Tanning Man!

You have to say it with a deep-voiced superhero fanfare: Tanning Maaaaan!

This guy lives on the next street. Every sunny day he can be found sitting in his vinyl-laced lawn chair with the towel over the back, shirtless and in cutoffs, mullet blowing in the wind, downing a bottle of beer. Would you believe I caught him tipping it back?

Lately I’ve been trying to get his picture, but he was always up getting another beer in the garage fridge. His chair is always right on the edge of the lawn and his bare feet are in the driveway; he never changes position (is his back tan?). It seems like such an odd place to sit. Front porch, lawn, facing the street, anything would make more sense than staring at the charcoal grill (also always in that same spot). I was too chicken to get his picture from the front. Maybe Casper and I can sneak a better shot, but the summer is pretty much over.

Meanwhile, tonight I trained some new volunteers at a local pet store where some of our adoptable rabbits live. An escaped snake came zipping across the floor, so I retrieved him in a dustpan and took him back to the reptile area. He had come all the way across the huge store to arrive by the mice, quite a feat for a skinny foot-long guy. I took him to the manager who was afraid of snakes and wouldn’t help! Then, later, I was locked in the store after they closed. The closer apparently had his wisdom teeth out and was on lots of meds and didn’t know what was going on or that I was still there (obviously). I was able to call another store in the chain and they got him back to let me out so I didn’t have to set off the store alarm and have the police arrive.

Dumb Hoosiers

This morning a commercial came on during the news that featured the governor in an Indiana classroom pitching college savings plans for Hoosier families. The plans include big credits on state taxes and then the bottom of the TV screen said “No taxes on withdrawls.” COME ON. A commercial about kids in school saving for state colleges and it has a big fat misspelling in it? I checked the website, which says no taxes on “withdraws,” which at least is not technically wrong, but still isn’t the best word. It’s withdrawal, folks.

David called last night to announce his adolescent dog may be vegetarian. Apparently he offered Walt a piece of chicken from his Outback leftovers. Walt sniffed it, licked it, and then took it and trotted off to another part of the house. David assumed he was enjoying his treasure in a special spot, not that unusual. Several minutes later, though, Walt came back with the chunk of chicken and put it on David’s lap!! That’s one weird dog.

Work is kicking my butt this week. My own lab and regular workload is reasonable, perhaps even light. But I’m covering for someone on vacation and my boss has been out of the office, precluding her from helping. The workload has been ridiculous. After four hours of sleep (and not in a row) since I was awakened twice the other night for work reasons, yesterday I forgot where I had parked and ended up a half mile from my car in the wrong lot when I left work. I also forgot I needed fuel and had to squeeze that in (diesel availability is not so great near work) on the way to an early rowing appointment. Rowing sucked, probably because I was so tired; we had a crummy timed piece. We have three races in October, including one in Philly, so we need to do better.

I’m looking forward to more sleep this weekend and working from home to catch up. Well, I’m not looking forward to working from home, but it will be nice not to take my laptop home every night next week (fat chance). My coworker will be back and I hope to take a couple of days off. Plus I’m supposed to get new teeth on Tuesday!

Oh, and I just realized I bought oatmeal at the cafeteria on the way in this morning. I’ve been here over an hour and forgot I had it! It’s a nice big glob now.

Final shelter visit

Sunday we pulled over 50 rabbits from the shelter to move into foster care with our group and a couple other rescues. I pulled the last four from the noisy quarantined dog area.

We moved 28 bunnies to a Louisville foster home to stage them for alteration and moving toward Indy. The rest went to Indy and a couple are headed to Chicago.
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This little girl has a bum leg but gets around great. She was really excited to be in her new digs.

While I saw several deceased cats lined up in the euthanasia room, cage cards propped on their bodies before they were sent to the freezer or incinerator, at least one non-bunny life was saved this week. One of our volunteers ran into a sweet Great Pyrenees who had been caught as a stray. Her nails had grown into her feet, which were too bloody to leave her in the regular kennels, so she was chained in an area we passed through on the way to some of the rabbit cages. Our volunteer had Pyrs in the past but did not plan to get another dog until the right one found her. Mary found out that after the Pyr’s five stray hold days were up, the shelter was going to euthanize her, because they didn’t want to treat her feet, hot spots, and a wound on her neck. That’s typical high-volume shelter decision-making, but the dog met Mary because she was in bad shape and therefore tethered to the vet area door. Needless to say, she is home, and still needs a name!
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Good news for 100 shelter rabbits!

The shelter visits I’ve recently posted are due to 100 rabbits being seized in a Louisville basement at the end of August, apparently due to inadequate care/neglect. The judge has ruled the breeder may have up to 25 of her rabbits back, and the rest will be in the custody of the Metropolitan Animal Services shelter. The best news is that the cooperating rescue groups, coordinated by Indiana House Rabbit Society (especially Dawn!), have found places for all of the bunnies. They will be treated for their illnesses, spayed and neutered, and adopted to new homes. More information

Indiana HRS will be opening a quarantine foster care facility in Louisville to prepare rabbits to move into other rescues and traditional foster care. If you would like to donate, we are in need of:

    large cages
    large dog crates
    pet pens
    water crocks
    large and XL cat litter boxes
    pelleted wood bedding (e.g. Woody Pet, Equine Pine, wood stove pellets)
    monetary donations for veterinary care: many of the rabbits are quite ill

We’re pleased with the outcome for so many of these rabbits. Imagine spending your life confined to a small, wire-bottomed cage, perhaps without enough room to stand up and stretch, and if your colors weren’t pretty enough you were fed to raptors. Now imagine being treated for your snotty nose and maloccluded teeth and mammary masses and wounded feet, and given daily exercise and love and attention by your own adoptive family, not just one of a herd of breeding animals only distinguished by a tattooed number in the ear. That’s where the quality of life enters, in my opinion.

On the down side, the breeder has selected the Flemish Giants (plus some others) as those to return to her care, and these are the rabbits with the most compromised conditions and housed in the most inappropriate cages. I can only hope she improves their husbandry as they definitely need more space and attention given to their sore hocks and other issues. This outcome is made more difficult because these are my favorite breed of rabbits–so gentle and sweet, and harder for me to reconcile with her “breeding stock” view to selecting the animals.

I’m not out campaigning that we make breeding illegal (my personal feelings aside), and I have absolutely no affiliation with government animal control agencies. (They actually call us for help once these situations are brought into their legal system.) I’m not seeking breeders to convert nor their facilities to “liberate”–that’s not the right answer either. But dammit if I will feel sorry for someone who allowed her breeding stock to get beyond her ability to provide for them. I will celebrate the victory for these few who escaped a shitty life. I will feel sad for that big Flemmie who was out to play last weekend and will soon be back in the cage that tore up her feet.

One moderately happy note: the nearly-dead little black and white baby bunny from my previous shelter post was doing much better under foster care with the vet!

Still life with frog

I was cleaning the shed and found that an old computer monitor box was stuck to the wall and floor. When I pulled it out, half expecting a zillion little stinging bugs or other swarm, I found these bizarre fluffy-looking tubes, each a couple of inches long. Does anyone know what the heck came out of these?

Then in my planting beds overgrown with weeds, I happened upon a flower. I think the neighbors’ new bird feeders and their pooping visitors are the source of these random sunflowery “weeds” I’ve actually discovered in three places. They are pretty in a vase and for once my lazy yardwork paid off!

Tonight I moved my frog to David’s house. Mr. Frog’s been living with the same “feeder” goldfish for months, apparently ignoring him, and took the opportunity to snack on his roommate when I moved him to the transport Tupperware. Several years ago he did the same thing, only I didn’t know my several fish in the tank would suddenly be gone when I arrived at my new house! I’ve had Mr. Frog for over seven years; my vet says they live forever and you can’t kill them. (Not that I was trying to, but he is a curious creature!) He sang tonight after the water change, which stymied Walt the puppy.
The frog has no real name; now taking applications.

Return to the shelter

Volunteers have helped at the shelter this week as their schedules allowed, with weekends having the larger crews. It seems to take about twenty hours of labor per day to get all the cages properly cleaned and all the rabbits fed and medicated.

This Flemish Giant has ear mites and sore hocks among other illnesses. The volunteers have moved her to a cage with soft towels on a solid floor since the wire cage floors ate her feet in the first place. She had a chance to stretch her legs today (the cages aren’t tall enough for Flemmies to stand) and seemed to like the fresh air and attention.
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Several other Flemmies enjoyed the exercise too.
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The Angora had a haircut to remove mats.

This baby bunny is on death’s door. Fortunately a bunny-savvy vet came by to check on the rabbits today and was able to take him home for supportive care.

And as always, lots of cages to clean.


David and I had a yummy sushi dinner at Sakura last night with Stephen and Andrea and Don (who prefers to keep his web presence more obscure). No, I don’t eat fish now, but I did eat the actual raw fish before I became a vegetarian, so I hope I can still be considered a member of the sushi club. Last night I enjoyed edamame, seaweed salad, miso soup, and asparagus and vegetable rolls. The server was helpful in pointing out which rolls were veg-legal. Sakura is celebrating their 20th anniversary and handing out gift cards after meals this week, btw!

Best wishes to Don: we’re all pulling for you!

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little.”

We helped at another public shelter this weekend, feeding and cleaning cages for a lot of rabbits, providing medical intervention, and making them more comfortable as we could. These efforts are so discouraging when we consider we wouldn’t want any of our own pets living like this, but to know they have a chance and are at least a little more comfortable than when we arrived makes it worth it. I can’t go into more details about their situation at the moment.

This is my favorite picture from today, summarizing the fear and hope and possibility and evil all at the same time.

We were able to get the bunnies in the teeny tiny cages into more reasonable accommodations after rummaging through the shelter and patching together what we could. That was the most rewarding activity today for me.

This is the gas chamber, a horrible way to die. Thankfully the shelter recently stopped using this method with domestic animals and is phasing it out for wildlife. I did see several dogs and cats (humanely) euthanized today. It makes me sad that people care so little about their pets that it comes to killing them for lack of space and homes. I just want to make them watch; I want to see if they have any remorse for their convenient excuses.

On the other end of things, new life is always cute and hopeful. Two litters were born today, though not all survived. The rest of the babies face an uncertain future, and probably not one destined to be happy given the circumstances.
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These rabbits are lucky to have one of the larger cages. The one on the left has had his ears chewed off.

Lots of cages to clean, for rabbits of all sizes.
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