By Chuck Kramer
Marvin G. Furskin, noted animal rights activist, passed away last week, poisoned while liberating an enraged and uncooperative black mamba from the city zoo.
Through his pet adoption service, he found homes for the homeless and brought the joy of animal companionship to the aged, the lonely and the forlorn. His motto was, “A pet is just another mouth to feed.”
Mr. Furskin began his career volunteering for SPCA, but moved on to more radical work with the local chapter of PETA. After serving his sentence for firebombing a butcher shop, Mr. Furskin worked as a groomer and dog-dewormer at Petland Spas. He was renowned for his magic finger.
He later opened his adoption service which specialized in rescue animals, service dogs and therapy canaries. His service also spared thousands of goldfish a final flush down the toilet, enabling them to live long, happy lives in the aquariums of caring families. “Marvin was such a gentle soul,” Helen Trawler said, “so concerned with aquatic life. He personally delivered Jules and Jim, my twin pet goldfish, in a clear Tupperware container. That’s rare for a man of his stature.”
Sandra Simpatico, local PETA chairperson, noted, “This is a great loss for our community. Mr. Furskin provided a much needed service with respect, empathy and remarkable sensitivity, and was able to counter both actual and imagined animal mistreatment with justified outrage and occasional cold-blooded violence.”
A memorial service will take place next Thursday evening in the lobby of Petland’s Grand Spa . The family is requesting that all animals attending be leashed. PETA will host and provide refreshments — iced bitters, mock turtle soup and soyburgers. The eulogy will be delivered by Kathy Robyn Warbler of the Audubon Society.
Mr. Furskin will be laid to rest the following morning at Mammal, Fish, and Fowl Memorial Park in the Friends and Allies Protected Preserve, Rev. Daniel Fang of the Holy Spirit Barking in Tongues Congregation presiding.
Mr. Furskin is survived by his wife, Smoothie (nee Velour) and his golden retriever, Marvin Jr., his flock of merino sheep, and the three dozen fleas that performed in his renowned Insect Circus Spectacular which entertained both handicapped children and wounded veterans at hospitals throughout the area. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mr. Furskin’s favorite charities—Those Misunderstood, better known as PROUD (Protectors of Rodents Occupying Urban Dwellings), and the Society for the Prevention of Battered Chickens.
Reprinted with permission from Animal Husbandry Weekly.
Chuck Kramer taught reading and writing in Chicago’s public schools for thirty years. He has also worked as an advertising copywriter, a public relations writer, and the theater critic for the Oak Leaves newspaper. He currently co-hosts the Weeds Poetry Open Mic in Chicago every Monday night and freelances as a photographer and reporter for Windy City Media.