Category Archives: pets

A Day At The Zoo

I came home from work yesterday at 10:00 am.  Friday is my short work day.  Husband asked as I came into the house “How about going to Bismarck to the zoo today”? I said yes, and off we went.

We haven’t been to the Bismarck zoo for years, not since our daughter was little. It was a fun day made really special by watching a zoo keeper train bobcats. They are trained, with raw meat treats, to follow verbal commands like sit, paws up, follow the target, and go in your crate. She also exposed them to sprays from a bottle of fly spray so they would tolerate the spraying. Raising one’s paw above one’s head allows zoo keepers to check paw pads for cracks or injuries, and underbellies for impending kittens or too much weight gain. Rufus, the bobcat male, loves being trained and is really good at all the commands. Ginger, the female, is a bit stubborn. Rufus hates the spray bottle. He very willingly went in his crate, an important skill to have if you need to go to the vet.

What a fun job!  The zoo keeper paired the command and its successful completion with a loud click and a morsel of raw meat. I don’t fully approve of zoos, but I see their purpose in protecting endangered species.  I would love to train bobcats! I wonder how they train the primates?

How do you feel about zoos? What are your experiences in training animals?

Dog Days

I’m not getting much done at work today. During the summer, every Friday is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” and I am in dog heaven.  I keep dog treats in my cube and on Fridays, I actually have a stash in my pocket throughout the day.

Today in addition to Charlie and Bernie Mac and Vegas (GoldenDoodle, Puggle, Doberman) who are here most Fridays, we have a brand new puppy. 8-week old Dave Grohl (name of somebody in some band that I don’t know about), a golden retriever.  He has the wonderful puppy smell and that squishy soft puppy skin.

Rufus, Mochi, Brandon and Ash are off today but I’ve petted (and fed) a couple of others, whose names I don’t know, as they travel through the building. I’m on a main aisle and I think the dogs can smell the treats in my pocket as they’re going by so they stop by!

What perk would make your Fridays better?

Strange Portents

The cats and I noticed something alarming in the garden this morning-a large flock of Chipping Sparrows fluttering around the pea fences.  (Well, I was alarmed. The cats were merely curious.)

I usually see birds flocking around the time school starts in mid to late August. It is only mid to late July, and I certainly hope that this isn’t a portent for an early winter. Our garden is a couple of weeks behind as it is, and we will need as many frost-free days as we can get for a good harvest.

How good are you at predicting things?

The Baxter Dossier

We are taking in a house guest today. A wee dog is staying with us for 10 days  while his people (son and dil and grandson) take a vacation to Victoria , BC.

Baxter is a West Highland White Terrier. He is 3 years old and pretty well trained (for a terrier).  He went to puppy preschool and kindergarten! He has the typical Westie skin issues and gets itchy if he eats anything with gluten. He gets along with his home cat pretty well. I don’t know what our cats will think of him. I have dog proofed the house and yard. The backyard gates are all secured and terrier proof. He is too short to jump the fence. It will be fun to have a terrier in the house again.

Son is compiling a “Baxter Dossier”  to assist us in caring for him. They are very attentive dog parents and I am sure the instructions will be very detailed. I like the word “dossier”. It makes Baxter sound like a spy or a diplomat.

Imagine you will be someone’s house guest. What would the dossier say about your care and feeding?

Cats Will Be Cats

Husband and I have had a cat or two (or three) for most of the 30 years we lived in our current house. Some of the cats were mainly indoor cats who went outside occasionally,  and the current two are strictly indoor cats.  They both have their claws, but we are too worried they would get hurt outside. Millie, the Tortie, would love to go outside. She scratches at the door like a dog  when she hears us outside.  She started out life as a hobby farm kitten, but she is so clumsy and impulsive she would make some pretty bad choices and get into some dangerous situations.  She has to be content with her life indoors.

I worry about cats that I see roaming. There aren’t too many in our neighborhood. The white supremacist across the street lets his small tabby roam at will.  I worry about her, too, but I must credit her predatory ways with an absence  of garden raiding bunnies. On the other hand, I wasn’t too happy with her when I saw her carrying a Swainson’s Thrush  she had poached in our back yard.  Outdoor cats and birds don’t mix well. Cat will be cats, I guess. I can’t expect them to all be like our Albert, who was an enormous tabby with a luxurious double coat who was terrified of birds and hid from them under the gooseberry bushes.

Where do you think cats belong?  Tell some cat stories.

Rag Rugs

Husband and I had no real shopping agenda going to Santa Fe except, perhaps, to find some nice, everyday place mats. We thought that Santa Fe would be a good place for interesting textiles.

Husband went to the Santa Fe farmers market and found these place mats you can see in the header photo.  We have plain white plates, and the place mats went with them nicely. They came from Guatemala, and are made from rags. They are thick and soft,  and are kitty approved for napping comfort if we leave them on the table between meals. They also reminded me of my childhood.

My best friend’s mother had rag rugs that she had made from worn out clothing.  She sent bags of rags to a woman in Magnolia (Cedric Adams home town), who somehow wove them into throw rugs for the entryways into their farmhouse. I thought they were so pretty and colorful. What a wonderful way to recycle! Nothing went to waste in that household.

Do you know of anyone who makes rag rugs these days? How do  you recycle? Does anyone remember Cedric Adams? Where do your pets like to nap?