Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gratitude

Perennial Fountain Grass

When is life ever simple or straightforward?

The other day, I opened the back door to discover that a tiny chickadee had become trapped in our enclosed porch. The screen door, which is always propped open so the dogs can come and go in the summer months, meant that the chickadee actually had an easy means of escape. Instead all his attentions were focused on the freedom clearly visible through the glass windows.

I watched helplessly as he flung himself repeatedly against the panes of glass; wings beating furiously against the unyielding window. Something had to be done or he was going to injury his wings, or even worse, break his neck. But how could I catch him?



Annual Cleome

This was not the first time that I have had to rescue another creature in recent days. Just last week, I was in out driveway putting away our recycling bins, when a golden retriever appeared out of nowhere. We have a small community, so I know all the neighbourhood dogs, and the retiever was not among them. This dog was clearly lost.

Our house on the corner is the last respite. The retriever would have to face the prospect of crossing a very busy road before she could wander further. Quickly, I hatched a plan to put her in the fenced back garden, until I could find her owner.

"Well, hello there!" I said in greeting. The tail started to wag. I have never, ever met an ill-tempered golden retriever.

"Aren't you a good girl! Come here!" I commanded in friendly voice. Obediently she trotted over, relieved to be rescued with a few kindly words and a gentle pat on the head.

Looking to gain her complete trust, I gushed further praise, and rubbed behind her ears, while sneaking my hand around to gently grab hold of her collar.

She did not object when I opened the back gate and lead her into the garden.



Annual pink cosmos and blue Salvia.

Do you have a personal I.D. and phone number on your pets?

The golden retriever had none; just a city dog license and a tag with her vet's contact information. The vet's number was long distance. How far had this dog come I wondered? Hmm...perhaps the vet's tag were old and the owner had moved. The only local number was the dog licensing offices. Would the owner face a fine for letting their dog run loose? Probably! But without a personal I.D. tag, I had no choice but to call the city's animal control offices.

"She's a repeat offender!", the woman on the other end of the phone declared after I read off the retriever's license number to her. Repeat offender? I looked over at the retriever's round, joval-looking face in dismay. Was she really suggesting this dog was a criminal of some kind?

"Will the owner face a fine before they can reclaim their dog?", I asked. In my head, I wondered just how grateful the owner was going to be for this rescue.

"Yes, but she's been warned several times to keep better control of her dog, so don't feel too sorry for her." I waited on the line while the animal control officer tried to get the dog's owner on the phone. No answer! Instead an officer was dispatched to pick up the poor retriever to take him to doggy jail until his owner came to pay the fine and claim him.

Had I done the right thing?


 Feather Reed Grass and Perennial Fountain Grass

The same nagging doubts made me hesitate when I found the chickadee trapped in the back porch. I didn't want to cause injury in an attempt to do good.

In spite of my trepidation, I ceased the opportunity to act when the exhausted bird slid down the glass to the shelf along the bottom of the window. For a brief moment, he was trapped between the little decorative bottles on the shelf and the window pane. I cupped my hand around his tiny body, taking care not to damage his wings...ah-haw, caught him!

Holding this little soul in my hands was like holding air.

For a brief moment, we regarded one another. Then with his black beak, the chickadee pecked at my hand just to let me know who was boss.

His beak was so tiny however, it hurt not at all. My grip remained firm. The poor chickadee grew still, resigned to his fate. I am sure he must have thought that he was lunch.

I walked to the door and opened my hand. Gratitude took wing and then was gone.

All the images in this post were chosen for their delicate, bird-like qualities. 
The pictures were shot recently in one of the city's parks.

59 comments:

  1. It sounds like that poor dog could do with a new home! How irresponsible some people are.
    I am glad you were able to rescue the chickadee. I had to look them up, they do look very delicate, and very pretty.

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  2. I never heard before of a chickadee and I could not trace it either in my English dictionary but I'll find out. It is a nice story and also about the retreiver dog, may be he was not all that happy at home. Your pictures of grasses, cosmea, cleome and salvia are so sunny, I should like to be able to make such a beautiful pictures.

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  3. Tracey and Janneke, Chickadees are among the smallest birds that visit our garden. They have greyish-beige bodies with a black cap and bib. Just below each of their eyes, there is a white flash. I particularly like these birds for their song ( chick-a dee-dee-dee-dee) and their friendly manner. If you are lucky, they will take seed from your hand.

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  4. I´m glad you´re an animal rescuer - so am , no matter if they are big or small. :-)

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    1. Tina, I have gotten to know you through your blog and it doesn't surprise me to know that you are an animal rescuer too!

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  5. You have the gift of great lighting in your photography...amazing....I couldnt help thinking about your bird story...how often in life we see what we want or need (its right there) and the way is completely blocked..we can see no other way...but the universe has a way if we are only still....thank you

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    1. Sharon, The clear view through the glass had the poor little chickadee convinced that freedom was close at hand, but really it was on the other side of window with no way to pass through. You are right! Sometimes we need a hand to see that there is another way around one of life's obstacles.

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  6. I will always try to free and rescue animals... it just breaks my heart to see them suffer! I agree that sometimes it's difficult to know what's best in the long term though x

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    1. Hi Pyjamagardener, I like to think that most people would do exactly as I did.

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  7. "Holding this little soul in my hands was like holding air." That's beautiful as are the images you shared. And as for the golden, I do hope she made it home in the end. As an owner of a golden, I definitely have a soft spot for them. Don't ever doubt your kind heart. Keep on rescuing creatures in need.

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    1. Nancy, you are such a fine writer yourself so I especially appreciate your compliment about my sentence. Thank goodness the Golden Retriever is home safe. I absolutely agree that they are a wonderful breed of dog.

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  8. Just beautiful as always! The grasses so soft and wispy!

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  9. Hi Jennifer
    I got so caught up in the dog and bird stories that I scanned right past the photographs! Not until I started to read the other comments, did I go back and take a good look at the pictures. Lovely as usual!! Cleome and Cosmos last right into the fall and the ornamental grasses are starting to come into their own.
    Glad you were able to protect the retriever from the traffic even though you can't protect her from her owner. Otherwise you might be re-naming your blog: "Four Dogs in a Garden" :)

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    1. Hi Astrid, I appreciate the compliment about my writing especially. Pictures come easy to me, but I struggle to write. Annuals and grasses are at their peak right now. I love the way grasses catch the golden light of fall. I am glad the owner has her dog back and relieved that I don't have to change the blog's title!! LOL

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  10. I hope the dog owner goes and retrieves her dog. It seems like she needs to fix her fence! And I'm certain the little bird was extremely grateful to be free again. Your images are beautiful. I especially like the image of the cleome.

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    1. Thanks for the compliments on my images, Holley. If it is a case of a gap or hole in the fence, I hope it will now get repaired. The retriever was such a good, friendly dog. I would hate to see her come to harm!

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  11. I completely understand your dilemma with the dog. I would have done the same thing to try and get the owners contacted. One of my dogs doesn't wear a collar....he is such a hyper guy, his tags jingle jangle in the early morning...wakes us up. The only time I think he should have his collar on is when I have to drag him outside when he thinks there is a storm. (could be just an airplane flying overhead)
    We have caught hummingbirds in the garage and finally caught them to release them.
    Lovely pictures as always.

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    1. Hi Janet, Dog tags do make a fair bit of noise. Do keep your tag-less doggie close! I can imagine how much you love your dogs. I am amazed and glad that you were able to catch and release the humming birds! They are so fast.

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  12. You did a good thing, who knows what could have happened to the Lab if you hadn't rescued it. I have to wonder about people sometimes, but you don't know what their circumstances are, some dogs will do anything to escape their yards.

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    1. Hi Karen, I do not think this dog was abused in any way. I think this was a simple case of oversight bordering on neglect. I would say it was oversight if this had been a one time accident, but the dog had wandered off previously. Hopefully, a lesson was learned by the owner this time around. The dog may not be so lucky the next time.

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  13. Of course you did the right thing encouraging the dog into your garden, goodness knows what accidents it could have caused when crossing the roads. Always a problem catching birds when they have been trapped in the house, it has happened a few times here, always a sigh of relief when you can let them go!

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    1. Pauline, Birds are such delicate little creatures, aren't they? In this case, the confined space of the porch worked in my favour. Catching a bird in the house would have been even trickier! I agree that it is such a relief to set a bird free unharmed.

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  14. Oh you are an angel of lost souls! And i am angry with the irresponsible dog owner, maybe you should have taken care of the dog instead. In our property in the province there are lots of creatures which go to the bulb light in the veranda. We have many cats and before had a dog. It is not once or twice when my nephew and niece were small that they cried because of a cicada or a lizard was eaten or killed by a cat. If they will see the creatures entering the house, they will just put the cats inside the house and close the door to keep the visitors safe! They are just like you! good souls.

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    1. Andrea, I like to think that most people are caring when it comes to animals. I was glad to help the lost retriever, but there is no way I could have taken in another dog. It would be one dog to many! I am glad the dog got home safe and hope that the owner will take better care in future.

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  15. Beautiful collection of photographs, such flowers, such colours are giving much joy. I am greeting

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  16. Great how you helped the animals. Beautiful vieuws of the grasses.
    Have a wonderful day

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  17. an interesting dilemma about the retriever, his owner is irresponsible and next time he may come to harm. But short of kidnapping him, I guess we just have to accept our limited power. I'm glad you managed to free the chickadee without hurting it. I was trying to save a little caterpillar tonight I found in a cabbage I bought. It was so small and wriggly I accidentally dropped it into a basin of water. I rushed outside and tipped out the water and hope it didn't drown! Good intentions don't always help ... Your photos are divine.

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    1. Catmint, How kind you are to worry about a caterpillar! Yes, I agree that good intensions don't always help.

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  18. Sometimes life is as straightforward as we let it be. Both the dear bird and wayward doggie were lucky to have you there to help. As for irresponsible dog owners, well, there are systems in place to take care of them. Some folks just don't care about paying fines. Go take some more beautiful photos while the light is so beautiful to refresh both soul and mind.
    B.

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  19. I can't help but feeling sorry for that poor dog. She could be seriously injured running around on the streets and it pains me to no end when people don't look after their pets properly (she's gotten away how many times and you still haven't properly tagged her?). Hopefully a fine will help to change the situation.

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    1. Marguerite, I do hope the owner has learned a lesson this time.

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  20. I'm glad the story of the chickadee had a happy ending, but I do worry about the poor golden retriever--I have a soft spot for them, you know. Our last dog wandered off one time and after searching frantically for him (he was half-deaf), I was so relieved when I saw a stranger with Roco on a leash. He had tried to call me, but the phone number on Roco's name tag was our old number before we moved. You can be sure I went out the very next day and got him a new tag with the right phone number on it! I hope the owner of the Golden learns her lesson and takes better care of this sweet dog.

    Your photos are always such a delight, Jennifer!

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    1. Rose, Accidents happen and sometimes an animal goes missing. I am so glad a stranger was there to help you find Roco! One of the reasons I wanted to tell this story was so everyone is reminded how important it is to have a dog I.D. with your phone number.

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  21. Such a cute story with a happy ending for the bird. The poor retriever though, does not seem to have caring owners. I hope that story ended well. Makes you wonder about some pet owners. Your photos are very pretty too, Jen. I love photos of grasses at this time of year and never tire of seeing so much color and texture.

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    1. Thanks Donna! I love the quality of the light at this time of year. I think we share a love of color and texture.

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  22. Jennifer! You protected and rescued the retriever, well done! The pics of grasses are wonderful.

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  23. You are an absolute angel, and you did the right thing.
    I wish more were like you. Thank you.

    This is an absolutely gorgeous series, and it is always such a pleasure to visit you here.

    I wish you a wonderful weekend.
    xo.

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  24. But how is the dog???? I love the photos - beautiful as always. And of course the chickadee story was delightful - but my heart is with the poor dog.

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    1. Karen, I am glad to tell you that the retriever is home safe and sound.

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  25. Such stories! I hope the golden retriever -story had a happy end.

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  26. Just delightful to read. Thank you.

    We keep a dollar store butterfly net handy as we have had a number of birds in the house and shed. A blue jay was the most difficult to encourage outside but eventually, the baby bird joined his mother who was nearby sending encouragement.

    As for the golden, they are special dogs aren't they.

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    1. Bren, I see lots of dogs at our local leash-free park and I have to say that I have never met an ill-tempered or mean retriever. They have lovely, perhaps slightly goofy, always loyal personalities.

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  27. What a beautiful post. :o) I sometimes think that creature don't arrive but are sent places where they'll be cared for, even if it means helping them find freedom or needed rescue. The owner of the dog shouldn't be allowed to have a dog if she refuses to care for her properly. She'd be better off with another family.

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    1. Tammy, I too like to think that there is some benevolent force at work in the universe that sends animals somewhere they will be cared for.

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  28. UPDATE: I am glad to report that this story has a happy ending. I called the city's Animal Control offices to check on what happened to the lost Golden Retriever. Apparently, she never even made it to doggy jail. Her owner called animal control moments after she was picked up from my house and the retriever was taken directly home. I am just glad that as luck would have it I was there to help. Hopefully the dog's owner has finally learned a lesson and will correct whatever means the dog took to escape her yard.

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  29. An amazing, amazing post. I haven't read something this good in a very long time. And of course, your photos are beautiful as always.

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  30. To use a sports metaphor, you are two for two, as in you made the right choice in both instances. However, a woman I worked with once, who was not worldly, but wise just the same, always said trouble comes in threes, so look out.

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  31. Jennifer girl : )
    My goodness .. these are stunning pictures and what amazing stories you have told .. I chased a black cat out of our back garden for fear it would catch one of our visiting birds and yet I felt sorry for the cat .. I still will never agree that cats should be let outdoors to go where ever they want to. There are too many dangers every where for animals cats or not !
    Your chickadee reminded me of my sad story of a very young Goldfinch that hit our glass deck doors so hard he/she did break his neck .. I looked straight into his eyes as the light in them faded .. it made me so profoundly sad .. I know people might say there are lots of birds or animals that die every day but to look into their eyes as they do .. it touches you deeply. I am so glad your chickadee was alright and able to fly away .. I feel sorry for the beautiful dog that has an owner with no brains or heart or soul that would not take proper care of this little soul.
    Life is so hard to understand some times .. you wonder how it all works.
    Joy

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    1. Joy, It is very hard to watch an animal or a bird die. Poor little Goldfinch!

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  32. Hi Jennifer!
    I am charmed by your blog.
    It's great. Here everything delights.
    I admire your flower garden pictures.
    They are perfect.
    Greetings from Polish
    Lucia

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  33. You so did the right thing for that dog...although you wonder about the owner and why she did not have proper IDs??? I almost thought you were going to say that you adopted her! Beautiful shots as always Jennifer!! Whenever I visit your blog I think that I need to take some photography classes! (not sure when or how I would fit them in!) I do always appreciate how kind you are to visit my blog as I tweak it and figure it all out! Cheers!

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    1. Hi Nicole, I enjoy your blog too. This story proves that it makes good sense to have proper tags in case an accident happens and you are separated from your pet.

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  34. What a beautiful post!! Yes, I agree you did the right thing in calling. The owner should have proper tags if she knows her dog escapes and she wants him back. And kudos to you for helping the poor trapped bird! I love the birds and seeing your words on how you rescued him was so sweet.
    Oh, and you photography is amazing! Love your pictures
    Debbie :)

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    1. Thanks Debbie. I was in the garden and there was a Chickadee sitting in my sunflowers and feasting on the sunflower seeds. Could it be the same little bird? Let's hope so.

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