“I love mockingbirds, but I cannot rehab them because they imprint, or bond, or whatever you choose to call it. Young ravens and crows are worse. In their quest for attention and affection, they are akin to domestic dogs. And when you placate young wild animals with a tender human touch, it changes them forever. So rehabbers have to reject the overtures of creatures who attempt to bond, to ensure they retain their wild nature. Some people are good at this. I am not. I have too much of what John Keats called negative capability as well as a close corollary, empathy. When birds arrive at my door lost, broken, and terrified, the distinctions between us fall away, and they are no longer wild animals separate from my humanity. Instead, I am right there with them, sharing their troubles, fear, and pain. I see myself in them and want to protect, love, and reassure them.”
― Terry Masear, Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood
I’m a city girl living in the country for the first time in my life. Sooner or later I was going to see the not so kind side of Mother Nature.
About two weeks ago, we were watching a small herd of deer meander across the empty lot behind our house. As they spread out and went their different ways, we noticed one little doe bringing up the rear. I pointed her out to Michael because her gait was so unusual–like someone had released a rocking horse out into the wild.
As she made her way around the cacti, we realized why she was moving in such an unnatural way. She was not bearing any weight on her left front leg. We were shocked at how badly her leg was injured and heartbroken to see her struggle in order to keep up with her herd. Sadly, we gave her our blessing and watched as she bobbled away. Neither one of thought we’d see her again.
To our amazement our amazing brown-eyed doe has proven us wrong. I’m still unsure if that is a good or a bad thing. Today as I walked to the office to write, she was in the back moseying around with the rest our deer friends. She’s become a teacher as well as an example of pure determination as she makes her way over the very uneven, rocky terrain. I am learning there’s not much I can do for her other than include her in my conversations with God.
Which, when I stop to think about it, is all I can do about just about anything.
Heavenly Father, our human ties with our friends of other species is wonderful and special gift from You. We now ask You to grant our special animal companions your Fatherly care and healing power to take away any suffering they have. Give us, their human friends, new understanding of our responsibilities to these creatures of Yours. They have trust in us as we have in You; our souls and theirs are on this earth together to give one another friendship, affection, and caring. Take our heartfelt prayers and fill Your ill or suffering animals with healing Light and strength to overcome whatever weakness of body they have.
Your goodness is turned upon every living thing and Your grace flows to all Your creatures. From our souls to theirs goodness flows, touching each of us with the reflection of Your love. Grant to our special animal companions long and healthy lives. Give them good relationships with us, and if You see fit to take them from us, help us to understand that they are not gone from us, but only drawing closer to You. Grant our prayer through the intercession of good St. Francis of Assisi, who honored You through all Your creatures. Give him the power to watch over our animal friends until they are safely with You in eternity, where we someday hope to join them in giving You honor forever. Amen. Saint Francis of Assisi, for our Animal Friends