Animal lovers give injured owl a second chance
Dennis MacKenzie could have continued without blowing a whistle.
He was already late for his son’s basketball game in Crapaud, PEI
But when MacKenzie spotted an apparently injured owl at the side of the freeway, he didn’t hesitate to pull over.
This is a guy whose mother brought an injured seal pup home for a month when he was a teenager.
So why shouldn’t he stop to help an owl peeking out of the burrow?
“That would be my question,” he said. “I think we should all be ready to stop and help whatever is in need somewhere.”
The owl was indeed in distress.
When MacKenzie went back to check, it tried to cross the street. He blocked traffic and allowed it to cross safely.
“He couldn’t fly. His right wing was clearly injured,” he said.
MacKenzie then drove about 10 minutes to Englewood School, dropped off the basketball players, and circled back to see if he could find the owl.
Wearing only Crocs on his feet, he followed tracks in the snow from his dragging wing and found him in a field.
His first call was to another animal lover, Candy Gallant, whom he had met by chance at an event a week earlier.
Gallant, who runs PEI Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, arrived on site and captured the owl after MacKenzie lured it from a tree.
“I put him in the crate in my little car and brought him home and the rest is history. He is happily perched on a perch eating and waiting to go to the doctor.”
I think there’s a real overpopulation now and that’s why we’re seeing a lot more of them, and I think our weird weather may also have something to do with where they’re found – Candy Gallant
She said she’s only had about six owls in 50 years to help rescue injured animals.
But she had nine this year. Some were just skinny, she said, or a baby that fell out of its nest.
“I think there’s a real overpopulation now and that’s why we’re seeing a lot more of them, and I think our weird weather may also have something to do with where they’re found.”
Gallant plans to take the owl to a vet in Nova Scotia next week. If the bone is broken at the joint, it may need to be euthanized. Otherwise, she takes it home for about two months of rehab.
But at least it has a chance, and Gallant is now determined to recruit MacKenzie as one of her volunteers.
“It was one of the coolest saves I’ve done and I’ve done a lot of weird and cool saves but this one, he blew me out of the water. He’s going to, he’s going to stay in my world whether he likes it or not.”
MacKenzie has some experience. Back to that seal for a moment.
“When I was 13 or 14, I think, my mother showed up with the baby seal. Yes, it was injured or left on the beach by its parents or its mother,” he said.
“We’ve had it for a couple of months and we feed it and swim with it, although towards the end the veterinary college agreed to take the seal because it survived two months.”