I still feel a little bad about the little bird. I know it had gotten knocked out of its nest or tried its first flight during the rain and on the ground would likely have died without my knowing about it. That’s just how nature works. But in that short time of taking care of the little guy I grew attached. It didn’t take long at all.
This is part of what made working at the Humane Society in Durango so difficult. I grew attached to the animals very quickly. It made me happy to see one adopted, but when we became over crowded, euthanasia was our only resort. It didn’t matter if the animal had been there a day or a week, it was never an easy task. Dogs were more difficult as they didn’t fit into the gas chamber and they would look at you with those needy, trusting eyes that would just tear your heart out time and again.
All this got me to thinking. How long does it take until you feel that something it yours. Be it your property or your responsibility? How long does it take when you pick up something, say a pen, and decide that it’s now your pen. Or borrow a shirt or a blanket and forget to return it and decide its been too long and now it’s yours? Or adopt an animal. How long does it take until something truly becomes yours? Does the age of the items or animal in question come into play?
I have a sweater I bought at a second hand store about four years ago. It’s been washed and worn many times, but in my mind even though I wash it, fold it, put it away, and wear it again, I’ve never really thought of it as mine. I’d always wondered why the original owner had donated it. Each time I wear it (It’s from Minnesota) if perhaps I somehow knew the person. A lot of things pop into my head, but I’ve never really considered the sweater mine. It’s weird.
But when it comes to that little bird, I felt an almost immediate connection that this little guy was mine and my responsibility. I felt like I should have done something more to ensure that it could have survived the day and been released back outside a little stronger and better prepared for the elements. I find it difficult to explain, but that little life had been in my hands (literally) and I failed to help it thrive. I did look up instructions, but it seems I wasn’t in time.
So what about you? How long does it take for you to become attached to something? Does it take less time to become attached to an inanimate object over a living being? Do you find it difficult when you lose something and wonder where it’s gotten off to? I lost a pocket knife once and always wondered what had happened to it. I’ve had animals run away when I was a kid and I still remember the day they got lost. Anything you’ve found that you still remember finding that you consider yours or something you lost that you still miss?