It was my first experience with death.
There was no shortage of love to be given the poor chick. Dan described in detail the events that led to the adoption of a baby quail by himself and his wife.
"He was left behind by his family. He was lame and couldn't keep up." I decided it would be worth paying a visit after work to see the newest member of their family.
There was the little fuzzball, trembling in his makeshift nest, burdened by the pains of the cruel world around him. So small and fragile.
"His name is Tiger," Dan said affectionately, referring to the dark stripes running down the chick's back. Tiger was clearly in pain but energetically flailing his little wings and legs around. We passed him from hand to hand, stroking tenderly and whispering words of encouragement. Our hearts swelled with hope for the little guy's future. We all thought, optimistically, that love was enough to heal whatever pain he was going through.
I passed him to Dan and without any warning, his little head flopped to one side and his body was still. The three of us didn't want to believe it for a few seconds.
Sometimes, where love can't heal the pain, death will.