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Weekend Roundup

We had a pretty productive weekend, actually! Christine came up, bringing puppies and also eggs from her hens, and the old wire fencing and plastic netting on what will be the chicken yard got torn off, the chicken house got assembled, and then it got stained mahogany because it is a scientific fact that chickens prefer dark wood to the light orangey color it was originally.

See? Puppies!
Obsidian, a solid black almost-4-months-old German Shedder puppy lies on my futon, holding one end of a tuggy toy.  His sable sister Outlaw has her front end up on the futon and the other end of the tuggy toy in her mouth.  They are giving the camera a rather emo look.

That is Obsidian, aka OMG Siddy Aren’t You Just The Handsomest Boy, on the left. He is a charming lunkhead with GINORMOUS BEAR PAWS. I am so smitten. He needs to go home with someone not me. On the right is his sister Outlaw, who is a cuddly and loveable little girl who also needs to go home with someone not me. In fact she held me down and thoroughly licked my face while visiting. Twice. They’re both straight up DDR Shedders and just full of adorableness right now since they’ll be all of four months old in a couple days. Blackthorn Kennel, your purveyor of awesome puppies.

I like to call this shot “Little House in the Big Woods” because when I was a kid I had the WHOLE SET of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.
A chicken house, about three feet across the front with nest boxes attached on the left.  It is stained a deep dark mahogany red-brown.  The front door is open, revealing a lighter orangey wood on the inside.

Isn’t it purty? The metal thing off to the left is the pan that goes underneath it (once the stain is dry). I still need to seal it, and we need to put new wire up (it is sitting in the chicken enclosure right now, but there’s only the wood framing). We are aiming for two hens next weekend, possibly Black Copper Marans from Christine, who offered us chickens as a wedding gift! I am brainstorming for names but suspect the chickens will be Heloise and Melusine. I like fancy French medieval names for chickens, you see.

Being an uncommonly responsible blogger, I have posts queued up for most of the week, so even though my school load is quite heavy due to my own procrastination, you should be entertained! There are KITTEN UPDATES. And pics of Emmaline!

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Let us have a kitten update!

Behold Emmett, the artist formerly known as Astute!
A young cat, grey tabby and white (mostly white from this angle) stretches across a green and white comforterand looks supremely comfortable.

His person tells me that he has remained a petite cat and still purrs like a very small, very hairy motorcycle. Also he gives kisses, and possibly because he spent some of his formative weeks hanging out with and being licked by Zille, Fetchydog Extraordinaire, he plays fetch. How adorable is that? Freakin adorable, I tell you what. And judging from the pictures he has plenty of sunbeams to nap in when he is not running laps of the house to keep in shape.

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A plethora of puppies

So yesterday I went down to Blackthorn Kennel to visit my friend C and do my weekend job as Hand Model and Puppy Wrangler. I am getting quite experienced at this, seriously, so if you’re looking for a Hand Model and Puppy Wrangler, do let me know so I can expand my portfolio. This weekend, we wrangled the O litter a bit, a charming group of babies with East German bloodlines. Adorable? You have not seen adorable until you have eight four-week-old German Shedders trying to eat your shoes. While they’re on your feet.

Here I am wrangling a puppy, who as you can see is calm and cooperative.
And here you see my superior ability to get a puppy face pointed at the camera!

Zillekins went along and had a grand ol’ time playing with her buddies and I even convinced her to go swimming some, which is nice because it gets her clean without me having to pay someone to scrub her down. Although she could probably use a bath before the wedding. And C and I had a grand ol’ time, talking and going out for Mexican food in addition to eyeballing chickens (I have deep, deep chicken envy) and floating around in the pool trying not to get drowned by dogs. The Best Mother Ever came along for a little bit and got to visit with puppies, but then headed home from there. Never fear, she’ll be back next weekend as wedding planning kicks into gear!

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A Post Of Happy Things

1) The big yellow dog I pulled out of the road is no longer on PetFinder. His deadline was tomorrow, so I’m thinking this can only mean something good for him. I may never know if his family came and got him, someone adopted him, or he got pulled by rescue, but I’m glad to know he’s out before his literal drop-dead date. And if you’re reading this and you pulled him because of my desperate plea or someone boosting the signal, let me know how he’s doing, k? Also please get him a good fence and let him ride up front in the car because he hates riding in back.

2) The Best Mother Ever saw Emmaline’s kittens while I was in England visiting Daniel. Apparently there’s 3 of them, I’ve seen one at a distance. They’re quite skittish and feral. It’s probably time to buy a cat trap.

3) The Best Mother Ever donated a quilt to be bought by an angel, so Noodlehead’s spay is covered. I don’t want to do Emmaline until the kittens don’t need her anymore, and that will be likely after I start school again and the American taxpayer can fund it. Also if I get a cat trap I can do the toms if I can catch them, although I highly suspect I’ll be trapping Noodlehead and Emmaline and Grace a lot.

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This is the kind of thing that only happens to me, canine edition

This morning I was rolling happily along to work on a four-lane divided highway where the speed limit is 55mph and most people do 65, when the car a ways ahead of me slammed on its brakes, turned on its hazard lights, and then swerved. Around a dog. A freakin ginormous yellow dog who was standing smack in the middle of the right-hand northbound lane, watching the car swerving around him and the more cars approaching with a “My, how interesting this is” look on his face.

There is a saying I have at times like this, brief and to the point, which encapsulates a whole complex range of feelings and covers the concept that my day is about to get more complicated because whatever else happens, I am going to have to get an animal out of the situation it is in and into a better one. That saying is “Well, shit.”

So I stopped my car and noticed with deep gratitude that a good ol’ boy in a big battered pickup truck had pulled into the left-hand lane and stopped, blocking traffic there. I made a silent apology to the commuter traffic backing up behind me, and I briefly considered the three ways this situation could go:
1) the dog could be fearful, in which case I needed to step out in front of that pickup truck and try to approach him from as far to the left as I could get, so that if he ran it would be towards the woods beside the road and not towards the southbound lanes of traffic;
2) the dog could be aggressive, in which case I needed to step out in front of that pickup truck and stay as far away as I could while attempting to head him toward the woods, with the distinct possibility that I might wind up scrambling into the bed of the truck to get away from the dog;
3) the dog could be friendly, in which case I could get him in the car, enlisting the help of other motorists as necessary since they probably wanted me and the good ol’ boy to stop blocking the road.

Having briefly run these scenarios, with the dog still standing there watching my car with a relaxed and alert expression, I got out and stepped out in front of the pickup truck, trying to watch the dog without looking tense, and said “Hey, buddy! You wanna go for a ride?”

Oh boy did he want to go for a ride. He came right to me, which is when I noticed that while his back and sides were clean, his underside, legs, and face looked like he’d been playing in mud puddles and also that while he was wearing a collar for an underground fence, it didn’t have any damn tags on it, and when I opened the back of my car he jumped right in. I made apologetic and grateful faces at the traffic behind me, slammed the back of the car, jumped in myself, and started down the road with this ENORMOUS yellow Lab, a hundred pounds easy, trying to stick his tongue in my ear. I effectively discouraged that behavior, and he rested his huge head on my shoulder. His huge, muddy head. On my shoulder, which was wearing a white shirt. Jesus wept.

Then my passenger decided he didn’t want to ride in back, he wanted to ride in the passenger seat, so there I was driving down the road trying to hold a hundred pound dog in the back of my car with one arm while he leaned progressively more and more weight on it. I finally barked “BACK!” and he jumped back in the back of the car and looked so despondent that I told him it was OK, I wasn’t really mad, at which point he came back up and stuck his tongue in my ear. Again. And so it went for the last few miles to my office, where I left him in the car (thankfully it was heavily overcast and 70 degrees, so he was safe enough for a few minutes) and ran upstairs to look up Animal Control’s information, which is where I found out that 1) they didn’t open until 1000 and 2) they don’t take animals from out-of-county people anyway.

Well, shit.

Meanwhile, I looked out my window at my car to see that my huge, wet, muddy, and hairy[1] passenger had moved to the driver’s seat. Argh. I looked up veterinarians in the area and tried them, thinking they could hold onto him (and might even recognize him) but none of them were open. Sigh. So I made one last desperate gamble and called my co-worker Matt. Matt likes dogs. Matt also lives in the county we work in. I didn’t get him on his cell phone but five minutes later he pulled into the parking lot and I said “OMG HELP.” and pointed at the dog.

Long, dramatic story made short, Matt took the dog, called the sheriff’s office, got someone to meet him at Animal Control, and dropped the big goofball off with them, where hopefully he will be reunited with his family, who will get a better fence. Later that morning I called both vet clinics and asked them to put notices up about him, then posted a Found Dog notice with the local rescue group. I’ve given him the best shot I could manage, with an assist from Matt (I bought him lunch to say thank you). Fingers crossed.

A picture taken with a cell phone, but reasonably good quality anyway.  A white-clad arm is extended so that the hand at the end of it can scritch the cheek of a yellow lab, who is in the back of a Honda CRV.  All that is visible of the dog is his head, which rests on the top of the tailgate, and its head is HUGE.

ETA: I am so upset about this. I was sure he was someone’s dog and they’d be looking for him, but here he is on PetFinder. He needs a person or people who will take him in, get him neutered, keep him off the road, and oh yeah get him chipped and put some tags on him. Fingers crossed that someone can help!


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Summer time and the livin’s easy

Well, for dogs anyway. Yesterday I grabbed the girldogs and went down to visit C at Blackthorn Kennel again, to help set up new digs for her chickens and coincidentally attempt to tire out my Shedder by treating her to a family reunion. I wasn’t going to take Tink originally because she occasionally finds outings like this stressful, but as she watched me leash up Zille her head and ears and tail drooped, and drooped, and drooped, yet there was a hopeful little light in her eyes and the barest pleading wag to her tail. There are many things I can withstand, but not Tink using her best and most heart-wrenching tactics to ask “But don’t I get to go, too?” Beowulf briefly considered asking to come along, but I offered him a frozen turkey neck and a frozen chunk of rabbit, and he was all “Screw you guys, I has food that is also a chewie toy!” and didn’t even walk us to the door. He is sometimes problematic with other dogs, whereas Zille is the most submissive dog EVER and Tink just declines to get into anything that even looks like a conflict.

So Tink went. She got to stay in the house while C and I rearranged fence panels and installed chicken wire and other barriers and Zille played crazed Shedder games with the dogs she grew up with. I got to visit with the N litter again, and got barked at by the little red-collar dude, who is clearly going to be a vocal Puppy With Attitude. Their eyes are just starting to slit open, and their legs are supporting them for brief moments in time, but they can definitely creep more swiftly than you’d think.

Musket (brother to Macha, who has been mentioned here before) was Helpful!Puppy–he wanted to carry the wrench, he wanted to help hold up the piece of plywood, he wanted to know what you were doing so he could be involved, too. He is a hilarious, charming, and VERY ACTIVE puppy, who is in fact a perfect puppy as far as I am concerned: charming, winsome, and belonging to someone else. He will make someone one hell of a working dog some day, if you’re in the market for a thinky drivey sable boy then let me commend him to your attention. Definitely not a couch potato housepet dog, and you’d best be prepared to give him lots of constructive ways to channel his energy, but a real charmer and definitely wants to be involved in whatever you’re doing.

Nike was helpful, too. Well, sort of. Nike is QUEEN of sad pleading looks of “I am old dog. All I want in the world is for you to throw this ball in such a way that I may dramatically go and fetch it, without having to worry about these nasty young dogs taking it from me.” and also “I am old dog, and won’t you please gently stroke my head?” This meant the chicken coop construction was not without brief interruptions to gently toss Nike’s ball and gently stroke Nike’s head because, seriously. She’s had twelve years to practice puppy-dog eyes and she is GOOD at it.

You can see Nike and Musket both in the Illustrated Version of Will It Float?. Nike is the star, whereas Musket comes in at the third picture down, he’s the good lookin little sable boy nearest the camera.

The chickens had previously been living in a concrete dog run, and when they were finally installed in their new digs, which feature a tree for shade and a deep composty floor and bugs it took them maybe ten seconds to be all “OH HEY WE CAN BE REAL CHICKENS HERE” and start pecking and scratching and digging through the dirt and just, y’know, charmingly being chickens. I really want chickens. Ahem.

After chickens it was time to get in the pool, and we brought Tink out on a long line that let her come socialize with us and also wander off to the shade if she wanted. Zille got in the pool once, not very voluntarily. Tink went so far as to stand on the top step and get her front paws wet, she thought about stepping down to the second step but couldn’t find it (it’s hard for even seeing dogs to find that second step, let alone my little mostly-blind girl) and declined to go deeper but she did have herself a good time hanging out in the shade and occasionally coming over to check on us in the pool. She even got to be off-leash on the way back to the house and for once did not pull her “WHEEEEE NO LEASHES NO FENCES I AM FREEEEE” business but instead upon figuring out she was leashless trotted ahead of us back to the house and then stared back impatiently. “Why are you people being so slow?? Don’t you know the air conditioning is INSIDE??”

Zille spent most of pool time looking for a ball she could have, and a lot of pool time hanging out with Tink in the shade. Zille takes her duties as Seeing Eye Shedder very seriously. This left us with Flint the Loch Blackthorn Monster in the pool, with occasional huge cannonball dives by Nike, who WANTS THE BALL, while C and I just enjoyed the coolish water after our satisfying chicken-related labors.

After swimming, dogs got locked up in the house so we could go to dinner, and then finally I loaded tired girldogs back in the car and we rolled down the road back to the Manor of Mixed Blessings. The girls were so tired that they passed out in the car, got up long enough to come in the house, and then they kicked Beowulf off the futon and stretched out, butt to butt, and snored. At one point Beowulf approached to see if maybe there was room for a boydog there, and they warned him off in synch without ever actually opening their eyes. They did consent to get up for dinner but then it was right back to bed. I followed them after a shower, and then, MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, I got to sleep straight through until 0615. Even Roo did not wake me. What good critters I have.

There are no pictures, C and I were too busy cooling down in the pool. Ah, well. It was still a fantastic day, and the girls are STILL sleeping it off this morning.

In non-dog-related news, my fiance Daniel’s visa paperwork has made it to the London Embassy, which sent him another big pile of paperwork to fill out. We’re currently assembling the required supporting documents so he can send the stuff back and it’s not inconceivable he will have his visa sometime in August! Very exciting, because it means we will probably be able to get married early this fall! At which point, not only will I be able to treat you to the finest in the hilarity of living with a pack of quadrupeds who outnumber me seven to one, but also the finest in the hilarity of a nice British man moving to backwoods Virginia. Woot!

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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.

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Earth, receive an honored guest.

About a year ago I had houseguests: a young spotty yellow and white dog named Dexter (he matched Roo quite well, actually), and an elderly blue-point Siamese cat named Lacey. They belonged to my friend Roz, whose husband is in the Army, he had gotten transferred from Hawaii to the mainland and Dexter and Lacey needed a place to stay while their people found pet-friendly housing. Roz looked high and low but couldn’t find a place to board them that didn’t look shady, so I said “Send ’em here. I have room.”

And lo, one fine June day I went to Reagan National Airport and took delivery of one spotty dog and one Siamese cat.

Lacey talked to me, all the way home, where I installed her in my bedroom. Largely indifferent to dogs, she regarded other cats as a scourge upon the face of the earth and thus required private quarters. She might have been forgiven, after being flown across half the Pacific Ocean and an entire continent before being dropped into a house full of strangers, if she had been cranky or lapsed a little in her litter box habits. She did no such thing, instead she was never less than a lady and a queen. She was on an impressive daily regimen of pills to control Irritable Bowel Disorder, but bore the daily pilling and squirting of liquids down her throat with grace, if not graciousness. Never once did she offer to do me violence, although she was a mistress of the wounded look that makes a cat-keeper quiver with guilt and remorse.

Nevertheless, we made our way. She wanted to explore the house, but only if someone would carry her, safe above the riffraff other cats down below. Lacey was a sweet and companionable kitty, settling in to sleep at night with no drama, sitting in my lap while I read (holding my book with one hand and petting her with the other). Eventually she began to spend time with Aida, my Siamese, who would sneak into the bedroom and then sit and ignore Lacey while Lacey sat and ignored her. They would sit and ignore each other for five or ten minutes, then Aida would leave. Lacey occasionally played with the knotted-up shoestring R had sent with her, but most of all next to being worshiped she loved to sit in the sunbeam that falls on the cat perch in my bedroom. Catnip made her even more talkative and goofy:

A blue-point Siamese crouches on a tan blanket which is covering a windowsill seat for cats. Sprinkled in front of her is a little dried catnip.
Lacey: Your offering pleases me, minion, but not a whole lot.
Me: Am I trying to get you stoned?
Lacey (Sniffing catnip): Yes. But it’s not working.
Me: Oh no!
Lacey (sniffing catnip some more): We grow way better catnip than this in Hawaii.
Me: Oh no!
Lacey (attempting to bury catnip): Really, this is terrible. The catnip in Hawaii is much better than this. I don’t know why you’re offering me substandard catnip.
Me: You get that catnip.
Lacey (still trying to bury it, then turning to jump on the bed): I do not want to get the catnip. In fact, I am going to flee this terrible catnip.
Me: What’s going on?
Lacey: I’m moving to the bed to get away from the terrible catnip!
Me: Boing!
Lacey: You make it really difficult to have an intelligent conversation, you know.
Me: Is there anything else you want to tell Roz?
Lacey: Yes. Next time, she should send me to someone who can hold a decent conversation.
Me: Is there any–
Lacey: I do like you though. Because you pet me.
Me: Hi, I love you too.
Lacey: I like you so much, I will let you smell my butt.
Me: Cat butt!
Lacey: Well it’s not like it would be *dog* butt, really.
Me: What else would you like to say to Roz?
Lacey: This house has too many cats in it. Tell her I said not to make me stay with a bunch of cats next time. Also, I love you, minion.
Me: Well, I’ll-ok. Hi!
Lacey (purring): You are sort of fun. And also I am hungry.
Me: How bout I go get dinner? Would that be good?
Lacey: The thought of dinner pleases me, minion.

Roz and her husband eventually found housing that accepted pets, and came and collected their fuzzy crew. Lacey and Dex both were delighted to see them. The Manor house felt a little emptier for weeks afterward, but I kept telling myself I would find the time to go out and visit.

Lacey passed on yesterday, loved and adored til the last. Godspeed, sweet girl, I know you have gone to wherever it is that good cats go when they leave us. I know that there are sunbeams, and no other cats, and that finally you are no longer ill. Your friends here at the Manor still miss you.

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An eventful Saturday at the Manor

Actually, the morning passed in blissful leisure. The afternoon was happy activity, my friend C (of Blackthorn Kennel) who bred Zille came over, bringing with her puppy Macha, Zille’s half sister. Pictures later, when I’ve had a chance to process them. Macha was a little nervous at first but Zille used her best bounces, play bows, and scampers, and soon the half-sisters were having a grand good time playing bitey-face, smacking each other on the head with their paws, and then Zille taught Macha how to splash all the water out of the wading pool.

Finally, Shedders worn out to good behavior, we came into the house where Macha was adorable and thought the Manor was Disneyland–toys everywhere! A cat who would kinda play with her! New foods like tomato and blueberry and the same kibble the big dogs got at dinner time! She was less than skilled at eating the cherry tomato and eventually gave up at which point Tink took it, but she got the hang of blueberries pretty quickly. Macha was also small enough to fit through the cat doors at the bottoms of the gates that protect the bedrooms from dogs. Whoops! She didn’t LOOK small enough to fit, but apparently can collapse herself partially into another dimension. Luckily, being a good puppy, she did not use her powers for evil and dig through the litter boxes, she just played with Rooney Lee and tried to steal a couple stuffed mice. When we caught on that the cats were NOT the ones giving her the toys and closed the cat gates (the cats can also go over), she decided on a bone to chew and even tried out Zille’s dog bed.

When C left, taking Macha with her, Noodlehead was on the front porch. I gave her food, she ate it, and hung around yelling and also biting and hissing if anyone tried to touch her. She wasn’t giving serious bites, just warning nips, but the Best Mom Ever and I heeded the warnings and stopped trying to touch her. I’m pretty sure she’s in the early stages of labor. We were a bit worried we’d have to sit on the porch with her all night as she got very upset every time either one of us left, but eventually she adjourned to the cat shelter in the woods at the edge of my front yard (not far from where the turtle was Saturday morning) and hopefully she intends to stay there if she really is about to have kittens. Once the sun’s up a little bit, we’ll go out and check on her.

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It’s World Turtle Day!

It’s also Box Turtle Season here in Virginia, although unseasonably cold and wet weather has kept the turtles out of the road, so I have yet to move one. Nevertheless, I thought I’d celebrate World Turtle Day by taking a break from cat-related posting in order to relay my Tips For Moving Turtles Out Of The Road.

1) Be situationally aware. Do not slam on your brakes to save a turtle if it’s just going to get you hit by the guy behind you, who was not expecting you to stop because a turtle suddenly darted into the road. While it is true that turtles are important, your bodily integrity is even MORE crucial.

2) Stop your car well back from the turtle and turn your hazard lights on. Your car is going to be the first warning sign another driver has to be cautious. If you’re blocking the road, distance is tricky. You don’t want to park your car so close that if someone hits it, your car will then hit you and the turtle, but you also don’t want it so far back that another driver will hit you after going around your car.

3) Stop, look, listen. At least here in the piedmont of Virginia, one is most likely to encounter a turtle in the road on the winding, hilly, two-lane back roads. You will hear another car before you will see it. Be cautious!

4) Move with a sense of purpose. If you pause to take pics, remain especially alert for other cars. Better yet, get pics while moving quickly to the turtle, and if you need more pictures, they can wait until the turtle is off the road.

5) Don’t get bitten. I specialize in moving Eastern Box Turtles, which are not going to bite you unless you go out of your way to stick a finger in their mouths, but still, be canny. If you’re trying to move a snapping turtle, for instance, exercise EXTREME caution. An adult snapping turtle can bite your finger off.

6) Handle the turtle safely for the turtle, as well as yourself.

7) Move the turtle across the road in the direction it was going in the first place. Otherwise, it may just turn around and stomp angrily back into the road, and all your work was for naught.

8) Don’t move the turtle a long distance. An Eastern Box Turtle, for instance, has a home territory that it roams. If you take it out of its territory, it will try to go back there. If you’ve moved it more than a quarter mile, odds are good the turtle will die on the way home.

9) Resist the urge to lecture the turtle on the foolishness of crossing roads in the first place. They never listen.

10) Don’t expect any gratitude. The scaley little bastards always act like you have created a huge problem for them when you whisk them safely to their destination on the opposite side of the road.

11) DID I MENTION WATCH OUT FOR CARS? Stay safe. You are of limited use to turtles or anyone else if you’re lying in a hospital after having been hit.

Also, I lied about the break from cat posting. Here’s a pic of Emmaline and Noodlehead from yesterday. My quest to get the perfect picture continues; Noodlehead had her tongue out for this one. Sigh.

Emmaline, whose face is mostly white but who wears a jaunty tabby-patterned cap, and Noodlehead, whose face is mostly tabby but has squiggles of white running up her nose, take a break from their wet food buffet (visible in front of and behind them on paper plates) to stare at the camera.  Noodlehead has stuck her tongue out, because cats are cruel like that.