Ike's Fuzzy Animals

So you know Houston is finally getting back to normal after Ike.

I had just set off for the bus stop one morning last week, right after the morning rain had abated. The storm drain across the street was full of debris, and looking closer, I saw a tiny creature tangled up in the foliage.

Right after Ike, we found about a half-dozen dead baby squirrels near our house, and this looked for all the world like one more. But looking closer, I thought I could detect tiny movements in its chest.

I picked up the little flea-ridden, bedraggled fellow. Its little paw closed instinctively around my finger and, yes, it was breathing! Hell, it could even open its eyes. But what to do? I couldn't very well take a baby squirrel on the bus with me...

Luckily, Harry "Moe" Taylor, my ­animal-crazy grandfather, lives a block away from me. I went back to my bedroom and got a sock to swaddle the tiny varmint with, and took him over to see if Moe would arrange a rescue while I headed on to work.

Susy Taylor, my grandmother, let me in. She was getting ready to take my aunt Jenny to work at the Cleburne Cafeteria. Moe was not yet awake, so Susy, who like Jenny, was terrified of my little friend, went off to roust him.

It would be an exaggeration to say he shot out of bed, but it's true that he hasn't moved his eightysomething bones that fast in quite some time.

"All right, let's see him," he enthused.

He sat in his easy chair and pulled a little table into the light. I set my precious bundle on the table and unwrapped it in front of him.

Moe looked at it intently. He cocked his head to the right and left. He lifted the baby's head carefully with his finger, studying the creature's skull shape.

"This is a rat," he said.

Behind me I could hear two shrieks.

So look on the bright side, Houston — once again, we're just as likely to find baby rats in the storm drains as squirrels. — John Nova Lomax

Pit Bull Laundering by the Houston SPCA

The Houston SPCA, in the form of Meera Nandlal, who's in charge of public relations, got back to us finally last week and made it clear there has absolutely been no change in policy by the SPCA about adopting out pit bulls.

The Houston SPCA, as we've noted, makes a big point of saying they do not adopt out pit bulls because they consider them unsafe.

Asked about the apparent change in policy — why the SPCA didn't kill the dozen pit bulls it picked up on Galveston Island after Hurricane Ike, but instead handed them over to other rescue organizations — Nandlal replied forcefully: "Explain to me how that's an adoption!"

Complaining she was having trouble understanding my questions, Nandlal put me on speakerphone. Asked for the name of anyone else listening in — especially the person who she said would answer my questions — Nandlal replied: "Why do you need to know that?"

Eventually she relented and identified Ana Perez, the SPCA employee who worked with the rescue groups to facilitate the transfer of the pit bulls. (Actually, Perez was the first person we called before we were bounced to two other people).

Perez seemed to understand my questions. "We do not adopt out pit bulls." Okay then, what did you do? "We asked our adoption partners to help out." She said the dogs were "behaviorally sound" and healthy.

Do you normally do this in cases with pit bulls? Send them out to other rescue groups?


Why this time?

"The circumstances with Hurricane Ike, we felt all the animals should get a chance."

So we can all rest easy. The Houston SPCA will not adopt out pit bulls ever and it didn't this time either. Because of Hurricane Ike and maybe the bad publicity that might come with killing perfectly healthy dogs that the humanitarian SPCA had just rescued (film at 10), this lucky dozen got spared.

But make no mistake, it will probably never happen again (and they didn't do it this time either!). — Margaret Downing

Let's Get Lottery Sales Humming Again

State officials say that Texas Lottery sales are slumping because the games are "boring." We couldn't agree more. If you possess the kind of sharp, brilliant, mathematically sophisticated mind that says "I'm buyin' lottery tickets!!" then you will quickly grow bored with the same-old, same-old. So we have our own ideas for new lottery games that are guaran-damn-teed to sell like hotcakes.

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