Animal Magnetism: Welcome to the First-Ever 'Seven Days Creature Feature' | The Animal Issue | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Animal Magnetism: Welcome to the First-Ever 'Seven Days Creature Feature'

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COURTESY | REV. DIANE SULLIVAN
  • Courtesy | Rev. Diane Sullivan

In a normal year, the theme issue Seven Dayzers most look forward to — whether they're writers, editors, sales reps, distribution peeps or designers — is our annual Animal Issue. And that speaks to a universal truth: Everybody loves animals.

But in this, the Year of Oh-Lord-What-Now-2020, nothing is normal. From the pandemic to widespread sociopolitical and economic strife to freakin' murder hornets to (shudder) the upcoming election, right now is just different — to put it mildly. So we had to ask ourselves a hard question. In the midst of all that, and when editorial real estate is already at a premium, could we justify devoting an entire issue of our newspaper to, ahem, fluff pieces? The answer was no.

But ... there's always a but.

What we could do, we realized, was produce a new supplement full of the animal stories we love, while the regular paper reports the real-world news we need. In your hot little paws you now hold our first-ever Creature Feature. (Catchy title, no?)

Inside you'll find content to give you warm fuzzies. For example, scads of Vermonters have adopted pets during quarantine. We found some photogenic new arrivals for a photo essay on Vermont's pandemic pets.

Many of those animals come to the Green Mountains from southern states. That's a net positive for cats and dogs who end up in good homes rather than high-kill shelters in Mississippi or Alabama. But, as Ken Picard reports, the practice also raises complex quandaries, further complicated by pandemic-related travel restrictions.

If your new kitty has a killer instinct, you may want to read Margaret Grayson's profile of Birdsbesafe. The Vermont company makes colorful cat collars designed to prevent murderous felines from catching birds.

We're not sure how well those collars would work on a cat who has a thing for butterflies. But we'd still recommend the experience of tending the winged insects if you're looking for a new pandemic pastime. As Elizabeth M. Seyler writes in an essay on raising butterflies, it's a centering and rewarding pursuit. And you might just save the world while you're at it.

Meanwhile, at the Charlotte Equestrian Center, Ashley Meacham is doing a lot more than just horsing around. Even with the pandemic, Grayson writes, she's managed to stay in the saddle.

We hope you enjoy reading Creature Feature as much as we enjoyed making it. With any luck, we'll be back to the full-on Animal Issue next year. On the bright side, when you're done reading it, this supplement works just as well as our regular newspaper for that most important of jobs: lining litter boxes and birdcages.