Mazie and I. We’re on our way home.
I’d been in Sonoma for 4 weeks. Mazie had joined her friend Grace in LA for the last few weeks while I was working through the house details.
After being away from Poe for over a month, we now found ourselves in Flagstaff, checking in to see how Poe was getting on with the wildlife rehabilitator.
He was not good.
On one hand the rehabilitator had given Poe antibiotics, which undoubtedly had helped. But for 4 of the 5 weeks, she had kept him indoors in a small dog carrier. His breast feathers were abraded and missing. His tail feathers were a complete mess.
In the last week she had released him to a larger cage outdoors, but on the adjacent property, literally a few dozen feet away, they were literally blowing up a limestone cliff. The air was filled with the deafening sound of jackhammers. And on the other side of the yard several large dogs barked incessantly.
This was madness.
Mazie and I stepped into Poe’s cage and sat down with him. Drowning the overwhelming cacophony, he looked around skittishly. He sat in a pile of dried dogfood – basically the staple of his diet.
It has vitamins in it, the rehabilitator assured us.
Poe looked up toward us and made his customary feeding calls. He recognized us as his feeders. But this time the calls were soft and plaintive.
The rehabilitator went to retrieve a scale so that we could weigh him (I guess this is vital to rehabilitation), but as she approached, Poe grew even more skittish and flapped his wings aggressively.
The rehabilitator said that he didn’t like her because she had been forced to tube feed him.
As she tried to step in, Poe edged out of the cage and immediately made for the open yard. The rehabilitator herself grew agitated and she turned to get him back in.
I looked around. The expansive yard was surrounded by an eight foot fence. Tall ponderosas shaded the grass.
What’s the problem? I asked. Is there a dog? Anything that can get him? Let’s give him some space, I said.
Well, umm. It’s just that he might try and get away, she stammered.
Get away? First off, isn’t that the point? And secondly, he had a busted wing. This bird wasn’t going nowhere.
The rehabilitator acquiesced, but not before reminding me that from a rehabilitator’s perspective, it wasn’t safe and that I wasn’t trained in this.
Under the trees, Poe easily relaxed. He began to play with twigs and branches and dig in the ground looking for grubs. Mazie and I sat with him as quietly as we could given the roar of the jackhammers.
Perhaps I could let him out a few times during the week, she offered.
The rehabilitator made an attempt to weigh Poe, but she couldn’t tell if his weight had gone up or down. We helped her get him back in his cage and bid farewell.
Once inside the car, Mazie turned to me.
Did you see all the other animals she had in cages? she asked.