shiny black eyes, but there was something behind them that troubled me. We all jumped into action, Janey getting a large cage out of one of the back rooms, someone else getting a towel. We opened the car door and the woman got out, keeping a tight hold of the bird, which was wrapped partly with a towel and partly with her denim jacket. She explained that they had found the bird at the reservoir where they had just spent the day, and something was very wrong with its foot. I dashed out to my car to retrieve my emergency kit, while Donna found a syringe and tube to get some hydration into this bird. As I held its beak open and Donna put the tube down its throat, its shiny black eyes seem to be pleading, or maybe it was the look of one who had just given up.
After we finished, we looked at his leg and found a horrific wound. The leg was swollen three times its normal size and then we saw why. There was fishing line wrapped around it so tightly that it had almost severed the poor bird’s foot from the leg. The foot was useless and dangling. It must have taken weeks to get that bad, and the bird must have been in excruciating pain.
Janey immediately called Dr. Susan Klopfer, one of the wonderful vets who works with our organization, hoping she hadn’t already closed for the day, as it was after 5:00. Luckily she was still there and said to bring him right over. Janey and I carried the large cage, with the goose inside, out to her Suburban, and took off. Thankfully, the vet was just around the corner only about two minutes away, and they were waiting for us with the doors open. Janey and I carried the cage in, and Dr. Susan waved us to follow her back into the surgery area.
She got the goose out of the cage and put it on the table with the help of one of her assistants. She took one look at the leg and said there was no hope for this beautiful bird. As I got a small towel to cover the bird’s eyes so it wouldn’t be quite so terrified, she retrieved a syringe with filled with pink liquid, found a very large vein under the bird’s wing, and gently put it out of its suffering.
I cried for this senseless and preventable death. Just because someone was too lazy, or too unthinking, to take their used fishing line when they were finished fishing, this beautiful bird died. Unfortunately, this is only too common. I would like to believe that, if these people knew their neglect was killing wildlife, they would be more careful and dispose of their old fishing line and hooks. I would hope that this bird didn’t die in vain, that someone will read his story and remember it next time they’re fishing. It’s such an easy thing to do.
I will not soon forget those pleading black eyes.
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3 years ago