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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/31/15

A Bald Eagle and a Ground Hog

Message Suzana Megles
Taking care of wounded animals - sometimes you're able to save a life. Always you'll know you tried.
Taking care of wounded animals - sometimes you're able to save a life. Always you'll know you tried.
(Image by Roger's Eye )
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What would you do if you accidentally hit an endangered bald eagle with your
car? The eagle had been feasting on roadkill when Robbie Tribbey couldn't avoid
hitting her. I think that what she and her son Devin did next was something
comparatively few of us would have done.
Horrified, Robbie stopped her car and would then spent a lot of time trying to
help the injured eagle. But first she realized that they had to protect her from
further injury. Luckily - they had a blanket with which they covered her so she
would not be spooked by on coming traffic.
This accident happened as they were driving through western Wisconsin going
home after a weekend trip to their cabin. This caring woman would later say of
this incident- "First I was scared to death, then I just wanted to cry because of
that poor bird." God bless her. She certainly was not one of the perhaps all-too-
many uncaring and irresponsible persons who would just drive off without trying
to help the injured eagle. Some people even drive off after hitting a human.
And this mother and her son would spend the next three hours trying to help
"America" as they named her. It's amazing too that Robbie knew of a wildlife-
rehab center in Duluth, Minnesota, where they first took her.
The workers at the center believed that America should be examined for internal
injuries, and that would require her to be transported to the Raptor Center at the
University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It surprised me that they didn't offer to
do the transporting, but undeterred, Robbie herself would drive this injured and
endangered eagle there. I couldn't have done the same --not for lack of caring,
but for all the required driving. Obviously, I am not a good driver.
Good news. America had only some bumps and bruises. She was soon able to
stand and eat on her own. Both Robbie and Devin were happy to hear this, and
they look forward to the day when America can spread her wings again and fly
At the TV station where she was being interviewed, Robbie said of the experience:
"I wanted to give my son a lesson in being kind and doing good. I really want to
see America released, and I would love to be there when that happens."
What a mom. I wish that many more of us would be like her. Sadly, I think she is
a rarity.
Some years ago a young man whose name I have forgotten lived next door to me in
the front apartment with his dog Jake. Sadly, Jake somehow was not the friendliest
of dogs. My seven dogs were all good tempered and friendly; so in reality, this was my
first experience with one who wasn't.
And sadly too, Jake would soon prove to me that indeed he was not one of their ilk.
"Bill," his owner, was a decent chap and what happened next certainly was not his fault.
He had to put Jake on a tether any time he was placed in the back yard because there
was no gate in the yard to keep him in and from wandering.
But one day, a ground hog that I had never seen around before ventured into Jake's
yard. A big mistake, because Jake would do the unthinkable and attacked him. I did not
witness the attack, but when leaving my house for a walk, I spied the poor ground hog
on the ground. Clearly, he had been bitten by Jake. I called Bill and asked him if we
could take this poor groundhog, who I thought was still alive, to a relatively nearby
wildlife center.
Bill clearly felt bad about the groundhog and agreed. Neither of us had been to this
wildlife center before, but miraculously we found it. I had wrapped the groundhog in a
brown terrycloth towel and cradled him in my arms. But sadly when we got into the
center, we were both distressed to find out that the ground hog had died en route. That
was crushing news when we wanted so much for him to have a second chance.
I believe I left a small donation, knowing that they at least would take care of this dear
creature's body in a humane fashion.
Needless to say, the trip home was sad, but we had done what we could for a groundhog
who wandered into the wrong yard at the wrong time. Both Bill and Jake have moved on,
but the remembrance of this sad day comes back to me from time to time.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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