So there I was, minding my own beeswax on the long holiday weekend, when the ruckus started. Our quiet little street of less than 25 homes has had an on again, off again battle with a little home wrecker who is currently living across the street from me.
While I’d consider myself to be a rather diplomatic and tolerant person, my patience occasionally runs thin, most especially when the poor manners of others start interfering in my life. There is a certain peace and quiet that I’d come to enjoy living on a street where most of the residents have already packed up and gone back to their cabins on the shores of Gitche Gumee or wherever they go.
Since I was one of the only people around who was baring witness to the blatant property destruction and what I considered parenting bordering on neglect, I decided to intervene. I knew full well that what comes around goes around and when the little twerps figured out that I was the person that turned them in, they’d turn on me.
At the risk of looking like the typical “get off my grass, you darn kids” old lady down the street, I went over and assessed the situation. Snotty nose brats with dirty faces and unkempt appearance … and, yes, I was wondering just what sort of cooties were in the emulsion dried in the corners of their mouths.
How long is an adequate amount of time to watch little ones not being cared for before spiriting them away or notifying the authorities, anyway?
Have you ever tried Googling to find services that can intervene? It’s pretty easy to find resources for paid services that can help in just about any abuse or neglect situation; they’re at the top of the search engines.
The free services are really hard to find. The smaller 501(c)(3)’s don’t have pay-per-click campaigns or nerdy people that make them show up on the front page of Google.
What I learned in my quest to find help for these little stinkers is that everyone has an opinion when there is questionable care of a living creature involved but nobody really wants to get their hands dirty or spend any money. Maybe it’s the cooties, maybe it’s fear of retribution from the parties involved.
When I decided that enough was enough, I searched hard enough until I found help and then I loaded up those little squirts and drove them to the nearest hospital that would take responsibility for them and get them proper medical care.
What I wasn’t prepared for was answering these questions; what is your address and where is the address that you found them? Why? Because they want to know where to return them to their place of origin when they get better.
This is where the retribution comes in. No good deed goes unpunished.
My reward for saving the injured, little vandals and turning them over to CROW — the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife — will be healthy, full-grown woodpeckers returned to where they came from, with a penchant for Styrofoam and something to prove to the “get off my flower boxes, you darn kids” old lady down the street.
In the event you end up with an injured or orphaned critter that needs professional care, CROW is located on Sanibel Island. They also offer several drop-off locations across Southwest Florida so you won’t have to channel your inner Doolittle.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, email her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.