Day 104: I messed up big time – sorry everyone….
I screwed up.
I am an idiot. I am Mr Bean but without the charm. I messed up so royally I am like Prince Harry at a naked pool party.
Today I am responsible for the deaths of six small birds.
How did this happen Martin? You are such a caring boy??
Compassion went wrong, that’s how. This has always been my fear – that trying to help can actually make things a whole lot worse. It is a reminder of how easy it is to hurt and how hard it is to help.
Whilst driving to help more dogs I saw a pet shop on the side of the road and instinctively stopped to investigate. Indian pet shop – hmmmm – not a place to hang out if you are small, fluffy and fit into a cage. There were endless anmals in wire enclosures: rabbits, pigeons, little yellow birds and in particular three small puppies in a tiny cage suspended above a sewage duct.
Horrified, I phoned Avis. What the hell can we do?
‘It breaks my heart but we can’t take any of them, as much as I want to you just can’t set a precident by buying them. Where would we stop?’ She was right of course.
‘Take photos Martin and we will try take legal action – it probably won’t come to anything but we have to try’
I couldn’t bear to do nothing however. A small rage built inside me. I asked if I could get them some medical attention. They refused. More anger. I leant down and looked at the cage full of endless small birds.
In Vietnam there is a tradition of buying birds from markets and setting them free for good luck – I did it once when I was there and it felt remarkably good –my heart fluttered with the beating of wings.
If only I could set them free too. But no doubt they would not survive out here. I doubt they are native
I asked the shop keeper if they could live in the nearby forest
She nodded. But then again she would. Puppy jailer.
Mad, my indian friend, told me the birds would certainly survive. He knew from his army training. But then again he also thought that the best way to seduce a girl was to not speak to her and give her seventy presents. Furthermore he hadn’t slept for three weeks.
I asked Mad to phone a chap we met the other day that had a lot of wildlife rescue experience in India. Mad did so. The guy also agreed the birds would be fine.
Screw it. In my heated, infuriated state I bought six birds for a knocked down price, picking out the most hen-pecked of them and put them in a small box with airholes. We then drove off to the forest to set them free and alleviate some of my frustration.
We released them in a clearing and they fluttered into the nearby trees. But my relief quickly turned to horror when out of nowhere a bunch of crows swooped and spun.
One flew past us with one of the tiny yellow birds in its beak.
What was I thinking!! YOU IDIOT!!!
Taking tiny birds bred in captivity and releasing them into a wild forest was
like rescuing a load of helpless children from an abusive care centre in Wales, taking them to the middle of the Amazon rainforest and releasing them into a swamp whilst screaming ‘YOU’RE FREE TO GO!!!!!’.
I chased the crow with the bird in its mouth down the road.
‘Come back you fucker!!!!’ I screamed out – as if that would make a difference – but weirdly it did. Miraculously the crow dropped the little thing and we picked it up off the road.
I didn’t see the other birds get attacked but it’s fair to assume they didn’t survive.
We took the lone survivor back to the Ark and put him in a cage.
Out of hopeless guilt I stayed up the whole evening reading the complete legistlation about pet shops in Kerala and wrote out a formal complaint that Avis agreed to submit to the authorities. I ahd photographic evidence that the pet shop had broken the law on ten counts.
What a fool I have been. But I’ve learnt a painful lesson. How easy it is to harm. And how hard it is to help. We have heavy boots – or at least I do – and I have to learn to tread more likely.
I’m sorry for this blog post but I did say I would be honest.
PS. We picked up another dog for neutering and also got a large enclosure for the small bird and bought a mate for him with proper food. At least it will have a decent life now.