I have recently tweeted out about the fact that one of my greatest achievements is rescuing a ‘Depressed Bulimic Barn Owl’. This may have confused a few people so since the tale cannot be done in 140 characters, here is the story.
On a cold drizzly October Friday morning I was on my way to work. I work at a local FE college and my class started at 8.30am (yes it is a bad time). So every morning I go down a local by-pass, always within the speed limit of course!, and was about 3/4 of the way along when I noticed by the central barrier a soggy looking barn owl sat there.
My brain went ‘that’s not right’.
At the same time a police car went by….. did they stop or do what I did did they heck as like. Now I think the job the police do is a shite one, but this was the first time that they have ignored a job. The second time when I broke down on a very busy roundabout and they ignored me.
So, back to my tale. I drove onto the roundabout at the bottom of the by-pass, went around it, back down the other way of the road, went around the roundabout at the top and back onto my original destination. Now having to drive in the ‘fast lane’ slowing down to slow speed, with your hazards on’ to stop and pick up a barn owl WILL get you honked at.
I stopped and got out of the car and went to the barn owl. This rescueing has now got me to carry in my car an ‘animal rescue kit’ : animal carry case, blankets, thick leather gloves. So I carefully picked up the owl, placed in well of car and drove to work.
At work I collected a small box from the reprographics room and placed said owl in that. Judith who works in there was alright with the owl when she thought it was alive, but considering that it wasn’t moving much, then decided that it was dead and jumped about 6 feet back. When I stated that if it was dead it wasn’t going to attack her, she did feel a bit silly. So if you are following me, owl is now safety in blanket in box. Up I trot to the engineering department staff room. The only person in at that time is Kay my boss.
Looking at the box with a quizzical eye, I explained what had happened. Luckily she knows me so really didn’t bat an eyelid about my exploits. We devised a plan of attack, first of all try and contact the World Owl Trust, which is located at Muncaster. At that time of the morning there was no answer. Onto plan B, phone up the RSPCA.
Now I really respect the work that the RSPCA inspectors and re-homing centres do. However, the people who man their call centre do not give a hoot about animals in my opinion. They must work in a call centre that is not only for the RSPCA but probably other companies as well. I had a bit of a barny with the person on the phone who actually asked me ‘Why didn’t you just leave it on the side of the road in the rain?’. When he did decide to try and be helpful he stated that the RSPCA would not do anything and there was no inspectors available. He did state that he could give me a vets number so I could take it there. When I said that it was not necessary I would take it to my own, which was closer and opened earlier, he really then got all jobsworth about taking details down etc.
I looked over at my boss and explained that I would have to take it to my local vets as the RSPCA were about as much use as a chocolate teapot. It was now 8.20am and my class started in 10 mins. Kay, being the star that she is, informed me that she would cover my class and that I was to take owl to my vets. Off I went.
I arrived at the vets, with said owl and they took it in. It survived the day when I called back later, they didn’t think it would. Round one to the owl. Over the weekend, one of the fab vets took the owl home and cared for it. When I called back on Monday I was informed that it has survived the weekend and could the vet call me back. I agreed.
Later on that afternoon I was called by Alison, the vet who had looked after the owl, and asked if I could take it to Knoxwood Animal Rescue centre as the vets had contacted them and they had agreed to take in the owl. The vets could not get there due to work commitments etc. I agreed to the 70 mile round trip. So at the end of the working day, off I pop to Egremont, pick up an owl and take it to a rescue centre.
You think it ends there …. oh no.
A few days after I dropped it off I gave Knoxwood a call to see how it was getting on. It was at this time I discovered that Barn Owls can get depressed and just give up on life, especially if their mate had died. Also, when they had tried to feed it the normal amount at normal feeding time spans, it threw up the food. So they had to feed it small amounts every hour. Hence the Depressed Bulimic Barn Owl. About two weeks later they gave me a call to say that it it started to eat normally and was a bit happier so they moved it in the the aviary for winter. When I called back in the spring, it had survived winter and had been released back into the wild. So all in all a happy tale.
So all if you can, please go to http://www.knoxwood.org/ and support this worthy local charity, it is family run and desperatly need your help so that more animals can be looked after.