A Day in the Life of This SLP: Family is Family

A Day in the Life of This SLP: Family is Family

A quiet Sunday morning with the sun shining, the humidity rising, and the day just beginning…

THEN, as I unlock the family room door to let our three dogs out for their morning jaunt in the backyard, I spot “something” in the pool and it is blocking the skimmer basket.

You may or may not know that our family three dogs, Sora, Max, and Gracie also assist with my Speech-Language Pathology services at my Center’s private practice. Each with their individual “hair” style, energy level, and favorite treat but all loving and eager to visit with SLP friends.

Max, Sora & Gracie, continue to train to assist with this Center's SLP services!

Max, Sora & Gracie, continue to train to assist with this Center’s SLP services! Photo: LSG

Back to the pool sighting…sorry pups, your outing is going to have to wait.

Is it a branch? A clump of leaves” A bag? I don’t think so…

I wander outside and recognize that it is a bird, large but not matured, a young hawk. It is leaning against the pool wall in front of the skimmer basket, no sounds, but with big eyes blinking.

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Waiting for help. Photo: LSG

Is it stuck? Is it injured? Is it sick?

Ok, first turn the pump timer off as it is readying to turn on and could injury or further frighten our visitor. DONE

A quick call and hawk photo to my husband. DONE

We discuss my options. DONE

Typically, my husband, our in house Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 109 (Tallahassee, Florida) or one of our two Eagle Scout sons would be in charge of this type of rescue.

CCC Tech Team

My three Eagles. Photo: Family Collection

With all my Eagles gone, two in Orlando for UCF move in and one far away in the Seattle area, this hawk is without my Eagles.

Of course, I know I can do this!

Yes, I have gloves, a large net, and I am familiar with St. Francis Wildlife where I can take the hawk if it needs care, but let’s face it, assistance would be wonderful…

Our neighborhood is extremely supportive, so I begin a Facebook post for our wonderful Betton Hills Neighborhood to see if someone can come help me. PAUSE DO NOT POST YET…

Enter a wonderful family friend and an Assistant Scoutmaster from our family’s Boy Scout Troop 109 ready with his gloves, calm demeanor, and a sense of awe for this beautiful young visitor.

He approaches our young hawk, eliciting weak hawk squawks and gently lifts the youngster out of the pool.

As I watch, I see the shadow of a parent overhead falling upon the pool water. This majestic parent then positions itself directly above in a neighbor’s pine tree to silently oversee the rescue.

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Watchful parental supervision from above. Photo: LSG

Rather than separate the family, we decide to allow the young hawk to rest on the grass in the sun. Shaking, in shock, probably with hypothermia and confused, we are watched by both the youngster and parent.

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Shaking, dripping, dazed but safe now! Photo: LSG

Exit the rescuer to move on to more Boy Scout Troop 109 responsibilities.

I call St. Francis and discuss the morning’s rescue and speak with Mary who listens intently and thanks us for taking care of this hawk family.

Rather than stay in the frame of the hawk’s recovery space, I back away and watch as the shaking decreases, looking like an anhinga the wings were slightly spread to dry.

I admire the fluffy immature feathers with the newly acquired longer hawk like wing feathers, the reddish fluffy chest, large dark observant eyes, and beautiful face.

More alert, trying to fly, a six foot move up the hill occurs.

More time passes and the hawk jumps up onto our bench, getting closer to the fence and the exit path from our yard.

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Closer to home. Photo: LSG

The “fly up” to the fence is aided by the talons catching on the vine which allows it to “climb” up to the top. Another apparent parental fly over, again silence, but clearly an assessment.

Atop the fence, our young friend settles in to dry, balance, and eventually move to the upper edge, I believe closer to the tree where the nest may rest.

He eventually repositions and faces the yard behind us…

And then, in a blink of an eye, close to two hours since I first spotted the stranger in the pool, I am alone in the yard.

In speaking to St. Francis, I learned we are one of several pool hawk calls in recent days.

I know that the visitor’s arrival occurred sometime after 4 AM as the dogs woke me to go outside for “walks” and returned promptly without a sniff or trace of a lost hawk.

Seems likely the youngster may have spotted a frog around the pool, maybe swooping or leaning, and lost his way from the air or ground into the pool.

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Possible attractant and meal. Photo: LSG

Once water logged and dazed finding the pool’s wall and bracing until the sun rose and I looked out the door. At most, four hours, but surely unplanned and too long from the bird’s perspective.

Many hours later our three canine went outside and returned again without sensing the lost hawk’s visit which is just fine with me.

As a Speech-Language Pathologist I spend my days communicating through glances, vocal, verbal and non-verbal means and while I am in no way a hawk specialist, I do believe we all communicated.

Our shared gazes, communicated a sense of trust, safety, respect for family, and appreciation for our efforts from the supervising parent(s) and the youngster.

As I started to share the pictures and story, I realized that this day was not all that different from my SLP days.


My reflection of the morning’s events led me to realize, that my quote, “The success of ‘our’ children is only possible because of the trust, respect and cooperation that we all share!” fits this situation too.

As I do with my (human SLP) families, I will follow our young hawk’s maturation, be amazed in the development of skills, and know that we were a part of the progress.

Even more, I find myself realizing that family is family.

A special (Sun) day in the life of this SLP,


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