The House of a Million Pets

Ann Hodgman; illustrations by Eugene Yelchin

Henry Holt and Co.

I put the owl into a cardboard box and brought him into the kitchen. Then the kids and I bent over to look at him more closely.

If a bird can’t “clench” its toes, that often means its leg or its back are broken. To test the owl’s reflexes, I stuck my finger under his foot. To my surprise, his claws—very thick, strong talons for such a small guy—curled tightly around my finger. I tried the other foot—same thing. Encouraged, I stretched out each of his wings, which still had their baby feathers. Pecky tucked them back neatly against his sides as soon as I let go. So his wings were okay, too.

I scratched the top of his head a little, and he opened his eyes and stared up at me. His eyes were round and yellow and blind-looking. He blinked a few times. Then he clumsily struggled to his feet.
What was I supposed to do now?