The first thing I noticed was my adolescent Golden Retriever, Raffy, proudly parading around our backyard with some unrecognizable object in his mouth.
The next thing I noticed were all the shrieking, squawking birds in the nearby trees.
(Actually, the very first thing I noticed was my two kids urgently summoning me, “Come quick! Come quick!”).
In a few more seconds, I put two and two together: a baby robin had fallen out of its nest, and our boisterous, ever-curious pooch had scored his first, real kill.
Only not quite.
Once I got Raffy to release the unfortunate thing, it was quickly apparent that — my kids’ protestations aside — there was very little to be done.
Breathing quickly and shallowly, it was a mess of feathers and mangled wings.
Nevertheless, both my kids implored me to call the Animal Humane Society, or the Avian Rescue group, or, or . . . . something!
What a nice sense of compassion, I thought to myself.
In another few seconds, the truly compassionate thing to do occurred to me.
I got a bucket from the garage, filled it up with water, and submerged the small, still suffering bird in it.