Friday, March 30, 2018

Furry Critters

For regular readers of this journal, today I learned that my mother's "boyfriend" is named Tony.  She was gone again today when I got to Atria, but an aide found her and brought her to her apartment.  We visited for awhile and then she got up and went outside again.  I also invited her again to join us for dinner on Easter and she said she'd have to see how things go.

Tonight we watched a Nature special on beavers.  My heavens!  I had no idea what beavers did and how important they are to the environment.

They are incredibly industrious and as I watched them building a dam, I was taken back again to my Catholic grammar school training where we learned that humans are superior to animals because we have the ability to think and to use tool.  They chew through even big trees to fell them, they cut them up to manageable sizes and drag them to the water, they pile the sticks up, using moss and mud to hold it in place and then getting rocks to make sure the mud doesn't slide back into the water again.
Now if that isn't thinking and using tools, I sure don't know what is.  Also, when they build the dams in a location that is inconvenient for humans and the humans tear it down during the day, it will be back up the next morning, since the beavers work apparently 24/7.

They build underwater dens where they store food for winter and live with other rodent-types throughout the bad weather. 

Males and females mate for life and apparently mom stays home and keeps the nest while Dad and the kids keep the dam built and sturdy.

I found the whole thing endlessly fascinating, but then I do love me a good Nature special.

I don't know why I'm such an animal nut.  None of my kids inherited my love for animals.  They like animals and each has his or her pet, but none of them has the passion that I have.  Maybe it came from wanting a pet so much all my life and not being able to have one until Walt and I were married.
But if it has fur or feathers, I am fascinated.  I love watching the specials on TV, sitting and watching birds hopping around the garden at Atria, watching the squirrels playing in the trees in our back yard.
I'm not the kind of person who has to be touching a furry critter, though it's nice if they come up to me begging to be petted.  But I love being around any sort of animal and just watching it.  Noticing things about its behavior and interaction with other animals of its species.

I have mixed feelings about Zoos.  I know they do good work in preserving the species and allowing people to learn about animals, but when I see animals like big gorillas or elephants in small enclosures, on concrete, without the family that is such a big part of their lives in the wild, I just want to apologize to them for watching them.

When I was a kid and we drove to visit my maternal grandparents in the days before highways, we passed a paddock where there was a mare and her young foal.  We had to stop there every time and watch the baby grow up.  Naturally, because I am so good at picking names, I called him "Brownie."

One of the great thrills in my life was being able to walk around in the kangaroo enclosure of the animal park at Caversham park in Western Australia.  Having kangaroos literally hanging off of you begging for food was such fun.

I'm glad I love animals.  There is almost always something on TV about some animals somewhere.  Not too fond of the cold blooded ones, or insects (though those can be fascinating too), but the rest are just a delight.  Anybody ever watch Meercat Manor?

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