March 26, 2012
What kind of Veterinarian are you?
It poured rain in Los Angeles for most of Sunday. It is now Monday and it is still raining. This city does not do well in the rain. Those of us who came here from places with actual weather are easily separated from the natives because for the most part, we are the ones who know how to drive.
I was rushing to get out of the house so I could drop my son to the movies. I went ahead to start the car and I thought my son was right behind me, but 5 minutes later he was still not in the car so I started to call him on his cell phone. Then all of a sudden I see him running to the car in the rain.
He is holding a small mesh garbage can and has a look of panic on his face. He opened the door and jumped into the car screaming, “Look what I found Mom!” In the wastebasket was a bird. He was slightly larger than a golf ball and absolutely beautiful. He was very tiny and very scared.
The Prince and the Sparrow is my favorite cartoon from childhood and I instantly loved this bird. I named him Jack, after Jack Sparrow, and started to panic about what exactly I was going to do with baby bird, in the pouring rain, with my son’s movie starting in 20 minutes.
As I begin to freak out, my son’s friends arrived, so now I have a full car of kids, a hurt bird, it’s pouring rain, and I need to get to the movies. My son, who is a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Ghandi, is talking to the bird with a soothing voice in an attempt to keep him calm.
I get the kids to the movie on time, assure my son I will take care of the bird and send them on their way. I am now sitting in the car, in a torrential downpour, looking at Jack. We are staring at each other, sizing each other up, and both a little panicked. It was an emotional moment.
He was looking at me with trust and I started to cry. I kicked into action because Jack needed me. I turned on the heat in the car so he would not be cold, or slip into shock. I spoke to him as if he was a baby and I started to call all the vets in the neighborhood looking for help.
I spoke to 4 different veterinary offices and none would help. They did not handle birds and he was not welcome. I asked why, if an animal was in need, they could not help, and I was repeatedly told, “We’re not that kind of Vet.” Really? Not the kind of Vet that helps animals?
I am now pissed. I promised my son I would help but nobody wants to help me. I was nice to the first Vet, annoyed with the second Vet, flabbergasted by the third Vet and completely pissed off by the fourth Vet. I am trying to explain they have an obligation to help but they don’t get it.
How is it that a doctor of veterinary medicine is not willing to help out an animal in need? If I cut myself and found a doctor on the street that happened to be an internist, would he leave me to bleed because he is not the type of doctor that deals with cuts? Where is the compassion?
It has now been 20 minutes and I am worried Jack will go into shock, so I figure I will start calling bird stores. I do a Google search and figured I would call the list until someone is willing to help me. The first place I called was the PERFECT PARROT in Toluca Lake, where I spoke with Peter.
I explained to Peter about Jack, and that no Vet would take him. He was kind and told me to bring Jack over and he would figure something out. He told me to turn the heat on in the car so he’d be warm and to head over. I told him I was on my way and he assured me it would be fine.
When I got there, and before I could get out of my car, Peter ran out in the pouring rain. I showed him Jack and he could not of been nicer. He told me he would take him and call a person he knew who worked with wildlife. He said not to worry, and promised he’d call with an update.
This lovely man, who is not a Vet, decided the life of this bird was worth something and even if he could not help him himself, he was going to find someone who could. Peter took Jack into the shop with a wave and encouraging thumbs up, while I drove off in the torrential rain.
I got a call from Peter a short while later with an update. Jack was going to be fine, and he was keeping him in isolation at the store until he was well enough to fly, then he would release him. This little bird, that nobody wanted to help, would be out and about shortly, flying and healthy.
What kind of Vet does not help an animal? It’s all quite sad. I get that it was a Sunday, the weather sucked, and it was a wild animal, but what does it say about a doctor whose job it is to help animals, is willing to let one die over at the very least, keeping him safe until Monday?
To Peter at the Perfect Parrot, thank you. What you did was really wonderful and I am happy he is going to be fine. Your kindness and concern for both the bird and me was lovely. You showed me I need to find a new Vet, and that you can find people who care if you keep the faith.
UPDATE: Jack Sparrow recovered with some tender loving care and fresh worms. He is a happy and healthy bird and was released into Griffith Park. His little face touched my heart and I feel blessed to have been able to find Peter. He is a truly lovely bird and his life matters.