Friday, July 23, 2010

Who let the dogs out?

They say there are two kinds of persons in the world - cat people and dog people. Each of these types exhibits certain personality traits. What kind of person was Flannery O'Connor? Characteristically, neither. She was, instead, a bird person. From the time O'Connor was a little girl she raised ducks and chickens. She even sewed clothes for these birds and made up fanciful stories about them that she shared with her classmates at St. Vincent's Academy in Savannah. As she grew older, her flock became more diversified, most notably with the addition of peafowl that she started raising at Andalusia in 1953. Flannery was protective of her birds, too. In the summer of 1957 her friend Cecil Dawkins wanted to give her a dog. O'Connor wrote her back declining the kind offer: "You certainly are nice to want to give me that dog but I'll have to take the thought for the dog. I didn't tell you what I raise: I raise peacocks - and you can't keep dogs and peacocks on the same place. When people come to see us with a dog, we have to ask them to keep the dog in the car - else the peachickens will take to the trees and have nervous prostrations...So I adjust myself to their tastes, including being anti-dog." (Habit of Being p. 230)

Though the present day peafowl at Andalusia enjoy the safe confines of an aviary, we must be "anti-dog," too. Visitors are certainly welcome to bring their dogs out to the farm, but we ask that they keep them on a leash, not only for the protection of our guests, but for the animals' protection, too. If you bring a dog to Andalusia, we also ask that you don't leave your pet in the car, especially during these searing summer months. It's also not a good idea to leave your pet in the car with the motor running. There have been dogs left in idling cars here that have locked themselves in. Since we don't want a similar fate to happen to your pet, we ask that you observe our "leash law."
- Mark

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