Sirens – Tales from the Sanctuary

At first the lights and the siren were miles away, getting closer and closer as if coming down a long tunnel.
Imagine the shock to be awakened from this very deep sleep with the bedroom awash with bright lights and the occasional blast from a siren. It was like something from Alien-or worse! After scrabbling from beneath the bed clothes, I tried to look out of the bedroom window. I could see nothing for the intense light just yards down the drive. The sleep in my eyes did nothing to help. I decided I’d better investigate. Still half asleep I staggered around the bedroom trying to fit one leg or the other into my trousers. As some of you may be aware, this is an almost impossible task to achieve quietly. By now my better half was awake and may I tell you that waking her is a task in itself.
“What is it? What’s going on? Who shining that light?”. It was like the old radio programme 20 questions.
I was by now out of earshot and halfway down the stairs. The dogs, always to be relied upon, hearing my footsteps on the stairs, now felt brave enough to join in the fun and were barking fit to wake the dead.
I’ve never thought of dogs and cats as being a hazard, but in the dark, and my eyes not yet recovered from the dazzling lights, when you only have possession of half of your faculties, they are!
My raised voice now added to the confusion, the dogs thought this was great, as I tried unsuccessfully to negotiate my way to light switch. I now been turned turtle and was laying on my back. Thinking this was also part of the game the animals joined in with renewed gusto. During the melee, as I tried to disentangle myself, I could see a face peering in the patio door.
“Oh! Oh!” I remember thinking, that face is attached to uniform.
I had managed to quieten the dogs and the cats had taken refuge under the table, or in some flat surface out of harms way. As I slid the door open I imagine I caught the end of a smile on the face of the young lady police officer. “Mr Scott?”. She asked. “Sorry to bother you at this time in the morning”. She said. I still didn’t have a grasp on reality yet, my brain was still somewhere on the way downstairs. The young lady continued even before it agreed with as to who I was “we’ve picked up an injured owl and wondered if you could take a look at it?” In her hands she had, what was even to my simple mind a towel of some description, just what it contained I could not make out. I tried to squeeze through the partly open door so as to keep the dogs in. A complete waste of time, the dogs thought the game was still on and proceeded to try and up-end me in their struggle to get outside. In the frame of mind I was now in I thought it prudent to let them have their way.
The entire sanctuary was lit as well as if it had been a night match at a football ground and I had to shield my eyes to make out the other silhouette standing by the light source. “Morning”. He said in his best Dixon of Dock Green voice, as if it were mid-morning not 3 AM. They followed me to our hospital, dogs bringing up the front and the rear. I knew the officers were speaking but could not catch what was said for the sound of the dogs. It wasn’t until we were inside and the door closed behind us with the dogs on the other side, that I could hear myself think.
“We found this owl on the road and rather than wake you with a phone call we thought we would bring in person as it were” one of the officers informed me. I still have to grasp how it made things better arriving on the doorstep with blazing lights and siren accompaniment, rather than a phone call. “I thought you were at least a platoon of paratroopers!” I attempted jokingly. The remark went over the top so I decided to cut out the comic stuff.
I couldn’t find any broken bones or displacements, however, the owl was bleeding a little from its beak and a little from the corner of its eye.
I decided to go with warm and quiet and put in a box with a heat source, I would have a good look in the morning when it had a chance to get over the initial shock.
The officers must have been on their break, as they showed no sign of leaving, at least not without a look around the hospital. It was only when I promised them a guided tour of the sanctuary, at a later date of course, and offered to close the gate behind them, that they got the message and decided to go and arrest some villain or other. I don’t want to sound ungrateful-they had done a great job, however, it is difficult to put on a happy face so early in the morning. Anyway, the owl only needed a few days rest. When it was ready to be returned to the wild, I rang the police station to ask if they would like to do the honours. And I did wait until at least 1 AM, maybe even a little later before telephoning, just in case they were sleeping!

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