Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Hillbilly Animal Shelter...

I have a weakness for animals. Several years ago, some acquaintance-of-a-friend-of-a-friend had a cat they no longer wanted. Vic had seen the cat, and over the course of a couple of days must have asked me 200 times to bring it home. We already had two cats in our little house and I was in no hurry to increase the number of animals we were responsible for. But then the report came, through the chain of people who knew people, that the owners of the cat had stopped feeding her. "We're getting rid of her anyway," they said, "So why buy any more food for her if we're just going to give her away." This is how we got Foxy. Despite her bipolar disorder and overall weirdness, we made a home for her. I just couldn't stand the idea of some poor animal starving.
Then there was the time we found an injured turtle on the road and brought it home to recover before releasing it again. And the time we bought a ferret at a garage sale because the owners said they didn't take him out of the cage, and confessed they'd never taken him to the vet. And the time we hand-fed baby birds that fell from a nest outside our house. Rescued and relocated baby rabbits. Fed the wild opossums and raccoons outside our back door in the winter. I probably can't even remember everything we've done, often by my begging and whining request, to help an animal.

Then my country friend J called about one of his "juvenile delinquent" chickens. The last hatch this year, there was one light colored chicken in the batch of black bantams. A little hen that was smaller than the rest. J said when he went to close up the chickenhouse for the night, all the other chickens, including the mother hen, were crowded together on the perch, while this little hen was huddled by herself, cold and shivering on the floor. She'd been pecked by the others and was holding one of her eyes closed. If you want to know the truth of it, I think my friend knows my weakness and was using it against me. I think he also knows Cadence shares my love of animals and would be delighted to be the stand-in chicken mama.

So we have a new "pet" chicken. We've yet to name her, but this website says chickens can learn their names and actually be very affectionate. I've yet to see affection from the little hen, but she is getting more comfortable with being held and carried around. She makes peeping noises constantly, sometimes long after we've covered up her cage for the night. The GBH would love to eat her. The kids barely let her little chicken feet touch the ground. Because of the cold, the lack of a suitable outdoor home, and her small size, we'll be letting her stay in the house through the winter. My plan is to return her to her chicken family at my friend's place as soon as she's big enough to defend herself, probably in the spring. I was thinking of something like this for her to stay in when she outgrows the aquarium:The bottom lined with newspapers, something like this would be perfect for a little chicken.
Now that we have a pet chicken, I think we've gone past the point of denying we're rednecks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Middle Schooler Gets Detention For Hugging...

An 8th grade girl in Illinois is punished for hugging her friends, because it violates the school's policy on public displays of affection.
District Superintendent Sam McGowen said that he thinks the penalty is fair and
that administrators in the school east of St. Louis were following policy in the
student handbook.
It states: "Displays of affection should not occur on the
school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and
brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved."

I'd like to think when this policy was created, they were looking to eliminate hallway makeout sessions and had no idea the span of behaviors they would cover by being so vague; and that whoever called this girl on her breech of policy was just being a rule-driven, tyrannical asshole. The alternative is pretty scary, because that would suggest an institution where students -children - are forced to refrain from any human contact that suggests affection.

Punishing this girl is in poor taste. Making this policy so vague reflects poor judgment. Insisting that the penalty is fair brings discredit to the school and the persons involved. Thankfully, we have no such policy. Hugs and kisses are encouraged around here.