Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dogs on Thursday, Joe Update

This week's Dogs on Thursday is all about Cup o' Joe. Remember him from this post? He is the little 4 lb. poodle with the broken leg that my niece's rescue, Joa's Arc, has been caring for this past month or so. He needed surgery to put a plate in his leg so it would heal.

Well, this week, Joe got his cast off, and his leg is in great shape!

It's in great shape on the inside, that is. It looks a little like a flamingo leg right now, but his hair will grow in and in no time he'll be as good as new! He will soon be going to his forever home. His new momma and daddy are very excited about welcoming Joe into their family.

In the meantime, he participated in a fashion show for for Talk Philly, a Philadelphia news show. The show will air sometime next week, but in the meantime, you can go to this link and watch a segment of Web Extras.
Full disclosure: I still haven't met little Cup o' Joe in person. All photos have been stolen from my niece's blog. I just can't bring myself to meet Joe. I still get teary about having to give up Bob--there is no way I could get to know little Joe and not be able to bring him home with me. Can't do it. No way, no how.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bob's Story, Continued

The last time I updated everyone on Bob, it was Thursday night, the end of an exciting day. Bob had fallen off a roof that morning, landing belly-up on asphalt, and he wasn't putting any weight on his right leg. He was kind of wobbling around, which make me think there was some kind of head injury, and I really wasn't sure he would make it through the night.

Here he is snuggled up in his plastic tote with his little friend. It's a stuffed animal we put in there so he would have something to snuggle. He had a heat lamp over him, and all I could do was hope for the best.
Miracle of miracles, he survived the night! OK, now I have a baby goose and three bird dogs, and I have to go to work. That's clearly a disaster waiting to happen, especially when I caught Emma going through cookbooks and bookmarking "Roast Goose" and "Foie Gras". The only option was to take Bob to work with me! No problem, I just loaded up the Prius with Bob's essentials, and off we went!
First stop was mom and dad's house. They were amazed that Bob was alive. Not only was he alive, he was walking all over with nary a limp! Here he is with Bessie. Bessie is saying, "Go ahead, give me five minutes alone with this bird. Five minutes. That's all I ask."
Needless to say, I scooped Bob up and we were on our way to work. I set up his baby pool on the museum's back porch, and Bob had a grand old time!He was swimming like he was born for it! Which, I guess he was, but still... After thinking he was going to wake up dead (so to speak) and he was alive, every little thing he did was a miracle!I took him to the lake and tried to find his family, but there was no sign of them. I did find some other geese, and put Bob down with a pile of goose food, but the other geese didn't want anything to do with Bob. So, at the end of the day Bob came back home with me. Friday night we took him to my niece's house--she has a pond on her property and has ducks and geese, but the same thing happened. They weren't at all interested in Bob, and he is just too tiny to leave him out there with no family to protect him. Back to Britknitterville where Bob enjoyed another night of pampering.

My sister called a couple of wildlife rescue organizations, just to make sure we were feeding him correctly & such, and both encouraged us to allow them to take Bob in and allow him to be raised as a wild goose (instead of as a child with feathers) and released to live the life a goose was meant to live. They also mentioned that it was against the law to be in possession of a Canada Goose, but that had very little to do with my decision to take Bob to the wildlife refuge. He was clearly imprinting on me, thinking I was him momma, and my head knew that wasn't the best thing for Bob, even though my heart wanted to keep him with me forever and ever.

Anyway, the next day we took Bob and his little bedtime buddy and headed north to Medford, New Jersey.There was a pit stop at a local Wawa mini mart for some much needed coffee, where Bob was a big hit with the employees and customers. People were taking pictures of us with their cell phones! Bob took it all in, posing for pictures like a movie star!All too soon we were on our way again, and an hour later, we arrived at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.
They were very nice and let me have all the time I needed to say goodbye to Bob. There might have been a few tears shed, I'm not sure. Ok, ok, I cried like I was losing my best friend. I'm certain the girl who did the paperwork thought she had a real nut case on her hands, but to her credit, she just smiled and assured me that this was the best thing for Bob. She took Bob from me and he went with her without a backward glance at me. That hurt, Bob...that really hurt! Typical man...

We wandered around and took a look at the facility, and Bob really lucked out! It is like a wildlife heaven. I took lots of pictures, but most were out of focus, probably because I couldn't stop crying. Click on their link and take a look at Bob's new home. Nice...very nice.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs on Thursday, Emma, Tara and Cooper would like to introduce their new brother.
Isn't he a cutie? He is a baby Canada Goose and his name is Bob. I don't know why, he just looked like a Bob. His incredibly stupid momma goose built her nest on the roof of the Stained Glass Studio at work. Yes, just like this family from a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the roof of the Stained Glass Studio is only something like 7 or 8 feet off the ground, as opposed to the museum's sky-high roof. Stupid, stupid geese!

Anyway, the rest of Bob's brothers and sisters made it off the roof just fine, but Bobby Boy jumped off onto the asphalt walkway. He was found belly-up, and unable to walk, but alive this morning. Who do they call? The crazy goose lady. After making sure that there was no way he would survive on his own (his momma, daddy and siblings left him...LEFT HIM! Stupid geese), I bundled him up and brought him back to the museum and put a little bit of water in one of our wash tubs for him.
He perked up, and started to put some weight on his foot. I think his right leg is sprained, but not broken. That's my opinion as a crazy goose lady with no medical training whatsoever. The way I see it, I had no choice other than to take him home and nurse him back to health. I know I can't keep him forever (yes I can) and am only planning on getting him healthy and then setting him free (no I'm not). I think once he is walking around on his foot, he will be able to join one of the geese families in the lake at work. (No he won't. He is mine, all mine, forever and ever.)

Here he is bundled up in a towel, riding comfortably in my car. We made a few stops, and he was a very well behaved little goose in the stores. Hey, I needed goose food and a baby pool, and I was NOT going to leave Bob in the car...

I also bought a bucket to make it easier to carry Bob around without drawing so much attention to the fact that I am walking around with a baby goose. The first residents of Britknitterville to welcome Bob were the neighbor's chickens.
That is as close as the chickens came to the bucket. When they realized it wasn't something for them to eat, they wandered off. Fickle chickens...

Here is Bob enjoying a little time in the sun.
When my sister came home, she helped me carry the baby pool closer to the house so that Emma, Tara and Cooper could give their new brother a proper welcome.
Tara says "Hmmmm, I'm feeling a bit hungry. Oh, I can't eat him, mommy? OK, then I'll take a cookie instead."
Emma, however, said, "You go ahead and get a cookie...I'm gettin' me some GOOSE!"
She just wanted to give him a kiss!
We thought it would be a good idea to get Bob out of Emma's thoughts, so we took him for a ride to Fortescue. He liked his first trip to the beach!
On the way home we stopped at mom and dad's house to introduce them to their new grandson. Bessie liked meeting her new little cousin.
Dad said, "You know you are going to be labeled certifiably insane, don't you?"

My sister, always helpful and supportive, said "Well, it's really more like a re-certification."

Har-de-har-har. Funny, funny people in this family of mine...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dogs on Thursday, Birthday Edition

For this week's Dogs on Thursday, we are celebrating the May birthdays of past and present residents of BritKnitterville. First up are Katie and Scarlett, born May 13, 1991.

Aren't they just the cutest little things? Those heads look huge compared to their little bodies. They were litter mates. Mom and dad brought Katie home, and the next day I went and got Scarlett. Eventually, Katie was so very bad for mom and dad, that they were at their wit's end. Katie ate holes in rugs, furniture and clothes, and even ate a pin cushion, and the pins! When she was almost a year old, she started climbing over the fence and running around the neighborhood. In short, her behavior was less than acceptable, and Katie needed a new home. She came to live with Scarlett, and never did another bad thing after that. I think she just missed her sister.

A few years later, Mellie came along. She was born May 12, 1997. See how light she was at a pup? That's why we started calling her Mellie Vanillie. What a good dog she was.

Here is a picture of my three May birthday girls. Left to right, that is Scarlett, Mellie and Katie. this picture was taken in 1998.

Notice the right edge of that photo? That's Mellie's handiwork. She was a chewer. She loved, loved, LOVED paper. This is a rare shot of all three dogs together, so I couldn't throw it away. Besides, I think the chewed edge add a little something to the photo, don't you?

Believe it or not, the next brittany pup added to the household was also born in May. May 12th, 2001 to be exact. That would be my beloved Emma. Here she is, all tuckered out after playing with her big sisters. She loved to lay on my garden shoes.
Not just my shoes - any old shoes would do.

Quite a coincidence that these four girls were all born in May! Emma is probably the last brittany whose birthday we will know, as I won't be buying any more dogs from breeders. Nothing against these sweet girls, but with so many homeless dogs out there, I'll always choose a rescue organization over breeders.

Oh, and there is one other resident of BritKnitterville with a May birthday... Me!

Yes, I was born May 12, 19-::cough,cough,sputter:: Excuse me--tickle in my throat. (Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes sent through Facebook yesterday.) Emma says she doesn't mind sharing her birthday with me, as long as it is clear that she is the #1 focus on that day.
Well, truth be told she has to be the #1 focus on her birthday and on every other day of the year!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there! It doesn't matter if your children are two-legged or four-legged, you're still a mother and should celebrate today!

I want to wish a special Happy Mother's Day to the best mom I know. Fortunately, that just happens to be my mom! She is a practical, no-nonsense, kind of mom, and we always knew that there was a line you would never cross, and if you happened to get too close to that line, there would be consequences. We had what many would think was an impossibly restricted childhood. Yes, it is true. Want some examples of this "cruelty"?
  • We were taught to say "please", "thank you", and "excuse me".
  • We wore our Sunday Best on Sunday, even though my Sunday Best was more likely than not hand-me-downs from my sister's Sunday Best.
  • We were grateful for new clothes and new shoes.
  • We did chores around the house.
  • We were given an allowance (75 cents a week), and taught how to manage money. (Sadly, that lesson didn't really sink in with me...)
  • We worked for extra spending money. I started babysitting when I was 11 years old which greatly contributed to my decision, made at a very young age, that I never, ever, ever wanted to have kids. Ever.
As you can see, I survived a shockingly severe childhood. I am thankful for the upbringing I had, and for the fact that I have always felt my mother's love. Too many kids today do not have that kind of strict-but-loving mom, and I believe our communities, and indeed our country, is the worse for it.

As I was looking for pictures of mom to post today, I realized that a large percentage of the picture of mom are when she is holding a baby. I don't know if it's because she is always the one taking pictures of everyone else, or if it's because she manages to snatch any baby in her vicinity and snuggling a baby is just about the only time that she sits still. Probably a combination of the two. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite pictures of the best mom in the world.

Mom holding Colette, 2005

Mom holding Sophia, 2009

Mom holding Mellie, 1997

Mom holding Lexie, Emma "helping", 2007

On this Mother's Day, what would I wish for? World peace? An end to hunger? No more homelessness, for people or pets? No, my wish is for everyone to have a mother like mine. That would accomplish the first three wishes, and so much more. I love you, mom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Dogless Dogs on Thursday

It's Thursday again, which means Dogs on Thursday, but here I am without a doggie post. That's just not right! Especially since I've been feeling like crap all week because of the baby geese, and my sweet, funny dogs are the main reason I have managed to get out of bed every morning.

So what is the reason for another dogless post? Geese. Or more specifically, one goose. Have you seen this goose?
At first glance it looks like every other goose in the lake at work, but he swims kind of funny, and when I saw him out of the water yesterday, he was hopping on one foot. His right foot looks like it was bitten by a turtle or something. (Warning: Don't read the next sentence if you are eating right now.) The foot is all mangled and there are bloody bits hanging from it. (Hey, I warned you!)
I normally don't scrutinize the geese at work, but I've been looking for the last remaining baby from the geese on our roof. No luck. Can't find him anywhere. Anyway, I called our office manager when I saw the hurt goose, and she called a local wildlife sanctuary/rehab place, and they said that if I could catch the goose, they would pick it up and care for it.

No problem! With my sister's help, I developed a plan of action for catching the goose, and assembled the necessary supplies:

Yes, coffee is a necessary supply. The only thing missing in this picture is the goose. He is nowhere to be found. I took several drives around the grounds today, saw him in the water one time, but my net wouldn't reach him. I really need to get him on land so I can catch him. Until I find him, I'll be wandering around the grounds several times a day, calling "Heeeere, Goosey, Goosey!" No, I don't feel like an idiot, why do you ask? OK, I do feel like an idiot, but that's not going to stop me from trying to find that damn goose.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Down to One...

I went to work bright and early this morning and headed right into the courtyard of the museum to check on the four remaining baby geese. Unfortunately, the first thing I saw was a dead baby goose. I can't tell you how that made me feel. The babies were fine the night before! They had plenty of food and water, and it was a warm night. After looking around, I found another dead baby. The mama and daddy geese were settled down in a flower bed with a live baby between them, but I looked everywhere and couldn't find the last baby, dead or alive. I couldn't believe we went from 5 babies down to 1 baby in 24 hours. How is that possible? I was shocked.

The first thing to do, of course, was to sit down and have a good cry, and then I buried the dead babies. I marked the graves with pieces of glass cullet so that no one accidentally digs them up when putting in spring flowers.

After that, it was time for another good cry, and then something had to be done. I figured the remaining baby would have as good a chance, if not better, for survival in his natural habitat as opposed to staying another day in the courtyard-of-death. The only problem with that is that the only way out of the courtyard into the outside world is through the museum. The shortest distance is around 75 feet through the museum's lobby.

At this point I realized I needed help, so called the administration building for reinforcements. Jimmy, Steph and Tara (the only other people at work that early) came to the rescue. After much discussion, we decided we had to catch the remaining baby and hope the mama and daddy would either fly over the wall or follow us through the museum to an outside door.

No problem, as Canada Geese are notoriously docile creatures, right? WRONG! They can be mean SOBs, especially when they are threatened. Well, since no one else volunteered, and I like to think I have developed a rapport with the geese over the past few weeks of checking on them daily on our roof, it was up to me to catch the baby. There was much hissing and flapping of wings, but it was surprisingly easy to corner the baby and pick him up.

At this point, I had the presence of mind to ask Steph or Tara to take some photos. Here I am holding the baby, trying to coax the mama and daddy into the museum. That's Jimmy holding the door. Well, he's either holding the door or hiding behind it, I'm not sure which.

Mama and daddy were not about to go peacefully into the museum...... so I handed the baby over to Jimmy after much kissing and telling him what a good boy he is. The baby goose, that is, not Jimmy.

Jimmy headed through the museum, and I shooed the mama and daddy in. At one point I was asking myself if this was really such a good idea. I mean, those geese could have taken off flying all over the museum, crashing into all kinds of things. Fortunately, they just followed Jimmy and the baby and the sounds of his peeping. Again, the baby goose, not Jimmy. :-)

I know what some of you are thinking, and yes, the geese did indeed poo on the carpet. Big deal. Goose poo is good for the carpet, right? Anyway, the geese made it out the front door and were reunited with their baby out in the big (bad) world. I followed them with my camera to make sure the baby was doing OK. I knew they would head toward the lake.

It was a long walk for the baby....
...a very long walk... which the baby needed several rest stops...
...but they eventually made it to the lake.

The sweet little baby never hesitated - he just walked right into the lake and started swimming.

Goodbye baby goose.
Come back and visit some time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Goose Update

I worked yesterday, so was able to keep an eye on the baby geese on the roof. It's a good thing, because it was hot, hot, HOT! Throughout the course of the day, I carried a little over 12 gallons of water up to the roof. Here are a couple of videos I took yesterday.

Today was very sad, though. My sister and I drove down to work a little after noon, and apparently sometime during the night the goose family decided to vacate the roof. A smart goose would herd their babies to the outside of the museum, where they would (hopefully) have their fall broken by a tree or shrub, and then land on a nice soft pile of leaves or pine needles. Of course, if the goose was smart, she wouldn't have built a nest on the roof at all.

No siree, no smart geese around here. These crazy geese must have herded/pushed the babies off the roof into the interior courtyard of the museum. No cushy piles of leaves to land on---just bricks. Very hard bricks. Sadly, one of the babies did not survive, and another one is limping. It's a miracle that the other three seem to have landed without trouble. We buried the baby under a clematis vine.

After some discussion, we decided to leave the little family in the courtyard for now, especially since one of the babes is limping. I'll keep an eye on them, and if it seems as though the babies would be OK out on the lake, I'll move them. Somehow. I'm not sure how to do it. The only access to the courtyard is through the museum. I guess we will have to catch the babies (easier said than done!) and take them out. Hopefully the mama and daddy geese will be able to fly over the walls of the courtyard. Don't geese start molting soon? If they don't go over the wall, we'll just have to catch them, too.

Do I sound confident? I'm not...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Babies! We Have Babies!!!

Five baby geese! They hatched on Thursday! I checked on the mama Thursday morning, and she was still sitting on the nest. I went up to the roof again after lunch, and found mama and daddy goose, and five babies!
I made a frantic phone call for help to our office manager. I don't know what I expected, but certainly nothing less than the Coast Guard flying in with their rescue helicopters and those baskets they lower into the ocean to pluck people out of the Bering Sea like they do on Deadliest Catch, right? They could swoop in and load this little family into the basket and whisk them off to safety--somewhere that is NOT on top of a 2 story roof!

That didn't happen. After the office manager consulted with our grounds manager, they decided that I might be over reacting just a bit. Both of them said the mama and daddy goose know what they are doing, and that they would probably have their babies off the roof by morning.

Reluctantly, I went home Thursday evening, but if I didn't have to go to a funeral that evening, I might have stayed on the roof all night! Friday morning, I was back at work and went right up onto the roof of the museum, hoping to find the little family had vacated the premises.

No such luck.
After another frantic call to the office manager, in which there was much laughing on her part, I decided I was pretty much alone in my quest to take care of this little family. No problem. I made several trips to the roof with buckets of water and made some nice puddles in low areas of the roof. Next I pulled up some nice, tasty shoots of grass and took a couple of buckets full of that to the roof.

Then, I called in some people I can always count sister and my niece! There was no laughter...only "What can we do to help?" Isn't that great? Within an hour they arrived...with provisions.
They brought a chicken feeder, a big waterer (not pictured) and bags of chick food and poultry food! My heroes! Here is Jenny on the roof. Yes, they even climbed the two flights up to the roof to see the little family!
I am still taking up buckets of water for puddles, and grass for some fresh food, but I feel so much better knowing they have a supply of food and water on the roof.

It's hard to tell from this picture, bu the babies are all sitting in the food!
Fortunately, I have to work today, so I can check on them throughout the day, and if they are still there on Sunday, I'll be riding down to work to replenish their puddles then, too. I may be the subject of laughter at work, and some might be wondering about my mental state, but nothing is going to happen to those babies on my watch!