My Pet Memorial Garden

A pet memorial garden sits among the trees in my yard.  A sculpture of three happy old women on a wooden fence overlooks the gravestones of pets who have lived with me over the last thirty years.  The “Grandmothers” were created by Kirsten Engstrom, an artist from Hawthorne, Florida. She also made the monk that […]

When Dogs Go Blind

The good life isn’t over for dogs who go blind.  If they don’t have eye pain—which most don’t—and the disease that caused the blindness is treatable, they can lead happy lives.  For example, my blind dog Trudy has underlying Cushing’s disease, which can be controlled with drugs, although she’ll never get her sight back.  She […]

NEWS FLASH–Louis Pasteur Busts Fruit Flies

Fruit flies appear from nowhere.  You leave a ripe peach on the kitchen counter for more than a day—Voila!  You’ve got fruit flies.  You’ve no idea how they found you. No wonder people use to believe in “spontaneous generation”—the theory that insects and other small living things can arise from dead matter without going through […]

Dogs with SARDS & Cushing’s Disease

Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) is a disease that causes rapid blindness in dogs–usually, within a few days to a couple of months. For some unexplained reason, the cells in the dog’s retina start breaking down. The disease can be diagnosed with electroretinography—a test similar to an EKG. While the dog is under anesthesia, electrodes […]

My Friend Kari

Kari Bagnall began her whirlwind career as a primary sanctuary director when she opened Jungle Friends on 12 acres of land north of Gainesville, Florida, in 1999. Until her early forties, she was a successful interior designer in Las Vegas. Kari’s love of monkeys began when her live-in boyfriend brought home a baby capuchin in […]

Droid Addiction

At an upscale restaurant with two women friends the other night, I watched one play with her android nonstop during dinner.  She showed us over 100 photos taken with several cameras on the device.  She pulled up Google Earth and other apps and played with them.  The conversation was never allowed to stray far from […]

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Pig– A True Animal Escape Story

As a truckload of pigs was being unloaded at a slaughterhouse in England, two pigs escaped and ran away.  They disappeared into a cornfield as fast as their legs could carry them. Slaughterhouse workers pursued the pigs but lost sight of them.  The police were called and joined the chase.  Finally, reporters showed up. These […]

Got Coyotes?

Got coyotes in your neighborhood?   Don’t laugh.  Coyotes now live in almost every state in the U.S. Not just in the countryside, either. Many have found their way into cities.  According to a recent wildlife study, Chicago now has over 2000 resident coyotes. These feral dogs, once found only in the West, have slowly migrated east over the […]

First addiction

The kitchen is dark except for a wedge of light from the refrigerator door.  Since I am 5 years old, only food in the middle shelves is at my eye level, including a block of butter. I take the butter to the kitchen table and put it in the sugar bowl, then stir with one […]

Three crows

Three crows patrol the entrance to my neighborhood.  They stay close to each other, pecking in the grass or flying from tree to tree near the street waiting for fresh roadkill.  In flight, they call to each other—two or three brisk “caws” at a time.   They can be heard for blocks. [Crow calling] Hardly a […]

Chinese wife and husband

The old Chinese couple sit in straightback chairs. The old wife looks down at her hands. The old husband turns his head to look at her. He doesn’t move but a plastic tube threaded into his nostril trembles. He speaks. The wife inclines her head slightly, rises, and shuffles from the room. She returns and gives […]

Shadow Puppet

Her lips curve upward. She lowers the puppets onto the stage. She makes them talk.  They start to argue. They raise their voices. One hits the other and laughs. Now they throw things and scream. She shrieks with laughter. You no say this. You no can have. I make you do. I not do. You […]