Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Old Friend Visiting, A Samson Update, Coyotes, And A Blogger Break

Some of you may know that I lived in Princeton, N. J. for nine years before I came to California (via Wyoming). For a while in Princeton, I shared a house with another Swedish woman, Christina, and we became lifelong friends. I stay with her and her sister, Inga, when I visit Stockholm. And now she's coming to visit me. 

She's arriving in Los Angeles tomorrow, and I will pick her up on Thursday, in Lancaster, after she makes her way there via a shuttle service. So far, we have plans to visit the Getty museum, shown above.

And also William S. Hart Park, where Rachael is responsible for all the animals, over 70, I believe, large: including a couple of boars, and  a herd of bison.

And small: many different kinds of birds and some relatively new arrivals, Alpacas.

Christina has friends in Las Vegas and they suggested we meet for lunch here! And where's that?

Oh, just a place I have always wanted to visit. Hoped that Errol and I would, one day, but that didn't happen. Now it looks like it will for me and I'm thrilled. Since Christina can drive here on her Swedish license, we can share the driving, a good thing because I can't drive that far any more. 

It has to be a day trip because I can't board Samson anywhere, except at the vet. With his compromised immune system, I don't want him around other sick dogs, unless absolutely necessary, so we plan to go for a day only. Samson has an eye infection now, and I blame that on the medicine that was nowhere to be found. And yes, from now on I will have an extra bottle. They now have that medicine again, and in addition, he's on antibiotics, both oral and eye drops. So he gets three different kinds of eyedrops twice a day, one kind in the middle of the day, and a pill once a day, plus his Prednisone, every other day. I said to the vet, "no other dog, I have ever lived with, would be this good, and put up with all this, being so good about it all." The vet agreed with me. He and Samson know each other well by now. 

Other than that, Samson is frisky, as you can see in the picture above, where he's just having a case of coyote madness.

Coyotes come by every day, not just one or two, as has been the case in the 13 years I have lived here. Now they come in large packs, one had about eight puppies, maybe four months old or so. Smaller than Faith. The grownups took them down a hill out of sight of the barking dogs, but the puppies went around, and came back by themselves. Bad puppies!

I think they were curious about the dogs, because they ran right up to them. Which made Faith have a fit of misplaced agression, flipping Samson over on his back. This caused a big puppy fight, with all eight of them rolling around in a big ball. Then two of the adults showed up at the bottom of my property and you should have seen the puppies! Just like bad kids, they knew they were in trouble and they all rushed off in single file, perfectly straight, like you see on the trails they leave. For me, this was a fabulous wildlife adventure. I took some pictures with my phone, but they didn't turn out well. 

The bad part about all this is that, for now, I just play ball with Faith outside and walk her on a leash. Or drive around my property to chase away the rabbits. Without a rabbit to chase, she pretty much stays with Samson and me. When it's just she and I out there, she stays with me, but I think she feels I will be safe when I'm with Samson, so she will take off if she spots a rabbit.  

So I will be on a blogger break until the middle of March. Christina leaves on the 7th, and after that, I should have plenty of pictures and ideas for blog posts. 

Take care and I will see you then. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Visiting Rachael And The Critters That Live With Her

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.
~ Christina Georgina Rossetti

Only three animals remain from our donkey rescue days (from the ones Rachael rescued from the rescue ~ yes, it sounds weird, but some rescues are not all they are made out to be):

First: Since he was hibernating under Rachael's bed, I didn't get to see Gulliver, the California Desert tortoise. But here I am with Cleopatra, the Ball python, named after the Egyptian queen who, it was said, liked to wear them around her wrists. Smaller versions, I imagine. This Cleopatra has grown so much since I last saw her and would not fit a wrist.

Then: Sahara, the Albino Burmese python, who first was a pet snake in Beverly Hills, owned by a woman who, when Sahara became too large to handle, needed to get rid of her. 

She was nine feet when she arrived at the rescue. Now, some ten years later, she must be approaching twenty feet. See how massive she is. 

I met Rachael's Bengal cat, Kitty Zeus, for the first time. Isn't he absolutely gorgeous? Rachael's other cat, Artemis, born to a feral mother, I only caught a glimpse of before she joined Gulliver under the bed. My neighbor, Joyce, has two feral kittens also and they are just as shy.

I think this South American Red-tailed boa is truly beautiful. And I don't think you need to like snakes, as I do, to find her so. Her name is Nightingale and, since it's winter, she is in the twilight zone, not complete hibernation, but so cold to the touch. All the snakes were, and it felt strange to touch them. 

Tenzing, the Gopher snake, was the most awake of the four snakes, squirming and wiggling, but still so cold. I find reptiles absolutely fascinating. 

When we worked at the rescue, Rachael took in two Bearded Dragons, Adelaide and our beloved Sydney. Adelaide died several years ago, but Sydney lived to a very, very old age. And both Rachael and I were so in love with him. Native to Australia, Bearded Dragon lizards are named after the black "beard" they display when scared or angry. The guy pictured above is named Lord Soper and he looks a little annoyed when I'm holding him. 

I had completely forgotten who Lord Soper was, but Rachael reminded me, and then I remembered listening to him at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park several times. I'm sure he was one of the people who influenced my life, my political views, such as the need for your country to care for those who cannot care for themselves, and so much more.  

Remembering names is one of my old age issues, together with an inability to open cans, a need to grab on to something to get up from various places, and so on.......

I miss my cats and feel in my heart that cats are my true love. Samson Says: Mommy! Faith Says: !@#$%!!!!! I Say: OK, I love you the most, the best, you know that, you guys.

Bad as working at the rescue ended up being, you will find good things in most places: I met Rachael there. She's such a bright and kind person in my life and means the world to me. Of course, I met donkeys there and I fell hard for these, so often maligned, animals. I also discovered the music of Willie Nelson. And then there was Sydney, the Bearded Dragon - who'd think one could love an old scaly critter so much?

On a final note, you may have noticed that Rachael names her critters after notable persons, Greek gods, goddesses, and so on. Rachael is an animal educator, who has taught both kids and adults what it means to bring an animal into your life. So when a kid asks, "who was  Tenzing," Rachael can continue the teaching along that thread. Same with me, when I asked who's Lord Soper, she reminded me, and London of my youth came back in all its fog, grime, and glory. 


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