About a month ago, two chicks came to Poplar Spring from completely different situations. Lillian (the little red hen) was rescued from a hatching project, Lance (the little white rooster) from a reptile show. They’re both cute as anything.
And they’re growing fast! Lillian was 3 weeks when she came to the sanctuary, so last weekend she was 6 weeks old, and Lance is 2 weeks younger than she is. She’s already almost fully feathered!
They’re still babies, though, peeping away. They spend their nights in the “infirmary”, and when I went to bring them outside, they were perched on top of their enclosure! Guess they can fly a bit already.
It was so much fun last week to just sit and watch them explore their world. Lance decided to take a dust bath…except he was in the grass! We’ll call it practice.
When a plane flew overhead (the sanctuary is on the flight path to Dulles), Lillian watched it, perhaps wondering if it was some kind of bird.
They even gave an alarm call after following a bee around and then realizing that it wasn’t a good thing for them to be interested in. I was taking a video at the time, but I can’t really pick out the alarm call even when I go back and listen very carefully. Dave is the one who heard it – he’s a lot better at understanding their different calls than I am!
See if you can hear it:
When I posted this on my FB page, Mary commented:
It’s so great to see them acting the way they’re supposed to act, in the grass, under the sun. And not in danger.
That’s it exactly. It’s why I always am thanking Terry and Dave for letting me come out and pick up poop!
Another friend, who played a part in Lillian’s rescue, was describing their visit to drop Lillian off, and had a very similar sentiment:
My sister was the one who came out with me, she’s a new vegan and was so touched by all the beautiful creatures. We spent a while with Lance and Lillian before leaving, just enjoying seeing them in their new, safe home and thinking about the wonderful lives they will live. I even got to hold Harrison the rooster and my sister just kept on petting him, it was a very spiritual experience for us – I think only fellow animals lovers can understand that.
This is a big part of why sanctuaries are so important — important for the animals who are being rescued, but also important because they then have a chance to play a part in reaching people’s hearts and minds. They can motivate people to make positive changes in their life (which helps other animals), or they might help motivate people to stay vegan. They remind people of what, exactly, is at stake. For those of us who are involved in activism and thus never forget (in often wrenching detail) what is at stake, sanctuaries are a place of peace, of hope, and essentially a sanctuary for us as much as the animals themselves.
Veganism isn’t abstract. It’s as personal as it gets.