FFA students take animals to the Arbors

Paul was a duck, but he was no ordinary duck.

He had a secret.

Frances McClure Smith often took animals from the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley that her sister, Genevieve Schafer, said had once been abused. One time, Schafer gave Smith two ducks, one of which she named Paul. Later, Smith said she later realized the duck actually was a female.

“I like all of them,” Smith said of the animals. “I’ve always lived with them. … I always named them before I know what (gender) they are.”

Smith was one of more than a dozen Arbors of Marietta residents who left their rooms Friday morning to come out to the sunny parking lot to visit the ball python, the baby goat, two rabbits and a 3-year-old Rottweiller named Tiny. The Marietta High School FFA brought the animals to the Arbors.

The petting zoo along with a carnival on Friday afternoon capped off a weeklong celebration of National Nursing Home Week, each day with a different theme. The other celebrations for the Arbors residents during the past week were Patriotic Day on Thursday, Talk Me Out To The Ballpark Day on Wednesday, Western Day on Tuesday and NASCAR Day on Monday.

“That’s what they always ask where I want to go, and that’s out,” Smith said.

Marietta FFA vice president Shania Baker brought two rabbits on Friday – one a lilac mixed with a Rex and a New Zealand and the other a New Zealand. New Zealands usually are all white with pink ears and eyes. The rabbits are part of her FFA project on breed and market rabbits.

“It’s one of the community service projects I actually enjoy,” Baker said.

Arbors resident Frances Leep, who has lived there for more than two years, likes all animals, but she can be a little cautious, she said.

“I like all animals unless they’re mean,” she said. “I like them all unless they go to bite me.”

Also on hand to visit the residents was a 11-month old ball python. Many of the residents did not want to go near it.

“It’s an education,” said Evan Stengel, Marietta High School FFA member. “A lot of people are afraid of snakes.”

His girlfriend, Ashley Pollard, said the snake is a sweetheart.

“It’s his but we count it as our baby,” Pollard said.

Apparently, resident Paul Daniell agreed. The snake romanced him with a kiss on the cheek. The goat found a good spot cuddled up in his lap.

“Any animal you see here today, I am for,” Daniell said.

The residents also enjoyed visiting with Tiny the Rottweiller, although it growled at the first person who approached it, yielding a gentle correction from its owner.

“Some people think the breed is a fighting dog,” said John McIntire, FFA member and owner of the dog. “She’s not. She’s a pretty fun dog.”

Arbors Receptionist Miranda Duty said the residents have gotten a big kick out of the celebration this week, especially with the animals and the live Western music. She said residents like these events because it allows them to get out of the facility and interact with other people.