Monday, March 21, 2005

Kitten Hospital Coughs Up Its Last Hairball

Here's an interesting post from the commentary section, courtesy of the provocatively named G.D. Frogsdong:

"I posted an article on a frog hospital in Australia that is closing because of lack of funding. It is the only hospital of it's kind. Maybe we frog bloggers could spread the word."

And this from his blog:
...let me make a point or two. I've seen a lot of reports about money given to charity that never reaches its intended beneficiaries. Food rots in warehouses or the charity has administrative costs that eat up 80% or more of the donations and so on. This is one instance where you can be certain that a donation goes directly to the benefit of those it is intended to help. Maybe they are just frogs, but we are in danger of losing this link in the food chain, and that will cause the extinction of other links; every link that disappears brings all of us that much closer to losing our little link in the big chain.

I'd seen brief news stories about this, all capped with the inevitable headline of Frog Hospital Croaks. If the hospital had specialized in kittens, or pandas, I doubt headline writers would have been so glib.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've never been fanatic over frogs. I like them -- what's a pond without them? and nothing puts a tree in better perspective than spying a tiny frog clinging to the bark and contemplating the long road of wood ahead of it; and when you're a kid spotting a baby toad by the back steps, so perfectly tiny in its baggy suit, you know the magic of becoming a giant in an instant -- but all that aside, I was never compelled to keep one as a pet, or to decorate my shelves with frog statuary. I was drawn to frogs because they're anthropomorphic, and rubbery, with expressive eyes. Depending on my mood, those eyes could look startled, as if the idea of being a frog had just hit them, and it was probably best to sit still and think about it. Other times they looked blank, as if stunned from seeing too much of the world: rainy night road crossings that came to bad ends, kids with Fourth of July firecrackers, gas-slick waters.

If this isn't just fancy on my part, and frogs really are weary of what they've seen, who can blame them?

Frogs see and feel things we don't because they live on the cusp of the wild and the civilized (and by civilized I mean industry, pollution, run-off -- toxicity capering behind its many masks.) And they spend their days in permeable suits that allow poisons and other chemical diversions to trickle through.

Frogs make many sounds, but the most telling is the alarm they sound with their disappearance.

I'm not sure what sound a frog hospital makes when it expires, but it can't be a good one.