Friday, March 26, 2010
"Seal Pup Emergency!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Ok, I did not ever expect to hear those words. Ever.
Yesterday, I Tweeted (a lot) about my adventure with the seal pup, but got even more requests for the whole story, so here goes...
I was talking to a friend on the phone (about Twitter #ofcourse #nosurprisethere) when my Roomie bursts into my bedroom yelling "We've got a Seal Pup Emergency!!!!!!!!"
Now, I grew up along the Northern California Coast so I'm used to Harbor Seal pups playing in the surf (Moms watching from further out) and occasionally the pup can get carried onto the beach. They usually go right back out.
"No! He's stranded!" she cries.
That gets me out of bed (not much else will as you know). I look out my bedroom window to find an ELEPHANT seal pup on the beach, clearly struggling.
I repeat the call to action into the telephone, "Seal Pup Emergency. Gotta go," as I hang up on my friend.
Okay, what do we do? First I need to get dressed, second we might want to brush our teeth, third --
The crows start swooping down on our little pup.
"RUN!" I yell and God bless my Roomie she ran! I mean, BOLTED out of the room.
But now a dog is coming up the beach and making a beeline straight toward the pup. My Roomie is awesome, but she can't handle crows and dogs.
So I grab a pair of pants off the dresser (see being lazy and not putting away your clothes has a definite advantage), pulled those on, tucked my nightgown into them (please, like you've never done that before), threw on a jacket (now Chief is confused since he normally lives inside of it) and ran (yes, ran) down to the beach.
By now, Roomie is throwing sticks at the crows and seagulls (with absolutely no intention or in the case of the seagulls hitting one) while doing her best to keep her body between the dog and the seal pup.
One good yell from me sends the dog and birds packing (nice to be alpha).
Panting (remember I actually ran), I circle around the little guy (well about 200 pounds of little seal puppy-ness). Has he been attacked by a shark?
This suggestion temporarily paralyzes my Roomie, then she scrambles to the upper dune (gotta give her credit though, she kept her stick pointed at the birds).
But no blood. No wounds.
He is slowly dragging himself to higher ground.
Roomie gets on her phone and calls anyone we can think of... Harbor Patrol. Fish and Game. The non-emergency 911 line (who now know us by name after all the people having bon fires and sex on the beach).
They all promise to call the appropriate wildlife rescue, although no one seems to know quite who that is.
We take a breath. The pup seems exhausted and weak, but alive. We can reassess. Determine the next vital step in helping this creature.
Lets bring down from the house a bucket for water. Towels in case he needs to be covered. Cat food to feed him.
Roomie: "And your phone."
Me: "Why? Is yours dying?"
Roomie "No, you need yours to Tweet."
Damn, she's right (and God love her for enabling me)! We look to one another. Could Tweeting this, right now as it is happening, really be that important?
"Go." I say. Roomie is off in a flash back to the house. I yell over the wind, "Better yet, bring my laptop!"
Within minutes she is back down with all of our supplies.
Luckily before we pour water over him or cover him or feed him, I start surfing... the web (gotta love my house is close enough to beach I still get wifi).
Turns out you DON'T want to wet them, cover them or feed them. Who knew?
Well, clearly the volunteer from the wildlife rehab place. She kind of snuck up on us (turns out she's a neighbor down the beach).
Roomie cleverly steps in front of the water bucket, towels, and cat food (you know all the damning evidence that as veterinary professionals were going to do the really stupid stuff to the poor seal baby).
As I discuss the pup with the volunteer, Roomie quietly slips cat food cans into her jacket, folds the towel over her arm and ever so casually dumps the water out #closecall
Turns out our pup is just tired. Elephant seal pups are on their own very early in life and sometimes they stray away from their island and get pulled into shore. They need to warm up and rest up before they can head back to sea at dusk.
Whew! What a relief.
Now we just have to keep away the birds, dogs, and (other) stupid people trying to wet him down.
"Um, not WE, I can't stay here all day," the volunteer announces as she posts signs around the seal pup telling people to leave him alone.
But, ah, dogs and crows and seagulls don't read.
"Sorry, it's the best we can do."
Ha! Clearly she has not met my Roomie and I. This seal pup will have our full protection! Come hell or high water (literally, the tide was coming in) this seal pup is going to be safe!
So my Roomie and I take shifts staying down on the beach with him, at the ready.
The whole while the pup just snoozed under the bright sun, with the occasional hyper-cute flipping sand onto his back or wiping his eyes with his flipper - and no we didn't get video footage! How we wish we had!
Finally mid-afternoon (when the beach is the quietest) we decide we can watch him from our rooms and get SOMETHING done today.
Of course, not a minute after we make that decision and both go back into the house, where I pull off my jacket and pants (to reveal my granny nightie) does a woman and her two kids walk straight towards the pup! She blows past the signs and is clearly going to try and pet him!
Ok, we were going to wet him, but pet a wild animal, not even we were that dumb!
I yell, but she can't hear me over the wind. What to do? Even at Roomie's fastest she'll never make it down there.
So I do the only logical thing and shove the screen out of its holder (ruining it) and lean as far out the window as I can (Roomie holding onto my nightgown to keep me from falling) and yell the only thing I can think of...
"Federal law!!! You must stay back 50 feet!"
No matter that would have landed her in the surf, but I said it with enough volume and authority my crazy ass words stopped her.
"Please" I regained some level of sanity, although of course I am still in my nightgown, hanging out of a window with the screen askew, "Get back behind the signs!"
Slowly, as if retreating from an insane person, they backed away, then wandered, stunned down the beach.
Once the danger had passed, my roomie starts cracking up, "Federal law! Classic."
So for the rest of the afternoon we vigilantly watch our baby snooze away.
By now most people know about him and have their dogs leashed and the birds know a stink eye from me when they see one (plus the pup brought himself up so far that he was laying right our property line and my dog Orlin always enforces a strict 'no-fly' zone over the yard anyway, so we were covered).
Now that the adrenaline has worn off, we could contemplate the really important lessons this experience has taught us.
Roomie: "Those signs are so boring. Know what they need?"
So true! I mean these signs are on scrap wood, with black and white, boring warnings. Imagine him surrounded by nicely stained stakes (possibly carved) with a cute image of a seal pup sleeping with 'zzzzzz' coming from his lips and the caption "Shhhh, I'm resting up for my long swim home."
Then bedazzle that sucker? He would be the most happenin' seal pup ever.
Unspoken, we both decide we must volunteer for this marine wildlife organization. Clearly they need us for if for nothing else but are acute fashion sense.
Plus, we need some authority, damn it. If I am going to enforce Federal law at the top of my voice, I want some kind of card or badge.
Roomie and I are already practicing flipping our credentials like they do on NCIS. And with a bedazzler on our hip? Nobody, but nobody, is going to mess with us or our seal pups.
The afternoon wears into evening and as the sun got ready to set, many people began gathering around with cameras.
Me: "Word must have spread."
Roomie: "Ya, about the crazy Federal Law lady! Look how far back from the signs they're staying."
True, too true.
Then our pup is on the move, heading back down towards the surf.
We watch, should we go down to the beach? I mean, nobody's going to bother...
Nope, once our little guy is past his signs they move in for pictures (like if he isn't inside our little grid he is safe to touch).
Clearly, we need crowd control!
"Run!" but Roomie was already out the door.
Luckily by now I was dressed so I am not far behind (I know, running twice in a day! #nearlykilledme #totallyworthit).
Now most of these people don't know who we are... The OFFICIAL SEAL PUP EMERGENCY RESPONSE (and fashion coordinating) TEAM
What to do? Yelling and waving our arms around seemed a little over the top, so I start grabbing the stakes and putting them between the crowd and seal pup. Roomie does the same on the other side.
He moves a foot, we move a sign a foot, making a safe seal pup corridor to the sea.
We are both bitter though! If only we'd had our badges and Bedazzler guns! But you know what, we made due!
Finally the moment happens when he hits the water. Our little chubby, awkward, clumbsy pup became a mermaid.
With grace and skill he dives under the waves and vanishes.
The crowd melted away quickly but Roomie and I lingered. Even now I choke up thinking about watching him in his element and knowing we helped in any small way (okay, fine, a very hysterical/lunatic way) to get him back home.
While neither of us got anything 'worthwhile' done yesterday, we both felt it was one of the most productive days of our lives. :-)
And the added bonus?
Now if any of you hear "Seal Pup EMERGENCY!" You will know what to do!
#plusitwasanexcusetobuy... #blowhorn #anotherbedazzler #cutesealpupcartoons
Yes, indeedy. A fine day #indeed