Angie Bicker

Angie Bicker

Clinton Herald

Every living thing needs to be loved. No matter how tough you think you are, you need to know that someone out there cares.

It’s no secret; I love my dog. For the last 12 ½ years, we have been inseparable. In those 12 years, there have been many ups and downs in both of our lives and I think we survived the trials and tribulations life threw at us because we had each other. I cannot think of a better friend. I know, for a fact, that God meant for that little dog to be mine. I can honestly tell you that I don’t think anyone could ever love her as much as I do.

One of my readers, a farm boy who grew up in Fenton, Ill., during the 1950s and ’60s, recently dropped off a story for me to read about a little dog named Hoover. Since I love animals, he thought I would enjoy the story, which I did. You see, little Hoover was dropped off at a Humane Society because his owner no longer wanted him. However, he found a new owner, Stringbean, who gave him the unconditional love he longed for and needed. As far as Stringbean was concerned, Hoover was a part of his family — a little kid with fur. When I reached the last sentence, I had tears in my eyes. Animal stories really tug at my heartstrings. I can’t get through watching “Lassie Come Home” without crying since I have the real thing lying next to me on the living room rug. I can’t get through the movie without using a whole roll of toilet paper to blow my nose. And if you couldn’t guess it already, “Old Yeller” is definitely out of the question. I am able to watch the beginning credits and that’s about it.

There are animal movies that I enjoy. I love the remake of “Flicka” and the recent Disney movie, “Secretariat.” I also love the movie “Chicken Run.” Gee, I wonder why. I think that movie is hilarious. You definitely can’t beat good chicken humor. I just wish I had written that script instead of someone else.

I heard from a lot of readers this past week including Ethel Hamdorf, of Clinton, who has known my family for years, and Mary Lou Hinrichsen, a Clinton Herald staff writer. Both women read the same article and thought of me, which was pretty cool. It’s always nice to be remembered.

Ethel and Mary Lou both stumbled upon an article in the August edition of National Geographic called, “Homes for Hens.” Apparently in Britain, there are chicken battery farms, which are similar to factory farms in the United States. Once a little hen reaches the ripe old age of 1 ½ , she is no longer needed even though she still has a lot more good years left and many more eggs to produce. In England, people are banding together and rescuing these little hens to give them a new lease on life and a new, loving home. I think these hen advocates are awesome.

Photographer Ed Thompson captured some remarkable images of these little girls. My heart really went out to one hen who was almost featherless. She looked like she had endured a pretty rough life. However, in this photo, this little hen was clad in a beautiful blue and white hand-knitted sweater to hide her battle scars. I’m sure that little hen will be getting a lot of tender loving care for the rest of its life. Ethel even offered to make my girls a sweater if they ever needed one since she can knit and crochet. How cool is that?

I have never agreed with how some of these large operations treat chickens. They definitely shouldn’t be placed in cages where they can’t even move. That kind of treatment shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere including Britain and the United States. Since my chickens are treated like queens of the poultry industry at my house, they should be indebted to me forever.

Every living creature needs love; it’s that simple. I know my old dog’s eyes light up every time I wrap my arms around her and give her a big hug. I know I would give one of my hens a hug if she’d let me get that close to her.

If you seriously think about it, animals probably give more love than humans could ever conceive of giving. Animals give with their whole heart, every inch of their being, and expect nothing in return. So, when you see a hen strutting around give her a thumbs up for a job well done and for heaven’s sake, go home and love up your family pet, whatever it may be, because they love you more than you’ll ever know.

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