We sped out of the beach parking lot on a desperate mission to save a life. I was driving and Chris was complaining that I needed to accelerate. I'm not a speeder and I do not like breaking any the law no matter how desperate the situation. I pushed down on the pedal... a little.
Earlier, we had been on the beach soaking up the last rays of summer sun when we spotted the unfortunate victim. A junior sea gull lumbered awkwardly across the sand dragging his injured appendage. It was obvious he had met some type of relentless foe. His wing dangled at an unnatural angle. He was alert but clearly uncomfortable, and looking for food, stopping just short of beach blankets in hope of a handout. It was heartbreaking from the start.
It doesn't take anything at all to convince Chris to help an animal and this poor, pathetic site put the rescue wheels in motion. He called Wild Care, the wild animal rescue shelter, to find out how we could help. They advised him to try to catch the gull in a towel and transport it to them as quickly as possible. He darted up the stairs and ran home to get the car and a box.
In the meantime I sat with Oscar and kept a close eye on the creature as he made his way slowly down the beach. Chris arrived back shortly and set out to catch the bird with a beach towel and a ceramic bowl of dog food as a lure. Dog food? I brought Oscar and the gear up to the car and then returned to the beach in time to see the heroic capture. Needless to say the bird had no interest in the dog food and was caught sans lure.
We ran the squirming towel up the stairs to the parking lot. Adrenaline flowing, Chris was firmly urging me to get in the car and drive while he held the shrouded animal in his lap. Thankfully, in the few seconds before pulling out, I had a fleeting vision of our speeding car careening out of control as a large, lame, panicked sea bird tried to flutter its way out of Chris's grasp. Our friend was already struggling a bit and I insisted that we take a minute to try to put him in the box rather than drive with him loose.
We got him in the box easily and were off.
We were just at Wild Care two weeks ago with an injured squirrel. We're not sure if he made it but, sadly, our pitiful gull did not. His injuries, we were told, were too extensive and the best they could do was give him painkillers to make his last hours tolerable.
As we drove home we felt relieved that this animal was not left to suffer and starve on the sand. We even laughed a bit. What are the chances of having to rescue not one, but two wild animals in less than two weeks?
Well, here on Cape Cod, apparently pretty good.
Oh, A.R.T.? Animal Rescue Team... that's us.