Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Easter Bunny isn't the only animal to watch out for

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The Easter bunny … I don’t understand why we had to invent this character.

– Todd Rundgren

Easter Sunday is two weeks from this morning and I’m sure most of you are preparing for this most dangerous of holidays.

Don’t get me wrong. Its religious theme is miraculous.

It’s this other stuff that we sort of invented to celebrate Easter that gets in the way. Rabbits, candy, eggs, ducks. What’s up with that?

When I was young you got a basket full of candy and if you were a normal 5- to 10-year-old, diligently tried to eat every single jelly-bean-bite of it before leaving to go to church.

This not only frustrated household adults because it made you slightly nauseated and quarrelsome during the most crowded and heavily attended service of the year, but it meant you had no appetite afterward for Easter dinner, which adults took seriously.

What you didn’t eat from your basket were the eggs. The hardboiled eggs that you sometimes spent a Saturday afternoon dyeing with one of those dye kits.

This was really pretty fun, and they were great for throwing at little sisters, which is why the dyed eggs seemed to get confiscated by adults at the first opportunity.

And then there were the chicks and ducks, often dyed with pastel colors and given to spoiled, “only children.”

I was not an only child, but one lived next door, and one Easter he got a duck. This was really interesting for all of about 20 minutes, and then we kids lost interest and went back to hard-boiled egg hurling.

Undaunted (or maybe slightly daunted) his doting parents built a duck pen in his back yard. Into the summer we got to hear the duck squawk and watch it grow.

From the childhood perspective, duck ranching is not very entertaining, and eventually the forlorn quacker vanished.

The kid’s parents told him it flew south for the summer and he believed them.

(He believed that Easter Bunny story, too.)

DANGER LOOMS: What I believe is the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, which wants us all to remember that Easter can be dangerous, particularly if – like me – you have pets around the house.

Look out for candy. Chocolate goodies are toxic to cats and dogs. Calls to the Pet Poison Helpline spike 200 percent during Easter.

Look out for flowers. Lilies can be fatal if ingested.

Look out for Easter baskets. That green, plastic grass stuff can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration in your animal companion.

And speaking of animal companions, the vet association strongly urges you to resist buying a bunny or a chick, which can carry salmonella and E. coli.

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