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Posts Tagged ‘fauna’

My two Rhodesian Ridgebacks and one Labrador Retriever are no pushovers.

Even other varieties of highly regarded Canidae food have left them looking up at me over lightly rearranged bowls of food with that ‘Why have you turned against us again?’ look. (more…)

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Eight months have now stumbled past since Sammy came to be a provisional part of our family, then a probable member of our family, and finally a non-adjectivized fixture on the leather couch in the ‘Red Room’, where family and friends occasionally assemble themselves among the recumbent canines to watch football games and re-runs of 24.

The Samsters has become a remarkably self-confident creature. He is possessed of that well-honed indifference to norms that characterizes self-assured creatures on both sides of the human-nonhuman perforation that helps reassure those of us who read blogs and, for that matter, read anything that we still cling to our position at the top of the biological heap. (more…)

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With the size and appearance of a slimmed-down Reader’s Digest, the less famous Bird Watcher’s Digest is a chirpy little optimist of a magazine not so very different from, say, a black-capped chickadee.

Short and moderate-sized articles cover specific species, how-to/techniques, choosing the right birding equipment, and joy-of-birding anecdotes.

Advertisements abound but do not overwhelm. Some are quite helpful.

BWD is a perky standard for birders both casual and serious.

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I returned last evening from London to find Sammy racing up and down the basement steps beside Rosie, eager to greet his returning master. ‘Racing’ in this context begs some qualifiers. Perhaps ‘moving briskly’ is more to the point.

No longer plagued by the fear of falling down stairs, he moves up and down them with resolution rather than fear. (more…)

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At times like, this the idea of wandering down to the kitchen for a midnight snack of olives becomes a very bad idea indeed.

Sammy’s eyes, you see, are in there. Tupperware never served a nobler purpose. (more…)

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When we agreed to foster Sammy, we were making a Faustian bargain with our own inclination toward loving dogs. We knew deep inside, though the unspoken pact required that the agreement never be mentioned in conversation, that we could never ‘give him back’. It was a clandestine adoption, an under-the-table bargain by which Sammy would instantly become a member of the family while we politely lied to ourselves that any such thing was happening. It was a rescue disguised as a holding pattern. He would be ours, but under the fiction that he was not. From time to time, the language of ‘returning him’ surfaced in a hypothetical way, though we both knew that there was not a them out there to whose company Sammy could be restored if things didn’t work out.

It was a most amenable fiction. It was the whitest of lies. (more…)

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Returning home late last evening, I had only a short time of daylight for my long-awaited frolic with Sammy on the front lawn. To my utter surprise, he trotted over to me and, when obeying his favorite commands to sit, give me his paw, and lie down in the grass, he tussled with me.

It was unmistakable. In the well-known Ridgeback way, he pushed at me with his paw a few times, then took my forearm in his teeth and ‘mouthed’ me in the way his kind do. It was utter, anticipated playfulness and a new uptick in the trendline of awakening that the boy is experiencing.

I could almost hear the Samsters humming along with Cat Stevens to the tune of that good, old melody ‘Peace Train’:

Now I’ve been happy lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh I’ve been smiling lately,
dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
some day it’s going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

The world is not quite as nasty as he had believed. Sammy is no longer enveloped in darkness, just trotting probingly along its edge.

The boy is going to make it.

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Like the cheetah, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is capable of remarkable speeds in short bursts. It’s no accident that the sport of lure coursing is popular with owners of Ridgebacks rather than, say, Corgis.

Indianapolis’ marvelous Holliday Park, with its network of wooded trails and open spaces, provides just the spot for those of us fortunate enough to live on its margins to walk and run our dogs. The fast ones as well as the less accelerated varieties stretch their legs there with us as we loosen up our own ever-stiffening limbs. Strictly speaking, the Park is governed by an unbending leash law. Among the neighborhood’s responsible dog owners, a gentlemen’s pact seems to prevail: nice doggies can run free on the woods and tracks, then be properly leashed up when one emerges into the daylight where picnickers and roller bladers predominate and, in their wildest fears, get savagely bitten by our mutts.

I took blind Sammy on his first tour of Holliday Park last evening, at least his first under my tutelage. My wife had led him there a day earlier, duly instructing me afterwards on the itinerary that would legislate Sammy’s wanderings until he’s mastered its trails and steps and is ready to move on to more complex adventures. (more…)

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Today was a great day at work. The team is energized, the projects are queued up, the camaraderie is palpable. Even the soup and salad at the Olive Garden seemed peculiarly flavorful to my colleague Rick and me on this late summer day in Indianapolis, where the air feels uncommonly autumnal.

Quitting time came early. I could have stayed longer.

‘Cept for Sammy, whom I could hardly wait to see. He welcomed me home with a slightly more erect posture than the slumping, fearful gait with which he began his life under our roof. My wife was on the phone with the rescue volunteer, reporting in on his progress, gleaning some new facts. (more…)

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The tectonic plates of the soul launched one giant sigh of relief when Sammy walked outside and peed for the first time. When he nailed his first dumper in the grass by the bird feeder, the rejoicing could be heard clear across town.

The unthinkable ‘what if …?’ still haunts my more brooding moments. (more…)

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