Categories
Animals Good People

Butterball

Yesterday, I saw a news story about a woman, Sunflower Ladd, who took care of an abandoned baby squirrel after a storm. She fed it, and cuddled it, and kept it safe and warm. She named it Butterball.

Eventually, Butterball grew up, and Sunflower released it back into the wild. She figured she wouldn’t see much of Butterball ever again; after all, being a squirrel, Butterball had the life of a squirrel to live.

However, Butterball stuck around. The squirrel life is happening, but Butterball routinely comes back to visit Sunflower. Butterball and Sunflower remained friends, and that friendship continues today.

In the news story, Sunflower says, “Anything that you care for, you will develop a love for.” She also notes that, if that type of bond can exist between a human and a squirrel, creatures with worlds of differences between them, it can also exist between people…if we choose to make it happen.

Here’s to Sunflower and Butterball, their sweet (but improbable) friendship, and their simple lesson of love.

https://www.wfaa.com/article/features/the-squirrel-that-keeps-coming-back-unexpected-friendship-brings-hope-for-dallas-woman/287-b320d672-ae04-4976-943c-514c273e4600

Categories
Animals Good Pets

Rescue

According to the National Day Today calendar, today is National Rescue Dog Day.

My husband asked me if there is a difference between rescue dogs and pound puppies. It appears that there are some minor differences.

A rescue dog, according to National Rescue Dog Day information, is a dog that is in a dire situation, such as living on the streets or abandoned in some way, and ends up being rescued via an animal shelter, a foster home, or adoption. They might need serious medical care, although very often, they recover quickly and develop into healthy dogs once they are in a safe situation.

“Pound puppies” is an unofficial term for dogs that are at the animal shelter, generally healthy but also in need of fostering or adoption. They might not have been in danger, sick, or injured when they arrived, and they typically don’t require extra care once they leave the shelter.

The primary differences, therefore, seem to be in the circumstances that brought them into their current situation and what they might need to live safe and happy lives. A small difference, but a meaningful one. Most importantly, however, they’re all dogs in need of good homes. If you’re considering a furry family member addition, please start your search at your local animal shelter or rescue organization.

There’s another aspect to National Rescue Dog Day that’s relevant. Rescuing can be a two-way street. Dogs have a way of making things better; easing loneliness, making us laugh, feel loved and accepted. Bringing a shelter dog into your life doesn’t only help the animal – although, of course, that’s a vital goal. But, if you yourself are in need of a little rescue, even if it’s only from time to time, it can help you, too.

There are oodles of animal rescue organizations and shelters doing their best to care for dogs, to find them homes and connect them with medical help and other necessary resources. One of the best known is the ASPCA. If you’re in a position to give of your money and/or your time, you can find more information at https://www.aspca.org/. If you’re looking for a more specific option, such as an organization that rescues certain types of dogs or delivers specialized medical care, a quick internet search will likely give you the information you need.

Happy National Rescue Dog Day. Here’s to all the dogs who’ve made life better through their companionship and love. And, here’s to all the people who have been and still are working to rescue each and every one.


Categories
Animals Good Nature

Otters

This morning, right before I woke up, I was dreaming that I was in the water, surrounded by sea otters. They were floating all around me, quietly, on their backs. Nothing more, nothing else – we were all just floating there, together, gently bobbing in the waves.

I suspect I dreamed this dream because of an article I read yesterday about sea otter sleeping habits. Otters often sleep on land, but sometimes, they also sleep in the water, on their backs. When they do, they wrap themselves in kelp strands and (here’s the part that makes me go squeeeeee) hold hands with other otters. This keeps them together; they avoid drifting apart and away during their nap time.

My dream was very peaceful. Perhaps the next time I’m feeling anxious or concerned about something, I’ll try to remember the feeling of gently floating in the water with all the otters surrounding me; the calm quiet and soft knowledge that I was not alone, that I would not drift away.

Here’s to sea otters and their simple yet smart sleeping habits. And, here’s to tranquil dreams of bobbing waves and feelings of warm, connected togetherness.

Categories
Animals Nature

Thief

We’ve been robbed.

There were two strawberries in our garden, almost ready for picking. Now, there is only one.

I suspect that the culprit has brown fur and a bushy tail and lives in the trees surrounding our house. I also suspect that he’ll be back for the one he left behind.

It’s a bit disappointing not to be able to enjoy the fruit that’s grown in our backyard, but I’ll get over it. I simply can’t stay mad when cute and clever animals are involved.

I do hope he leaves our grapes alone, however. We have plenty of kale; he can have that instead.

Categories
Animals Fun Nature

Scurry

Yesterday, as I was watching the antics of a group of squirrels that live in our backyard trees, I realized that I didn’t know what to call them in their collective state. So, I looked it up.

A group of squirrels is called a “scurry.” Based on the way the squirrels in my yard were acting, this is an apt description.

After that, I became curious about the collective names for other groups of animals, birds, and bugs. So, I did some more investigating and found some delightful and amusing descriptions. These are a few of my favorites: A group of giraffes is a tower. A group of jellyfish is a smack. Zebras in a pack are called a zeal. And, a collection of ladybugs is called a loveliness.

Here’s to the fun of language and to watching the scurry of furry tree rodents that live in my backyard.

Categories
Animals Good

Pandas

What better way to start the week (and the month) than with Pandas playing in the snow?

Categories
Animals

Berserk

Today’s cuppa recognizes a new bit of info I learned yesterday. There’s such a thing as Berserk Llama Syndrome.

Berserk Llama Syndrome happens when a juvenile (typically male; it’s rare with females) llama imprints on humans and starts to consider them to be llamas. Upon maturity, the llama then tries to assert its dominance over the humans (other llamas, from the llama’s point of view) through aggression; biting, chest-ramming, charging, even sneaking up from behind and attacking.

Juvenile llamas typically imprint on humans when they interact with them through bottle feeding or because they are isolated from other llamas. Berserk Llama Syndrome isn’t common, and it’s not something that happens in the wild. It’s a rare, unhappy outcome of human-llama interaction.

The term Berserk Llama Syndrome is good for a chuckle; it conjures up images of llamas gone wild. But the sad reality is that the syndrome is a response to an unnatural situation, a reaction to circumstances the llama cannot control. The llama is just doing its llama thing.

Additionally sobering is the fact that there is no cure for Berserk Llama Syndrome. In severe cases, llamas exhibiting this behavior are euthanized due to the danger they pose to their human handlers.

Llamas are becoming more common on farms and ranches, joining other livestock such as sheep and horses due to the usefulness of their fur and their ability to serve as transport animals. It’s important, then, to understand llama behavior and use that information to guide the way llamas are raised and managed. A practical solution; better for llamas, better for humans.

After all, going berserk is an indication that something is off-kilter, out of whack. Prevent or eliminate the problem, and the more likely outcome is happy success. A “win-win,” as they say, for everyone and everything involved.


Categories
Animals

Puggle

Yesterday, I learned that a baby Spiny Anteater is called a “puggle.”

To me, “puggle” conjurs up images of cuddly, snuggly creatures, perhaps with some downy feathers or soft fur. This is not the case with a Spiny Anteater puggle.

Spiny Anteater puggles look a little like an elephant, grey with a long snout. They have short, stubby legs, webbed feet, a round belly, and round eyes. They have smooth skin; their fur and spines grow in as they age.

Puggles are not classically cute animals. Nevertheless, they are cute in their own baby way.

How could anything called a puggle not be adorable?

Categories
Animals Nature

Bears

We’re all coping in the best ways we can during these crazy times. Perhaps this info will provide a bit of happiness and bring a smile.

Today is the start the annual Fat Bear Week, sponsored by Katmai National Park & Preserve.

Fat Bear Week celebrates the Katmai bears and their preparations for hibernation. They’ve been gorging themselves on salmon and berries for months in anticipation of the long, cold months ahead. Now, it’s time to determine which one will wear the Fat Bear crown.

Voting happens here: https://explore.org/fat-bear-week

More info about Katmai National Park & Preserve can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/katm/learn/news/fat-bear-week-2020.htm

Here’s to fat bears and celebrating the lighthearted moments in life.

Categories
Animals Family Pets

Wishbone

If you raised children in the 90s, chances are you know about Wishbone.

For those who aren’t familiar with Wishbone, here’s the deal: Wishbone is a Jack Russell Terrier (dog) who goes on literary adventures. He dresses up like the characters in the stories and tells the tales by acting out various parts. He’s done Rip Van Winkle, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet…you get the picture.

The show, which aired on PBS, was a clever and creative way to introduce young children to the Classics, fun for them and interesting enough for adults to endorse without feeling like time was being wasted.

My oldest son adored Wishbone. We watched every episode, sometimes multiple times. This was in the Time Before YouTube and Netflix and Streaming, so we had to plan to tune in. We’d sit together on the couch, and the show would start, and we’d sing along with the theme song (“What’s the story, Wishbone? What’s this you’re dreaming of?”). And then we’d enjoy the show, learning something new while giggling at Wishbone’s antics and costumes.

Sadly, the original Wishbone died several years ago. I’ve heard, however, that somebody’s making a Wishbone movie. It won’t be exactly the same, of course, but it will probably (hopefully) capture the same sweet, engaging spirit as the tv show.

Perhaps my son and I will watch it together, this time with our own Jack Russell Terrier (mix) snuggled on the couch with us. Or maybe not; he’s a grownup, has his own life now, and Wishbone may not hold the same nostalgic appeal for him as it does for me. That’s okay, that’s how life works sometimes.

Either way, watching with my son or watching alone, I’ll do my best not to give into the temptation to dress our pup, Mollie, like a literary character. I’ll give Wishbone his moment, make him the focus.

Mollie looks pretty cute in costumes and hats, however, so I’m not making any promises.