KERNERSVILLE, NC - Trooper Landon Mendenhall is being called Dr. Doolittle around the office lately.
Mendenhall had never made contact with an owl before, but he helped rescue an injured one Tuesday.
"I've never gotten a call about an injured animal. Mainly deer wrecks," said Mendenhall. "That's about the only thing I get called to involving an animal so this was a first."
An owl with a broken wing was stuck on the median near the Union Cross Road exit in Kernersville.
Mendenhall says the bird was alone and unable to fly after being hit by a car.
"When I got out of the car, I noticed the bird was sitting up on the road on the shoulder facing traffic," he said. "I went up to him and he kind of sputtered back and got even closer to the road so I knew he was in shock."
Along with a tow truck driver who pulled over to help, Mendenhall was able to get close enough to wrap the bird in a t-shirt and put him in his patrol car.
"I could see that he was in distress with his wing just flailing on the ground," said Mendenhall. "I wanted to make sure I could get him before he got injured even worse."
Still not knowing exactly what to do, Mendenhall rushed the owl to a local vet's office.
"I felt like it was my duty to take care of the bird just like it would be to render aid to a human," said Mendenhall.
He took the owl to Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Winston-Salem and a wildlife rescue officer came and got it. The vet said the owl was going to be alright and should make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, Mendenhall is receiving some extra praise at work.
"I've received quite a few comments and puns. I've been called Dr. Doolittle," said Mendenhall. "It's all good though. I don't mind."
The owl is now at the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, a place that specializes in wildlife rehab.
On Friday, it will undergo surgery to repair it's broken wing.
Injured owl rescued from I-40 in Kernersville. (Photo: Carolina Raptor Center)
The Highway Patrol posted a picture of Mendenhall and the owl on their Facebook page.
"You never know what you're going to deal with in this line of work," said Mendenhall.