It’s day #12 of smoke-filled skies and people wearing face masks to be able to breathe. The Butte fire is half contained and still sending smoke our way, making for unhealthy air quality.
I walked over to the kitchen window this morning and glanced over to my fountain in the back yard. Dozens of tiny birds were flocking to it, taking turns bathing in the water bubbling at the top. Their feathers must be filled with soot from the smoke.
How many other animals could benefit from clean sources of water? Here in the Bay Area we have all kinds of critters. I know this because I’ve seen dead ones along our roads and freeways, plus I’ve seen live ones waddling across the streets at midnight on my way home from dancing.
The news is filled with heartbreak for the animals in the fires as well as the people. Many pets took off when the flames got close, and families had to leave without them. Now the news shows horses being found, dogs running loose, cats burned on their paw pads, all of them thirsty and hungry. There are as many donations coming in for animals as for the humans.
A horse jumped into a swimming pool and survived the conflagration. It couldn’t get out until a couple of first responders helped it get untangled from the pool cover and find the shallow end. Dogs covered in ash come up to humans and sometimes get into the truck or car and sometimes run off again.
In southern California, horses and even llamas were taken to the beaches and tied to lifeguard towers while their owners fled the fires. The animals survived.
I have animals living in my twenty-foot tall hedge out front. Whenever I walk one of my dogs, I can hear them shifting around as we pass the privet hedge. It might be a skunk, a wild rabbit or a feral cat. My neighbor says I should spray Round-up on the hedge and get rid of it. It is hard to handle with ongoing maintenance, requiring trimming on a regular basis. But I am not going to get rid of it. It borders the park. It is filled with animals when it rains (please let it rain). It is cover for wild animals year round but especially during cold wet windy weather.
We need wild animals. What a sorry world it would be without them. Wild animals need water to drink, food to eat, and a place to live. I am happy to share my hedge, my fountain and my bird seed with them.
I only wish I could help the fire animals. They will forever be affected by what happened to them. I know, I adopted a fire dog last year. She is calmer now but still a little weirdo. Lots of anxiety. Sticks to me like glue. Hates trucks and other noises.
Daisy, I wish I could foster ten more of you until the owners get themselves a place to live.
You are one of the lucky ones.