National Geographic : 1956 Nov
706 "He Feels So Soft!" Hands Reach Out for Marshmallow, a Japanese Silky Rooster sters. Hospitalized children cannot match the delighted exuberance of healthy children, but I know that the animals bring them no less joy and happiness. Visits to the children's wards have given me some of my most poignant memories, es pecially the little boy who loved Pogo so. This tiny boy was incurably ill in one of the big city hospitals. When I told him about Pogo, his enormous brown eyes slowly opened. I put the snuffly old possum in his arms, and he smiled the warmest and most beautiful smile I have ever seen. Tears were in every one's eyes, for the nurses said it was the first time he had smiled in his three and a half months in the hospital. Blind Child "Sees" a Rooster Handicapped children tour our zoo in a little tractor-drawn train. In the Children's Zoo, blind youngsters can hold animals. I will never forget one little blind girl who meticulously examined a rooster with her sen sitive fingers and murmured to me happily, "He's beautiful!" Perhaps my most challenging lectures have been before special classes for children who are hard of hearing. I had to speak slowly so that they could watch my lips. For my first visit I took along a spunky rooster who likes to crow. He does this often, but never at the right time-preferring to embarrass me by cutting loose at a busy street corner. On my second trip I knew better, and brought Bobbert, the sparrow hawk. Bobbert Pierces the Sound Barrier Sparrow hawks, or American kestrels, the smallest hawks in the United States, are known for their loud, piercing cry: "killy killy-killy." I knew Bobbert would screech in protest every time she was stroked. It proved to be a supreme thrill for these children. Their faces almost burst with en thusiasm. They shouted with joy, and some kept pointing to their ears. Apparently Bobbert's shrill noises were audible to a number of them, although they had difficulty in hearing normal human speech. For some it may have been the first animal sound they had ever heard. Poor Bobbert looked a bit annoyed the rest of the day. But somehow I don't think she really minded.