spoiler: and the pigeon lived happily ever after
although I hope it gets whatever the pigeon equivalent of therapy is
Three members of our household, and one neighborhood pigeon, had a highly dramatic start to our Sunday morning.
(hi! let’s just pretend like it’s been fewer than five months since I last sent a newsletter and move on)
I need to brag about my dog this morning, and since I’m taking time off every social media platform at the moment, here I am in your inbox.
I woke up at 5 a.m. and decided to put Woodrow outside to pee. It’s looking like another gorgeous day out there. The sun’s not up yet but you can tell already that sunrise is going to be one of those memorable ones. Now, here, I wish to do a metaphor about either the perfect fruit smoothie or rock concerts, and I can’t decide which because great sunrises are both, so please just imagine a Jamba Juice fronting at the Foo Fighters show.
We were in the garden all day yesterday (when I wasn’t writing, that is), so today, my entire body hurts. I planted a new clematis, and I pulled up half the potato plants from the center planter. We made the mistake of planting potatoes a few years ago, and although we were super proud of the first crop of potatoes (urban potato farmers! can you even), now, no matter how many times we remove potatoes from our garden, the potatoes keep coming back every spring and fall like some sort of terrifying eldritch curse but in complex starch form.
While Woodrow was outside, I sort of collapse-melted onto our couch to wait for him, owing to all the tiredness and potato cursebreaking.
I heard a big “THUNK.”
We bought some new plants and trees yesterday, so my first assumption was that something had fallen over, and I got up to investigate.
By the patio door was a stunned pigeon, sort of flapping around and looking disconsolate, like “hey who put the giant trick mirror in my way, what the shit, Lana.”
This has happened at our place once before. It was sad the first time also. That time, it was a tiny finch, and it hit the door, then sat around for like an hour. When I started to worry it was going to get dehydrated just sitting there, I did a bunch of Googling, prepared a cardboard box and got brave enough to grab a towel and attempt to catch it.
The second I got near it with the towel, it flew off.
But this time, it wasn’t a little finch, it was a full-grown pigeon.
As you’ll recall, Woodrow was outside. He too had heard the thunk noise, and he too came over to investigate.
Now, as has been canvassed in my writing many times over, my dog, as a cocker spaniel, is highly motivated by interest in — and attendant distrust and hatred of — birds. This is universal. Every bird, every time. Case in point: right now, as I write this, he is running up and down the patio barking derangedly at some loudly honking Canada geese who have had the temerity to land on our building several times this morning.
But anyway, earlier, Woodrow came over to investigate the thunk noise just as I opened the patio door. Things happened quickly. The pigeon flapped unhappily but couldn’t yet fly because it had just crashed into the window seconds before. Its wings, I noticed, were both sticking out at crazy angles.
Woodrow jumped and made a grab for the bird as it tried to fly away, and he caught it. This must have been one of the crowning moments of his life, as he was of course operating solely on instinct. Before he grabbed it, I was already screaming “COME, NO, DROP, NOOO WOODROW” and do you know what?
He dropped it. There were a few scrabbling, traumatic seconds of bird vs. dog, but when he clocked that I was yelling in a “do not ignore” voice, he dropped the bird, came inside, and sat next to me.
That is how good my dog is, people. He overrode his “smash all birds to the ground 4ever” reptile programming, and he came inside. And sat next to me.
I was still screaming (“Grant! Help! I need you! Please! PIGEON!”) and Grant stumbled out of our bedroom and heard me shrieking (“Grant! There’s a bird! Help!”) so he went on the patio and observed, not wanting to spook the pigeon any further.
It flap-hopped over to the corner of our patio and sat there, perhaps tallying up the number of feathers it lost in the skirmish (no fewer than 24, though some may have blown away in the interim).
Grant, knowing we humans often do more harm to wildlife than good when we try to help them, decided to just leave it alone and see how it would do if it had a cocker-spaniel-less second to calm down.
I had gone inside and gotten on the ground in child’s pose, and as the adrenaline subsided I started crying, so when Grant came back inside, I sobbed “ARE HIS WINGS BROKEN?” and “WOODROW GRABBED HIM AS HE TRIED TO FLY AWAY” and so on.
Grant affirmed that his wings seemed okay — he had folded them back in and was just sitting quietly, not moving, probably downloading the pigeon version of the Calm app and trying to get its heart back into its chest cavity.
I took Woodrow downstairs for a walk so we could both work out some nervous energy (me more than him, honestly. I think he had had a capital morning.) and then we came back upstairs and tried to sleep for another 90 minutes or so.
When we got out of bed, Grant went to the window to check on the pigeon.
Worryingly, it was still sitting in the same place. But as soon as it saw Grant through the window, it started, and flew away.
And I assume is, even as we speak, regaling all of its pigeon friends with its tale of survival in the face of some real type 3 fun.
Anyway, here he is, folks, the greatest, gentlest, un-pigeon-murderingest dog in the entire UNIVERSE: