Here’s the feel good video hit of the Spring – but it comes with a sad story. Not only have scientists never really quite figured out why normally intelligent dolphins occasionally swim towards the shoreline and strand themselves on the sand, but this year has seen a massive (and unexplained) rise in dolphin beachings. In the Cape Cod, by way of example, when normally around a dozen beachings occur per spring, the numbers have exceeded 100 since the start of January. Awful. Luckily, sometimes, people are on hand to help – and help they do. Here’s what happened when a school of dolphins swam ashore in Brazil earlier this year.
Posts Tagged ‘animals’
Well of course I don’t believe in god, but I suppose I must confess that, irritating though it is to see it always listed as everyone’s favourite word, I am a fan of serendipity. And when fortunate things happen at opportune times, it’s tempting to ponder the prospect of some beneficent overseer – ’til one remembers all that is wrong with the world.
Nevertheless, after having looked after a very good natured, friendly cat for a period of ten days and just, within the last hour, returned him to his owners, I was feeling a bit sad. I’ve always loved cats and would dearly like one – it’s only the combination of a mild allergy and the fact that I live in a flat without a garden that ensures that I don’t. I missed Chatouille immediately.
As much as I enjoy the fringe benefits of having a friendly animal around (more cuddles, essentially, plus another living thing to talk at), the thing I like most about pet ownership is the simple fact of their presence – I liked this one’s calm and noisy breathing, her habit of curling up just out of reach, occasionally stretching her paws. It’s a consistent and reassuring pleasure just having an animal around; a silent, forgiving therapy.
So, having moped around the empty flat for half an hour, we repaired as we always do on Sunday night, to the local pub, to scoff their leftover roast potatoes and grab a pint. The cat in our local is a lovely little thing, but in sharp contradistinction to their new puppy, she keeps herself to herself, flattening out atop the fruit machine and viewing newcomers and regulars with a wary eye.
But as soon as I arrived at the pub and went to order drinks tonight, she leapt up onto the neighbouring bar stool, gained a bit of extra height by placing her front paws on the bar, and pressed her head, affectionately (I think) against the triangle of my face which contains the left side of my nose, the upper part of a cheek, and my eye. And sort of butted me, persistently, back and forth. I stroked her cheerfully and cheered up markedly, while she whacked her face against mine.
I don’t believe in god, but thanks, world, for sending that cat.
We have an animal to stay for the next ten days, so I’m back to marvelling over how strange and delightful cats are, and pondering a mid-career switch to pet-psychology books. We’re looking after a pregnant French cat called Chatouille, whose coat matches for colour and evenness the dark grey underside of the rolls of carpet which I would absent-mindedly pick at on long trips to MFI with my parents as a child.
She spends much of her time sat impassive at the window, looking at I know not what. Then she trots into the corner, and paws listlessly at the wall. She will pass over strewn toys and bits of string and dig her nails happily, pulling, into the back of my office chair.
She seems, as most cats do, to be happiest when she can accompany one person about their business. If I am in one room and Lyndsey another, she clambers up next to me and grunts quietly, a pregnant kind of purr. Or she pads after Lynds and trots around her feet. In this context she’s a good little companion. But if there are two of us in the same room, she tends to keep her distance, clambering to a high vantage point and curling herself up into a contented ball so tight that it seems her head is upside down.
She’s with us ‘til Sunday. I can see I’m going to have to be stoic.
Well, this is obviously the best thing to have happened in 2012 so far. Last night, in Tottenham and Liverpool’s 0-0 bore draw at Anfield, a cat got onto the pitch. A really cute one, too.
Because he chose to go and sit next to the away stand, naturally the visiting supporters sought to adopt him, chanting “You’re Spurs, and you know you are”.
Squirrel watching in the local park is probably something I do frequently enough to legitimately describe it as a hobby – but if it’s not that it’s certainly a holiday tradition; there’s nothing nicer than wandering over to St Anne’s Well Gardens at lunchtime on Boxing Day and mooching around spying on wildlife. Accordingly – the latest dispatch from the animal kingdom:
This is really quite amazing; no matter how long I look at this picture, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that what I am looking at is one cat, not two. There’s one brain. One personality. Two working eyes, one working mouth (although two working noses). But this glorious, strange, janus-cat is still alive at 12, spectacularly defying his life expectancy.
Diprosopus (Greek διπρόσωπος, “two-faced”, from δι-, di-, “two” and πρόσωπον, prósopon [neuter], “face”, “person”; with Latin ending), also known as craniofacial duplication (cranio- from Greek κρανίον, “skull”, the other parts Latin), is an extremely rare congenital disorder whereby part or all of the face is duplicated on the head.
And a wonderful comment below the line.
This is just fantastic – a two-and-half-year-old male chimpanzee at Thailand’s Samut Prakarn crocodile farm and zoo, 25 miles south east of Bangkok, has been trained to feed tiger cubs out of a bottle.
The chimp, named Dodo, has been feeding the cubs, aged between three weeks to five months, every day for more than a year.
I like his little denim shorts, although someone should point out that the current look is to have the pockets poking out beneath the hemline, not a nappy poking out of the back. That aside, he’s bang on trend.
I’m rather a fan of computer-based drawing, but I’ve never really had a good program for doing it; not since the days of Claris Draw on my dad’s 1980s Macintosh. Evey now and again I go back to my computer and do some more drawing, then forget about it for a while. Today has been one of those days.
Accordingly, here is a squirrel.
Photo taken at the rather wonderful Brighton Toy and Model Museum.
Between appointments at Bristol University, today, I found myself with a twenty minute window, so I walked round to the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, which is next door, and had a quick look at the stuffed animals in the Natural History section, before wandering through to the bookshop.
“What’s occurring?”, I heard someone say, in a soft, friendly West Country accent.
I turned round and saw that a couple of security guards had entered the room and were chatting with the woman behind the counter. I continued browsing idly, before crossing back towards the door. As I passed the counter, a book caught my eye so I lingered for a moment to leaf through it, earwigging on their conversation while I did.
“My daughter, she wants to see a pigeon in a bowler hat”, the woman was saying, shaking her head.
I didn’t turn to see the men’s expressions, but their silence implied they didn’t really know what to say to that.
“I don’t know why”, she continued. “She just thinks it would be the best thing“.
“Oh right”, one of the men said, politely.
“And she wants to see a fight between a pigeon and a squirrel. To see which would win. She keeps telling me this. She’s funny. A morbid girl”.
One of the men laughed. “Ah well. How old’s your little girl, then?”.
“She’s 22″, the woman replied, flapping a hand into the air. “But very immature”.
I’m back at my parents’ house in Cambridgeshire this weekend, where I am normally made to feel unwelcome by their distant, rather jumpy cat, Millie. This time round, however – perhaps spurred by the poor weather, which is keeping her indoors – she seems to be have adopted a tolerant attitude to me; not scampering angrily from the room when I enter, nor leaping a foot into the air when I extend a hand towards her.
And then, finally, a sign that, ten years in, I am finally beginning to win her over.
I often link to The Grey Area, but usually neglect to mention that one of the main reasons I read it is because it features, alongside lots of interesting links and hugely acerbic commentary, some extremely beautiful photographs, as often as not focused on the author’s two dogs, Little Mouse and Alfie. They’re normally wonderfully sharp and focused; but I like this less clear shot just as much.
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I think possibly the two minutes I just spent watching this video were the happiest two minutes of my life.
This is an unbearably lovely story. Jan Griffith and her family – who took the wonderful decision to name their pet dog Sophie Tucker (I’m very much in favour of people giving animals human names, especially if they include a surname) – lost their animal after it fell overboard into choppy waters off Queensland, and were forced to include that their pet had drowned. Now, four months later, they have been reunited with it after it was discovered alive and well, living off its own wits on a pretty much uninhabited island, the equally charmingly named St. Bees Island.
Now back with her family, Sophie Tucker has quickly readjusted to the comforts of home, but her owner has a new-found respect for her, it seems. These last lines of the article just kill me.
“She surprised us all. She was a house dog and look what she’s done, she’s swum over five nautical miles, she’s managed to live off the land all on her own,” Griffiths said.
“We wish she could talk, we truly do.”