This I Believe

Amy - Winooski, Vermont
Entered on December 1, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe it is my responsibility to help wildlife that has been affected by environmental problems caused by humans. I have felt this way since I became aware that wildlife can be harmed by human activities. In the winter of 2004, this very belief was not only created but tested as well.

At that time, I was volunteering at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, in Newark, Delaware. From the year I had started volunteering at the center, I have seen various injuries from broken wings to eye pox. However, none of any of my experiences were as difficult and terrible as one day in the winter of 2004. That day, I was asked to handle a goose so that the veterinarians could do medical procedures. This Canadian goose had been shot and had lead poisoning. Both of these illnesses were human-related. When the veterinarian unwrapped the bright orange bandages off the bird’s wing, I cringed at the oozing bullet protruding from its wing. I felt so sorry for this bird; it must have been in so much pain. Not only did I feel sad for the goose because a bullet was stuck in its wing but also because a person shot this bird and left it to die and suffer in a field. I was frustrated because there was nothing that I could do that would change the situation. I could only provide nurturing comfort to the goose.

Unfortunately, where the bullet stayed in the bird and with the level of lead poisoning the bird had, saving its life wasn’t an option. The veterinarian told me that the bird would have to be put down. I couldn’t watch, I loved animals too much and it seemed like I could feel the pain from that animal. I left the operating room and sat in the volunteer lounge, feeling overwhelmed with sadness. I was angry at the person who did that to the bird and I was devastated that the bird had to die that way. Since that day, I have come to the conclusion that it is my purpose in life to protect wild animals from the dangers of humans. And I will continue to volunteer my time to help animals that need me and can’t help themselves.