Garden for Wee Wildlife: In Memory of Laura Conroy

Our 25-year-old daughter, Laura Conroy, passed away in the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 30.  She lived passionately, generously and sometimes on the edge. She loved birds, children and all other wildlife. Dogs, horses, chickens and pet rats were also important to her during her bright and beautiful life.

When Laura lived in Argentina during her 2014 UGA study-abroad program, her fellow students avoided walking next to her in some areas. Stray dogs came out of nowhere to follow Laura, even though she didn’t call them or offer them food. They just seemed to want her attention.

Children in Athens and beyond behaved similarly. When we went to a restaurant and a small child sat near us, the youngster might hop off his or her chair to stand near Laura. I’d ask, “Do you know this child?” Laura would often reply, “No, we just smiled at each other.” She was the Pied Piper of kids and dogs. They probably picked up her positive vibes.

On the afternoon of Oct. 30, when the detective told me she was deceased from apparent suicide, I said he was wrong! It was a mistaken identity. She would not kill herself, because she loved life. But he was right.

In honor of Laura’s life and her love of all creatures great and small, please consider the small wildlife in your garden or yard, especially during times of drought. Set out a shallow dish of fresh water for the amphibians, reptiles and little mammals near the bird bath, or somewhere easy to remember. Small ground-dwellers need fresh water just as much as birds. But they can’t tell us about their thirst.

Tips: Change the water every few days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Put a bent stick in the dish for creatures struggling to climb out of the water if they get in too deep. Metal dishes get hot, so try a large terracotta saucer (the kind used under a potted plant). All things wise and wonderful will appreciate your kindness. So will Laura.