Recently in Pets Category

Youth and Beauty
November 5, 2011 10:36 AM | Posted in: ,

Even though I'm no longer in the web design business, I continue to maintain a handful of nonprofit sites on a volunteer basis, including the one belonging to the Lone Star Sanctuary for Animals. This is a local no-kill shelter for dogs and cats, and we post on the website photos and information of all the animals available for adoption, including these:

That's Jenna on the left; Jasper is on the right. But if you look on the website, you'll find only Jasper. And that's a little sad.

Photo of a dogPhoto of a dog

Jasper's been at the shelter for more than three years, awaiting adoption. Jenna was at the shelter for about three days. I got an email last night asking me to take her photo off the site as soon as possible, because they were getting so many phone calls about her that it was disrupting the staff's schedule.

People employ a wide variety of criteria to decide which pet they want, and far be it from me to judge the appropriateness of that criteria. I admit that I find some breeds of dogs more attractive than others. But this seems to be a pretty clear reminder that youth and beauty trump age and, well, not-so-beautiful, even when it comes to animals.

I hope Jenna went to a great home. I hope even more that Jasper will soon enjoy the same.
I received an email this evening asking me to publicize an upcoming event that will raise money to build a no-kill pet adoption center inside the Midland PetSmart location. I'm happy to help with that cause, because it's an important one. Here's the jist of the appeal:
The Midland Humane Coalition is a non-profit no-kill animal organization looking to end euthanasia in Midland County. PetSmart has agreed to build a $750,000 shelter inside the Midland PetSmart location for them to find these pets homes if they can raise the money for the first year of operating expenses. 

Midland Humane Coalition is about $130,000 short on their goal of fund raising. These funds must be acquired by the first of July. 

Jake's Clays is hosting a shoot for them on June 24th-25th (flyer with more info here) to help raise them money for their adoption center. You can also go to to make a donation as well.
Please help us raise awareness about this organization's needs; it would be greatly appreciated! We need to get this information out there and help us raise the awareness about this worthy cause.
Midland needs a no-kill animal shelter like this. Every little bit helps; the Midland Humane Coalition and the babies whose lives are saved all appreciate the help.
Please consider making a donation to this worthy cause, or participate in - or better yet, sponsor - the clay shoot.

RIP, Elsie
January 31, 2011 10:32 PM | Posted in:

I have very sad news to report. The unthinkable has happened, and the free spirited pup known as Elsie had a fatal encounter with a car today.

Photo of ElsieWe do our very best to protect our animals against the dangers of the world, but the one thing we can't always do is protect them against themselves. Elsie had a loving home with people who would have done anything for her, but something in her nature seemed to make her want something else. In a way, that was a big part of why we loved her (without even knowing her), but it also made us fear for her.

Colin has left a loving tribute to Elsie on the above-linked website, and more importantly, a call to action. I hope you'll read the whole thing and see what you may be led to do. Knowing the Gazette's readers, I know Elsie's memory will be honored in significant ways.

Please join me in sympathy for Molly and Colin. I'm sure Elsie is eluding angels right now, with a big grin on her face, but I suspect it will be awhile before her people can grin again.

If you live in Midland, you may or may not be aware that the Lone Star Sanctuary for Animals (formerly the Lone Star SPCA) gratefully accepts memorial donations

Damber Alert (aka "Doggie Amber")
January 27, 2011 5:28 PM | Posted in:

Remember Rosie? Of course you do; how could you forget the wiliest, craftiest, elusive-est canine on the planet? Well, she's back. Or, rather, she's not, but her people's blog is.

Rosie's name is now Elsie, proving that...well, I don't think it proves anything, now that I think about it. I doubt that Elsie is playing this incredibly fun (for her) game of hide-and-seek because she has a different name than before. But who really knows what goes through the mind of a dog? I certainly don't. It's hard enough trying to understand the motivations of women, and then you throw a different species into the mix and the inevitable result includes infrared cameras and heartache.

Anyway, send good thoughts toward Maryland, because while I may seem to make light of the matter, Molly and Colin are worried sick and their little dog does not need to be on the mean streets, regardless of how much said pup is yukking* it up.

*I briefly toyed with the alternate spelling of "yucking," but that's a little too evocative of throw-up.

In pursuit of the wily Rosie
August 23, 2010 4:58 PM | Posted in:

You think you're a dog person? You're not a dog person. This is a dog person.

(OK, it's really "these are dog people," but that doesn't work as well with the Crocodile Dundee schtick. You know, the one where they're comparing knives?)

Seriously, you need to go to Find Rosie (the link above takes you to the first it and then keep clicking to move through the story; it's almost like a Chapter Book! Only with pictures!) where you'll find things that will make you laugh, cry, and scratch your head while thinking "wha' the...?"

You'll also want to thank Molly and Colin (Rosie's people) for being the kind of dog owners all our dogs usually think we really are. Until we make them take pills or ferry them to the vet for shots, but that's mostly irrelevant.

I had only one question after reading Rosie's story: who has that many night vision cameras, outside of the CIA?

Dos Burros
August 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Posted in: ,

There are two burros pastured about a quarter mile from our house. Every so often, something will set them off - a rattlesnake, a coyote, perhaps even each other - and we'll hear their braying all around the neighborhood.

I took a photo of them a year or two back, when we were in the middle of an extreme drought. I just stumbled across the image and liked the way the light of the setting sun added some contrast to the picture. I applied a little Photoshopping (OK, more than a little), and voila!

Stylized photo of two burros, one white and one black

It's going to get ugly
May 19, 2010 7:53 AM | Posted in: ,

I predict war will break out within the next few months, and I'll probably be on the losing end. A mockingbird is building a nest in the live oak tree planted in our front yard.

Last Sunday I noticed the bird flying into the tree on a couple of occasions, seeming to pay no mind to us as we sat on the front porch (well, I sat while Debbie pruned shrubs, a pleasing tableau to my mind), but the implications didn't sink in. Yesterday, though, I noticed it was continuing to pay close attention to the tree, often with twigs or grass in its mouth, so I conducted a closer inspection. The nest is almost complete, and it's less than ten feet from ground level.

This does not bode well for lawn mowing this summer. Nesting mockingbirds are fiercely protective of their eggs and young, and their bravado borders on foolishness. They also have sharp beaks and claws and they know how to use them.

It's highly entertaining to watch mockingbirds torment cats that wander into their territory; it's less so when you're on the receiving end of their attention. I once donned a motorcycle helmet to finish mowing our lawn (which might explain why our neighbors generally crossed the street when walking past our house) when we lived in Garland*, but only after a kamikaze attack left the top of my bare head oozing blood. I had a similar experience at our previous house, although no injuries were sustained other than to my pride as I ran for cover in my own yard.

So, I'm pessimistic about the prospects for peaceful co-existence this summer. I no longer own a motorcycle, but I may put my bike helmet by the front door...just in case.

*Yep, that's the same "Garland, Texas" referred to in unflattering terms in the opening scenes of Zombieland. I have no idea why the filmmakers decided to pick on Garland (especially since the movie was shot primarily in Georgia), but I can assure you that the city does not look like it was destroyed by zombies. For the most part.

Sled Dogs
April 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Posted in:

I dare you to watch this without grinning. Dogs are so cool...especially when they're playing in the snow! [Via Neatorama]

Farewell to Abbye
November 8, 2008 3:15 PM | Posted in:

Abbye took her last breath today, bringing to an end a life that was harder than she deserved.

After battling through almost three years of diabetes (two daily insulin shots) and Cushing's Disease (regular doses of a powerful anti-cancer medication), her little heart finally gave out.

I wish I could say that she was the happiest dog I've ever known, but it's a huge irony that she brought so many smiles to so many faces and yet I sensed that she rarely smiled herself. I suspect her early days, before we found her, were so traumatic that she never truly recovered, never really came to trust anyone. She never learned to play; she was afraid of toys (and blowing leaves, and raindrops, and so on); she remained suspicious of motives and often indifferent to human interaction. In many ways, she was more like a cat than a dog.

But she was also gentle, well-mannered, a quick learner, and occasionally as impressively stubborn as a mule. She consented to be fawned over and cared for, but she refused to let us believe that we owned her.

I mentioned the smiles she brought to others. I've never had nor seen a dog that elicited such joyful reactions from strangers, especially during her sighted, more active days when she'd walk at my heel through the neighborhood, and cars would slow to a crawl as they passed us, the drivers with big grins pointing her out to their kids in the back seats. I lost count of the number of times absolute strangers would stop their cars in the middle of the street, roll down their windows, and ask questions about her. After we moved to the new neighborhood, several people told me how much they missed seeing her on those morning walks, even if they'd never met her.

Abbye Fabulous (or Ab Fab, for short) was almost fourteen years old (we think), and we're drawing comfort from the fact that she's no longer suffering from the illnesses - physical and otherwise - that plagued her for much of her life. The little dog will be missed.

Photo of Abbye with a bone

The dog who would be queen
June 30, 2003 7:15 PM | Posted in:

It occurs to me that I've never told you much about the third member of our little family, the one around whom all the universe revolves, or would, if she had her way about it. I'm speaking, of course, about The Dog, aka Abbye Fabulous (or Ab Fab, for short). I've decided I need to make her a recurring character here on the Gazette. After all, Rachel puts dog pics on her site, and look at the traffic that generates. Lileks, likewise, obviously relies on Jasper for his hordes of daily readers. So it stands to reason that we need a dog. We need one that doesn't slobber as much as some, or engage in endless stick-chasing like others. We need Abbye.
By the way, this is probably a good time to point out that she's never been overly fond of that "e" dangling from the end of her name. She considers it pretentious. She can blame me for it. I got in way over my head and just panicked.
Here are five things you need to know about Abbye, if you're truly going to embrace her as she deserves:
  • She's more like a cat than a dog, in many ways. She doesn't follow people around through the day, craving their attention. She gets up on her schedule, goes to bed on her schedule, and doesn't really care what we think about that.
  • She's not fat, but she is really hairy. She has multiple layers of hair and fur, like a duck, I suppose. She'll lay in full sun on the concrete in 95 degree heat without being fazed, and she's never known the sensation of being too cold, even in the dead of winter. She also has webbed toes.
  • She's absolutely afraid of everything. Blowing leaves, moths, pecans falling out of trees, blades of grass that behave in unexpectedly aggressive fashion... all of these things and many more are cause for great consternation in her life.
  • Unless, of course, she spots a squirrel. Then she'll run through razor wire and broken glass to give chase. The hunting instinct is strong.
  • She was a malnourished, beaten-down, broken-tailed shadow of a dog when we rescued her; she didn't walk to people, she crawled on her belly. I'd love to introduce my Colt Python to the guy (I'm sure it was a man, although that word really wouldn't apply, now, would it?) who put her in that state. So none of the preceding "eccentricities" are really her fault.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Abbye, in all her, um...glory. As you can see, she's a little shameless, too.
Photo: Abbye reclining on her big pillow

I know you're just dying to learn more about Abbye, so stay tuned. I expect her to turn up occasionally here in the Gazette. Rachel and James should stand forewarned.