Please meet Errol. Go on, say hello!
Growing up on my parents smallholding in the South East of England, it wasn’t long before I noticed our affinity for rescuing animals:
The Baby Rabbit that was chased out of our hedge by the next door neighbours panther – like cat as I slid down my slide aged no more then ten was frozen in terror in the middle of our lawn when I shoed the cat away angrily and called Dad from his workshop who carried to the safety of a nearby copse which it hopped into, never to be seen again.
The many Blue tits and Pidgeons, attacked by the very same cats next door, who we kept in the guinea pigs run, or in a box inside untill they mostly gave up from shock or (with all fingers pointed firmly at the local cat and fox populations) vanished.
The beautiful Yellow Hammer that had clearly been attacked by THOSE FLIPPING CATS! With a nasty bite mark to his chest, just under his wing which stopped him from flying properly. We took him inside and called him Lucky, not only because he escaped the cat, but because he also narrowly avoided falling into our reyburn on multiple occasions and (thankfully) didnt die of shock in the night. He lived quite happily in a hamster cage in our conservatory, slowly learning how to fly till he was actually quite good at it. He never did become tame, and he’d flit about madly whenever someone entered the room. I was too young to remember what we fed him, but I do remember feeling hugely protectful of this little bird, and horrified when I found out that it is illigal to keep wild animals in the UK without some sort of licence. In the name of doing what is right, the RSPCA were called.
One day I was on the school bus which was pulling up at the end of our road at the end of a long day in High School when the bus swerved suddenly. Getting out I saw a very thin Jack Russel dog trot into a neerbye field and disapear. When I got home I told Dad. He’d heard about a stray Jack Russel almost causing a number of accidents on the same road. That evening Little Sis and I cycled down to the corner where the dog had last been seen, pockets full of food we’d stolen from our dogs stash when no one was looking. By some miracle we found the dog and lured her back to the house and up the drive way, one piece of kibble at a time – though she wouldnt let us close enough to touch her, flinching and running back when we tried. Eventually we lured the dog into the garage shed and quickly closed the door. To my enormous supprise and slight annoyance, the dog jumped into my lap as soon as I’d sat down on the floor and licked my hand! She was just scared of the outside! We bought her into the house where she quickly bossed our Dalmatian x Pointer out of the way, leaving him cowering in submission, and phoned the local dog warden. We had no idea what to do with this dog untill then; we had enough on our hands with our dog, let alone another (Though Little Sis, Little Bro and I pleaded our case hard with The Parents). As luck would have it, our neighbours came for tea that evening. Many years ago they had lost their old Jack Russel, and though they hadn’t considered a new dog, on seeing another Jack Russel just like their old one in need, they offered to foster her whilst her owners were found. In the mandatory month you must wait to find a dogs owner that followed, The Neighbours fell in love with the little dog and called her Sally. It was to everyones delight that a month later she was declared officially theirs. She’s lived with them ever since and is now a happy, feisty, very loved dog indeed!
There was the cockrel seen wandering the same stretch of road Sally had been found on shortly after christmas. Dad gave very specific instructions to NOT rescue him under any circumstances before he left for a holiday. When my Best Friend arrived the next day, he was turned around at the gate, a towel and a net shoved into his hands before being told ‘we’re on a mission’. Accompanied by Little Bro and Little Sis on bikes, we marched to the site the Cockrel was last seen, netted him with Dad’s favourite fishing net (whoops) and popped a towel over his head to keep him calm before hoisting him into my arms and carrying him the mile home, stopping along the way to chat with a couple of friends on horseback. (Country life, eh?) Mum was delighted, and after Dad returned home and did the ’emotions spectrum’, he begrudgingly allowed Henry to stay…
Earlier this week, the list of rescues grew again; Little Sis messaged me with pictures of Errol, pictured above, Errol is a female Tawny Owl (Dont ask me how I know) who probably has a nasty case of concussion, most likely caused by flying into a solid object such as a car. I am very pleased to tell you all that Errol is now with a special Own Sanctuary, and they will be releasing her as soon as she is well enough to go. The kind people at the sanctuary have even promised to tell Dad when Errol is being returned to the wild so that he can go and watch her take flight, back to nature where she belongs.
I hope to get some pictures of the release from Dad, and will let you know how Errol gets on.
For now it’s been a busy evening blogging for me, and time to say goodnight.
Our Natural World is truly amazing. It inspires awe and respect, and just every so often, we can be privaliged enough to share in the private life of the Natural World Around us,