MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Rescue Work Doesn't Stop With the Dogs...

Yesterday, Maddie and I walked the beach on South Padre Island where Maggie and I once walked. Maddie's joy and love for life as she played ball and ran into the ocean was palpable. That's when I saw it--a little brown blob floundering on the sand. It was a bird but I didn't know what kind. A baby, who could not yet fly. Then Maddie saw it, too, her labrador genes driving her towards it, trying to decide if it was more important to go after than her ball. When the baby bird (a "greeb" I later learned) grabbed my pant leg with it's beak and webbed feet in panic at the same time I emphasized "leave it!" to Maddie, my girl surprised me by backing off and giving the bird in trouble a respectful distance, but kept watching curiously.

We hurried back to the condo, grabbed a bucket, towel, Tom (my husband), and our truck, and headed to the beach access closest to the bird. Still there, surrounded by seagulls. Were they waiting for the inevitable? I wasn't sure, but wasn't going to chance it, either. My fisty little rescue was grabbing at the towel and wildly craning its' neck when the bird must have decided the bucket was a safe haven--it crawled in and I placed the towel over the bucket. The baby calmed immediately, even when we took off in the car (Maddie stayed in the back seat politely as if she had no idea we had that baby bird so close). Off we went over the bridge to Port Isabel. I knew where to take the bird this time since I had rescued a bird last year on the road while out on my bike.

Inside the Sealife Center, a man greeted us as he looked at the bucket. "Do you have a bird?" he asked, his eyes exuding hope. "I'm the bird man!" He suggested the baby just needed to grow and needed a safe place with the right food and water. He was confident it would be fine. Ahh.

Off we drove to the Laguna Madre Humane Society to sign up for walking dogs, a bit late due to our bird detour. It's a small shelter with very few staff and volunteers, so they count on tourists on South Padre to come walk their dogs. Many of the dogs live outside with shelter due to their cramped space inside. 2 dogs greeted us at the fence. But we're too late--it's closed for the day. We'll be back...

We pass the Boys and Girls Club and sign up to volunteer for their Christmas party. The manager takes an interest in Maddie and is considering letting her come spend time with the high energy children--she'll let us know. That will be great, since Maddie "failed" her first Canine Good Citizen's test due to over-exuberance, which meant she couldn't yet enter the Therapy Dog programs through the Humane Society of Boulder Valley! Maybe she'll get a stab at being a therapy dog after all down here in Texas with kids whose energy levels match hers.

posted by Dawn Kairns

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