Category: The Rest of the Ark

Aug 21

A 10-year-old paralyzed tortoise at the Jerusalem Zoo has new wheels that let her outpace her roommates.

The African Spurred Tortoise is paralyzed in her two hind legs, but uses a pair of skates to get around – so much so that she’s attracting the attention of male tortoises who want to mate.

Click here to see the tortoise and her admirers.

Aug 11

For nearly 10 years now, Janet and Don Burleson, of Kittrell, N.C. have been training pygmy horses – who wear sneakers – as guide animals for the visually disabled.

guide-horse.pngAt first the idea of tiny sneaker-wearing guide horses seemed far-fetched to us, but as we read the Burleson’s Web site and learned more we saw how guide horses could be exceptional assistance animals.

Apparently, there is strong demand for guide horses among horse lovers who are blind, those who are allergic to, or fear, dogs and those who want a guide animal with a long life span.

And yes, we know what you’re thinking: can they be house-broken? To answer that click here.

Jul 5

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Our three pet hens having a little siesta among the melons and squash we have planted in containers in the Gimpy Garden. The “girls” are very social, co-exist nicely with our dogs and do a great clean-up of pesty insects and slugs.

They’re also very alert to when we leave the sliding-glass door open on the patio and adept at silently sneaking in the house. This has happened more than we like to admit.

Cait calls them Mensa chickens because they are uncanny at evading detection. Once I found the three of them in my linen closet, settled down and ready for a nap. They clearly have a broad definition of “free range.”

Many cities and towns outlaw the raising of backyard chickens. Our city, fortunately, has a more progressive outlook. Click here to learn more about backyard chickens and remember:

“Wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens.”

Eds. Note: One time – and one time only – Rex – the yellow chicken nestled down in the front of the photo – got into Marty’s back seat and rode undetected most of the way to the mall while standing on the passenger arm rest and looking out the window behind Marty’s back. It was only when other cars pulled alongside and started pointing and laughing that Marty figured out Rex (the Mensa Chicken) had come along for the ride.

Jun 23

An engineer in Idaho teamed with rescuers in Alaska to save a bald eagle who was starving to death from a bullet wound to her beak.

“Eating with her beak was like using one chopstick. She also had trouble drinking and couldn’t preen her feathers,” said Jane Fink Cantwell, who found the eagle dying in a landfill in Alaska.

Click here to learn more.

May 10

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We are not Spring Chickens, but our three hens are a different story – having survived a difficult winter where deep snow kept them in their coop for nearly four months.

Their coop is a simple wood-and-wire structure large enough for them to roam around. In late fall, we cover it with a plastic tarp and insulate it with about 25 bales of straw around the sides and the top. The girls have an electric light for day and get a heat lamp on the coldest of nights.

They’re quite comfy in there, and have no desire to step into the snow, but as soon as they hear wild birds starting to sing in late winter, they get antsy to be free and roam the backyard, as you see here.

From now until next winter (ugh, shudder), they’ll roam from dawn until dusk chowing down on bugs, slugs and greens from the Gimpy Garden. Each night at dusk, they take themselves back into the coop, where we lock them up until morning to keep them safe from the neighborhood raccoons.

Eds. Note: The girls – one Wyandotte and two Buff Orphingtons – also give us great eggs – if we can beat our dogs to them. Didn’t Willie Nelson have a song about Egg Sucking Dogs?

Jul 5

Helping Hands serves quadriplegic and others with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility-impairments by providing highly trained monkeys to assist with daily activities.

As live-in companions, the monkeys provide 20-30 years of service, bringing the gifts of independence, companionship, dignity and hope to the people they help.
See the video