This blog update is also a guest post on Sim999’s blog, and is written in response to the paragraph he wrote on the introductory page – it says that I ‘rescue animals’.
I suspect he’s stated this whilst referring to one of my blogs where I write about how I rescued a tiny frog that had fallen down a grate on the school run, to the amusement and bemusement of other mums. This is not my only experience with rescuing animals though, and they certainly are not all as successful.
I have a long history of bungled and often misguided attempts at saving critters. I’d be misleading you if I allowed you to believe Simon’s noble claim on my behalf. I’m actually rubbish at ‘rescuing’ animals, although I am rubbish with the best of intentions.
The very first time I remember ‘rescuing’ an animal was when I was about 11 years old. My friend and I were playing out and found a dead rabbit. We knew there was a rabbit burrow nearby, and decided between us that the rabbit must therefore be a mummy rabbit and must have orphaned baby bunnies in the burrow. With this in mind we then went to the burrows, stuck our arms down one of the holes and forcibly dragged two kits out of there, ie. we kidnapped them, or should that be ‘bunny-napped’ them?
I took the kits home and put them in a box with some grass and proceeded to feed cows milk to baby rabbits with a rolled up bit of card turned into a makeshift teat every three hours. Miraculously one of them survived, although I have no idea how. We kept it for a couple of days and I eventually gave it to a friend who had a hutch, all the while patting myself on the back for being such a dedicated animal lover – I didn’t realise until many years later how incredibly wrong I’d been. The poor thing had been wrenched from its home, fed completely innapropriatly and done a great disservice; I’d done an even greater disservice to its more unfotunate sibling who didn’t make it through the night. I still feel guilty about that.
Another escapade that haunted me for a while was when I rescued an unusual looking ladybird from a puddle. Apparently there is an invasive form of ladybird that is aggressively taking over our normal, common-or-garden ladybirds’ territory. In a totally bizarre and out of proportion way, that actually did worry me. Turned out after a bit of research it was just a normal ladybird in a slightly different colour to the usual and with a couple more spots. At the time I thought I’d saved the ladybird equivalent of the Cane Toad.
I’m sure normal people don’t worry about things like that, they just leave the ladybirds to clamber out of the puddles on their own after a nice refreshing swim, and don’t give things like that second thought. But not me! I like to ‘help out!’ The word ‘Help’ is stretched to the very limit of its meaning here. Maybe I should really use the word ‘interfere.’ That is dodgy territory though, if I claimed to intefere with animals, I suspect I’d be risking arrest…..anyway, moving swiftly on!
My most embarassing rescue attempt ever was when I spotted an ‘abandoned’ labrador on a patch of grass outside some terraced houses. Convinced it was lost, lonely and longing for its owner I persuaded my sister to stop the car and I got out on a mission. In full view of the road I coaxed, tried to pat, and grab this doggie, who was not keen on being rescued at all. It being a labrador an’ all, it seemed fairly good natured – but did not want to go near me. So I gave up with the subtle approach and began to try and rugby tackle it. At this point, the dog became seriously worried for its safety and quickly ran up to one of the terraced house’s doors, stared sideways at me and barked in what I can only describe as an insistent ‘Let me in, there’s a nutter out here mum!’ manner. The poor dog had a home and wanted to keep it. I walked away looking very embarassed and climbed back into a car with a sister who thought the whole episode was hilarious. That particular episode is merrily recited at family do’s and pub outings to this day.
I’ve never been very good at pets either. About ten years ago I had a very cute little Syrian hamster called Piglet; I named him that because he made cute little squeaky, squealing noises like a baby pig. This little darling lived with me in a very cold studenty house, and thrived for a while, until one morning I got up and found him curled up into a tiny ball, stone cold. Feeling quite devastated at the loss and wanting to make sure he really was dead; I wiped my tears away (I’ve always been a softie) and then poked him with my finger. He actually rocked on the spot he was that stiff with what I presumed was rigor mortis.
I must have been busy that day, because I’m sure under normal circumstances I would have put him in a shoe box and buried him in the garden, complete with a lollypop stick cross. As it was, I sadly put him in the bin – an unceremonious, but fortuotous funeral as it turned out.
Three days later I was looking after my mum and dad’s dog at my house, and was doing a bit of house cleaning. I lifted up the bin bag, and the bottom fell out, strewing rubbish all over the floor. At that point, the dog went mad and started snuffling in the rubbish and was obviously trying to get at something. My first thoughts were that she was after old food which is the custom for fat, old labradors – who needs a waste disposal machine when you’ve got one of these! But I was wrong, out of the corner of my eye I saw my hamster running away from the pile of stuff. A zombie hamster?! Surely he’d come back from the dead?
While trying to contain an enthusiastic and hamster-hungry labrador, I still managed to grab Piglet and shove him back in his cage. Later that day I found out that hamsters hibernate when they’re cold sometimes. I’d put my sleepy hamster in the bin and resigned him to death by bin wagon. How terrible is that!
It was easter at the time, and considering he’d been in the bin for three days, apparently devoid of life, my friends and I decided he must be the hamster equivalent of the Messiah After his apparent ‘ressurrection’ I rechristened him ‘Piglet Jesus.’ I did ask the little love to perform further miracles, but he just shoved sunflower nuts in his cheeks, cleaned his whiskers and ignored me.
There are other tales I could recount in a sheepish manner, but I think you’ve got the gist. You see, I am not really a rescuer of animals. I am in fact a bunny-napper, a near dog-stealer, a hamster disaster and a ladybird worry-wart.
I supsect if animals could talk Dr Doolittle stylee, they’d probably say something along the lines of ‘Who needs enemies when we’ve got friends like Kay’.