Rescue work of any kind is overwhelming and daunting and exhausting. And never ending. There are so many critical priorities facing us, so many worthy causes needing support- one has to ask, does pigeon & dove rescue make a difference?
After 6 years and more than 600 birds that we have saved by taking them into our care, my answer is yes.
Each of the birds we help reflects a series of choices- Does a volunteer fight traffic, crazy gas prices and her already-too full schedule to pick up an injured or ill bird facing death in an animal shelter? MickaCoo answers yes to that question. But that's only the beginning. Each bird requires care- sometimes for many months or even a couple of years and, in some cases- very expensive care. Each bird puts our tender hearts at risk- MickaCoo prioritizes helping the worst off and most at-risk. Why choose to help these birds when the costs are so high? What difference do the lives of these birds make?
On the night of May 31st, someone found a young King pigeon huddling at the corner of 33rd & Rivera in the heart of San Francisco's Sunset District and got him to SF's open-door shelter- Animal Care & Control. I first met him the following day when a concerned volunteer asked me to come in from the outreach event we were attending outside and do a welfare check on him. He was battered and filthy, scared and shut down but he didn't show any treatable signs. One of the shelter volunteers named him Gemini. I reluctantly put him back into his cage.
The next day, I stopped back in at the shelter to check on him. We were too full to take him in but I was worried and wanted to see how he was doing. I was happy to see that he was feeling better and was relaxed at the front of his kennel- watching the world go by.
I next saw Gemini at our 6/8 This Flock Rocks! Fundraising and Adoption event. He arrived scared in a travel crate with an ACC staffer to join us for the day and represent for the shelter. Despite the party atmosphere that had to be overwhelming, he got happier when we took him out and so we put pants on him and tried him as a brand new pigeon ambassador. Gemini was amazing! He soaked up the attention, charmed everybody and transitioned from his past as factory farmed poultry to a future of show-stealing companion animal in an afternoon.
Upon his return to the animal shelter, Gemini was promoted to living in the Lobby Cage where he sat in a place of honor presiding over the busy comings and goings of SFACC. Everybody loved him but nobody adopted him.
Months went by. On August 24th, we were notified that Gemini had been moved into the shelter's sick room and, with that, we chose to squeeze him in to our already overfull caseload of foster birds. A volunteer picked him up that day.
Happily, while Gemini did seem depressed and he was going through a pretty hard molt, he seems OK otherwise and is doing well now that he is in our foster care. For the first couple of days, he lived indoors where he could be given extra TLC and monitored while also getting increasingly longer visits to the aviary. Now he's living full time in a big, beautiful foster aviary. He is still getting extra attention from his foster mom and he clearly enjoys the snuggle time. We continue to monitor Gemini's health and of course, we need to find him a wonderful forever home.
So what difference does pigeon & dove rescue make? For Gemini, it is making all the difference. And I believe I speak for all of the folks who have helped Gemini along the way when I say that we are glad that when we had the choice to help or not, we helped; when we had the choice to care or not, we chose to care.
Thank you for choosing to care. Gemini owes his life to you. He asked me to tell you how grateful he is.
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