Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Problems With Pets

This weekend I journeyed to Austin to reunite with some old friends and I'm still recovering.  Don't jump to conclusions- I only had one glass of wine the entire evening, but we stayed up gabbing until 4:00 a.m. and I have been paying the price all week. 

I talk A LOT.  My friend Leanne makes me feel a bit more normal, because I think she might talk as much or more than me.  In fact, she talks so much that she is in danger of permanently damaging her vocal chords and her doctor has recently prescribed "six weeks of vocal rest."  As her former roommate, I can assure you this will never happen.

The great thing about Leanne's excessive talking is that she is exceptionally entertaining.  We considered attending a Wu Tang concert, and I'm so glad we didn't because there's no way that a Wu Tang show could compete with a Leanne show.

My favorite stories that she shared involved her failed attempts to find suitable pets for her classroom.  Leanne teaches kids with special needs, and she is very passionate about providing them with unique learning experiences.  Unfortunately, I think that some of these learning experiences turned out to be more unique than she intended.

Leanne thought a frog might make a great classroom pet.  The frog she ordered online turned out to be a gigantic bullfrog.  Mr. Bull's cage was too small so one of the science teachers offered to take Mr. Bull for the weekend because he had a large unused terrestrial tank at home.  When Mr. Bull returned to the classroom on Monday Leanne didn't realize that she had a) put him too close to the heater and b) partially covered his air hole thereby creating a small sauna.  When Mr. Bull began frantically hopping around searching for air she actually said to the kids, "Look how happy Mr. Bull is to be back in our classroom!" Needless to say, Mr. Bull didn't make it much longer.

But here's where the story get's really sad/hilarious- Leanne decided to use this opportunity to teach the kids about the life cycle.  She explained that everything will eventually die, and that it's okay to be sad, but that death is natural.  This lesson was capped off with a funeral for Mr. Bull which included a burial in the yard outside their classroom and the singing of "Amazing Grace."

This would have been a great moment in teaching if Mr. Bull's grave wasn't so shallow and the lawn mowers had not shown up that day.  So unfortunately when the kids were marching back from P.E. they were all subjected to the bloody, mangled body of Mr. Bull which was strewn across the sidewalk.  

R.I.P. Mr. Bull

Leanne did not provide me with a picture of Mr. Jack which might be for the best.  Mr. Jack is a rabbit that was donated by one of the parents.  One day Mr. Jack escaped from his cage and attempted to make a break for it.  He was almost outside of the classroom when one of the kid's grabbed him by the head. What the children ended up learning that day was that rabbits' have very delicate skin because basically Mr. Jack was scalped.  Leanne said it was absolutely disgusting.  Mr. Jack miraculously survived, but is more skittish than ever and rarely gets to venture outside of his cage.  Don't worry, Leanne transformed the traumatic incident into a lesson about the dangers of running away from home.

Get well soon Mr. Jack!

Leanne decided that her next classroom pets should be sturdy animals.  She selected two box turtles.  Even though they were unable to determine the sex of either turtle, they decided to go with Speedy and Mrs. Spots.

One day there were some strange noises coming from the turtles' box.  The children raced over to see what Speedy and Mrs. Spots were up to and it turns out that they were aptly named:

Prepare yourself for a graphic image that was captured by Leanne: 


  1. OH MY GOSH! Nothing exciting like that ever happens in my classroom!!! Well, except for the time we released our newly transformed butterflies into the butterfly garden and a bunch of birds swooped down and ate a few. But that's not even CLOSE to Leanne's stories.

  2. Here is some information for teachers who wish to have a classroom pet. Pets in the Classroom is an educational grants program supporting responsible pet care in classrooms across the country. Kids benefit from exposure to pets in the classroom in ways that help to shape their lives for years to come. Their goal is to establish healthy child-pet relationships at an early age by supporting responsible pet care in grammar and middle school classrooms across the country.

    Pets encourage nurturing, help build self esteem, teach responsibility and pets become friends! Classroom pets stimulate learning, and enrich the classroom experience. A classroom pet depends on you for its health, happiness and well being. Apply for your classroom pet grant today at www.petsintheclassroom.org.

  3. Leanne, please apply for that grant so that your kids can have more of these wonderful experiences.

  4. wow No words will really suffice but just wanted to let you know a new pet has joined our class and is doing really well. Although he has no idea that entering my class is like walking the Green Mile. But we have high hopes!

  5. Maybe you should name your new friend John Coffey.