Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally posted on December 3, 2012. Enjoy!
Donna Boden of the UK was recently enjoying an afternoon at a pub near the river when she noticed that a baby bird had fallen into the water and could not get out. Watching the fledgling thrash and struggle, Donna knew she had only one course of action. She readied herself to travel across the muddy water to help the bird near the opposite bank and little did she know, she was about to become a victim herself.
Beautiful footage of Donna’s bravery captured by a bystander is sullied by the monstrous cackles and taunts of a man who harassed Donna throughout the rescue. He roars with laughter as Donna tries to swim rather than walk because the broken glass on the river’s bottom is a danger to her feet. And when Donna finally reaches the grass again, there is a long pause and Donna pleads for someone to take the bird from her hands. Sadly, no one helps her pull herself back out of the deep water despite the fact that she is cold and exhausted.
“There was not a chance I could sit and watch the poor waterlogged bird drown while everyone else seemed happy to do nothing,” Donna explains. In fact Donna, who shared this rescue as part of The Great Animal Rescue Chase tournament of heroes, was inspired by another participant, Judith Sudilovsky, who waded into the Jordan river last year when clergy discarded a wounded dove there following a religious ceremony.
After the pigeon was safely taken from the water Donna saw to its care while others continued to drink and enjoy their lunch, averting their eyes from the drenched rescuer and the recovering bird.
“The pigeon safely dried off with crushed biscuits and a bowl of water in the nearby bowling green,” Donna says with relief that she was in the right place at the right time. And now on Youtube, the rescue video continues to be a mixed source of pride and ridicule.
“It was a rotten pigeon. Five points for the amusement factor though!” comments the man who posted it on Youtube.
As bullies have a long history of cowardly behavior, we wonder how long it will be before the video is taken down now that so many like-minded animal advocates have arrived to support Donna’s actions.
The truth is that scorn and laughter are often directed at those who rescue animals, particularly those who are helping species other than cats and dogs. Rescues like this call for heroes with thick skin and a moral compass that won’t be thrown off course by the rantings of the ignorant.