Kate Hogan was having the time of her life in Italy. Her pet peacock Chip was just trying to do the same in Loudoun.
Early last week, Hogan was celebrating her brother's wedding abroad when she got word from her friend Kelly Rutkowski: Chip, whom Rutkowski was supposed to be keeping an eye on, had escaped his Lucketts-area home after being spooked by Viking, the resident black lab.
You'll soon learn this wasn't a complete surprise – Chip, that rascal, is prone to perversity.
Hogan was concerned, of course, but she was also some 4,000 miles away, carousing with people close to her soul. There wasn't much she could do.
But there's always social media. So Hogan put out the call – only she was more honest about her beloved peafowl than most.
“Hello!” Hogan opened her Facebook plea. “One of my peacocks broke out of bird jail and is running the town on a wild bender. He’s an aloof Spaulding male named Chip, which he refuses to respond to despite it being a perfectly nice name. The only thing he likes more than cat food is sex. If you see him trying to seduce your cat or hear him screaming from your rooftop, please comment or contact Kelly Rutkowski, who is kindly helping me round him up while I’m out of town. We live on Stumptown Road, so he could be anywhere in the Lucketts, Waterford, Taylorstown area.”
Click by click, share by share, the uninhibited nature of Hogan's message captured the Loudoun community's attention. The Hunt for the Promiscuous Peacock was on.
Hogan's post caught our eye late April 25, and we saw it as a community newspaper's duty to help spread the word: a randy peacock is on the loose.
After our initial report April 26, several larger news outlets – The Washington Post, WTOP, NBC Washington – picked up the story. Within five days, Rutkowski estimated, she received 40 reports of Chip sightings around rural Loudoun.
“I would've never thought this many people would constantly be aware and looking out,” Rutkowski told the Times-Mirror Wednesday. “It's been interesting to see the power of social media and how this community, if we work together – how many people care. It has made me see the good in the community.”
Still, as in life, we take the good with the bad – or at least the daunting uncertainty. As of this writing, Chip remained at large.
Considering the uproar he's caused, we indeed hope Chip has been enjoying himself. Perhaps he's found love. As Hogan told us, her lothario is just two years old – the equivalent of a “teenage boy” – and he's entering his first mating season.
As they say, you never forget your first.
Editor's note: Happy endings do exist. Chip was lovingly captured and returned home by Hogan and Rutkowski the morning after this story's publication online.