Roadkill Collector Appears On TV

Many Harvard students come from a background of varied interests. But Kelly C. Seary '01 has perhaps a more unique hobby: roadkill taxidermy.

On Tuesday, Seary was introduced to Canadians on the "Camilla Scott Show," which she describes as "the Canadian version of Ricki Lake."

The show, titled: "Your bizarre behavior must stop," introduced Canadian viewers to Seary's two-year long hobby of stuffing animals found in her rural Quebec home, many along the side of the road.

Seary said her "bizarre behavior" began two years ago, when her biology teacher offered to help her and a friend stuff a marmot he had found on the road. The marmot, which the group named Max, sparked a passion in Seary for the new hobby.

She went on to stuff Murphy the muskrat, Porky the porcupine, Pam the baby boar and Bob the little bird.

Bob, who met his fatal end by colliding with a window, did not work out, Seary said.

"I got the bird wet by accident, so his feathers didn't look nice," she said. "They started falling out, so he was more of a bald bird."

Seary, who said she is interested in possibly become a veterinarian, said that she stuffs the animals in order to learn about their anatomy.

"I think I have a greater respect for these animals because I know how things work," she said.

But though she would not make a career of it, she said she would consider continuing taxidermy as a permanent hobby.

"I'd like to continue this hobby here at Harvard, but all I've seen are squirrels and pigeons, so if anyone sees anything more interesting, they should let me know," she said.

Seary, who is quick to point out that she does not kill the animals she stuffs, begins the process by removing and washing the animals' fur. Then, she washes the skin with dog shampoo.

"It smells nice, and it makes the coat shiny," she said. "Once it's dry, I insert hanger wires--that's what I use to give it shape, so it won't have floppy arms."

Seary said that she doesn't always succeed in this task.

"I'm not a professional. I don't have the right equipment, the right molds to shape the creatures," she said.

Sometimes, Seary encounters unusual difficulties.

"I work with stuff that has been hit by cars, mostly. If the skull is crushed, I remove it. Then his head is a little sad looking," she said.

Seary said her friends and family have learned to tolerate her hobby, and even encourage it.

"If I was in the car with friends, and there was a cat that was totally flattened on the road, my friends would be like, 'Kelly, do you want to stop and pick that up?'" she said.

"Usually it would be beyond repair," she said. "We were very selective with what animals we picked."

It was one of Seary's friends, Robin Dickinson, who called the "Camilla Scott Show" without her knowledge.

"Later, she asked me what I would've said if she had phoned in, and I said I wouldn't have minded. Her response was 'good, 'cause I did,'" Seary said.

The two were given an all expense paid trip to Toronto. Dickenson spoke on the show first, followed by Seary--who brought Max with her as an illustration.

Seary said she got some unusual questions from audience members.

"One person asked me what kind of drugs I was taking," Seary said.

A psychologist was also brought onto the show.

"She asked me about my childhood," Seary said. "Eventually she concluded that I am a mentally stable, sane person."

Seary's mother, Nancy A. Seary, is supportive of her daughter.

"It's not really what I would go in for, but everyone has to have their own hobby," she said.

A potential problem arose in the Seary household when Kelly Seary stored a bag containing emu feet in the freezer.

Luckily, Seary's mother said that she did not mind. "It was well wrapped up," she said