Humans and pigeons share a long history. Although many city-dwellers consider them a nuisance, pigeons have provided a variety of services for us since they were domesticated thousands of years ago. While the vast majority of these birds can take care of themselves, they are susceptible to a virus that could put them in the category of disabled animals.
When Herman, the pigeon, lost his ability to fly, he began to starve and was facing a very grim death. Luckily for Herman, help came in the form of a compassionate human.
Herman was rescued after he was observed in a parking lot where he had been sitting idle for days. A concerned woman took him under her wing and made a few inquiries. By a stroke of serendipity, Susie Rogers, a specialist in caring for animals with birth defects, answered the call.
Rogers is the founder of The Mia Foundation, a non-profit organization specialized in assisting animals with impairments. The foundation was inspired by Mia, a chihuahua born by C-section with a cleft-palate. Although Rogers was told that Mia was unlikely to survive, and would be a lot of trouble to care for, Rogers gave her a chance.
Although Mia had many special needs, Rogers was continually inspired by her determined spirit to fight through all her trials with a smile. Mia was photogenic and lively. She attracted Facebook friends from all over the world. Although Mia did not live to see her second birthday, in her short life she touched many people’s hearts and subsequently saved many animals’ lives.
Rogers told Herman’s story to The Epoch Times. “I was contacted almost four years ago about a pigeon found in a parking lot unable to fly, Herman was starving to death and I had to tube-feed him for a few days and then modify food and water dishes.”
Herman was diagnosed with paramyxovirus PMV infection, a deadly virus that affects pigeons. PMV can cause nervous symptoms like trembling wings or head, as well as neck twisting. Pigeons’ wings and legs can become paralyzed to such a degree that birds may topple over upon landing and be unable to feed. Herman’s little head was so badly affected that it is permanently tilted at an awkward angle.
“Herman will never be able to fly again,” Rogers explained.
Herman was not ready to give up, however. Recuperating at The Mia Foundation, he was surrounded by a slew of other disabled animals, including puppies like Lundy. Lundy was born with a disability that caused him to be unable to walk normally. As another soul who understood what it’s like to be a little bit different, he became a good companion for Herman.
Although Lundy passed away last year, Herman found another friend in Mandy. Rogers has captured many tender moments on film, as Mandy grooms Herman with her tongue, and the two of them sleep together in the dog bed.
According to Rogers, “Herman did not warm up to all the puppy dogs at The Mia Foundation. He picks which dogs he likes and wing-smacks others.”
Rogers applauded Herman’s sense of humor and comedic personality, as well as how he has become “one of the dogs.”
“Herman is funny. He’s curious. He begs like a dog. He loves his cuddle time. He loves wandering around the house during ‘free time.’
Despite the fact that the pigeon has been separated from his flock, he has established a new forever home at the foundation, not to mention a welcoming new family.
As no other person or shelter would take Herman, even when he was on his last legs, she opted to care for him for the remainder of his days.
Through her efforts with The Mia Foundation, Susie has shown the world that special needs babies are worth the extra effort. While veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners might shy away from such helpless creatures, they may end up being the very light that brightens your own life.
Ila Bonczek contributed to this report.