Thursday, May 04, 2006

Animal Loving

No! Not that kind of animal loving.

Today Dee Mac and I walked our dogs on the Galgorm Woods path. It was wet and we didn’t see many other people around. But there was this one old chap feeding the donkey that keeps the stable ponies company. Dee told me this man comes down most days visiting the donkey. We stopped for a chat with him and he told us he thought the donkey hadn’t enough to eat and that he’d love to take it home with him. He said he’d lots of grazing out his back. He’d just finished feeding it three carrots and an apple and for dessert the donkey was having extra-strong mints, which it appeared to relish. I don’t think the gentleman needs to worry about the donkey hungering as he’s not the only person who visits it regularly with pockets full of fruit and sweeties.

A bit farther along the path I spotted a fat grey squirrel shimmying up a tree. I pointed it out to Dee. “Oh that squirrel’s always there,” she said. “There’s a woman comes down regularly to feed it. She leaves food in the fork of that tree for it.” We walked on. Of course I had to call Paddy on as he was gazing yearningly up the squirrel tree wishing he could climb it and have that well-fed rodent.

We got to talking about the rooster Clint rescued from the battery cages. Poor Norris, as Dee has named him, is not doing too well. All those months squashed in the cages has weakened his muscle tone and he’s not eating much nor drinking. Dee got antibiotics for him and she is nursing him. She gives him a sort of chicken mash gruel and water from a syringe. He’s not that keen on taking it. Clint is threatening to leave him out for Foxy, which is a wind-up for sure.  Bert doesn’t think Norris will make it. Thinks he’s lost the will to live. Dee will persevere for a while. I’m thinking why do it? Why fight it? Those battery hens are bred to be short-term egg-laying machines. Roosters like Norris are not meant to be. If he lives to get some enjoyment out of his life it will be great but maybe better for us than for him.

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