Tag Archives: Animals

How Much is that Doggie In the Museum?

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How many pets live in museums?

For more than a century visitors have marvelled at the Hermitage Museum’s precious collections, and for just as long dozens of cats have prowled the Saint Petersburg palace’s sprawling cellars.

The felines have one main task – to root out unwanted guests: rodents. The 70-odd brigade have their claws so deep into the history of Russia’s largest museum, and one of the world’s oldest, that there is even a special feline unit dedicated to their welfare.

By the time Catherine the Great took power in 1762, the felines had become official residents. They were even dubbed the Winter Palace cats, after the royal residence that has now become part of the museum.

They survived successive wars, invasion by Napoleon’s forces and even the revolution that overthrew Tsarist rule.

During World War II, however, the cats did not make it through the 1941-1944 Nazi siege of Leningrad, the city’s name under Soviet rule. The city’s famished population had no choice but to eat their pets in order to survive.

Legend has it that the palace’s feline guard was brought back to life when World War II ended, when new recruits were brought in by train from all over Russia.

By the 1960s, there were so many cats at the Hermitage that the authorities decided it would be best to abandon them.

Yet the rat population proliferated and a few years later the cats again found their place.

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Have you met Jack, who is photographed having a stretch during his shift at the Lambton Heritage Museum in Lambton Shores?

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There is also this devout cat who lives in a fourteen hundred year old museum called Hagia Sophia in Turkey, guarding and preserving its religious and cultural history every single day. His name is  Gli. He is slightly cross eyed but a whole lot of cute. Besides watching guards, gardeners and keeping them supervised, Gli greets tourists and enjoys being photographed by them at the museum.

 

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Photo from Isle of Wight County Museum licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

Of course I must add a pet ham–but it’s not just any ham (you knew I would have to throw some humour in here). This ham in particular (named, you guessed it… Ham) is 113 years old and lives in a museum in Virginia as the world’s oldest cured ham. The story goes that Ham was left to “cure” (be preserved to be eaten later) in 1902 in a meat packing plant and was forgotten. Eventually P.D. Gwaltney Jr. found it and decided to make it his pet. He had a collar made for it and took it everywhere he went. Now the ham, which you could probably still eat, sits in the museum. You used to be able to watch it on a live web cam! The ham was also featured in Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” in 1929, 1932 and 2003.

So what about locally?

Well look who just became part of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte…

Michael Rikley-Lancaster has added something new to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, and it’s not just the new Colour Unboxed show coming up soon. (More on that this week)

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Nevil is giving me “a close-up Mr. Deville”  and wondering what I could possibly add to his territory.

This is Nevil and he is our local addition to the series of “pets in museums”. Nevil is a rescue dog, about 5 years old, and has fit right in as canine curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum . He loves participating in the new exhibits, which I saw in action, and greeting people. Did I mention he loves lots of attention and is beloved by all at the museum?

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 Michael Rikley-Lancaster and Nevil opening up the door to hallowed ground.

Animals have become stars in their own right in museums,  and they have become hugely popular with the many tourists who visit each year. Visitors also snap up souvenirs and postcards adorned with their adorable faces on sale in the museum gift shops. So who knows, maybe down the line Nevil will be gracing some coffee mugs for sale at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. You just never know!

Come say HI to Nevil and everyone at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.

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Michael Rikley-Lancaster and Nevil in a Rosamond masterpiece pose.

 

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Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

The Doctor Dolittle of White Lake–Harry Brown

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Photo- Ottawa Journal January 1963

 

There was no doubt that Harry Brown was like a lot of us seniors. Wanting to live his own life on his own terms after he retired he turned down his son’s Robert and Harry’s offers of going to live with them. Harry was going to have none of that and instead when he retired from The Corps of Commissionaires he decided to build a cabin on Three Mile Bay at White Lake.

His sons knew best not to argue with him and instead picked up a hammer on weekends and holidays and helped build their father his dream cabin. It was just how Harry wanted it– well insulated and hidden among the trees on the shore of Three-Mile Bay.

You might think once you are settled into your new home in the middle of nowhere– social contact might be off the limits– but that’s not how Harry led his life. The summers held the welcome of cottagers and of course with winter came ice fishing. Did Harry suddenly inherit a list of social commitments? No siree Bob– he decided to hang out with all the four legged friends who suddenly depended on him and made his property home. So the squirrels and the skunks made kind of called Harry “Dad’ and so did some raccoons that became quite tame. Apparently, it is easy to house train these critters.

Harry became known in the area as somewhat of an ‘animal whisperer’ and tales of birds perched up on his shoulder and arms circulated around White Lake. We can judge the heart of a man by his love of animals– and there is no doubt Harry Brown had the biggest one in White Lake– no maybe even Lanark County. This is a story that touched my heart yesterday and hope it did yours.

And They Called It Puppy Love

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By Linda Seccaspina

Originally printed in the San Francisco Chronicle and The Dodo

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My father used to have a large lumbering Irish setter named Thora. Sad to say she was equipped with a brain the size of one lonely canned pea. Thora would spend the lazy hazy days of summer lying out in the middle of the country dirt road just snoozing her life away. No one could get that dog to move, and it’s a wonder she never got run over. On car rally Sundays drivers were advised on their maps they had to maneuver around one big red dog lying in the middle of the road.

Thora had a serious admiring suitor named Frankie, and he was the tiniest farm dog I ever saw. He just loved Thora, and each day he would literally spring up the road to come visit his love. He would lick her face continuously and then proceed to bark at her for hours. Thora never moved, just closed her eyes, and one might say they simply were having a silent love affair.

As the summer months progressed, Frankie’s love for Thora turned to lust. Try as he may, consummating this relationship was quite difficult for one so small. Occasionally she would stand up and come to the house for water and there was Frankie, barely twenty inches from her tail. Jumping and barking like the dickens, the more he couldn’t do the deed, the more smoke seemed to be coming out of his ears. Thora in her own dazed world couldn’t have cared less.

Word got around the neighborhood and it became the talk of the county how this little dog would do anything to make Thora his. My father, always the comedian, continued to tell the “dog in lust” tale to anyone who would listen. He never really had an ending to this doggie tale until one fall morning when he came back from his walk grinning from ear to ear. That very morning he said, he had seen Frankie trot up the road dragging something behind him. Trying to keep a serious face my father said that Frankie was last seen toting a step ladder. Everyone laughed knowing a dog dragging something like that up a dirt road would be quite the sight, let alone impossible.

Well, maybe that fateful morning Frankie did indeed bring along a step ladder. Small as Frankie was, we all knew he was the most talented cattle dog in the valley, and obviously he pulled off a magic act that day. A few months later, Thora gave birth to six puppies and there was never doubt in anyone’s mind to who the father was. My father, delighting in more fodder for his volume of stories added more to his tale of wonder. Frankie had been last seen passing out cigars as he dragged his step ladder back down the road. I guess dreams do come true, no matter how short you are!

Till Milkbone Do Us Part

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At the age of 63, I no longer have interest in listening to a male voice tell me what I can or cannot do. For once in my life, I want a companion that is silent and loving, so I have chosen my dog to share my remaining years. My dog eats what I give him and does not demand that I shop for probiotics or buy him organic items.

If I choose not to take a bath one day; my best friend will not care, and actually prefers the smell of freshly cooked meat over the scent of Victoria’s Secret. No longer do I worry about little white lies, because if I catch him doing something wrong, he simply lowers his head and gives me his paw.

He does not ask for the remote, nor demand hours of TV sports, and when I get annoyed with his behaviour I immediately send him out. I no longer have to share my smoothies, and the worst I have to put up with is his occasional sloppy drinking out of the toilet. He never throws an insult, or puts me down in front of his furry acquaintances.

He isn’t on Facebook or Instagram. He doesn’t know how to take a selfie, but he does like watching other dogs on youtube. You really can’t call that porn. He doesn’t chase after other women. The only thing he runs after is a stick. He knows I don’t want anything to do with his saliva-ridden rubber pig. No one is offended if he scratches in public.

Neither of us are masters of recycling or niche consumerism. My dog never complains about hating his job. He doesn’t insist on jogging at 5am in the morning. After a rough day at the park, he just falls asleep. I don’t need to carry on a mindless conversation. There are no stacks of books in the bathroom for leisurely reading, his mantra is: “when you gotta go, you gotta go”! There are no brochures for “dream-like” vacations, because there are only so many ways you can enhance the image of a squatting dog.

Am I living in idiocy? Not really. I appreciate the fact that he has groomed body hair and thank my stars that he doesn’t wear skinny jeans. Sometimes his social intelligence leaves me baffled, but in my heart I know this one truth. If he or anyone else were left in a cold garage I know who would be happiest to see me.

 

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A Message from the Rainbow Bridge

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I interviewed Pam Knowles from Waggs N Whiskers just outside of Carleton Place this week. Not only was I in tears a few times  as she spoke about pet rescue, she also donated a Gift Certificate to the Ladies Who Lunch event at the Town Hall June 6th. (A $75 gift certificate that can be used towards their services (Doggy Daycare/Boarding or the Off-Leash Dog Parks)
 
We spoke at length about pets and what they mean to us, and then about those who have little chance. It brought me back to a story I wrote about angels who look after our animals. Her interview will be published week, but meantime– read this amazing story about a rescued animal.

Animals are smarter than we give them credit for, and some believe that dogs are our guardian angels. There are no words that are even needed between animal lovers who have lost and then miraculously found a cherished part of their lives they thought they’d never see or have again.

Tito was a mixed breed of happiness that made his way into everyone’s heart in my building when I lived there. Some days he thought I was kind of odd, but there was no doubt about the love that he had for his owner Evan. For years Evan and Tito were inseparable until one day Tito wasn’t walking very well and you could see he was in pain. It was a sad moment in Evan’s life when he found out that Tito had bone cancer. He vowed he would do everything that was humanly possible to help his dog, and from that day on Tito was the primary focus of Evan’s life.

Tito had his ups and downs, but some how he grabbed on to life and lived it to its fullest. One day his pain seemed to lessen, and suddenly he began to walk easily, and we all thought Tito was going to make it. Of course when you have cancer most endings are not so positive, and a few months later Tito began to fail. The last thing Evan wanted was for his beloved dog to suffer and each time he thought it was the end Tito rebounded.

The rebounds came less frequently and Evan knew Tito’s days were numbered. One day he decided to have one last weekend with his dog before Tito went to the Rainbow Bridge. They shared all Tito’s favourite places and when the weekend was over Evan knew the time had come. The vet was slated to arrive that evening but Tito died naturally in Evan’s arms before the scheduled hour.

Life after the death of a pet is painful, and Evan informed everyone he was not going to get another dog for a long time. A few weeks ago on Thanksgiving Evan journeying up a mountain road to Tito’s burial place with a friend. Initially it was to pay respects to his loving dog, but also to bury his friend’s pet who had died next to Tito. Suddenly, running in the middle of the road was a 7-week-old Pitbull puppy. Immediately his friend looked at Evan and said,

“It’s Tito man, go get him!”

Was it his reincarnated pet? Truthfully, it was probably the only survivor of a dumped unwanted litter, but if you believe in magic like I do– it was Tito. Is there a “telepathic linkup” between dogs and their humans?

“If a miracle is something that happens without physical explanation and seems to defy everything we know about a particular aspect of our world, then these are miracles,” said Brad Steiger, who co-authored “Four-Legged Miracles: Heartwarming Tales of Lost Dogs’ Journeys Home,” with his wife, Sherry Hansen Steiger.

I hope that if my dog ever dies he would some how find his way home to me in some capacity. Animals love us unconditionally and they come into our lives to attempt to teach us the same. Humans, being the slow learners that we are, continue to need the lessons they teach us.

The more I see of people and their lies and self centeredness, the more I love all the animals and their selfless love for people who love and care for them. Wherever little Aubrey came from will remain a mystery, but in my eyes it will always be a message from Tito on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

― Will Rogers

Photos of Little Miss Aubrey  by Steve Yaver

Alan the Prairie Dog is a Linguistic Genius! – Zoomers

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Alan the Prairie Dog is a Linguistic Genius! – Zoomers.

 

 

“Friday, biologist Con Slobodchikoff described how he has learned to understand what prairie dogs are saying to one another and discovered they can be quite eloquent. Personally my squirrels have told me time and time again not to believe a word that comes out of a groundhog’s mouth. Especially if it’s talking about the weather. Walt Disney, of course, was right all along.Animals can talk, and rodents really do talk extremely quickly.”

Killer Beavers Alert! Man Causes Own Death by Grabbing Beaver!. – Zoomers

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Killer Beavers Alert! Man Causes Own Death by Grabbing Beaver!. – Zoomers.

 

“I have waited a whole month now for Stephen Colbert to admit that beavers have replaced bears as the number one threat to mankind. In April the media reported a man enjoying a fishing trip with his friends at Lake Shestakov in Belarus was bitten to death by a beaver. Still no word from Colbert, but it is always fun to recycle beaver attacks!”