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hawk attack

3pm. We are on a zoom call with Abbie. I hear Sophie the turkey barking. I glance outside and see her all puffed up. Peter goes in the yard with Skye to see what's going on. Sophie is really mad. I run outside too leaving Abbie hanging on the call. A big grey hawk is on top of Aramis. Scared by all of us running toward him, he takes off (could have been a she but he didn't stay long enough). Aramis runs toward me by the fence, but Skye excited by all the commotion starts pulling feathers from her! (always so helpful!!). While I am keeping Skye away from her, Peter goes into the chicken yard, picks her up, and rushes her in the house. I try to get all the other chickens into their coop but everyone is paralyzed by fear. We pick them up one by one and lock them safely into their barn. We now can focus our attention on Aramis. I carefully check her entire body. There is very little blood. A scratch on her comb and her wattle. Then lifting the feathers on her neck, we see a big gash. She needs immediate vet care. We call our closest vet hospital. They don't see chickens anymore and recommend 2 other local hospitals. While Peter calls them, I call the Medical Center for Birds. They can see her but I have to be there by 4:30 because they close at 5. We are 1h30 away without traffic, and Google map tells me that it will take me at least 2 hours... They tell me to try going to VEG, the Veterinary Emergency Group in San Ramon. It's still a drive but a bit closer than Oakley. I call them, describe the emergency, and ask for their address. They are in San Jose! In my hurry, I called the "wrong" VEG location but San Jose is actually much closer. Peter also gets a referral to VEG from the vets he called.

3:15pm. We put Aramis in a crate and I go to the vet. The evening traffic is starting. It taked me 40 minutes to drive 15 miles. I am an anxious ball of stress and check every minute on Aramis to see if she is still breathing. Meanwhile, Peter checks us in remotely at the emergency hospital.

4pm. They are expecting us and the doctor sees us immediately. She checks Aramis thoroughly and doesn't find any other wound. The gash although deep seems to be skin only, no muscles, no organs have been damaged. Big relief! She tells me that she would simply stitch it up but she isn't comfortable with chicken anesthesia. I ask about sedation and local anesthesia, but she needs to consult with an avian specialist first. Aramis is stable and probably can wait till tomorrow to get sutures at the Medical Center for Birds. They are going to manage her pain and see. They put us in a little private room. I sit on the floor next to her.

4:30pm. Aramis receives an injection for pain med. She fells asleep pretty fast.

5pm. It's freezing in this room. They bring me a mat to sit on and a blanket. Aramis and I snuggle under it.

5:20pm. The doctor says that she talked to Dr Galusha from the Medical Center for Birds and she feels confident to do the sutures. Yay! She shares her plan and gives a cost estimate of the procedure ($1,000). I tell them that we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and get a 25% discount. Nice! Aramis is going to get stitched up tonight.

6:30pm. Still waiting. There are quite a few emergencies coming in. They bring me a warm cup of tea :)

7pm. Aramis is starting to wake up and seems in pain. I go out of our little room to get an ETA. A doctor is finishing up working on a dog, and then it's our turn.

7:50pm. Still waiting. The doctors are still busy triaging incoming emergencies.

8:20pm. The doctor finally comes and tells me there is a change of staff, and a different doctor will work with us. I am a bit dissapointed.

8:30pm. The new doctor comes in to introduce herself and check on Aramis. She immediately inspires confidence by the way she is handling and examining her. We should be done soon!

9pm. Still waiting. The battery of my cell phone is really low. They provide me with a charger! How nice is that?!

9:20pm. The vet tech comes to sedate her. 10 minutes later, she is on the operating table. Her wound is cleaned while I hold her oxygen mask. It is really deep!

9:50pm. The doctor is stitching her up. It's fast.

10:30pm. She is taking a while to wake up. I don't blame her. It's way past her bed time and she went through so much!

11pm. We are back home!

7am. Aramis comes to greet us, she eats her crumbles and devours a piece of egg. She is going to be fine. Huge relief!


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