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Monday, July 23, 2012

Walter Pigeon................

One day back when I was working at the bank, I was on my way home at night and a pigeon flapped his way across the road in front of my car. He was injured, probably hit by a car. I went home and got my daughter and we went back in search of the pigeon. We found and caught him. He had a broken wing. Next day we took him to our vet who tried to set the wing. It was not a success. So it looked like the chap was done for. I called the wildlife place and asked if we could bring him there but all they would do would be to put him down. He was not "wildlife" That did not seem fair. I thought they could keep him to allow for a recovery and set him free. Well...........that began the story of Walter Pigeon. He lived with us for 15 years. (Note to self: Do not pick up any more damaged pigeons) My husband built a cage for him that we lined with newspaper to change out daily. It had a lid on it that lifted off and we set him in the window so he could see outside. It was large and had a perch. As time went by it became obvious that the wing would not heal and walter would not fly again. So what to do.............we had at that time a deck on the back of the house that was attached to a back enclosed porch with windows. We had two rabbits at the time who were living out there. We would let walter out of his cage and out onto the deck. He got along ok with the rabbit and the poodle. He would come inside the house and sit on the stairs and look outside on days he could not go outside. One day he came running in all panicked and I went out to see a hawk sitting on the telephone lines. Poor Walter thought he was to be lunch. Some days when it was hot out I would put a big roasting pan out and fill it with water with the hose running into it, Walter would take a bath and a shower and have a great old time. We never really handled him a lot because we had thought he could be free again some day, but that was never to be. He was not afraid of us but did not enjoy being held. He knew he was safe in the house and had no problem seeking refuge when he needed to. Some nights he didn't want to come in but we had to insist. He would be very happy sitting in his cage looking out the window on days he could not go out and for most of the winter months. Who would believe he would have lived so long, long after the rabbits were gone. I don't have a picture on my computer of Walter but he looked very much like the one in the picture. Except Walter was prettier, he had the green band around his neck. We don't see many pigeons around any more. They used to hang out by the grainery down by McGoughs feed store but I think the powers that be got rid of them, we don't see them on 8th st any more sitting in the road, or wheeling and diving overhead. I miss them. Pigeon Walter was put to sleep on Dec 2nd 2000. I don't know the normal life span of a wild pigeon but for what it was, Walter had a good life. He loved his food and had stopped eating. I took him to the vet and it was decided to put him peacefully to sleep. His crop was not working anymore or some such thing so I could not let him suffer. Sort of ironic really because we had just bought him a brand new cage that cost be 100 dollars. Should have kept him in his box that he loved so much. This is a poem I wrote when he died.
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Walter Pigeon
Walter Pigeon died today... Shed a tear with me. He lived with us for 15 years, Now he's flying free. No bars confine his spirit now, No more broken wing. His body's healed, his spirit too. He's where the Angels sing. Goodbye old friend, My sometime love. Goodbye old Pigeon, My little grey dove.
JKS

3 comments:

Tracey@Breathing English Air said...

Fifteen years is incredible! I just looked up their lifespan, and it said in the wild they usually live only 3 to 5 years, but can live longer in captivity. It sounds like Walter's accident meant he was able to live many more years than he would have done otherwise. I think your poem is lovely.

NanaDiana said...

What a beautiful piece of poetry. I can tell you loved that sweet dove...Blessings and it was a wonderful story-- xo Diana

Cindy Adkins said...

Hi Janice,
What a great story! It sounds like something I'd do! When I read your poem, I almost started crying!
Hugs, Cindy