Archive for the ‘dogs’ Tag

06/12/2022 “Dogs”   Leave a comment

My father was a dog lover. My mother was a dog lover. I am not. My father trained hunting dogs and in his kennel were normally 15-20 adult dogs and upwards of 10-20 puppies. One of my chores and punishments was the shoveling and removal of their droppings on a daily basis. Many wheelbarrow loads later I decided dogs would never be my favorite pet. This may upset some of you “dog” people out there but so be it. I tried having dogs as pets in my twenties but I was a dismal failure. I eventually switched over to cats and became an official “cat” person. Here are a few facts from the history of dogs.

  • In the 11th century the king of Norway, upset with his subjects, named his dog Saur to the throne. He reigned for three years as king. Note: “Dog Days” came to mean something totally different than it does today.
  • In the 1600’s in Japan the shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, passed laws to protect dogs. Anyone who injured, harmed, killed, or annoyed a dog could be exiled, jailed, or executed. In one month alone in 1687 300 people were executed for being unkind to dogs. In his 30-year reign more than 60,000 people were put to death because of dogs. Note: Give me a cat anytime.
  • In China dogs lived a double life. Some were treated as royalty by the elite of the county and were a preferred gift for the emperor and his minions. The other side of the Chinese coin was that the common folk more often than not ate dogs as a main course for their evening meal. Note: I know that eating dog is disgusting but unfortunately it still goes on to this day. Once I mistakenly ate a bowl of dog soup in Korea in 1968. I don’t recommend it.)
  • Laika, the first dog to fly into outer space aboard Sputnick II, became one of the most famous dogs in the world. Unfortunately, the pooch passed away a few hours into the flight from overheating. Both a cosmonaut and a hotdog. Note: That was a joke, so don’t send any nasty comments.

CATS RULE!

03/07/2022 Weird Animal Trivia   Leave a comment

Everyone seems to love animals. Here are a few facts that are interesting, and some that are a bit disgusting. Read on . . .

  • Squid have the largest eyes of any animal on earth.
  • Giraffes sleep the least of any mammal.
  • Many lipsticks contain fish scales.
  • Sharks, including hammerheads, as well as mackerels have the ability to skip sleep altogether.
  • Thirty-two pigeons, twenty-eight dogs, three horses, and one cat have received medals for bravery in wartime.
  • 99.9% of all species that have existed on the earth are now extinct.
  • An ostrich’s eye is larger than its brain.
  • Hangfish can fill a gallon sized bucket with slime in less than 1 minute.
  • Catfish have a better sense of taste than humans.
  • Cat urine glows under a black light.
  • Dogs generally prefer to eat the protein-rich poop of cats.
  • Birds do not pee.
  • Cow’s milk gives most cats a case of diarrhea.
  • Fish, jellyfish, frogs, and toads have all been known to fall out of the sky.
  • Some fish can walk.

Who knew that animals could be so bizarre? Maybe next time I’ll come up with a list of oddities from us humans. It’s likely they’ll be even stranger than the ones about animals.

NOAH’S ARK MUST HAVE BEEN A HOOT

02/25/2022 My Animal Farm   Leave a comment

I’ve been an animal lover all of my life. I’ve had all sorts of pets from ferrets, snakes, dogs, cats, and the list goes on and on. Today I thought I’d share with you some odd and trivia type facts on the animal kingdom. With this started . . .

  • A group of apes is called a shrewdness.
  • A group of alligators is called a congregation.
  • The blue whale has the largest penis of any organism on earth (8-10 ft).
  • The female barkfly has a penis, which is used to extract sperm from the male barkfly’s vagina.
  • A group of cockroaches is called an intrusion.
  • Boars can ejaculate continuously for up to 7 min.
  • A severed cockroach head can survive for hours.
  • The decapitated cockroach can live for weeks before it starves to death.
  • Fleas can survive for up to 100 days without a meal (without sucking your blood).
  • Cats are more popular pets and dogs.
  • The canine nose has more than four times as many scent receptors as the average cat nose (and more than 14 times as many as the human nose).
  • A dog on average has 42 teeth, compared to 30 teeth for domestic cats.
  • Cats can be left-handed.
  • Each year nearly 4,000,000 cats are eaten in China as a delicacy.
  • Electric eels generate enough electric charge to kill a horse or a human.

I think that’s enough for today and I’m sure you learned more than you ever cared about knowing of the weird and wonderful world of animals.

12/01/2021 “CATS”   Leave a comment

I’ve posted many times that I was a cat person. When I was a kid, my father raised beagles and trained them for hunting. We never had less than 10 or 12 puppies scampering around the yard and it was one of my chores to feed them, play with them, and shovel up after them. I would leave the house with food and I would be mobbed by gangs of puppies and it was a lot of fun but it got old after a few years. I’ve always found dogs to be very needy to the extreme and that put me off a little bit. My parents continued after the closing of the kennel to have one or two dogs for the rest of their lives. It was just how they were raised and they could never understand why I preferred cats. I’m not about to get into a long explanation on why I prefer cats because I’m sure you’ve all heard the pros and cons. It just seems that people raised with dogs prefer dogs and people who were raised with cats prefer cats. I’m not saying that’s the way it is for everyone but that’s the way it was for the people that I knew and why I took so much grief when I refused to have dogs as pets. I’ve loved every cat that’s been in my life regardless of their quirks.

Relationship between cats and humans goes back as far as you can imagine. Most historians believe it all began in ancient Egypt where cats were worshiped and, according to legend, were responsible for eliminating a plague of rats in Egypt. Egyptians not only mummified their dead pharaohs, but also mummified their dead cats. Over the centuries many superstitions have developed concerning cats and I think I’d like to review a few of them now especially for those of you who are dog people. Let’s go…

  • In the dark ages cats were mistrusted and believed to consort with witches and warlocks. They allegedly brought evil and bad luck as well. Some folks reason that the bubonic plague that killed thousands of people in Europe during the medieval ages was caused by killing the then believed “evil cats.” In killing the cats, they were killing the natural predator of rats – the creatures who actually were spreading the plague with their fleas.
  • Most superstitions about cats have been passed down from generation to generation and most are utter nonsense but believed nonetheless. To this day many people actually believe that if your path is crossed by a black cat, you are in for some bad luck.
  • If a cat washes it’s ears, then bad weather is on its way. Or if the cat licks its tail, it is sure to rain. Of course, this has to be nonsense since that’s about all cats do is constantly wash their ears and tails. Cats are always cleaning themselves and are known to be exceptionally fastidious.
  • If the first person a cat looks at after washing itself is young and single that person will marry soon. For this superstition to work, you have to be young and single. You middle-aged people can forget about it.
  • It is said that if a cat is present at the marriage of a couple, they will have good luck in that marriage.
  • For those of you cat haters, don’t throw a cat overboard while on a boat. It is said that will cause a storm to blow up. And honestly if you throw a cat into the sea, you deserve to have a storm blow up.
  • Black cats spawned a variety of superstitions. If a black cat comes to your door, you will soon have a lover in your life. If a black cat adopts you, you will have bad luck, so send it away. If a black cat lies on a grave, it means the dead person’s soul is being possessed by the devil. And last but not least if you stroke a black cat’s tail seven times you will have good luck in cards.
  • If you see a white cat, that means poverty, just seeing a black cat means wealth. And if during a full moon you see a white cat it means you’ll be married soon.
  • The superstition that cats “suck” a baby’s breath away comes from the Dark Ages. A cat cannot and does not “take” a baby’s breath away. In fact, cats like babies and will often sleep at the bottom of their cribs the way they will sleep at the end of their masters or mistress’s bed.
  • Many people are frustrated in dealing with cats because they are not obedient. They obey no one unless they feel like it. In some circles they have a bad reputation similar to those given to independent women. What kind of a world would it be without cats or independent women? Think about it.

I’ve owned seven cats in my life, some good and a few not so good. I would never ever be happy unless I had a cat at my side. In my opinion they are absolutely the best pets ever. As with any pets if you rescue them from a shelter, you could get some surprises. Cats like any other animals if treated badly or abused never forget it. If you adopt from a shelter, be prepared to deal with the issues they bring into the relationship. If you spend the time, you can bring them around and you’ll be even closer to them than you would’ve been without all of those problems. I’ll recommend to anyone a shelter cat and would never turn one way. Pets are to be enjoyed but as with anything you must put forth the appropriate effort to welcome them into your family.

DOGS ARE COOL BUT CATS RULE

09/05/2021 Our New Owner   Leave a comment

This is my former owner “Stormy” who passed away 3 years ago after suffering a heart attack.  He spent 17 years with me and is sadly missed. This post is in his memory.

He was a sly and subtle cat who was laid back and always appeared aloof and uncaring. I’ve been acquainted over many years with seven cats and each one has had its own peculiarities and personality quirks. After years of observing them all I’ve determined that one characteristic was common to them all. I call it the 20 second, Delayed Response Syndrome. With dogs you shout a command and they spring to their feet wagging their tails and just begging to do your bidding. I think cats get the same rush from our attention but they choose not to show it quite so openly. They’ll sit and wait for 20 seconds then nonchalantly stroll over to see what’s going on. Try it out yourself if you’re owned by a cat, it’s amazing.

You’ll also note that I continually say “owned by a cat” and I’m not kidding. Years ago I read a Sci-Fi short story that went a long way to convincing me that an actual alien invasion of the Earth had already taken place. Apparently thousands of years ago the first cats landed on this planet and began their slow and deliberate takeover. Many people say the Chinese are people who think long-term. Compared to cats the Chinese have the attention span of a moth around a flame. I consider myself a well trained and officially certified pet belonging to a cat.

Let me explain further. My better-half was a dog person and when we finally decided to cohabitate I was concerned about her relationship with “Stormy”. He and I had been together for almost 10 years at that time and had been living the swinging bachelor lifestyle. It appeared to be a Mexican standoff with my better-half and her son for the first month but slowly and surely Stormy began to reel them in.

We bought him only the best food, fresh water every day, and we shoveled and cleaned his disgusting litter box all too often. He also had access to an outside deck where he could lounge all day in the sun and chase a bird or two. He had the good life and he knew it. 

We mourned the loss of Stormy but life must go on.  After a year and a half we finally decided we needed a new  owner and we made a trip to the local shelter.  Now let me introduce you all to the new Queen of the World, “Lucy”.

She is a handful. She is snippy, sassy, and opinionated. She is the center of her own universe and therefore so are we. She is attitude personified and has enough for ten cats. If we feed her food she doesn’t like, she just walks away. She also expects special treats each and every time someone walks near her food dishes.

Stormy was always a quiet unassuming cat but she is anything but. She never shuts up. She walks through the house showing her annoyance with just about everything. God help us all if the litter box isn’t kept clean enough. She’ll just squeal a little and then poop on the floor next to it and then just strut away. As you can see in the photo she has that “evil eye” thing going on. She gives me that stare at least ten times a day.

Finally last night as I was just dozing off she jumped up on the bed and allowed me to move the hell over and make room for her. What a sweetheart. Because I didn’t immediately begin to pet and cuddle her she turned her back on me and left the room. I found her later sleeping on my chair in the living room.

I’d like to continue this story but the sun’s coming out and Queen Lucy has been bugging me for the last 20 minutes to open the door to the deck. She gets a tad grumpy if she doesn’t get her deck time.

WE REALLY LOVE HER

08/28/2021 Not in My Yard   Leave a comment

It’s the dream of every American to own their own home. Owning a home has always been an important symbol of a person’s independence and financial stability. In these somewhat precarious times home ownership has become something much different. It’s a new pandemic economy.

That being said it’s still better to own a home than to rent. I’ve owned a number of homes over the years and not only were they a financial plus, I just really enjoyed maintaining them and improving them. I’ve always taken a lot of pride in any home that I’ve owned and that’s why I’m so particular about what I allow on my property.

I’ve had good neighbors, bad neighbors, and neighbors who I’ve desperately tried to forget. My father always told me that “good fences make for good neighbors”, and it’s still true to this day. I’m a firm believer in maintaining minimal contact with neighbors except in cases of emergency where they may need help or assistance. I’m a big proponent of the Neighborhood Watch concept which accomplishes important tasks for the protection of the neighborhood and its children. It’s only when you begin to socialize with your neighbors that trouble is sure to begin. Being my neighbor doesn’t make you my best friend, only an accidental acquaintance brought about by my purchase of my home.

So with some humor and a little seriousness here’s my list of ten things I never want to find in my yard. This list has been compiled over the years and includes information about past and present neighbors.

  • Phony and disturbing faux-sculptures made by neighbors from a collection of junk.

There’s nothing like waking up every morning to a large pile of lamely connected garbage which has been anointed as “fine art” by my neighbor. Where’s that stick of dynamite when you need it?

  • Dogs and their ever-present droppings.

What’s better than taking a walk around your yard after a summer rain and stepping into a pile deposited by the neighbors dog. Don’t you just love the smell of “dog shit” in the morning.

  • Tire tracks.

Finding these early on Sunday mornings mean empty beer cans somewhere nearby.

  • Salesman and their line of BS.

Invest in a mean and nasty dog or a really fine looking “NO SOLICITING SIGN“.

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses, your attitude and literature.

This is a particular favorite of mine. I love inviting them in for some bad language and inappropriate stories.

  • Mother Nature’s Little Friends.

Feeding birds and squirrels are one thing but all of the deer, skunks, and other garden eating critters place their lives at risk by entering my garden.

  • Nosey neighbors and their endless curiosity.

This is when a fence would come in handy.

  • Mailbox crushing snow plows.

This has cost me four mailboxes in six years and the town takes no responsibility. This is called “Government doing it to the people”.

  • In-laws and other unfriendly family members.

Keep the bed hard, the food bad, and always be short of beer and liquor.

  • Outlaws and other criminal types.

Buy a gun or two and lots of ammo. Once you enter my home uninvited it becomes what us former military men call “a free fire zone”. Don’t even think about it.

* * *

I’ve had a menagerie of neighbors over the years and could tell you stories you wouldn’t believe. I’ve had some I’ve liked, some I have loved (literally and figuratively), some that I’ve hated, and many others I’ve never gotten to know at all. Overall I was always considered by most of them to be a better-than-average neighbor.

JUST FOLLOW THE RULES

07-27-2016 Journal – Unexpected Vacation Days!   Leave a comment

thVGTJEDMS

I’m still on my first cup of coffee this morning. I’ve been awake for an hour and only left my bed once. I’m relaxing and preparing for my day which I hope will remain calm and restful.  I’m trying to decide what I’ll be doing with my unexpected few days of  vacation I’m on. Anyone who is in a lengthy relationship knows that any day your spouse or partner is away doing something is a free vacation (mental health) day. We certainly never tell them that’s how we feel but facts are facts.

thAYG0Z9JX

My better-half has once again volunteered to help out her daughter and son-in-law by babysitting their children for three days while they’re on vacation in Los Angeles. I volunteered to stay at our home while she travels to their residence to be with the kids.  She’ll be staying there until the weekend and it’s my job to arrive in a timely fashion with takeout meals and moral support.  That’s the kind of job I really like.  For a change I’m able to avoid a total commitment of my time and energy to others and to enjoy my alone time   Hooray for me.

thV8XTE80B

I get to spend my day working on a painting I started a few days ago for which I need real peace and quiet to do.  I hope to make serious progress over the next three days while listening to music that soothes me instead of hurting my ears.  It could be as close to heaven as I can get these days  and I intend to make the most of it.  It will end soon enough.

thFKLMMNA2

My biggest chore for today is to decide what food I need to buy for their dinner and  when to deliver it to her and the kids.  I suspect she’ll be damn glad to see me after chasing the two toddlers, two dogs, and two cats around the house for half a day.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy but she seems to love it. I’d better remember to throw a couple of cold beers into the food bag as well.  It’ll be just like tossing a life vest to a drowning man.

th

Well, I’d like to keep writing but my stomach is rumbling and wants to be fed. I’ll make us a delicious breakfast, drink another cup of excellent coffee, and count my blessings once again. I can picture in my head my better-half, the two little boys, two dogs, and two cats all snuggled together in bed for the next two nights. I can’t help but smile a little and when no ones around to hear I can laugh my ass off.

Special Note to Self: Be sure to give her a thorough flea and tick inspection upon her return. We don’t need any tiny livestock catching a ride to our house.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE VACATION DAYS

07-02-2016 Journal – The Holiday Weekend!   Leave a comment

I’m not one to become overly excited about holidays but the 4th of July has a little extra meaning for me. Not because it’s the nations birthday, which is important, but because it was the birthday of my favorite grandfather.  It’s the only day of the year that brings back in vivid detail the many memories that I have of him. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA and grandpa Jeff.

My better-half surprisingly started her vacation yesterday which will include the holiday weekend. Since the day was beautiful and sunny we once again took a day trip to Bridgeton, Maine located an hour east of our home. It’s located in the foothills of the White Mountains along the New Hampshire border. It’s a quaint small town filled with many interesting shops that we enjoy visiting.

DSCN0362

Here are a few shots of the Maine street which was fairly busy with visitors. We hit our usual favorites to look for anything old and interesting. It’s always fun to people watch and roam around and not have to be concerned about the time.

DSCN0370

DSCN0364

DSCN0371

If you like bells . . . they’ve got plenty.

It was very relaxing day but since we were starving we made a stop at Towanda’s Deli for a nosh. We relaxed at an outside table and had one of the freshest and most flavorful sandwiches we’ve had in a long while.

DSCN0373

At the next table sat this handsome fellow. He lounged quietly with his owners and seemed to be enjoying his day as well. His name is “Russ” and what a sweet and friendly dog he is. He came over and said hello and goodbye as he and his family were leaving. An awesome dog.

Our drive home was pleasant and the day was a perfect start of our holiday weekend.

HAPPY FOURTH EVERYONE

08-20-2015 Journal–A Return to the Sanctuary!   Leave a comment

The Dog Days of August are upon us with all of the heat and humidity that they bring.  I’ve been staying fairly inactive due to the heat but it’s driving me crazy.  I just need to get the hell out of the house.

I decided to visit an old friend today. That’s the Wildlife Sanctuary in Scarborough, Maine.  Over the last five years I’ve spent a great deal of time there documenting the plants and wildlife.  I was driven to create a photo book of the place which took me two years to complete.  I was very proud of the result but knew all along it could be a double-edged sword.  My biggest fear was that people would read the book and then decide to visit the place in large numbers that might change things in the Sanctuary.  Unfortunately I was correct.

In past years the Sanctuary wasn’t visited all that much and remained a pristine place to monitor and photograph the wildlife.  In just two short years the place has dramatically changed.  Since the town received copies of the book, they’ve begun promoting the place.  The trails are now mowed to twice their original size and from all of the piles of dog feces, it’s becoming a dog park rather than a wildlife refuge.

Vandalism is evident in certain places with hints of teenage visitors from nearby high schools occasionally appearing. Most of the wildlife I initially photographed is now almost impossible to find.  They must have decided to leave the immediate area due to the increased human and canine traffic.

Here are a few photos I snapped as I made a casual walk-thru just looking for anything.

DSC_0011

‘The milkweed fields are as healthy as ever.’

DSCN0004B

“Thistles continue to flourish.’

DSC_0003B

‘Lots of elderberries available for use.’

The birds and squirrels are harder to find these days and even the deer seem to have moved on.  I decided to made a quick stop in the swamp, hoping for some dragonfly activity but even it was minimal.  In years past they completely filled the air over the swamp but that’s no longer the case.  I was hard pressed to get more than a handful of usable photo’s.

DSC_0038

I continued on to a second small pond looking for damn near anything.  Usually the place is overrun with frogs but I found just these two.

DSC_0047B

DSC_0050B

There was a time when I could visit the sanctuary three times a week and never see another person.  Today there were three cars plus my own. A family with three small children and three dogs were running here and there while the parents picked blackberries nearby.  They spent part of their time trying to keep the dogs from attacking me, which I greatly appreciated. 

I’m sorry I ever made the book available to the public. I should’ve visited the Sanctuary, created the book for myself, and kept my mouth shut about it.  I may have helped ruin the place and that makes me sad.

11-05-2014 Journal Entry– Furry Birthday Greetings!   2 comments

This is my week for celebrating.  There aren’t many days during the year that I choose to remember fondly but this is one of them.  Today is my cat Stormy’s fourteenth birthday.  Don’t worry, this posting will not be some crazy-ass cat lovers gushy and sentimental rant.  I’m not some over-the-top PETA idiot who thinks animals are more important than people but I do have a soft spot for certain ones.

Copy (2) of DSC_0049
I’m what most people would consider a cat person.  Over the years I’ve had a number of dogs, a snake, a ferret or two, hamsters, and a few cats.  For some reason I like having a friend who keeps his or her opinions to themselves, who is that perfect listener we all seem to be looking for, and is somewhat self-sufficient.  A friend whose who offers a fair amount of unconditional love and will listen to whatever nonsense I decide to spew.  If he doesn’t like it he just walks away without snide remarks or any rolling of the eyes.

Of all of my pets two stand out from the others.  They’re both cats and both lived to be more than fourteen years old.  I started out as a dog person due to my father’s decision to raise and sell hunting beagles.  We always had dogs and puppies running around the yard and I shoveled my fair share of excrement as part of my chores.  I really do prefer shoveling it from a litter box instead of scraping it up from different areas of the house.

DSC_0374

Once I returned from the Army and started my working life, dogs became more responsibility than I could handle.  My jobs required that I move around from apartment to apartment, state to state, and having a dog would have been impossible.  Dogs for me are much like small children who never grow up and remain needy as long as they live.

Stormy came into my life for a number of reasons.  I found him in a local shelter the week after 9/11.  One of my ferrets had just died and her bonded mate was grieving terribly.  I brought Stormy home and that cat and ferret eventually became inseparable.  Years later when the second ferret passed on Stormy was inconsolable and slept on top of the empty ferret cage for months.  We’ve been together every since, thirteen years and counting.

DSC_4765B 
He’s makes friends easily, had his own Twitter page for a while, and even had a children’s book written about him.  Now that he’s reached middle age he’s slowed down some but still the best mouser I’ve ever seen.  Just last night he was on patrol all night because he saw one of those annoying field mice that decided to take shelter in his house.  It’s only a matter of time before that stupid mouse makes a fatal misstep and I’ll find his corpse in the kitchen next to Stormy’s food bowl some morning.  That’s where he leaves his trophies so I can see and appreciate them.

He’s also attached himself to my better-half and slowly over time has become her official bed buddy.  So a big Happy Birthday to Stormy and hopefully he’ll have many more years with us.  I might even spring for a can of Fancy Feast for dinner tonight, after all it is a special occasion.

%d bloggers like this: