We were contacted by SFACC shelter staff on December 9th about a “domestic pigeon in need of medical care”. The notes went on to say, “SURRENDERED DUE TO THE FLOCK BEATING UP ON HER. BIRD IS BANDED AND WAS BRED TO BE A RACING PIGEON BUT IS JUST A PET DUE TO HER DEFORMITY. SHE DRAGS HERSELF ON THE FLOOR OF THE COOP. BIRD IS NOT EATING ON ITS OWN.”
The young pigeon, whom we have since named Aries, had suffered a broken ankle. Without treatment, it had become infected, healed improperly and made it impossible for her to walk. One of our foster volunteers, Xavier, rushed to pick her up. She was filthy, emaciated and weak. (The fact that an injured racing pigeon was surrendered to the shelter by her owner rather than killed is atypical. We are grateful for the compassion she was shone.)
In the two weeks since her intake, thanks to the loving care of her fosters and help from the vets, Aries has made remarkable progress. She’s eating on her own (ravenously), gaining weight and strength, her infection has been knocked out and her pain is under control. Now, instead of being neglected and picked on, she’s getting lots of love and support and she’s soaking it up.
She still can’t walk though and on December 20th she was hospitalized at Medical Center for Birds in preparation for the surgical breaking and resetting of her mishealed ankle.
Aries will have her procedure this afternoon, December 22nd, and will wake up with a newly-broken ankle that is positioned properly and hopefully, with time and care, will heal functionally. (For a similar story, see rescued racer Aurora.)
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December 23, 2014 Update:
Aries’ ankle has been rebroken, repositioned and is supported in a special pigeon-friendly cast. She tolerated the anesthesia and procedure well and is doing great! Here are photos taken yesterday during…
She’s eating heartily, preening and is already able, with a little help from hobbles and a shoe, to use her legs (rather than her wings) to stand and to walk! Tomorrow, volunteers will pick her up and take back to her foster home to continue her recovery. Here she is today. Thank you so very much for helping us to help this sweet bird!