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Cukri`s little shoes and the birds

16 November 2019 by
Dogs and bird feeding Dogs and bird feeding
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How can feeding birds in winter help both a dog and his owner?


Winter period is not easy anyway, there are less hours of sunshine, people start to be in a bad mood unconsciously, especially teenagers with low self-confidence. There hasn`t been such a long winter ever since, so it was a fantastic bit of luck that I started to feed birds at that time. Of course everything has a reason, and it started with my dog`s little shoes.


While Cukri and me were walking on the pavement, he twisted his right leg slightly because of his previous car accident at the age of about 4 months when he was a stray dog, but in this way his foot above his claw reached the concrete, and a wound appeared on it soon. I took him to a vet who was my father`s mate. The vet simply said: `His leg must be amputated.` Being shocked, the only thing I could say was that  I would think it over and  left so quickly that I forgot to ask how much the appointment had cost. I don`t think it should have cost any money anyway. Like people usually take their ill family member to another doctor in case of a serious illness, I took him to another place of course. There is a veterinary assistant in our town, who is said to be like a real vet. I think he speaks animal languages, but he must speak at least dog language for sure. He can see their soul. He was suggested by one of my friends who also had a dog, so we went there. `Sew him leather shoes.` -he said. It seemed to be an odd and absurd idea, as I had never seen any dogs in shoes before, but I wanted to do anything for my doggy, so after arriving home my first thing was to cut my leather jacket into small pieces.


Now let`s omit my parents` reaction. In my opinion by that time my father must have been sure that his daughter became totally insane, and I think my mother had always thought the same. Well, I sewed the sock-like pieces of clothes, I pulled one on Cukri`s foot, secured it with an elastic band, and we were ready to go for a walk.


People`s reaction was not exactly what I expected. As teenagers are highly interested in what others think about them, I was also worried that my beloved town will guffaw at us. But that is not what happened. We were stopped on the street regularly. `How cute he is!` -they said.  `How much is the doggy?`  `He is not for sale`. –was my answer on a monotonous voice tone, as by that time I already had got used to the eager admirers.


 It started to snow. I did not have much time for the volunteer work at the dog shelter because I had a lot to do with my own dog, so I had to find a new useful free time activity. Thus Cukri and me started to feed birds, but not with small amount of food. The little shoes worked, we went for a long walk to reach the bird feeding stations, Cukri was jumping happily, some holes appeared on his shoes regularly, and I sewed a new one every week. We put out 5 kg sunflower seeds daily at three different places, at home on the window sill, in the park behind my school, and in the garden of our weekend house. I went to the latter alone by bus, but I walked together with my dog to the park for 5 months, without missing any days, as I knew if somebody started feeding birds, it had to be continued in winter, otherwise they would not have found enough seeds somewhere else in time.


Massive amounts of birds arrived, they were waiting for us in huge groups up in the trees. Eurasian bullfinches, common chaffinches, hawfinches, European goldfinches, Eurasian collared doves etc. Of course, my beloved parents went ballistic again. Not because of the seeds, they paid for them without a word, but they couldn`t sleep.  I had to feed the birds at dawn, as the doves arrived, invaded the window sills and were pecking on them loudly, while the others were eating the fallen seeds on the ground. The flat was in a constant state of quarrel, but I was holding down the fort. I had done it before when bringing Cukri home, so I figured I could go through it again then. I was depressed of course, but it is said to be a part of the teenagers` life, seeds also grow from the ground and it is dark there too. My parents were worried about the occupants as well because it was a block of flats and everything was covered by sunflower seeds, they flew onto other people`s window too, everything was a `mess`. But my confidence in people became stronger at that time again as something unexpected happened. Instead of complaints, birdfeeders appeared in other windows as well, small hanging boxes, seeds on the sills, and the number of the birds were getting higher and higher. A miracle happened.


As soon as spring came we finished it of course, because at that time of the year you have to let the birds move on and look for insects, and we were enjoying the blooming sunflowers around the building.


Feeding birds in the park was good for Cukri too, his anxiety was continuously decreasing, as there is a healthy soul in a healthy body. On the way there we were always walking past a church. People convened to go to the mass, and we just continued walking to the park. I started to think about what I should have done. Going to the church to attend the mass and confess my sins, or going to feed the hundreds of birds who were waiting for the food to survive? I chose the latter.


(The Hungarian translation of the story is available on .)


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