Katie... You Are Loved!

April 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

White Rock Lake... my "happy place"!  I go there and instantly forget my troubles and immerse myself in nature.  My favorite place at the lake is Sunset Bay as there is always activity with the multitude of birds visiting the area.  For the past two years, there has been a mute swan that someone named Katie.  She is the only swan at the lake.  I no sooner arrive and I see her swimming with the coots.  She is so beautiful and graceful and a very gentle bird.

I had taken this photo of Katie in March... March 7, to be exact. I did not notice a problem with her at that time.  Several days later, I read a message from Don Huddy on Capture Dallas that Katie was taken to Rogers Rehab Center for treatment of a swollen area in her neck.  I immediately thought about J.R. Compton's blog as he goes to White Rock Lake nearly every day and documents the activities of the birds, and sure enough, there was a photo of Katie with a large swelling of her neck.  This was less than a week after I had taken this photograph.  

To follow along with J.R.'s blog:   http://www.jrcompton.com/photos/The_Birds/J/#details

J.R. had called a friend of his to catch Katie and take her to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for treatment.  http://www.rogerswildlife.org/ 

It seems that the rehab center has been having financial difficulty and they are entering their busy season as baby animals are found and brought in during the springtime.  A plea went out for donations to not only help Katie but to keep the facility operating.  They are located south of Dallas and are the only such facility in the area.  Money came pouring in and the internet was abuzz with Katie updates.

It was touch-and-go for a bit as she had a feeding tube and was getting weaker and had a fever.  She was treated with antibiotics and slowly but surely, she started to improve and the swelling was going down.  How exciting to see a photo of her standing in a little kiddie pool of water with her wings spread!  That was definitely a good sign.  If she continued to improve by the end of her round of antibiotics, she would be returned to the lake.

Word spread that she would be returned to Sunset Bay on March 26 at 11AM and I was determined to be there to welcome her home; however, there was a glitsch.  Evidently someone was very upset that she would be returned to the lake as she is not a native species.  I can tell you that she seemed happy and content living there and she has many "people friends" who watch over her.  This negative response about returning her to the lake caused Kathy Rogers, head of the rehab center to write this comment on facebook in response...

"Usually I don't waste my time responding to narrow minded, ignorant comments, but seeing as this is MY page, I will in this case. Jose, I have been doing this work for over 35 years, and I can assure you that I weigh very carefully what is in the best interest of the creatures and the environment before releasing anything. In this case, the best scenario was to put this swan back where she has been successfully coexisting with all the other waterfowl for years. I would suggest...to you, and all others of your ilk, that you spend your time and effort on making this world a much better place for all living things and less time worrying about things you clearly know nothing about. Perhaps you should move to New York where they exterminate swans by the thousands. I'm more than comforted that I can sleep at night knowing that I save lives instead of trying to be judge and jury about a living beings' worthiness to live or die. In the grand scheme of things, that's the universe's decision, not ours anyway. I hope you and your cronies can one day see the true beauty nature allows us to see and not be blinded by personal bias. That is all. In the future, please post your ridiculous comments on sites where someone actually cares what you think. We are here to make a difference!"

WOW!  What a passionate response... and I loved it!  More people should be this passionate about the creatures on this earth!

I arrived at the lake at about 10:30AM on the day of her return and found several others milling about, waiting for Katie.  And then more people came.  And then the police arrived.  Was there a fear that protestors might try to disrupt Katie's return home?   It was cold and the wind was kicking up and the sky was gray.  I was delighted to see my three photo friends show up... Deanna, Liz and Robin... nature lovers and photographers!

Before long, a white car pulls up and written on the dusty, dirty back of the car... "Katie on board".

Then we see a news guy with a video camera position himself to catch the action.  Kathy Rogers ever so gently scoops Katie into her arms and lifts her up and out of the car. 

Katie is calm and allows people to touch her.  I had never touched a swan before and she was so soft.  I said... "Katie you are so beautiful" and it was caught on the newscast!  http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/features/2015/03/26/rogers-wildlife-rehab-swan-fundraising/70510630/ 

The clouds had cleared and the sun was shining brightly as Kathy carried Katie to the edge of Sunset Bay.  As she got closer to the lake, Katie's left foot started to move as though she was paddling in the water.  Kathy put her down at the edge of the water.  She stood still for a moment and then swam off to the far side of the bay where it was peaceful and quiet.  It was a special moment for everyone who attended and there were some tears of joy to see her back home where she belongs.


Thank you Kathy for being there for injured wildlife!  I appreciate what you do and am thankful for Katie's return to Sunset Bay and thank you to those who joined me in donating to this worthy cause!



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