I sometimes get the impression that the Dutch health service cuts a few corners. I expected something similar when it came to medical care for animals. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise!
Last summer, I was cycling home when I saw a weird small object lying in the middle of the backyard path. I stopped to look and, to my surprise, found a little baby bird lying on the ground. The chick was still alive but could not fly; it had probably fallen out of the nest. I began to worry, as the chick was vulnerable to the neighbourhood’s cats, so I quickly left my bike at home and asked for help. Although I have experience with puppies, I have no caring experience whatsoever with birds. While I tried to find the nest to see if we could return it, my boyfriend put the bird inside a small box with towels to keep it warm. We did not know what to do next, so we asked a Belgian friend for an emergency number for a vet, and she suggested calling the ‘animal ambulance’ (Dierenambulance). We called them, explained the situation, and they asked us for our address. Fifteen minutes later, the animal ambulance came by. The vets checked the baby bird and asked us to heat some water; fortunately, they told us that the chick still had a chance of surviving. After we had shown them where we had found it, they prepared it for the trip and took it away. I would not have imagined seeing a huge ambulance coming for a tiny bird. In my country, it might be seen as a bit extravagant. So far, I have the impression that Dutch people care a lot about animals, particularly birds!
Ixchel Gilbert Sandoval, PhD candidate in the department of Toxicology, from Mexico.
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