Thoughts of a Dog Therapist – Sidney

I was happily going about my working day the other week when I received a call from Kev. He told me I needed to get an area ready for Sidney.
Who the hell was Sidney? And what did he mean get an area ready for him?

Well Sidney happened to be a black headed gull that Kev found at the side of the road with a smashed wing. He was desperately trying to get up the curb and out of the busy road but couldn’t and it took Kev all of 30 seconds to decide that he couldn’t just leave him there to die.

He arrived home and I assessed the situation so that I could give the wildlife people as much information as possible about his condition. He was lively (loved to bite) but his wing was in pieces and bleeding. I have them a ring and was told I was welcome to take him down to them but because of how far away I was they recommended I take him to the local vets and have him assessed and possibly put to sleep. They said if his wing was in the condition I said then it’s unlikely they’ll be able to fix it, so he’ll never fly again and won’t survive back out in the wild. The best thing to do would be to put him to sleep now.

When I told Kev this he wasn’t having any of it he said we needed to fix him up and give him a chance and if he couldn’t fly again then we could introduce him to the ducks and he can live with them. They allow all of the other wild birds to share their food, water and house so why not Sidney.

I had reservations, I didn’t know what the best thing to do was, on one hand this was a life that we were just going to end, on the other it was probably in his best interest to do so. Eventually I decided to ask him what he wanted….. yes I communicated with a gull!!!!
What’s the point in having this superpower if I’m not going to use it right 🤷‍♀️

It turns out Sidney is a girl 💝 and SHE wanted to be given the chance. She’s aware that she may never fly again and is happy with the idea of sharing the ducks home, she showed me her swimming on a pond/lake with wild ducks and said that she would regularly do that in the wild when she needed to wash, drink or find food.

So I set about repairing her wing and after treating the wounds, realigning the bones as best I could with my fingers and strapping it up in the right places, I’d done a job I reckon Supervet would have been proud of!!
The whole time I was doing this she just laid there calmly, she didn’t try to bite me once, she was just happy I was respecting her wishes.

I set her up a temporary home in the last remaining free dog kennel and left her to settle in with some water and the only food I had available at the time, a mixture of duck and chicken food. I then researched what gulls eat and found that they eat mainly worms, insects fish and carrion. So I defrosted some of the dogs frozen sprats and chicken and have her some mealworms, she ate a couple of the sprays almost instantly and I left her with a few to make sure she had enough. When I came back an hour later they were completely gone. I was shocked, I didn’t realise gulls ate that much, she’s only little.

Over the next couple of days we went through 50-60 sprays as well as the other food items I had thrown in there. I told Kev she was gonna eat us out of house and home.
When I got home from work the next day he informed me that Sidney wasn’t the one eating all of that food. He had been cooking his lunch earlier in the day and witnessed 6 or 7 magpies going in and out through the kennel bars and stealing her food!!

Now I don’t have anything against the local magpie massive but I didn’t really want to become their local Sprat dealer, I’ve heard that’s not a position that looks good on a CV. So for the second time in a couple of months I headed out with my chicken wire and secured yet another kennel, this time against magpies instead of foxes.

Sidney now gets to eat in peace and we’re actually going through less than 10 sprats and a few mealworms a day. She healing well, the wing has no signs of infection in the wounds and she actually seems happy to let me pick her up and check her over. She hasn’t chewed my fingers lately so I think we might be bonding 😂🐦