A walk on the beach that I’ll always remember

Published 10:51 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

Something always good comes from picking up fluffy animals. Right? Okay, minus the time I accidentally touched the continent’s most venomous caterpillar, which was very soft and fuzzy. (We won’t rehash that story. . .)
My favorite coffee shop allows dogs inside, which is all fine and dandy until I have work to do and there’s a goldendoodle puppy sitting right beside me. The owner of the puppy, who fosters them, lets me hold her puppies for as long as I want while she works. Needless to say, I get very little work done, but it’s totally worth it every time.
The good that came from it?  
I made friends with a lot of people who wanted to pet the puppy; the dog’s owner got some work done; and, well, I got to cuddle a goldendoodle.
See? Good things always come from picking up fluffy animals. One time I potentially saved a bird’s life because I thought it was cute and wanted to hold it. (Yeah, that’s right).
Picture it: summer 2020.
I was walking on the beach one evening by myself. It wasn’t too hot, and the tide was very far out, so distant that when I saw a black lump at the edge of a tidal pool near the waves, I couldn’t make out what exactly it was.
So I approached the black lump, thinking it was probably the shell of a horseshoe crab or a washed-up wad of seaweed.
But it was a bird, sitting there in the wet sand.
Even though I expected it to fly away, I still went to the bird, and to my surprise, he just sat still as if I weren’t even there.
Then I touched him. And I started to pet him. And he let me. So I said to him, “Welp, I’m going to take you home with me.”
I picked up the bird and carried it a quarter-mile down the beach with him cradled against my chest and balanced on the length of my forearm. It was quite large, and very relaxed––alarmingly so.
After contacting the island’s Nature Center, they met me on the boardwalk and informed me that the bird was hardly ever spotted by humans. His legs, they said, were too weak to walk on land because this species lives on water, and he was nearly lethargic because he’d been malnourished from being stuck on the beach since the tide went out, which is why he couldn’t fly.
The people from the Nature Center said I was right to rescue the bird and make sure it was okay. Otherwise, it might’ve been too weak to fly away once the tide came back in.
My unaccompanied walk on the beach became a memory I’d definitely never forget, mostly because I got to hold a rare bird rarely seen by humans, and I got to talk to it all the way down to the boardwalk.
So if you approach a bird that doesn’t fly away from you, absolutely pick it up. Same goes for all the fluffy puppies you see.
I know I will, today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life!

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