Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I understand that three weeks is a rather long time...

Between essays, exams, no internet, and just general life, updating was not an option, I'm afraid.
So, let's fix that.
Yes, it will be a long one.
No pictures, though.

When I arrived back in Dublin on the ninth, it was a veritable winter wonderland. Five inches of snow is not a lot, but it is enough to make everything look clean and lovely and soft. Enough, as well, for snow ball fights, snow angels, snowmen, and attempts to turn the front of the house into a snow fort. Snow.

It was even cold enough for the canal to freeze solidly (in most places). We felt dangerous and cool walking across it. Well, until two of my lovelies decided the most badass thing to do would be to make snow angels on the canal. I've had enough experience with Little Women to know that fucking around on ice is a bad idea unless Christian Bale is around to save you. Everyone was fine, though.

While we were enjoying our midnight frolic, we noticed a small crowd had gathered by on the banks of the canal by the bridge. We went to check it out and discovered that people were trying to rescue a juvenile swan who was had been separated from the others and was now trapped in the ice. They managed to get it out and the poor animal was hypothermic. One of my housemates grabbed a bunch of towels and blankets from the house and we bundled her (we decided she was a girl) up and spoke with the people who had were on the scene before us about what to do. We wound up taking her in for the night because...The crowd pretty much left.

Thus began the problem of how five college students will keep a swan alive.

Now, I'm going to stop right here. This is not an entry to alert the world to how totally awesome we are and bitch about how the world is selfish and awful and aren't we the most morally-sound-sexy-awesome people ever.

We called every organization from the DSPCA, to the emergency veterinary clinics, to the Bird Rescue, to the Gardai. Everything was closed or unwilling to help.
Things we learned:
-animal emergencies don't happen after eight at night, especially on Sundays
-only pets are worth saving
-the police will laugh at you

We wound up using a duffle bag as a cradle to bring Alex, as we named her, to the UCD emergency veterinary hospital. For reasons which are not UCD's fault (blame The Man) we were not allowed to bring Alex further than the building's atrium. There she was given antibiotics and we were given advice on how to care for her. That was all they could do.

Shining light in this: The taxi driver (whose name we all wish we had gotten) who drove us in the unplowed, icy roads to UCD and back home, did so for free. Actually, the kindest man ever. He was as upset as we were and went far above and beyond what anyone could have expected.

We set Alex up in the spare room with food, water, hot water bottles, towels--anything we could. The folks at the veterinary hospital told us that the stress of being taken out of her environment and just the events of the night might cause her too much stress and kill her either way, so it was best if we mostly left her alone once she could support her head on her own. So, we did.

We stayed up until about five, taking turns checking on her now and again. Alex seemed to be doing better. Sadly, in the end, she didn't make it. We think that it was too great for her and she simply gave up.

After we all realized what had happened, we had to figure out what to do.

Other things we learned:
-Nothing is open on Sunday. Especially if there is snow.
-Vets and emergency animal services will do nothing if the deceased animal is not a pet.
-The Dublin City Council would normally help in these instances. Unfortunately, swans are a protected species and, thus, cannot be handled by the city's workers.
-The Gardai are lovely. 'Not to be rude, but what the hell can we do with a dead swan?'

Shining light, Version 2.0: Clontarf Animal Hospital. They were the only ones to answer their phone. We brought Alex to them and, well, that was all we could do.

What was the point of all this, then?
While it is not clear that Alex would have survived the night no matter what, she would have stood a much better chance were there not such a failing on society's end. We were less than pleased with the organizations we attempted to contact, particularly the DSPCA, who had only one person on call for emergencies and he was not a vet. This, however, is a matter of funding. I have no grand ideas that giving a fiver will save all of the animals in the world and cure us from apathy and destruction. But it can't hurt. So, give if you can.
DSPCA, or your own branch of animal welfare.

Less heavy topics next time, I promise.

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