DeKALB – It almost sounded like a line out of a Dr. Seuss book: "Mom, there's a chicken in the library."
Actually, there was a chicken, along with a duck, a chinchilla, an opossum, an African tortoise, a Jersey Wooly rabbit, a lizard from Australia, a pacman frog, a prairie dog, a Patagonian cavy, two birds and an alpaca.
The animals were part of a presentation last Thursday at the DeKalb Public Library by Deb Moreland of Furry Friends in Princeton. The two library shows were sponsored by Friends of the DeKalb Library, one of many activities for the summer reading program.
Moreland said she travels all over the area giving demonstrations to children's groups, libraries, schools, nursing homes and even birthday parties. Her presentation includes a half-hour talk on the animals, followed by a brief question-and answer-session, then time for the crowd – mainly children – to pet the animals. The only animal they couldn't pet was the prairie dog, who Moreland said gets a little excited around strangers. She also warned children to never approach a wild animal.
Library officials said 258 children attended the two shows Thursday. The crowd spilled out of the room and down the hallway.
"Everyone loves animals," Moreland said.
The biggest attraction of all was Harley, a white alpaca. He is 7 years old and weighs 150 pounds, about half of his better-known cousin, the llama, Moreland said. Perhaps Harley's biggest trait was his good nature as most of the crowd was drawn to pet his soft wool, which is sheared for yarn and used for light clothing.