13 June, 2010

The best puppies belong to other people

Yesterday I went down to Blackthorn Kennel to visit my friend C and socialize with other visitors, and also meet the N Litter. At a whopping three days old, they were the most adorable puppyloafs you have ever seen. Tickling them on the sides, chest, or behind the ear will get you a vague reflexive thumping of one back leg, offering them a finger gets a much less vague reflexive suck. They grunt, wail, and cheep at this age, and have adorable little vaguely feline faces with wrinkly muzzles, plus soft baby fur. They’re also just beginning to be mobile, paddling around their whelping box to find the perfect spot, although occasionally flummoxed by the obstacle of Mom’s leg, and her tail invariably produced a confused halt. At this age, they are probably the best-behaved they will ever be and boy, you should see their rock-solid down-stays (although they don’t maintain a head-up sphynx posture, preferring to do their down-stays on their sides, so I guess it doubles as “play dead”).

I also got to snuggle with Macha, and offer Xita some chicken jerky (I never go to Blackthorn without bribes) which is how I discovered that even though she is looking pregnant, Xita knows how to sit up and beg, which was totally adorable. She’s a level-headed love of a dog, really.

After puppy-snuggling and dog-bribing we all headed out for a movie and then followed it up with some excellent Thai food. I crawled home at 2100 and got a stern lecture from the Usual Suspects, discovered Jeremiah Swakhammer had buried himself in protest at his new surroundings, and then got yelled at by Noodlehead on top of it all. This morning Emmaline came up and explained to me that she hadn’t gotten dinner last night because I wasn’t here, and would need extra wet food. Clearly I am expected to never leave the house.

P.S. C did take puppy pics. I will post a link when she has them up!

ETA: Get your dose of puppy right here, y’all.

12 June, 2010

This is the kind of thing that only happens to me.

My Mom is buying me a new side door, so this morning a gentleman came out to measure for it. And lo, he was a very nice man, and we were chatting while he measured and Tink was out there with us and as it turns out the door-measuring gentleman also likes animals, and moves turtles out of the road. In fact, he said, he had one in the car because he’d stopped for it and hadn’t been able to move it because of traffic, and could he release it here?

Oh dear. The problem is that Eastern Box Turtles have a home range, and if you take them out of it, they will try to get back and most likely die on the way if they are four inches long and adorable. Even a healthy full-size adult box turtle will probably die if it’s been moved more than a quarter mile from home. There’s a group in, I believe, Pennsylvania that relocates them to a nature preserve, but they do it by installing GPS tracking devices on the turtles and making sure they stay where they’re supposed to and find the food and hibernation spots. Soooo…. I took the turtle in. I had some gear from poor departed Clover, my Russian Tortoise who was killed by the cats, after which I swore that there would be no more small pets. Circumstances however have conspired to make a liar of me. Obviously I am going to have to get cracking on the outdoor turtle habitat I’ve been talking about making for the past year or so.

And yes, of course I took pictures. The turtle has been christened Jeremiah Swakhammer, after an intrepid and armor-clad character in Cherie Priest’s book Boneshaker. It’s a good book, and also I happen to know that Cherie is fond of turtles and will probably appreciate having this handsome little devil named for her character.

A small Eastern Box Turtle sits, totally boxed up, next to a thick ergonomic keyboard.  The keyboard's bottom edge with no keys is perhaps two-thirds as tall as the turtle's shell, with keys it is very nearly the same height.  From this angle you can see the arch of the front opening, and the turtle's plastron, which is ivory with darker brown markings on the edges of the scutes.

A top view of Jeremiah Swakhammer's shell, which is about 4 inches long.  The shell is a dark, rich brown, with bright gold markings.  The dorsal scutes have gold shapes reminiscent of a curved capital E, the shapes on the lateral scutes are more abstract but vaguely similar.  The peripheral scutes have little flame-like gold markings on them.

Jeremiah Swakhammer, partially unboxed, looks dubiously at the camera.  In fact, his look is fairly indignant.  His eye is a dark brown, and his face and front legs are black with little dots of yellow on them.  His beak and lower jaw are more the ivory color of his plastron.

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