kate & storm
"'Citizen Canine' is a volunteer group in Victoria that encourages
responsible dog ownership. Members advocate for dog owners with local
government and conduct "Canine Good Neighbour" tests in the
community, in which dogs and their owners demonstrate
training and good manners and receive snazzy blue bandannas if they
Note that in this photo, Storm is showing off her very own snazzy CGN blue bandanna!
storm in motion "Storm's favourite things: jumping in water with great splashes..."
storm retrieving "...and retrieving ducks and bumpers out in the field."
Introducing the newest member of the family:Hamish, the Flat-coated Retriever!
cap'n hamish at the helm
Hamish, like Storm, is a Flat-Coated
Retriever, a breed as much at home in the
water as on land. Or on the water,as it happens.
storm and hamish Hamish kisses Storm's whole face.
Kate is quite involved in organized retrieving
events and Hamish, like Storm, can look forward to
being lovingly trained and spending many weekends
joyously running as fast as he can, splashing
through water, and doing everything that makes
his breed happiest.
bean and penelope
"Bean was born in 2001 and Penelope in 2003.
I spend more time with them than with humans. Bean is full of attitude,
and if he doesn't get his way he will do something to make you angry, like
tear apart the throw pillows on the couch. He likes to pull out the stuffing,
like the guts from a big kill. That's why we don't have pillows that are kept
on the couch. That's also why the dogs are only allowed on the first floor of
our 3 story condo. Penelope is submissive, yet still stubborn. She doesn't
follow commands, and would rather sit in your lap than eat dinner, so you have
to watch her eat or bean will move to her bowl just as soon as he's done with his.
tuvalu Brilliant! Mike has
posted some files "of my youngest gal, Tuvalu, in AVI format. They
range from when she was a few days old to when she was a couple of
months old. Sadly, I didn't have a camcorder when these were taken; I
used a crappy little pocket camera that could also take video, so the
quality isn't fantastic." The effect of watching the little critter in
action, however, hopping like a miniature kangaroo, is highly amusing. March 19, 2003 (7.4 meg) April 9, 2001 (7.7 meg) May 28, 2001 (6.6 meg)
nellie and destry I happen to know that
Nellie was named for pioneering reporter Nellie Bly, and Destry is
named for a particularly favoured film...
In October, 2006, Mike discovered a tumor on Nellie's snout. The
veterinarian told him it was highly unlikely that treatment or surgery
would save Nellie, and that her prescription for Nellie was "lots of
steak, ice cream, pepperoni and love, for as long as she was okay".
Mike filled that prescription and more for eight weeks. On December 19,
2006, Nellie was no longer "okay" and Mike fulfilled his last duty to
her, holding her and taking care of her to the end.
nellie and destry Nellie and Destry on the dock at Star Lake, NY. A photo I love so much I hated to crop it.
The Newshound and Nellie Bly Mascots of the
Newspapers in Education Program which Mike oversaw when he was working
for the Glens Falls Post-Star. Created in cooperation with a talented
cartoonist, one or both graced the impressive articles Mike wrote for
the newspaper, clearly and concisely introducing current global events
and geography to children.
Destry with Samantha "This is my granddaughter, Samantha with Destry at Thanksgiving. Note
that she is about the size of his head. How do dogs who never see
children have such an instinct for being so gentle and patient with
them? ... The dogs love the kids and vice-versa."
ziwa "After Nell died, I thought about going back to being a one-dog family,
but Destry was not happy without company. After three months, I gave
in, because, frankly, I missed her, too. Ziwa, a four-year-old
Australian-born ridgeback, was given to me by the breeder from whom I
got Nellie -- Zee is a retired show girl with a couple of litters, but
has settled in to life as a pet."
ziwa the missile "Well, maybe "settled"
is a bad word for this dog, who is, on the whole, rather bouncy.But,
between explosions of energy, she's very
sweet and Des and I are happy to have her company."
buckley and the jedi knight... "He was named Buckley by my S.O.’s daughter,
who named him after Buckley,
the ghost boyfriend on “King of the Hill”.
The Jedi Knight holding him in the photo
is my daughter Katie, the aspiring cartoonist
who’s lately branched out into photography as well."
godai Your basic noble
Norwegian Forest Cat.(Neil says he's probably more likely a Maine Coon,
but Godai's website is in Norwegian. Now, how's a Maine Coon gonna
I believe in this photo he's checking
for prowlers before going to bed...
godai in the garden ...and, of course, you can't be too careful
during the day, either.
chumbles "This is 'Chumbles', the
real-life 'Chubby Huggs'. It's not easy taking his picture because he
usually wants to come up and greet you if you get anywhere near his
level... Chumbles was named after Chumbawamba, a band who had a hit
song at the same time I acquired him."
eliot "Here's Eliot -- he
sure knows how to ham it up. :-) My cats love the fact that I can work
on my laptop, sitting on the bed -- hence the opportunity for all these
'look how cute I am' poses." Oh Sojourner actually thought these
pictures might be too similar and suggested I include the pair shot
below instead. You tell me how YOU could resist posting one of these
patola "This is Patola, living
the life of contentment. Patola was an ordinary shelter moggie of
indeterminate breed, but she has more personality than most cats (or
people) I've known! I wouldn't trade her for any purebred."
max "Well, here's a pic of
my sugar cat, Max. He was a mutant Manx, rather than a bred one. He
lived around 15 years, the last five putting up with two shots of
insulin a day. (We were tipped off that it might be diabetes when he
started licking the ice cubes from my drinks.) Didn't seem to bother
him, though. We would call out "Max, medicine!" and he would come
After 5 years of
medicine, he just gave up the ghost, and died in my ex-wife's arms as
we were trying to get to the all-night pharmacy.
We buried him in our
backyard, and I have to say I cried more at the little service we gave
him than I ever had before or since."
salvador Salvador gets a larger-than-normal photo in honour of being - surprisingly - the first bird in the gallery.
"The cockatiel is named Salvador. He is a 6 year old male gray. He
loves to whistle, sabotage my artwork, chew on my ear and scream while
perched on top of doors. He lives for head rubs."
All of which, frankly, pales in comparison for me to the fact that he seems to do all of these things with impunity on the head of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
loki "The two dogs are fosters through Woodstock Animal Foundation of Texas (http://www.woodstocktexas.org).
is the current foster dog who is working his way to becoming permanent
dog. He is a Bull Mastiff mix. He was rescued from an abandoned Bull
Mastiff puppy mill. Bull Mastiff rescue took the pure Bull Mastiffs
while Woodstock took the mixes. Loki tries his best to be a lap dog but
my lap is not big enough so he settles for just putting his head in my
masey "Masey is a Pit Bull mix
that I fostered for over four months. She will finally go to her
forever home this weekend. The only thing vicious about this dog are
her farts. She has no tail to fan the fumes.. "
blackie & felice "...a pair of stray barn cats my teenagers adopted when
they (the cats) were a few days old. Blackie and Felice are now almost two
years old and they no longer shred everything in the house to ribbons."
candy "Candy, the fearless border collie/mutt from
the pound who stalks the cats, the chickens, her ball, and everything
else that moves with an intensity that is almost pathological. Here
she is stalking a bit of cookie that my daughter was trying to pry off a
candy "Candy is about 8 years old as of January 2006."
graymatter & downeyflake "The Pair. Graymatter (AKA Her Imperial Majesty, or The
Bitchlet), and Downyflake (AKA Buttercup, Goldilocks, Dweeb). A rare moment of togetherness. They
don't really like each other much but unite against common enemies, such as:..."
marlowe "...Marlowe. Appeared in the back yard near-starved. Sweet, funny,
lap cat, but made war on The Pair. After three months, we reluctantly handed him over to
a nice old couple who will be Marlowe-centric. Came home crying. An hour later, husband
says: 'Look outside.' And there was:..."
scooter "...Scooter. The Bitchlet is still opposed to this addition, but
he's here to stay."
kelsey "Beyond his job, he's
taught me a pretty fundamental lesson about what being a human male is
I have a wife, and I love her more than I love myself. I have children,
and I love them with a ferocity that had better not be challenged. I
have pets, and I treasure them.
But Kelsey is different from all of them. Kelsey is My Dog, with a
capital M and a capital D.
Kelsey taught me what that meant, and I wouldn't have ever understood
it without him. Bless you, K-Dog.."
altinak "Alnitak came to live
at Ft. Harrington in the summer of 2003. He had been a show-kitten for
a Maine Coon breeder in San Jose, but a possible congenital condition
took him out of show-biz, and he became available for relocation to Ft.
Harrington. He is a suave, elegant cat, whom we sometimes think of as a
re-in-cat-ation of David Niven. Despite his astronomical name
("Alnitak" is one of the stars in Orion's belt), he didn't get it from
us; the breeder's cats' names are all astronomical in origin. Alnitak,
in Ft. Harrington, is just "Al.""
alnitak "Alnitak lives gracefully in all three dimensions."
cooper "Alnitak's nephew,
Cooper, wasn't just a "contender" -- he was a champion. His official
name is "International Winner, Supreme Grand Champion Lunarcoons'
Copernicus," because he won... and won, and won, and won championships
at TICA cat shows in 2002 - 2003 in both kitten and cat classes. In
fact, he was TICA's International Longhaired Cat of the Year in 2003.
When his breeders hung up their, uh, stuff in 2006 and decided to drop
out of the Maine Coon breeding/showing business, they wanted to keep
Cooper as a housecat, but he didn't get along with his grandfather
(Alnitak's sire, Total Eclipse, or "Eek" for short). Sad for them, but
happy for us, he had to be shipped off to the Santa Cruz Mountains to
live with his uncle Al."
oolie, the black freighter "Raul, Oolie, the Black
Freighter, the Bug Man, is our oldest animal. He came to live with us
in the summer of 1995, when we lived in a rented house in Sunnyvale,
California, way, way before the whole "Ft. Harrington" thing was even a
glint in our imaginations. Diane saw him in a cage at a little pet
store in Sunnyvale, one that had just been opened in a strip mall. She
had gone in to get a small bag of kibble for our then-kitties (Boo and
Max, now long gone) in a rush -- but there was this cage in the corner,
with a strangely-compelling little tuxedo kitty staring at her, and,
well... okay, maybe we could think about it. Well, okay, maybe she
could think about it. Well, okay, maybe it might be okay if she took
him home instead of him destroying the entire city, which is what it
sure sounded like he was saying he would do if she didn't take him
home. Never subtle or cajoling, the Oolie, the Black Freighter.."
The Black Freighter became suddenly and unexpectedly ill in February 2009.
Subsequent medical investigation showed that his condition was
critical, had been developing for a long time, and was irreversible.
His loving caretakers made sure that they kept the final, hardest
promise to him, and he passed peacefully, breathing his last breath
against Sherwood's wrist. Rest in peace, big guy.
emma "Emma is our first
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She's from Kerman, near Fresno,
California, home of Sandy Drake's Sierra View kennels. Emma came to
live at Fort Harrington in the summer of 2004. This picture looks like
one of a little dog against a background of leaves, doesn't it? It's
actually a picture of my heart."
jax "Emma's little
half-brother, born on June 18, 2005, a small package of the most
sparkles I've ever, ever seen in an animal. Jax has to be seen to be
appreciated, and then seen again. Smart, calm, playful, inquisitive...
Jax is just Jax and no further description is possible and no further
explanation can be offered. Spend an afternoon with him, and you'll
spend the rest of your life thinking about him. An astonishing,
captivating, wordless entity."
finn mccool "Finn McCool was
liberated from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley at the beginning of
June, 2007, where he had landed, in turn, as a result of a rescue from
a less-friendly pound. He is a handful, but is responding well to the
best we can do, which is love, attention, and guidance. He may be
taking his new name too seriously, though, as evidenced by..."
finn mccool "... his immediate fondness for Guinness Extra Stout."
fonzie "Fonzie came to live in
Ft. Harrington in early 2000. He's a "factory reject" Abyssinian (he
doesn't have the dark "eyeliner" lines around his eyelids that show cat
Abys do) who attached himself to us at a cat show in San Mateo,
California. He lives in more dimensions than three or four, but we have
never been able to discern exactly how many. He carries on
conversations with invisible beings. He moves via quantum
uncertainties. He's nuts. He is also the only non-human in the Fort who
can get along with Oolie, the Black Freighter."
buffy and goldie (or vice-versa) "Ft. Harrington has a
small flock of pet chickens -- eleven, as of this typing. We've kept
chickens since 2002, and have found that their lifespan can be pretty
short, but don't know exactly how long they can be. Google isn't much
help, primarily because chickens' lives tend to be dictated by
economics rather than by intrinsic biology: stop laying eggs, head for
the stewpot, Henny! Of the 18 chickens we've had, 11 still live. The
ones that have expired have, for the most part, done so by cancer (as
determined by free necropsies done by the California Dept. of Food and
Agriculture). The two who didn't metastasize to death expired by (1)
infection and (2) eating a whole box of finishing nails. The one who
died by nail wounds did so on a Good Friday, which probably doesn't
bear much thinking about."
specks, the speckled sussex chicken "Specks, hatched on June
18, 2005, at the McMurray Hatchery in Iowa (an industrial hatchery from
whom we obtained our last dozen chicks) is a remarkable bird. She's
smart enough to escape from the chicken run, and, when she does, she
follows anybody -- human, feline, canine -- she can find all around the
yard, commenting, questioning, talking, schmoozing all the time.
Smartest chicken I've ever known -- and that's a set of five words I
never, ever, thought I'd write."
the bothy cat This remarkable cat
came along with the accommodations when Sherwood and his wife, Diane,
went on a dream trip to Ireland and stayed at The Bothy, a lovely
cottage on the grounds of Birr Castle.
the bothy cat and diane "Once we had been there
for a while, Miss Kitty became an eager tour guide for the Birr Castle
Demesne. She happily accompanied us on our morning and evening strolls
around the 100+ acre grounds and gardens of the lovely grounds." Here
she strolls companionably with Diane.
the bothy cat "The Birr Castle Demesne
is huge: about the same size as Southern California's Disneyland park
in terms of acreage, in fact. In a distant corner of the Demesne was a
strange 'garden' of sculptures called the Theatro Verde. Miss Kitty
accompanied us there one evening, and was clearly comfortable there
(about half a mile from the Bothy cottage.) It must be part of her
usual rounds." To see many more pictures of this "best, and most
unexpected, Irish treasure", visit Sherwood's slideshow devoted to her.
murphy & dingo "Murphy, who left us a few years ago,
has been described in r.a.c.s. as my dog who once defied evolutionary
theory by inventing a tool, ie. the serving tray, by overturning a
Frisbee and using it to carry a tennis ball."
evie & dingo "Like many men, I
became a cat person by marriage. But Evie is really a wonderful kitty,
very affectionate with people, and adept at dealing with the family
dogs. I am grateful to Evie for teaching me the joys of feline
fergie & evie "Fergie is very fond of
Evie, and sometimes grooms her with that giant golden retriever tongue,
a ritual which Evie seems to enjoy...I hope these photos capture the
peaceable kingdom that prevails around our home." I think, Ted, they do
pádraig "Our first rats were
born 2003-02-01. They are named Pádraig (Patrick) and Caoimhghín
(Kevin). Although their mother, OFR Contessa, a Dumbo Agouti Berkshire,
is a pedigreed rat, they are not, because in the words of Ms. Needham,
Contessa "took it upon herself to find a partner". Therefore, although
their father was one of the pedigreed rats at the rattery, we don't
know which one, so they are not pedigreed rats.
Pádraig is an 'Agouti bareback buck, mismarked with a headspot'..."
caoimhghín "...and Caoimhghín is a 'Black Berkshire buck, with a tiny belly spot'.
Originally, they were
"Tom's rats". Along the way, Karen was captivated by these sweet,
lovable and loving, creatures; and they are now "OUR rats."
brendan "Since rats only live around two years, and they NEED to have other rats to live with to be happy..."
kieran "...we got our second pair in late 2004."
(These guys are
pedigreed. I don't think they'll hold that against Pádraig and
Caoimhghín, but you can never be too sure with the Irish. - ronnie)
gaia "This shy little tortie
came to us as a stray, with a tiny kitten in tow. She had probably been
dumped along the secluded country road where we lived. The pair
immediately declared that they were now residents of Redwall. Our vet
estimated her age at just under a year, so she was a very young mother.
Gaia was diagnosed with
FeLV (feline leukemia) and a malignant neck tumor in late June 2006.
She was euthanized on July 8, 2006."
gingevere "This orange ball of
fuzz is Gaia's only kitten, about five or six weeks old when he tagged
behind his mother to take up residence at Redwall. He is our perpetual
teenager, full of attitude and playfulness. He often challenges the
newspaper recycling stack to a duel, which he usually loses. He is a
medium hair cat, but somehow manages to keep himself clean and fluffy
even though he is an outside cat (and an excellent hunter; birds are
stripe "This muscular tabby
started hanging around the house about six months after Gaia and
Gingevere settled in. We were sure they would chase off this
interloper, but no; they welcomed him into the fold. We were worried
that our cats would start adopting other cats, but ever since Stripe
joined the family the three of them have fended off any other attempts
to enlarge the brood.."
abraham "...my daughter was doing a report
on Abraham Lincoln when we got him."
abe A more recent photo of
Abe, celebrating a birthday... "Abe is a gently enthusiastic guy and
just loves to hang out where people are gabbing. He also gets along
famously with the new additions to our family who are in the photo
zelda and peach What a great photo!
"We've added two "fancy rats" to our house called Zelda and Peach (in
that order in the photo.) They show no fear -- even of the dog -- and
have quickly made themselves at home. Much to the disgust of my future
mojo His face is his
fortune... and he knows it. An incurably mischievous string-eater who
never left kittenhood. We have accident insurance on one of the two
cats - guess which one?
veronica A sweet-natured
tattletale who will wait at the door to greet us and lead us to
whatever mess Mojo has made in our absence - at least, she says
it was Mojo. She walks proudly about the neighbourhood on her leash and
- as you can see - is first in line when the towels come out of the
dryer. If Mojo is, as we often say, Iggy Pop's cat, Veronica is Emily
pictures with santa Photos with Santa is a
fundraiser for our local SPCA... but I prefer the looks on peoples'
faces when I tell them I took them to the mall and stood in line,
patches III "Patches III is the sole surviving feral cat of a brood that was started by Patches I
the original feral cat in my apartment complex. Sex is unknown, not
that it matters, Patches III was captured, neutered and released. We
used to have several feral cats around the apartment complex, all given
birth by this cat I dubbed 'Patches' or 'Mom' six years ago.
I remember my first encounter with Mom, it was winter and she was
outside howling in the cold rain. She wouldn't come in, but she would
eat my leftover chicken from KFC. She ate everything, including the
bones. Two months later she was out and about with troop of kittens:
Domino, Mittens, Socks, Blackie, and Patches II. Soon after, the
apartment complex [I live in] captured them, except for Patches II, and snip-snip, released them all back into the wild.
Patches II gave birth to more kittens, but this time the apartment and
Feral cat folks were ready and captured them all quickly and adopted
out the kittens. Except Patches III who like its mom, escaped. It was
captured later, too late to adopt out, fixed, and let loose to survive
as well as it could.
They have lead a hard life, and Patches III is the sole survivor. Wary
of humans, I had to take this picture with a telephoto lens as I
couldn't get any closer to it."
Update: in June of
2006, John informed us that Patches III has disappeared, seemingly for
good, his or her short, rough-edged journey over.
For another feral cat's story, this one shared by my good friend Bobcat, check out Mooch 2's Story. Thanks to his family it looks like Mooch's life will be a little - or a lot - easier. Thank you, Bobcat.
A book that I have
on "Working Cats" - bookstore cats, factory cats, office cats, farm
cats, theraputic cats, and so on - contains a chapter on feral cats,
making the observation that every stray cat is a working cat; they work
all day, every day, from waking to sleep, just to survive.
We hope Patches' workload was not too heavy and that his or her likely passage off this mortal coil was swift and gentle.