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Author Topic: A Failure to Summon Death  (Read 5565 times)

NibbleKat

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2012, 11:54:25 am »
Quote from: Altair;74274
A few days ago, on a lunchtime stroll around midtown Manhattan, I passed a pigeon that apparently had been hit by a car. It was flopping around on the sidewalk in a pathetic and hopeless attempt to right its twisted body. A well-intentioned young woman was trying to reach some humane society on her cellphone to come take the bird away to help it, presumably at some imagined pigeon healing center. (It was hard not to guffaw at her naivete.)


Your main questions aside there are wildlife places that do take care of things like this, or say, birds that fall out of nests, deer that have been hit by cars, etc, etc.   I know of at least two in my area.

So, she wasn't being that naieve, in all honesty.  Hopeful, sure.  But I wouldn't have laughed at her.
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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2012, 12:16:00 pm »
Quote from: Altair;74306
Sorry, but that sounds like an awful thing to make kids do. Especially if the adult is the one who injured the bird, causing the situation in the first place.

 
I mean, no need to apologize, it was an awful thing to make kids do, and I'm not lauding it.  My childhood was...complicated, and my mother, especially as my first teacher in witch-work, is...complicated.  
I think I had an instinct to be there and witness the death, eye-to-eye, in part because there was something so wrong about it.  But yeah, it was like she decided we needed to learn about death and took the opportunity of her mistake to make it happen.
In general, she was very much of the "push the baby bird out of the nest and hope it learns to fly on the way down" school of parenting and teaching.  I will do things differently.
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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2012, 12:33:08 pm »
Quote from: Tana;74314

So trying to help as far as possible, and when the only help possible is to have the poor thing put down, so be it. But I won't do it myself, because I just can't and I can't do it right because I am squeamish and don't see that as a thing to be ashamed off. I don't see a need to be able to kill with my own hands.

But I accompanied my own pets and some wild birds right to their last breath, because I don't shy away from that either.

 
I'm with you. I wouldn't have been able to kill the pigeon with my hands, I know that right off the bat. But I'd like to think I would have been able to hold it while it died, or would have taken it to the vet to have it put down by someone else.

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Altair

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2012, 01:55:58 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;74323
Your main questions aside there are wildlife places that do take care of things like this, or say, birds that fall out of nests, deer that have been hit by cars, etc, etc.   I know of at least two in my area.


I guess part of my point, albeit unspoken, is that such places wouldn't deal with pigeons, considering that (in most of the world) they're a feral species (rather than a truly wild or native one) that's superabundant and regarded by many as a nuisance. Wildlife rehabilitators have *very* limited resources; the chances that they're going to use them on a doomed pigeon are nil.
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NibbleKat

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2012, 02:39:38 pm »
Quote from: Altair;74329
I guess part of my point, albeit unspoken, is that such places wouldn't deal with pigeons, considering that (in most of the world) they're a feral species (rather than a truly wild or native one) that's superabundant and regarded by many as a nuisance. Wildlife rehabilitators have *very* limited resources; the chances that they're going to use them on a doomed pigeon are nil.

 
It might be a regional thing;  we might be lucky where I live in that things like injured squirrels and deer are still taken care of when it's possible by places that run mostly on donations.

I guess pigeons can be compared more to feral cats than deer... though in my area, there are quite a few feral cat rehab/trap and release/outreach programs (also on donations).  

It would be interesting to find out if there are wildlife places that take care of pigeons in your area-- and probably mildly heartbreaking to find out there aren't. :)

But again, that's really more OT than it should be.
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DancesWithHorses

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2012, 03:27:54 pm »
Quote from: Altair;74274
What would you have done in that situation? What would your beliefs have called upon you to do? And in a very real, practical sense, what role does death play in your daily life? What role do you think it should play?


I would have snapped its neck, if I had to go that far. Most of the time, calling on my gift/curse is enough. I've helped far too many animals move on to count. Life and death are part of my everyday, it exists. Animals die, or I assist in their death. Their soul moves on, and their bodies either enter the food chain or are properly disposed. Most of the time, it just takes a quick touch of my hand to ease the pain and allow them to move on. My beliefs mean that I can not abuse my gift, I can not ease the way for someone/something that does not want to go but I also can not reverse the process of letting go.

Sometimes its a curse, the aftermath is difficult to deal with. It's really really hard to come to terms with knowing that you can summon death with a touch. I don't talk about it much, I've known I can do this for years, and while that eerie feeling as I watch them leave has faded with time, as time goes on, I had to accept that it could not just be mere coincidence that animals were dying on my lap or within minutes of me petting them. Don't get me wrong, I do my best to try to save them but often, I'm just there as a way for them to pass on. I've carried goat kids up to the shed with the meds knowing what I wanted to administer and had them die on the way.

Death is not something to be feared, it is just the start of a new beginning. Fear of death and fighting it in fear makes it a lot worse. There is a difference in fighting it with the will to live and fighting it in fear. For me, death is as much part of my life as anything else, it happens. I don't like it but I accept it. Such is the life of a farmer.
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Catherine

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2012, 03:39:56 pm »
Quote from: Altair;74329
I guess part of my point, albeit unspoken, is that such places wouldn't deal with pigeons, considering that (in most of the world) they're a feral species (rather than a truly wild or native one) that's superabundant and regarded by many as a nuisance. Wildlife rehabilitators have *very* limited resources; the chances that they're going to use them on a doomed pigeon are nil.

 
I do know of at least one place in my area that takes in pigeons. They even had two a while back, that couldn't be released, up for adoption! So, there might be a place near you.

Either way, I don't think you should beat yourself up about it. It would be a hard thing to do. Especially with the situation coming at you out of the blue like that. You didn't really have any time to think about it, or to prepare yourself at all. I think it's natural to be squeamish in a situation like that.

Annie Roonie

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2012, 04:37:32 pm »
Quote from: Altair;74274

What would you have done in that situation? What would your beliefs have called upon you to do? And in a very real, practical sense, what role does death play in your daily life? What role do you think it should play?



It's hard too say what I would do in your situation because I don't live in a big city and I don't know what kind of resources there are at hand. Here it woud be much easier I think. Rocks or heavy things are easy to find and there is brush or tall grass on most corners. So when I find something like this near death or already dead, it's not as difficult to deal with. I don't trust my hand strength and have used a rock or log to end something quickly by taking care of the brain and then placing the body in the brush etc.

It happens here quite a bit on the bike trail. During busy sunny days, the little critters have it harder crossing the paths. I am accustomed to it so much that a friend calls whenever her cat leaves something on her stoop so I can take care of it. I think no less of her for this. My friend can handle other things I have trouble with, so that I can handle this one is simply a difference not better or worse and I am glad I can be of service.

I didn't start off being able to do this. Before one if my dogs passed, I knew something was wrong, told my mom and hot footed it out of the house all day. When I came home it was over. The feeling I had from that is probably what now makes it easier for me to be present and help, if necessary, in the death.

Honestly, I don't think everybody should do it. If there is any reason why a person can't, they shoudn't IMO. Some can have lasting emotions associated with it that could make dealing with other things more difficult. I would rather they call someone who is more at ease with it so it is faster and more sure for the animal and with fewer side effects for all.

However, with a pet, I'll be present, but will leave the death up to the vets. I have been to emotionally upset and do not imagine even if I had the means, that I would be able to do it. I think that's okay too.

I do not know what role death should play practically. I learned this summer something about not stopping death when I could. I saw a snake eating a mouse live on the side of the trail. I could have easily stopped that death, but I didn't feel like it was right to do so. It was hard to watch but I felt I should. And I've also learned to let go of the dead as concerns the body. At one time I would bury a critter, but then saw how the turkey vultures would work to dig it out for food they needed. So now I just lay them in the grass so they can become a part of a new cycle.

I agree with the others who've said not to beat yourself up. You have clearly felt something from it and considered it at length and allowed us to consider it too. This, to me, does a kind of honor to that bird.

Annie Roonie

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2012, 04:38:24 pm »
Quote from: DancesWithHorses;74341
I don't like it but I accept it. Such is the life of a farmer.


 I  thought of you when I read the original post.

DancesWithHorses

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2012, 04:47:24 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;74351
I  thought of you when I read the original post.

 
Thanks. I've been away for the last little while due aftermath issues related to this gift/curse of mine.
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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2012, 07:13:28 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;74311
I don't think I could have done it. I'd be afraid of doing it wrong and causing more pain and suffering without actually killing it.

 
This.

It's not the doing it, so much; I don't think I'd be very troubled afterwards by a successful coup de grâce (though this is one of those things that you can't truly know until you've gone through it), nor would those particular qualms be a major factor in hesitation/trepidation beforehand.

But the possibility of muffing it would almost certainly render me unable to even make the attempt.  There couldn't be a second try; a failed first try would turn me into a quivering, gibbering lump of self-reproach, incapable of doing anything constructive - I know that, so I probably wouldn't even make that first try.

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yewberry

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2012, 01:49:49 am »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;74350
Honestly, I don't think everybody should do it. If there is any reason why a person can't, they shoudn't IMO. Some can have lasting emotions associated with it that could make dealing with other things more difficult. I would rather they call someone who is more at ease with it so it is faster and more sure for the animal and with fewer side effects for all.

I kind of disagree.  We'd never learn how to do anything if we didn't practice first (my quote in your sig line).  And yes, we make a muddle of things (even the death of unfortunate critters), but practice is often needed to do it well and painlessly.

Brina
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 01:54:14 am by yewberry »

yewberry

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2012, 01:53:27 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;74372
There couldn't be a second try; a failed first try would turn me into a quivering, gibbering lump of self-reproach, incapable of doing anything constructive - I know that, so I probably wouldn't even make that first try.


Nobody wants to hear this...but it gets easier.  People want to believe that it's always going to be as brutal the second as the twenty-eighth time.  Mostly because believing this makes them seem less like monsters.  It's not true, though (at least not for most folks).  It's never easy, but it's definitely easier.

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2012, 02:58:31 am »
Quote from: Altair;74329
I guess part of my point, albeit unspoken, is that such places wouldn't deal with pigeons, considering that (in most of the world) they're a feral species (rather than a truly wild or native one) that's superabundant and regarded by many as a nuisance. Wildlife rehabilitators have *very* limited resources; the chances that they're going to use them on a doomed pigeon are nil.

 
In Bergen the relevant 'authority' is a bird of prey (can't recall what type) that nests on top of the county offices, with an excellent view of the parks, according to an ornithologist I spoke with. Any wounded pigeon will not last long enough to suffer.

In other areas, cats, foxes, etc. will probably be happy to do the job for us (and those which aren't scavengers probably prefer to do it themselves, even).

I can pick up a half-dead kitty gift and throw it out in a ditch, but I don't think I'd be able to kill anything bigger than an insect. I have a hard time with slugs, even. When kitty gets to that point in life, I will take her to the vet, and I'll be there with her.
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EJay

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Re: A Failure to Summon Death
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2012, 05:33:23 am »
Quote from: Altair;74274
A few days ago, on a lunchtime stroll around midtown Manhattan, I passed a pigeon that apparently had been hit by a car.

What would you have done in that situation? What would your beliefs have called upon you to do? And in a very real, practical sense, what role does death play in your daily life? What role do you think it should play?


That's always such a heart-breaking situation.  I've gone through it many times and what I do is capture the animal (if possible) and take it to someone who can help or put it down, if need be.

I can't be the one to kill it myself.  I'll hold the animal and comfort it as I can, but I've learned that I'm not good at being the harbinger of death.  I used to take care of some snakes at an educational facility and I raised mice to feed them.  Now, I have no problems with feeding mice to snakes.  My problem was being the one who decided which mouse got to live and which one was going to die.

Death is a daily part of my life.  I work in a hospice and I know there are many things that are worse than death.  Fortunately, palliative care gives a chance at a quality of life to the end of life.

Realistically, there's not really palliative care for a pigeon with a broken neck.  There is no chance at a quality of life and helping an animal avoid more pain and panic is something I will go way out of my way to do.  I can't kill it myself, but I will hold it while someone else does.

This doesn't alleviate me in my responsibility of bringing the animal to death because it's my decision to take the action.  I've just learned that I have a calling to help other beings through their final times as they near death.  I also know that my hands aren't meant to be the ones to actually deliver death.

I get the question all the time how I can do what I do, and the simple answer is, I do it because I can.  At the same time, I can hold a pigeon while it's put down, but I can't be the one to put it down so I need help for that.  There are those that can do it, and they do it because they can.

Best~
EJay
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