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Issue 15

Apr-May/2008

creatures re turesall ll sharing the planet with our fellow creatures

 

Issue 15

April-May/2008

 Advertising Information Gloria Fantin 403-289-3 403-289-3836 836 [email protected] Graphic Design & Story Inquiries Bob Fielder [email protected]  Account In formation Linda Fielder [email protected]

In This Issue Penny”, I commande commanded d Zoey Looking Back – “Find Penny”,

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Nakoda – The room felt different – as if the the air Printing  The Prolific Group

Mailing address:

was being sucked out

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creaturesall creatures all

another stray stray dog Born Und Under er a Lucky Lucky Star Star – just another

P.O. Box 126, Langdon, AB T0J 1X0

struggling to survive

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403-512-9544

Poop opsi sie e Poem – Po

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is published 6 times per year (February, April, June, August, October and December) by 1160613 creaturesall creatures all

ALBERTA LTD. and distributed freely in Alberta or via subscription the first week of the publication month. Advertisers and contributors assume responsibility and liability for the accuracy of their claims and statements. The opinions and views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect those of the Publisher or advertisers. creaturesall creatures all reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Written submissions become the property of creaturesall creatures all on publication. By proferring your photographs or written submission you grant us permission to reproduce it in creatures creaturesall all, other printed media, on our web site or as a component of an online download. All submissions will receive a reply if email address is provided. Writers & Cover Artists may make submissions by email to:

Columns Wagging Tales – Dr R Weger - Calgary North Vet Hospital Hospital

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Creature Feature – Cyril Brass Brass - photograph photographer er & writer

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A.I.W .W.C. .C. Taking Down the Fences – A.I

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Nature e Cons Conservanc ervancy y of Canad Canada a Spaces and Species – the Natur

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Ann & Sandy Cross Cross Cons Conservat ervation ion Area Area Cross Paths – the Ann

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Calgary y Horti Horticult cultural ural Socie Society ty The Gardening Bug – the Calgar cari-creatu reatures res by Sean Skerry Skerry Obsolete – cari-c

27 28

The Final Word – mu musi sing ngss from from hom home e

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[email protected] Copyright 2005 by 1160613 ALBERTA ALBERTA LTD.

Cover Artist Cyril Brass

Cyril Brass is a freelance photographer and writer specializing in nature, wildlife and travel adventures. Combining his passions of travel and photography provides Cyril with unforgettable experiences and great photo opportunities from destinations such as Australia, Kenya, and Costa Rica. His dramatic images capture the exotic wildlife, stunning landscapes and diverse cultures. The front cover image is of a Blue Morpho Butterfly photographed in Costa Rica. Cyril’s photographs and articles can be viewed at www.cyrilbrass.com

Departments Publisher’s Note

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Letters

7

look ok at at some some boo books ks Novel Suggestions – a lo

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the lives of of animal friends In Passing – celebrating the

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MandaLeaf  GRAPHIC GRAPH IC DESIGN • COMMISSIONED ARTWORK • PRINTS, CARDS & CALENDARS

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hen I tell you, most likely against your will, that I come from a big family, a number most likely pops into your head. HA!

W

Still, no complaints here... I haven’t a single negative memory of  growing up in the family I did, babydolls notwithstanding. I do

or visiting relatives. No clam, no cow, no Cornish Game Hen will ever touch her lips, except perhaps when she finds herself unable to resist the temptation to plant a large wet one on their foreheads, just for being so darn cute. You can imagine then, what kind of  difficulties arise when she is called upon to be a dinner guest or, conversely, to act as dinner hostess. Over the years

I laugh at your number! I mean to say I come from a BIG family; so large in fact that, as a kid, I could make a quick nickel on the playground as a reward for being able to list the whole mess of us in order of birth. And that, my friend, was when a nickel nickel still had real buying power. As long as I’m hypothesizing, let me also guess that you’ve already determined in your head our religion. HA! I laugh at your your guess (though never your religion)!

admit to being shocked to learn, years later, that those babydolls were not, in fact, handed down to me by my older sister. I find comfort in having learned that the older brother from whom I actually inherited them, carries on and continues to make peace with his own personal demons. Large families require large homes and ours didn’t disappoint; unless, of course, you find cold and drafty rooms disappointing. The antithesis of one who searches out a source of cheap water when the

we’ve learned to accept, if not embrace her penchant for mock chicken and faux beef. There is a temptation here to comment on the dangers of mocking one’s foes, but let’s agree between us to  just leave it buried. Sufficient to say say,, wieners, vile enough when eaten in their natural state, move to a whole new level of vile when packaged as vegetarian fare. Still, she is after all, our flesh and blood and we try to remain open minded when she gleefully trots out some new transmogrified plant for our delight.

True we were, as a family, marched off to church every Sunday; some perhaps not not quite so ‘in step’ as our parents might have wished. However ours was not a church known for overemphasizing the ‘go forth and multiply’ mandate. Whatever the reason, beyond the obvious, for our family having been so large, I’ll not complain. As the second youngest child, any other philosophy than the ‘large family’ one my parents embraced would likely have left me six or eight kids out of the final spot.

bucket they use for hauling it is full of  holes, my mom and dad perversely sought out a source of cheap blankets under which to bury us at night, rather than have the heating fixed. I mention this because, to this day, I still can not sleep, even in the dead of winter, unless the bedroom window is left fully open with a fan blowing inward, and myself covered with multiple layers of blankets. And yes, before you ask, I am still married. The imprint left by events of my childhood has, for better or worse,

Such were the events on a recent evening spent together as a family in celebration of my son’s birthday. Gathered at his new home after dinner out on mom and dad, we were to watch him open gifts after having shared dessert prepared by his veggie queen sibling. As with anyone waiting to open their gifts, my son was anxious to start the wrapping flying. Stoically we waited for dessert to be served, however found ourselves nonplussed upon viewing the reward for our patience. Silently and without comment we

Growing up in a big family has a greater impact the further along in the order you find yourself. The older siblings prance through their youth with new outfits purchased from the Eaton’s catalogue and only needing to ask for a horse of their own in order to get one. The younger kids find themselves being sent to bed in their big sister’s hand-me-down babydoll babydoll pajamas, and having to endure watching their elders ride that horse I mentioned (without a trace of envy).

played a large role in how my own children were raised. Like our parents before us, our progeny, albeit  just the two of them, were raised to be both tolerant and compassionate toward both man and beast. This same compassion is perhaps the underlying motivator in my daughter having, by choice, become a vegetarian. Her home in the city is crawlin’ with critters and little beasties, all made comfortable in the knowledge they are safe from being inadvertently gnawed upon by herself 

were each given a plate with what appeared to be a graham cracker crust filled with whipped cream over some unidentifiable fruit or vegetable. With years of equally obscure offerings having prepared us for this moment, we apprehensively dug in. Mumbling accompanied each mouthful as we politely transferred minimal forkful after forkful of the pie-like pap to our gullets, taking care not to make eye contact with our fellow diners. The relief felt throughout the room became palpable when our daughter

PUBLISHER’S NOTE encouraging you to read, then write

 Bob & Linda Fielder 

Advertiser and Story Submission Deadline for Next Issue – May 2nd/08 page5

interrupted our dining with, “People, put your forks forks down! down! It’s a joke! Don’t eat it! The pie is made made of boiled celery, for goodness sake!” ca

 

artist

Limited Edition Giclée Canvas Art prints  Available at these Fine Art Galleries:  Avenida  Aveni da Art Gallery  Calgary 

(403) 278-3074 or 286-9557

www.avenidagalleries.com Prestige Fine Art & Framing  Okotoks

(403) 938-2755 www.prestigefineartframing.com

Events:

 Avenida Galleries Spring  Artist Show. Show. Monday May 5 - May 9th/08 Daily 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Petro Canada Centre Lobby  150 - 6 Avenue SW   All artists will be in attendance with original work available, as well as limited edition giclée canvases.

For mor moree info inform rmat atio ionn on upc upcom omin ingg exhi exhibit bitio ions ns plea please se visi visitt my web websi site te

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Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation

(403) 601-2520 www.heavencanwait.ca

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LETTERS paw prints and pen scratches readers write

Hello, I have been reading this magazine for a little while now and I love it. I usually pick it up either at the Calgary Coop in

in the Feb/Mar issue. Just wondered if any other readers have mentioned this? Please consider this constructive criticism. Keep

the Beddington Mall or at the Foothills Hospital. However, this latest issue I have not found anywhere. I do have the one with the hippo on the cover, but not the next one. Can you tell me if  there is a reason I can't find it anywhere?

up the good work-perhaps work-perhaps I'll make a submission in the future. Mrs. Katharine McFarquhar

Your beautiful magazine is a beacon when Life becomes challenging. Elisabeth Dowson

Lori W.

Thanks, creaturesall, for a job well done!! Such a wonderful magazine. Please renew my subscription and send one to my

Had a call from a woman who said she loved the giraffe cover I did for issue 10 of creaturesall. She cut out and framed it, and has now expressed interest in purchas-

friend Jessie Smith.

ing an elephant.

Sharon Mills

Please accept this cheque for my subscription to creaturesall. I look forward to getting my first delivered issue. I haven't been able to grab one before they fly off the racks. Ms. J. Mariano-Groza

Carla Pelkey

I've been reading your back copies and I have to say that I did indeed snivel into my Kleenex a bit - I'm officially known as COW or Cynical Old Witch within my organization, but you succeeded in breaking down my defences! Billie

First off, I wanted to thank you for the copies of creaturesall in the mail. I've already started giving away copies and LOVED the article by the vet about the cat taking pills - from the cat's perspective! I have a sick dog at home today so the story resonated well re trying to get medication down!

What an uplifting magazine! Mrs. M. D. Cook

We wanted to let you know our "Metal Head" ad in creaturesall has had a great response and confirms for us how widespread your readership is. Thanks again.

Maryanne Pope

Harv Dougan

I'm a native Calgarian who has always had an interest in wildlife and pets. Also enjoy photography and water color so find much enjoyment in creaturesall.

I'm looking for an article that was written by Gwyn Moreau, in spring, 2007, about the Humbelhorse therapeutic riding program she was working with. Gwyn recently passed

However, I find it quite difficult to read the pages which have text superimposed over the photos. Example: pages 20, 21, and 27

away and we would like to have a copy of the article on hand for her funeral. Lori Thompson

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LOOKING BACK  by

Jessica Griffin

As I drove home from the animal shelter, disappointed in not finding my own little orange tabby, I  reminisced over all the good moments we shared together. I loved holding her in my arms like an infant as she gently touched my face, tossing her up in the air and catching her and having her curl  up beside me under the covers. Penny would follow me around the ranch as I ran from station to station feeding the horses. At the stations she would climb up the stacked hay bales and then playfully knead the hay with her paws. This height gave her security, security, out of the reach of the ranch dogs. Then when all the horses had been fed, we would head up the t he hill towards the trailer and Penny would follow me right inside, fervently

After searching the barn we headed over to the Quonset tent where all the hay is stored. Zoey, oblivious to the purpose of this walk, snatched up a piece of horse pie in her mouth as we strode on. My disgust for this began to mellow as I accepted it as a reality r eality of ranch life. We entered the Quonset and headed to the far side where all the hay bales were stacked. I decided to utilize Zoey’s nose in the

anticipating her own feeding time. I regret and lament now search, and lifted her up over a stack of 5ft high bales, then over not having her spayed or tattooed.  jumped up behind her. The other side had a bunch of  As I drove up the hill I hoped that Penny would be uneven hay stacks with nooks and crannies providing many sitting patiently on the steps, waiting to be let into the hiding places. antiquated little trailer. Zoey, my big black dog, bounded Continuing my search, I commanded Zoey to “Find with excitement as my car pulled up. She was always right Penn Penny!” y!” I had just recently r ecently taught Zoey the command “find” at the car door waiting to be petted. Her body wiggled with by rubbing my scent on a tennis ball and then hiding it. excitement and her tail wagged vigorously. As a result, I Zoey would skillfully follow her nose to the exact location of  now bestowed all of my attention onto Zoey. “What a good the ball and proudly return it, even if it was pitch black and girl Zoey,” Zoey,” I praised as I patted her beautiful silky black fur. thrown in the middle of a winter storm. Zoey obediently Charlie, the landlord’s Border Collie who was great sniffed around as she walked about on the uneven bales. friends with Zoey, appeared from around the corner. I Out of the Quonset I resigned to my back up plan. I would frequently observe them playing together through drove carefully down the slippery hill. The sun had set and the trailer window. I tried not to be too disappointed at the night was creeping in quickly. There was a truck idly lack of Penny’s presence and remained hopeful as I headed down to the barn to search for her. Zoey playfully mouthed my hand as she always did when heading out for an adventure down the hill.

running attached to a trailer and the high beams blinded me as I slowly drove towards it. I inquired about Penny to Marvin who was loading his horses into the trailer. To my dismay he had not seen her. He did mention something

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about coyote food, and I scowled over that comment but he didn’t see, due to the increasing darkness of the evening evening.. He assured me that he would keep a look out. Next I drove up to the landlord’s quaint cabin, and

the car. I called for Penny and then took a moment to listen. There was nothing but the sounds of the rustling wind and the running car. I called out again and this time I heard hear d movement. movement. It was Zoey once again. Her loyalty outweighed her obedience. I was both a little annoyed at the

“Zoey?” I cried out mournf mournfully. ully. A fetid smell of death filled the air. I bent down and stroked her body and checked for a pulse. Full of trepidation and panic I drove toward Shawnessy Pet Hospital. I lifted Zoey’s lifeless body from the car and rushed to the back of the clinic. Her mouth was partly open distinctly outlining her black jowls. I

Zoey, realizingg I was in wasn’ n’tt leaving the property, cavorted playfully right near my car. She followed me up to the doorstep where two ranch dogs were barking dutifully. At the door I explained Penny’s

destroyed hope and at Zoey’s ostensible obedience, and once again said in a stern voice, “Go home!” and pointed toward the trailer. My dog reluctantly slunk back and did not follow me to my car. I was unaware that those would be my last moments spent with Zoey. With remorse I look back now and realize

could see her vapid eyes glazed over with death. My friend and veterinarian assistant Megan walked over to where I was sitting and held my hands as I mourned and she said a little prayer. I noticed a trail of blood as I walked out of the clinic. Beside my car water was splashed in an attempt to conceal all the blood that had been shed. Later, sitting on the steps in my family’s home, my father held me as I convulsed with sobs, not refraining

disappearance and was informed that there had been a fox wandering around recently. Zoey stuck her head inside the house and I quickly pushed it aside with my knee, not wanting to be intrusive. I crossed over the railroad tracks which marked the end of the ranch’s property, driving toward a house, newly built in the summer. I noticed Zoey was following, and so got out of  the car and sternly ordered her to go home as I pointed toward home. Zoey timorously slunk down, her figure

that all the signs were visible. My mind was preoccupied with Penny and I didn’t pay attention to Zoey’s behavior and her eagerness to be with me. I drove off down the gravel road until I met the main road and then headed to the next house on the other side. I left the house a little discouraged without any information on Penny. I backed out of the

from crying himself. My brother walked in upon hearing the news and put his hand on my shoulder, his downcast eyes were filled with tears. The big family dog sensing all the mournful commotion came nearby with a gesture of comfort. Above us, at the top of the stairs, was sitting my mother, fresh from out of the shower, sobbing bitterly over the whole

barely discernable in the darkness. I walked up the porch steps and was received by a friendly lady. A poignant waft of freshly fried sausages met my nostrils. Two little French bulldogs were equivocally wagging their tails and barking. I apologized for my intrusion and then inquired about Penny. To my surprise and amazement the women replied that her daughter had seen an orange critter and she pointed towards the church yard. A surge of hope streamed through my body as I set out to the church yard

driveway ready to head home. To my utter horror, I could marginally make out a black figure standing on the road. It was Zoey. Shock and desperation shook my body as I saw two sets of  lights heading swiftly towards towards her. her. A split second later a truck came whizzing by. I shot out of the car half expecting

tragedy. A spirit tragedy. of sorrow fell upon the family that night. As I sit in front of the window of my little trailer, writing the story of my beloved pets, I can see Charlie off in the distance in the church yard searching faithfully for his long lost friend. I believe Penny is still out there

yet I tried to remain objective, realizing that the critter could have been the fox. I drove to the perimeter of the parking lot and stepped outside

to see Zoey on the other side. There somewhere. was no Zoey. With abandoned hope and horrific cries I ran down the road  If you have seen Penny, Penny, please contact and came upon Zoey’s body.  Jessica at: [email protected] [email protected] .ca

ca

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You ou can can m make akee aa difference  ak difference diffe rence a b  bu  u  s e

 c t  e  l  g  e  n

ab an d  do     n  o nm     e  m e n  nt     t Before

After

Volunteers & donations of any kind mean the continued success of Oops-a-Dazy and expansion of our programs. Ph: 1-888-734-1013 1-888-734-1013   • Fx: Fx:  1-403-734-1014 1-403-734-1014   • [email protected]   • oopsadazy.com

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WAGG GGIN ING G TAL TALES ES stories from a veterinarian veterinarian’s ’s clinic by

I

Dr. Richard Weger, B.Sc., DVM

t was during my third year of  veterinary school that I decided to accept a summer position at the college working with one of the

giggling of embarrassed schoolgirls mind you, but big belly guffaws. Fearing the wrath of Dr. Powell, we both buried our heads in our pillows and proceeded to laugh ourselves to sleep.

large animal veterinarians. I had decided that I would broaden my horizons and try my hand with the “biggens”. My supervisor, Dr. Letrie, explained that the job entailed traveling around Saskatchewan going from farm to farm studying the hooves of dairy cows. He had entrusted another veterinarian, Dr. Powell, to be in charge of the field work. Sending me off with a smile, Dr. Letrie bade me farewell and left me with a final parting message, “Have a great great summer!” The next morning I met my team, composed of Dr. Powell and another veterinary student named Ted. My first image of 

Breakfast became a challenge. It took all of our strength and fortitude to quell a return of last night’s supressed belly laugh. Just thinking about him in those  jammies would stimulate a double up response. After breakfast, we made our way to our first farm stop. Wearing our farm gear made up of overalls and rubber boots we started our task of studying cows’ hooves. The farmer gathered all of the subject cows and lined them up in the chutes, single file. Ted’s job was to take pictures of the cow’s feet while mine was to draw blood samples for later evaluation. Events proceeded without incident until one cow in

Dr. Powell was an imposing one. Lurking before me was a 6’ 8” giant! In his ancient face you could see the effect of  years spent standing in open cow fields. I began to open my my mouth to introduce myself, when I was abruptly cut off by “Just don’t stand there dawdling sonny, get in the van!” followed by a piercing scowl. A black gloom fell hard upon me. This was not a great start. With an urgency born of fear, Ted and I loaded into the van and began

particular struck a cord, literally. Each cow was kept in their stall by a length of wood locked in place in back of their hind legs. Repeating a task I had done many times before, I lifted the cow’s tail and proceeded to insert the needle to withdraw the blood. I could see Dr. Powell out of  the corner of my eye, causing the vision of the pink sheep pajamas to crop up forcefully and without warning. However, before I could utter a single chortle, the cow struck its leg straight back, breaking through the wood

our journey into the pit of Hades. After several hours of  highway travel, Ted had noticed that the right turning light had been clicking but was too scared to tell our captain. After characteristically losing a game of rock/scissors/paper, it became my misfort misfortune une to inform Dr. Dr. Powell. Powell. The end result of the notification culminated into a forceful, “leave the driving to me!”, follo followed wed by another piercing scowl. The journey to our first stop, a small town motel, continued in awkward silence. Finally arriving at the motel, we were informed that we would be sleeping on mobile cots in the room while our commander-in-chief  would be sleeping on the only real bed. Feeling tired from the long trip, we decided to hit the sack early. The sight I witnessed next I would never forget. Emerging from the

barrier and finding its mark on my left knee. A large ‘CRACK’ filled the air; a crushing combination combination of  wood, hoof and human kneecap echoing throughout the valley. Any thought of laughter was replaced by intense pain, as I collapsed limply on the ground. Hearing my screams, the farmer and his wife came running over to lend assistance. My left knee bulged, swelling to two times its size. In the distance, through tear filled eyes, I could see Dr. Powell slowly making his way over to me. Finally, standing over me and bending down, he whispered quietly in my ear, “That will teach you to make fun of another man’s pajamas.”” My ‘great pajamas. ‘gr eat great summer’ had just begun.  Dr.. Richard Weger is a graduate of the Western College of   Dr

bathroom came Dr. Powell, dressed in pink cotton pajamas with little cartoon sheep. Suddenly, the absurdity of the situation came bubbling up and Ted and I both felt the irresistible and uncontrollable urge to laugh. Not the minor

Veterinary Medicine, specializing in exotic veterinary medicine. He is currently owned by his Senegal parrot, Tiko and  his cat, Mendel. Exotic Veterinary Care and Referral Service: Calgary North Veterinary Hospital (403)277-0135

ca

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Some of the sculptures I have completed include pheasants, frogs, dogs, cats, historic buildings, roses, sunflowers, mushrooms and cat-tails. All of my pieces are created from the recycled hoods of cars and trucks. I rework the heavy gauge metal using an assortment of tools and techniques which owe much to the now bygone age when blacksmithing and handcraftsmanship were the only options available. I do take orders for gift-giving and keep an inventory of a variety of sculptures on hand.

COUNTRY OUNTRY CREATIONS CRE TIONS Metal etal Sculptures [email protected]

Harvey Dougan

403-934-3640

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CR CREA EATU TURE RE FEA FEATU TURE RE giants of the bug world by

S

Cyril Brass

o, tell me, how much weight can you lift? 50lbs? 200lbs?

Even though Elephant Beetles are one of the largest beetles in the world, growing in size up to thirteen centimeters (five inches), spotting

The Elephant Beetles' primary defense is not to fight but to escape from its predators such as snakes and birds. The powerful horn burrows

How about 850 times your body weight? That is what Rhinoceros Beetles can lift. In proportion to their t heir own size, Rhinoceros Beetles are the world’s strongest animals. If humans were able to match that incredible strength, we could lift 65 tons. There are several types of beetles which are classified under Rhinoceros Beetles, including Atlas Beetle, Hercules Beetle, Ox Beetle and Elephant Beetle. All these species have developed amazing power and strength to forage through

them can be a challenge. They are more active at night than during the day when they are hiding under logs and in rotting vegetation, away from potential dangers. Plus the life of  adult Elephant Beetles is brief, only about four months. With such a threatening appearance, o n e would think

deep into the thick decaying plant material away from its attackers. These giant insects are harmless to humans unable to bite, sting or stab you with their horns.

the heavy decaying materials on the  jungle floor and to dig their way to safety.

t h e larger protruding horn would be used to fight off its enemies. However the horn is used when battling other males for control over food-rich territories and mating grounds. Females choose their mates by who has the biggest resources, the best feeding sites consisting of large decaying trees where they are able produce offspring. Decay occurs quickly in rainforests so small trees and branches will not

It was during a visit to a banana plantation deep in the eastern lowland rainforests of Costa Rica that I saw one of these Rhinoceros Beetles, the Elephant Beetle. Expecting to see bananas and more bananas, I became preoccupied by this giant of the bug world. In the parking lot alongside the banana processing plant, a tall thin man was leaning up against his bicycle holding a piece of banana stalk with a

The Elephant Beetle is aptly named as a result of its unmistakable long upward curving horn. This trunklike horn is only on the males. The large dome body shape, barb-like

support this species of beetle. Females lay their eggs directly into the rotting trees so the larvae have an immediate source of food when they enter the wild world. The larva stage of their transformation to maturity may take up to four years. Over this lengthy period the larvae are eating machines, devouring massive amounts of dead vegetation, forest compost and decaying wood. They eat and eat and eat where they were hatched, and stay there until maturity. Once the

appendages and head supporting different sized horns makes these creatures especially interesting and unique.

Elephant Beetles reach this adult stage, they do not eat much, feeding on nectar, plant sap and rotting fruit but not decaying plant material.

huge black and brown bug resting on it. I had never seen such a big beetle before in all my travel adventures. The friendly fellow was as keen to see the reaction on my face as I was excited to see this fierce looking insect. In the photo, you can see just how big this giant bug is by comparing it to the man's fingers holding the stick.

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Humans, on the other hand, are the Elephant Beetles’ biggest threat today. More and more rainforests are being destroyed resulting in lost habitats. Their primary habitats are located in the tropical rainforests of Central America and South America. With the large trees cut down and removed, it is difficult for the females to find adequate breeding sites. Elephant Beetles are important creatures to tropical rainforests as they play a significant role in the breaking down and recycling of dead plant material back into the ecosystem. The Elephant Beetle—an insect of  enormous size; a bug with incredible strength; a beetle with a vital role in our environment e nvironment.. ca

Cyril Brass is a Wildlife and Sports  Photographer living in Calgary.  Photographer www.cyrilbrass.com [email protected] 403-999-1908

 

Elaine Rude MASTER GARDENER

The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area Spring Conservation Education Programs for adults and families Spring topics include:

Nature exploration –

Paintbrush aintbrush Garden arden Design esign and nd Consulting  onsulting

Flowers, bees and scat

Issue-based programs – Nature deficit disorder, Wildlife corridors and Water resources  For details, please visit: www.crossconservation.org   403-931-2042

403.241.3688

www.Luv2Garden.ca

[email protected]

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AKING NG DOW DOWN THE FEN FENCES CES TAKI flight of the eagle by

Dianne Wittner

est of Calgary, a northsouth corridor ebbs and flows with the whoosh of  beating wings. Burgeoning with life

W

growth pattern that made his feathers brittle and weak. They fell out easily and were filled with a dry crusty substance where there should have

feathers requires liberal, though carefully monitored, doses of protein, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A and D, and sunshine. Furthermore, birds

and activity in the warmer months, quiet in Winter but never altogether silent, it is known affectionately as K-country, an Alberta jewel that plays host to a myriad of bird species. One in particular can be found year round, attracted by road-kill, seasonal die-offs, and the scatterings of predators’ leftovers. It is the Bald Eagle, a powerful raptor often depicted as a mighty hunter of the skies but known, in fact,

been a fresh blood supply. Several possible culprits could be responsible – toxins, trauma, malnutrition, parasites, follicle infection – but testing for a definitive answer was going to be difficult if not impossible. Whatever the cause,

spend significant periods preening, a behavior that is essential to maintaining optimal feather condition. condition. At first, fir st, the anxiety of captivity limited his natural preening behavior but it wasn’t long before instinct kicked in and he began taking good care of his beautiful new feathers. The next step was to try to improve his

to be a relatively lazy opportunist. Regardless of its credibility as a hunter, the Bald Eagle is undeniably powerful and spectacular to see up close. That is why it is so disconcerting to find one laying helpless in a barbiturate-induced coma, unable to fly due to power line burns, crumpled at the roadside after a collision with a vehicle, or grounded g rounded

cardio vas cular conditioning. As soon as he was able, we moved him outside to our new raptor runway where he had more than one hundred feet of exercise corridor to do laps. Encouraged to fly repeatedly from on onee end to the the other, other, he often resisted, in typical Bald Eagle fashion. Initially, four laps left him spent and gasping but gradually it was we who could no longer keep up with him.

it had occurred weeks to months earlier, leaving no trace evidence. Repeated tests revealed nothing certain, though a ‘period of malnutri-

by lead poisoning. These and other hazards befall eagles all across the continent and just when we think we’ve seen it all, another mysterious malady presents itself. Such was the case in late November when an immature male eagle was captured by a Fish and Wildlife officer near Highway 40 in Kananaskis. The bird flew weakly but showed none none of the vitality that should have prevented him from being approached. Slightly thin, he had no obvious

tion’ became the leading suspect. Finally, one momentous day in When bird feathers grow, they may late February, it was time to send him form ‘stress bars’ in a linear pattern back to K-country. With March across a wing or tail. This stress can be pending, Bald Eagles would soon be associated with nutritional deficiency, coming through the migratory starvation, or abnormal growth corridor in large numbers. The timing periods. There were no such bars in was perfect and so were his feathers. the eagle’s feathers that might indicate Set upon the ground in preparaa prolonged period of physiological tion for launch, he spread his new stress, but it was apparent that wings, took one mighty leap and something had interfered with their became airborne. In an instant he was normal development.  just a speck on the horizon and our Over the next three months, the hearts soared with him every beat of  offending feathers fell out and were the way.

injuries. Blood work and fecal examination showed nothing abnormal. The only thing unusual was a strange

replaced by normal ones as his nutritional state was catered to. In all  Alta. Institute for Wildlife Wildlife Conservation: Conservation: birds, the formation of premium http://www.aiwc.ca; (403)946-2361

ca

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NAKODA  by

Maryanne Pope

Nakoda, the light-grey radio-collared wolf my husband John and I sponsored for three years, was an excellent alpha female and produced many pups over the years. She kept them safe and did not engage in killing cattle. At one hundred pounds and over six feet in length, Nakoda was large for a female, and demonstrated great leadership qualities that t hat were imperative to the pack’s success, including waiting at the road edge for pack members to cross as if on ‘look-out’ duty for vehicles. There was not a single recorded death of  Nakoda’s pups on any of the roads through the pack’s territory. One sunny day in early September of 2000, she’d been sighted in a meadow in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park with her pack, all lounging in the warm, early autumn weather. One of her pups rose from its resting r esting place, walked towards its mother, now looking very white with age, and nuzzled her. Then one wolf howled, howled, which soon developed into a chorus, and afterwards af terwards all the wolv wolves es got up and had a ‘gathering’ where everyone touched noses and wagged tails. This special creature was to play an unexpected part in my life in days to come. On September 29, 2000 I was a report processor for the same police service where John was a police officer. I had just arrived at work for my first shift back after our vacation, when my supervisor asked me to come into her office. I figured I must have made a mistake on a report sometime before I left on our vacation. She shut the door. “John’s fallen.” Perhaps a broken leg or arm. The thought flitted into my mind and out again. “You have to call his inspector right away.” I was puzzled as to why an officer with the rank of inspector wanted to speak to me; inspectors don’t phone in incident reports. I sat down at my supervisor’s desk and picked up the phone before finally making the connection between John’s inspector and John’s fall. This wasn’t about a report. “Hi,” I said when an older male voice answered the phone. “Is this Maryanne?” “Yeah.” “John’s been in an accident.” “Oh.” “Where are you right now?” “At work.” “Is your supervisor with you?” “Yeah.” “OK, listen to me. John’s hit his head and we’re on the way to pick you up.” ... “HIS HEAD?” The room felt different – as if the air was being sucked out. “Yes. He’s at the hospital and we’re going to take you to him.” page16

 

Oh God no. My supervisor took my arm and led me from the office to the back alley, where the inspector and John’s sergeant picked me up in the police van. En route to the hospital I asked his sergeant what had happened. “He was investigating a break and

Two heart-wrenching months passed and in early November Nov ember,, I was flipping through my mail and came across an envelope from the wolf conservation organization John and I belonged to. Thinking that reading about Nakoda, might cheer me up, I opened the envelope. Nope. A hunter had shot her on September 22nd – the day John and I had been at Disneyland, one week before his death. The shooting was legal. Through my tears, I read how the nine-year old alpha female of the Peter Lougheed pack had been sighted outside the small, protected area

enter when he fell through a false ceiling.” “I see.” I looked out the window. “Where are we going?” “The hospital.” I turned to him. “But which one?” He said John was at the hospital in the northwest part of the city. But John worked and lived in the south. “Why didn’t they take him to the hospital in the south?” I asked. “Because he went to the best trauma unit in the

allotted to wolves. Since the hunter hadn’t noticed her collar, identifying her off limits for hunting, he’d shot her. For several weeks, her pups and pack-mates had repeatedly returned to the den site, either searching for her or grieving her death. Later in November, I went for lunch with the policewoman policewo man from John’s team and she told me the details of their shift, including a comment John had made several hours before he fell. “We were doing a traffic stop,” she said, “and a truck had barreled past us. I made a comment about how dangerous it is working on the side of the road, r oad, so John told me about the time he was sitting in his police car, lights activated, and had glanced in

city.” Clunk. Like a coin hitting the bottom of an empty piggybank, the seriousness of John’s injury hit me. You don’t usually make it home for dinner when your day starts in a trauma unit. “You know,” I said, “we had a great vacation.”

his rearview mirror to see a semi flying up behind him. He said it was the strangest sensation thinking he was going to die.”

At Emergency, we were directed to a room where John’s team was waiting. I chose a seat beside the only policewoman on his team and asked her what w hat happened. “We went to a break and enter. John went inside with the K-9 officer and his dog. John was searching the upper level when he stepped through the ceiling.” “He’s gonna be okay, though, right?”

In April 2001, I met with three classmates from John’s recruit class. They’d had a pin made in John’s memory and raised over $12,000 for the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. Because John died as the result of 

“I don’t know,” she said. “He really hit the back of  his head hard.” Because the K-9 officer had successfully resuscitated him, John was kept on life support. This meant that he would be able to donate his heart, kidneys and pancreatic islets. It also meant that I could spend the day with him, holding his hand and comforting him as best I could as he succumbed to brain injuries. Although becoming a police officer had been his lifelong dream, John always said that coming home to me at the end of every shift was his top priority. So what went wrong? Just after midnight, my brother drove me home. As he pulled alongside our house, my stomach was in knots. How was I going to face, without John, all that repre-

a preventable workplace injury – there was no safety railing in place to warn him about the false ceiling – we decided to create a public service announcement (PSA) to educate the public about workplace safety. But we needed a symbol for the memorial fund... something that would represent what John stood for – leadership, integrity, honour, courage, dedication and a commitment to excellence. A few weeks later, while on a flight to Vancouver, I found it. I was recalling the qualities we’d come up with to describe John, and Nakoda came to mind. What about

sented our life together? Inside the back door, I was enthusiastically greeted by our dog, Sable. I knelt down on the floor and hugged her tightly, our family of three reduced to two.

wolves had intrigued us? I wrote down the word ‘wolf’ and circled it. “Why did you write that?” asked a voice beside me. I turned to see a teenage girl. cont. page 18

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“Pardon me?” She held up a wolf pendant on her necklace. “The wolf is my favourite animal.” “Oh. I was just thinking about the kind of characteristics that wolves have...” “Let’s see,” she said, “they’re loyal, beautiful and courageous. And they’re excellent leaders...” Then from her other side, the girl’s mom leaned forward, adding: “And they’re very calm and wise; it’s almost as if they have an inner spirit. They’re also very opportunistic.” “But very family oriented and devoted,” said the girl. Then she turned back to me. “Does that help?” I opened my mouth and closed it again. “Are you feeling all right?” she asked. I smiled. “Yeah.” I asked if she’d mind sketching the wolf on her necklace for me in my notebook. She did so and then handed the notebook back to me but when I went to put it in my knapsack, her necklace fell out. I handed it back to her. “You forgot this.” She shook her head. “Oh no... that’s yours now. now. I want you to have it.”

 The Hervey Foundation for Cats is a place p lace of protection protecti on and refuge for cats, the old, the suffering and a place of  last resort for healthy cats that would otherwise be euthanized. We are a no-kill, non-profit and tax-exempt private Charitable Foundation.

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Although John died after only four years on the job, his contribution to the police service in that short time was exemplary. He gave his life doing work he believed in and through the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, his commitment to making his community a safer place lives on. Through the safety campaign, ‘One, is One Too Many’, the memorial fund educates the public about their role in helping ensure emergency services personnel make it home safely after every shift. The first PSA, Make Your Workplace Safe for Everyone, uses John’s death to communicate the importance of making a workplace safe for everyone who may attend the premise, emergency services personnel included. The second PSA, ‘SLOW DOWN: It’s No Picnic Out Here’, is about traff ic safety. safety. It educates motorists about the necessity of slowing down when passing emergency services personnel working on the road. These PSAs have aired on TV across Western Canada over 70,000 times, and emergency services, companies and safety organizations organizatio ns throughout North America are using these educational tools in their own communities. Sadly, since Nakoda’s death the Peter Lougheed pack has dissolved – but perhaps her strength and spirit live on alongside John’s through the memorial fund.

www.herveycats.com www.herveycats. com

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 For more information infor mation about the John Petropoulos Memorial  Fund, please visit www.jpmf.ca ww w.jpmf.ca or e-mail [email protected] page18

David R. Knight 403-519-1322

 

NOVEL NOV EL SUG SUGGES GESTION TIONS S a look at some books send your review to [email protected]

The Parrot Companion: Caring for   Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and   More

Rosemary Low Firefly Price: Books $19.95 Paperback with flaps 192 pages, 220 color photographs ISBN-13: 978-1-55407-199-9 ISBN-10:1-55407-199-2 Parrots are intelligent, humorous, beautiful and social creatures. If cared for with love and attention, they will provide years - sometimes many years - of happy companionship for their owners. Some parrots can attain an age in excess of 40 years, so choosing the one that’s right for you is vital. The Parrot Companion discusses the most popular species, outlines their pros and cons, and gives advice on where to purchase them. This informative guide also looks at all aspects of parrot keeping, from basic training to common behavioral problems, such as screaming, biting and feather plucking, and how to avert them. t hem. Explore the colorful characters that make up the parrot family – from budgies and lovebirds, to cockatiels, macaws, concurs, lories and African grays – and find the parrot that’s perfect for you. Rosemary Low has published more than 20 books on parrots and co-founded The World Parrot Trust, editing its magazine,  PsittaScene. She travels widely, speaking at conventions conven tions around the world. During nearly eight years in the Canary Islands, she was curator of two of the world’s largest parrot collections where she had more than 200 parrot species in her care.

book, Camp deftly lures readers into the magic of a horse’s soul, unlocking the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived without without humans humans for for fifty-five fifty-f ive million years. The parallel journeys of a fabled herd in the wild and a wide-eyed couple thrust into the enigmatic world of horses are charmingly blended into a riveting expedition of  discovery discov ery that t hat will change the way you think about horses. The Soul of a Horse illuminates the vast differences between horses and people yet explains how we can bridge that gap and join together in a magical relationship. Camp believes that what he’s learned from his time with horses is equally relevant when relating to and communicating with human beings. Joe Camp is a film writer, producer, director, author, public speaker and animal advocate, as well as the creator of the canine superstar Benji. Joe and Kathleen live on a five-acre hilltop in Valley Center, California with their three kids, six horses, five dogs and two cats. The Puppy Whisperer: A Compassionate, Non Violent Guide to Early  Training and Care

Paul Owens, Terry Cranendonk and Norma Eckroate Adams Media Price: $17.95 285 pages ISBN 10: 1-59337-597-2 More than three million homes welcome new puppies each year – but, do new owners really know what they’re in for when it comes to raising and training a new puppy?

As complete neophytes, Joe and his wife Kathleen were without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted,

The bottom line is, like children, puppies need to be potty trained, fed and given proper medical attention. If not cared for with love and compassion, behavior issues can arise and training can become increasingly difficult. The Puppy Whisperer  teaches the importance of early socialization, positive training, step-by-step instructions for potty training, safety and health care and the latest on vaccinations. Readers will learn three easy steps to teach tricks and games that are specific specif ic to puppies’ abilities up to 9 months of age. Paul Owens, the bestselling author of The Dog Whisperer , is a proponent of non-violent dog training; promoting kindness, respect and compassion. Terence Cranendonk is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer as

but they plunged head first into this new world, navigating unexpected, uncharted, and often controversial territory. The result is The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the  Herd. In this engaging, emotional and often humorous

well as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. He is also a professional actor and university instructor. Norma Eckroate writes on the holistic care of humans and animals.

The Soul of a Horse

Joe Camp Harmony Books Price: $27.95 Hardcover 237 pages ISBN: 978-0-307-40685-9

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Virginia Boulay  fine artist artist and illustr illustrator  ator 

(403) 242-4628 www.vboulayart.com

Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation

“Call of the Wilds” Gala & Silent Auction  All funds raised go directly to the rescue and a nd care of injured and/or orphaned native Alberta wildlife.

Sat., May 3/08 — 6:00 PM until Midnight Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium

Tickets - $85.00 ea. or $600.00/table of 8 For Tickets Please Call – (403) 946 2361

1833 Crowchild Trail N.W., Calgary Event Includes – Dinner • Dancing • Live Music • Silent Auction • Guest Speakers Door Prizes • Wildlife Wood Sculptors….and more!

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SPACES and SPECIES masters of camouflage by

photos courtesy: Joel Nicholson, P. P. Biol. Dana Blouin, Conservation Representitve/ photos

he Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi) is the only lizard native to Alberta, and not many people can say

T

direct sunlight, something known as “heliothermy”, in order to increase their body temperature. They also gain warmth from rocks that have

this is the northern limit of their range. The Short-horned

they’ve actually seen one. These small lizards are masters at camouflage, and extremely hard to spot even when you know what to look for! These little lizards (they easily fit in the palm of your hand) are round and flat, with sharply shar ply spiked scales on their back and short legs. They have been named “horned toads” by some

been warmed in the sun. They are active in Alberta from mid-April until mid-September, and survive the winter months in a shallow burrow. These lizards live in areas with little vegetation, and can often be found on south-facing slopes of  canyons and coulees. Because their habitat requirement is very

Lizard is found more extensively through the dry, central United States to New Mexico. Their numbers are limited by the climate they face in southeastern Alberta, and many do not survive the cold Canadian winter. Short-horned Lizards are prey to hawks, coyotes and many other animals. However, there are many man-made factors that severely limit their population numbers as well. Agricultural activities such as cultivation and chemical use, oil and gas exploration, development and construction, roadways roadways and traffic traf fic within and close to their habitat are all causes of concern. The Short-horned Lizard is one of  many curious species you’ll find in Alberta’s Dry Mixed-grass Prairie! ca

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is dedicated to conserving habitat  for wildlife wildlife species species like like the Short-horned   Lizard. Contact us at 1-877-2621-877-262-1253 1253 or [email protected] to

because they resemble a waddling

specialized, Short-horned Lizards are

toad when they move. They use camouflage to avoid their predators, and their mottled sandy colour and spiny skin blends very well with the dry land they live in. Even when approached, these lizards generally do not move. To catch their food, Short-horned Lizards sit-and-wait, then dash out and capture food that happens to wander by. They eat ants, crickets, grasshoppers and beetles and have specialized teeth and a large stomach to digest them.

on the list of May Be At Risk species in help conserve habitat for wildlife Alberta. They are also considered rare like the Short-horned Lizard and other  and are called a Species of Special  fascinating  fascinating species. Concern by the Committee on the Status of  Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Short-horned Lizards’ range is limited to the Dry Mixed-grass Prairie of south-

Like most reptiles, horned lizards are adapted to control their internal temperature. They often bask in

eastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan, as

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 memories made timeless  We welcome you to visit  the on our farm nearstudio Cremona. Just a short, beautiful drive north of Calgary.

Upcoming 2008 Exhibitions:

Calgary Stampede Spruce Meadows Masters

Diane M. Anderson 

www.dianeandersontymarc.com [email protected]

403-637-2274

403-803-8039

When nature speaks...

 take a moment to listen. D’ya ever wonder what you’re gonna be when you grow up?

Yeah... about a hundred rolls of toilet paper probably.

www.creaturesall.com answering nature’s call page22

 

CROSS CR OSS PA PATH THS S spring in your step by

Danielle Birk

pring! It is a time of renewal, colour, scents, sounds and textures. It is a time when we can throw off our winter gear and

S

spring. Even the layers of soil and gravel beneath act as great filters to clean the water on its trip to the groundwater system and underground

The tiny bee contrasted with the return of the bears from hibernation demonstrates the immense diversity of  creatures found at the Cross. And

head outside; when I can’t wait to see that soft green haze of new buds opening on trees; to catch animals migrating back to their spring homes and be welcomed by the sight of  wildflowers. Even non-native dandelions bring a smile to my lips when I first see their tenacious forms pushing through the cracks in pavement. Then there is the sound of little bees, busy gathering pollen amongst all the melting… the glorious muddiness of spring. And who can

springs. Some of these feed small ponds which are the givers of life to many insects and amphibians. Have you seen the amazing transformations that take place in a pond? Here at the Cross, we are definitely lucky. At the beginning of  our pond study season in April and May, I look forward to the discovery of  the first mosquito and mayfly larvae. Weeks later, I hope to watch as tadpoles emerge and swell. Then there are the battles as the predacious diving beetle larvae get their fill of 

while there are many animals caught on our wildlife cameras throughout the year, spring is an especially important time to see the corridors that these animals use to migrate from one area to another. As land is eaten up for farming and residential development, we are at risk of creating isolated fragments. This in turn breaks up the range of many animals that have large roaming territories such as the bear and cougar. Yet not all hope is lost, the sight of many of these large predators at the Cross tells us that we have a

forget that new, unleashed aroma of…scat. Yup, you heard me. Nothing screams spring like a freshly thawed pile of scat. Out at the Cross Conservation Area, nothing seems to bring on the peals of laughter and the giggles like the discovery of poop. This poop, dung, scat…whatever your selected label may be… tells a story. Typically on my education walks with children, they tell me that the crusted old white stuff must be a thousand years old. Well, perhaps it is

smaller insects and tadpoles. I can’t wait to watch the fascinating dragonfly larvae suck water up their rears and shoot it out to skim through the water. Later still, young frogs begin to emerge and fill the air with their croaks and choruses. Yes, water is definitely one of spring’s precious resources. Water not only gives life to the pond, but also to the multitude of  wildflowers. My heart swells at the anticipation of the first blossoms. At the Cross, our volunteers compete to

fairly healthy food web occurring here. So now that spring is almost upon us, I can’t wait to cast off those winter blues and nature deficit and embrace the many signs of spring. Let’s immerse ourselves in nature and see where we fit in the miraculous web of life.

a little fresher than that, but they are on the right track. These little piles tell me who has been here and when. It’s extremely exciting coming upon a cougar’s tracks and its discarded waste. Upon closer inspection I may see that it had a tasty, furry morsel as its last meal. Venturing upon a smaller version filled with berry seeds might tell me that a fox and her kits have been nearby. It’s not just scat I hope to see, but also the remnants of melting snow piles. It’s pretty wondrous how nature manages to insulate plants such as strawberries and wintergreen in the winter, and then use this melted insulator to water the new shoots of 

see who will be the first fir st to witness the please visit: www.crossconservation.org. early crocuses showing their fuzzy purple petals. Speaking of purple, the thought of saskatoons in bloom and the promise of juicy summer berries makes me salivate. It’s exciting when each day a new species opens its buds and bursts into flower. The different markings and colourings attract insects, such as honey bees, to their landing strips. This noble creature, once in abundance, is beginning to wane in number. And what a task it performs. A vast number of  agricultural crops around the world are pollinated by the bee. I eagerly await their tell-tale buzz that is yet another reminder of spring. page23

ca

The spring/summer season of  Conservation Education at the Ann and  Sandy Cross Conservation Area is going to be an exciting one! For information about our adult and family programs,

 

BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR

by

Chok Dee Dao

n Bangkok, where I was born, I was just another stray dog struggling to survive in a hostile world, but since I arrived in the USA, I cause a stir wherever I go. People stare because

The guys at SCAD sent me to Massachusetts, USA where I stayed with a foster mom. Lots of people came to visit me, but one lady in particular made my heart swell. She must have felt the same too – we both just stared at

they’ve never seen a dog like me before. They’re always stopping to ask my human what breed I am. The thing is though - I’m unique; there’s not another dog in the t he world who’s just like me. Let me tell you my story…. Like so many dogs in Bangkok, I was abandoned on the streets: left to fend for myself in an unfriendly world. I gotta tell you, it’s a terrifying experiI was like them once ence for a young pup – many of us don’t survive very long. There’s no food and no shelter, but plenty of kicking feet and noisy cars to hurt us. I was lucky - I was found by SCAD (Soi Cats and Dogs, Soi is the Thai word for street ), an animal welfare organization based in Bangkok, and was given the chance of a better life.

each other, ignoring the other pups jumping and barking around us. It sounds crazy I know know,, but this was love at first sight. Now, I’m a shy kinda guy and Laura, my new mom, decided I needed some confidence boosting. So when we arrived home in New York, she took me everywhere with her – even to work each day – which I wasn’t too keen on scared of my own shadow  at first. That’s a big scary world out there you know? Laura figured that it wasn’t good for me to run round like a frightened rabbit all day – so she enrolled me in school. I know! – go figure! A Soi dog in school - wild huh? But, you know, I loved it from the get-go. My teacher was sooo nice and the lessons were cool. I found out that

I

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left to fend for myself in an unfriendly world much fun together, you won’t believe. She takes me canoeing and hiking and I get to wear my

say!) as any other dog and my disability doesn’t bother me at all. It’s funny, you know, it makes peo-

learning new things is fun. Laura calls

own special doggy rucksack and carry my own provisions. Because Laura knows I’ll come back when she wants me, I get to go off leash to romp with my best pal Pingo. So that’s cool - but guess what – here’s the really great part: I was so good in school, that I joined a special class to learn a really important job. After many months of hard work, I finally passed my examinations and am now officially an ‘International Canine Good Citizen and Therapy

ple so happy to have me there, in the nursing homes and schools - everyone is always smiling and laughing and there’s a real buzz in the air. Laura tells me I’m getting too big for my britches – I think she means that I’m just about bursting with pride. And here’s another strange thing: 5 out of the 6 dogs who passed the exam alongside me and are now out there spreading happiness are former strays too! So anyway, you see what I mean? I’m special: I’m from the street. There’s not another dog like me,

this ‘positive reinforcement’ – all I know is that I got loads of praise and treats just for doing something right. What more could a dog ask for? Well, pals for one – and that was the next thing I learned to enjoy. Laura and I  joined a group class and we we both made new buddies and learned loads of great new stuff. Gee, I had a ball, let me tell you. But it didn’t stop there – I’m proud to say that we’re now in the ADVANCED ADV ANCED class. How’s that for a dog from the streets of Bangkok? We’re not so dumb as people think. In fact,

Dog’. This means that I’m invited into hospitals and nursing homes. Apparently my waggy tail and cold nose make people feel better faster and cheer up folk who are sad. Mostly, all I have to do is to stand there and look cute whilst people coo over me – pretty easy for a gorgeous guy like me, right? I’m used to wheelchairs and walkers, trolleys and bed curtains – nothing fazes

because we’re ALL different – but under all the dirt and fear, we streeties have all got something

now, I regularly get called in to show me after my training. the newbies how it’s done! I try not to Recently I’ve started visiting a show off; after all, I was like them once school for children with physical - scared of my own shadow and bewil- disadvantages. I hope I can show them dered by all those words and actions. that the challenges they face make The most important thing I’ve them stronger, not weaker – I’m a learned, is that doing what I’m told is prime example! Halfway through my not a bad thing at all – I know exactly training, I had to have an eye removed what’s expected of me so there’s no because when I was a tiny puppy, surprises. I can relax, safe in the alone on the streets of Bangkok, I got knowledge that Laura’s in charge, so I a blood infection that damaged my eye don’t have to be. This is important for and I kept getting really bad infections a sensitive little guy like me. I in it - each one made it worse and it understand the ‘rules of the house’ too was really making me ill. So now I’ve – like I can get on the couch when got this rakish look that I think makes Laura invites me to, otherwise, it’s a me even cuter, like I’m permanently big no-no. But don’t go thinking that winking at folk! I tell the kids that I’m Laura’ss a toughie – no way. We Laura’ We have so  just as good (even better, some might page25

extraordinary to offer, we just need the chance to show you. Be kind to us, let us know what you expect from us, share your life with us and in return we’ll give you love and loyalty, fun and friendship. Forever. ca

SCAD is a not-for-profit animal welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of Bangkok’s stray cats and dogs through programs of animal birth control (ABC), education and adoption. SCAD relies on donations to fund their  programs. If you would like to donate, or  learn more about SCAD, visit: www.SCADbangkok.org or contact [email protected]

 

IN PASSING celebrating the lives of animal friends Hemi

Come April, it will be one full

loyal pet and family member. That’s what you were – family. When I was growing up, you would take it upon yourself to patrol the yard. If anyone dared enter the yard, you were between us immediately. You weren’t very big,

year since you began your journey across the Rainbow Bridge to meet your new friends. I promise they were overjoyed to see you; you were a popular little girl and everyone loved you so much. In the year you’ve been gone, so much has changed. Cuda has calmed down, and he doesn’t bite so frequently anymore. After you left, he allowed me to hold him while I cried. It was completely unlike him, but I’m sure he knew I needed him. Vette came home and she has made so much progress. She’s not as scared any more, and I’m positive you would have loved her. She looks so much like you, it’s uncanny.

but you could be so intimidating when you were protecting your family. You came everywhere with me and tolerated so much. You were my best friend and you saw me through every teenage heartache and injustice imaginable. My heart broke when I came home to find your collar and bowl on my desk. I regret not being able to say goodbye and thank you for the 16 years of loyal service you gave to me. You were the best dog a child could have had, and you taught me what it meant to love a pet. You paved the way for the animals to come and I know they’re grateful for that. I hope you’re behaving over the Bridge and I know Hemi has personally sought you out. The two of you were

Kismet has been a complete joy and I can’t thank t hank you enough for her. Having her made losing you a little easier to bear and I don’t think I could have made it through this without her. Even though you’re gone, I feel like your soul continues in Kismet. Little Kismet is continuing your legacy of inspiration. Hemi, I miss you terribly and I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to save your life. You were the best pet I could have asked for, and I’m forever thankful for the two years we had together. You were one of a kind and as a close friend told me recently, you were born to be loved and to inspire love in others. You were meant to come home with me that particular day in May and I’ll cherish every day that I had to know and love you. Miss Hemi, thank you for the lifetime of  memories. Sweet dreams, little one. I’ll be seeing you.

pioneers in this family – the first of two species of animals to turn our household upside down. Take care of  Hemi, and protect her like you always did me.

Sweet girl.

Passed away 04/03/07 

Buster Hey there, handsome boy. You were the first f irst pet I ever had to call my own, and you definitely planted the seed of obsession. When you came home, you came in the pocket of  my dad’s jacket. You were barely large enough to fill that pocket, but you made up for it in personality. Throughout your life, you proved your worth as a

Passed away 05/03/05 

Zoey My beloved Zoey passed away and is missed dearly. Her exuberant spirit and loving nature will never be forgotten. Death crept up on her so suddenly and unexpectedly. She died in her loyalty and her last thoughts and desire were to be with me. How I long to pet her beautiful black face, and for her gentle brown eyes to meet mine one last time. Words cannot express my heart’s anguish over our separation. I loved her so much and enjoyed our life together on the ranch. We had many adventures together. She would follow me on horseback and one time she found a full antler and carried it all the way back home. At the dog park we swam down the river together and she tried to crawl on my back. She was a very special girl – never will I f ind one like her again. I believe I will see her in a better place. Passed away 01/07/08 

Send your tribute to [email protected] [email protected] reaturesall.com om All material subject to editing for space. Include ‘Passed Away on: date’  and a 300 dpi photo in jpg or tif.

page26

 

THE GARDENING BUG the trickster by

Elaine Rude

he pair trot across the snowy field, their tracks leaving a single line of indents behind them. Pausing, they raise their noses

T

The delectable aroma of eggs draws their attention. They eagerly dig through the debris crunching up all they find. A crowd of Magpies sits

god, animal and human. The Aztec viewed Coyote as a mischief-maker with the ability to transform into any creature desired. These ancient stories

into the air sniffing the scents that carry on the gentle breeze. A sound catches their attention and they shift their gaze downward, large ears pricked forward, focusing intently on the glistening white carpet car pet surrounding them. Suddenly, the male leaps straight-legged into the air and pounces burying his nose deep into the cold snow. He emerges triumphantly with a mouse caught between his jaws, its tail still twitching. With one crunch and a swallow the mouse disappears. Continuing on their journey the

patiently around the perimeter looking for scraps worth stealing. The pair ignore these scavengers intent on their search. Finally having exhausted the bin’s contents, they jump lightly to the ground and sniff about for any tidbits that might have fallen. The Magpies scatter. Satisfied that all is gone, the male lifts his nose and emits a series of  short, sharp barks. From across the valley an answering call echoes, soon followed by a cacophony of howls and yips.

accurately depict the dichotomous nature of this opportunistic hunter. hunter. While Native Americans revered Coyote as an integral part of the natural world, European settlers sought to eradicate him, believing coyotes posed a threat to their agricultural endeavours. Unfortunately this attitude still remains, though recent research clearly shows otherwise. Despite the modern world’s ability to irrevocably alter and change the landscape, the coyote continues to adapt and survive.

warm sun glints off the reds, grays, They frequent this field hunting blacks and buffs of their luxuriant fur voles, mice, pocket gophers, coats. Their long bushy tails gently grasshoppers, bird’s eggs and ground sweep the snow’s surface. Approaching squirrels during the warm seasons. a garden the female catches an They’re lucky there’s food here during unusual scent. A wooden bin is the cold months as well. They will emitting a variety of evocative smells. acquaint their pups to this part of their She alters course to investigate, territory come spring. ducking under the wire fence. Her The male raises his leg releasing a mate continues into the ditch intent on  jet of urine, urine, his his scent markin markingg the edge edge finding another snack. of the bin. The female squats and marks Narrow gaps in the side of the box the ground. This is their territory. tantalize her olfactory senses but the Trespassers beware! They pause and contents remain out of reach. listen intently Crouching she effortlessly leaps the before heading five foot wall and lands neatly on top. under the fence, It’s a veritable smörgåsbord up here: across the road and decaying fruits, vegetables and broken down into the valley egg shells. following the pack’s A truck passing on the road calls. momentarily distracts her. She briefly scans the area for her mate before a t i v e turning her attention back to the Americans malodorous contents of the bin. The endowed Coyote round orange balls look tempting. the Trickster with a Daintily picking one up she drops to highly complex and the ground. It has an unusual but enigmatic personaliacceptable taste. She munches it down ty: appearing in before leaping back up u p for another. Her many legends as mate suddenly materializes through p a r t the fence looking to share in the spoils.

N

ca

 I’m the voice of all the Wildest West, the Patti of the Plains;  I’m a wild Wagnerian opera of diabolic strains;  I’m a roaring, roari ng, ranting orchestra with w ith lunatics becrammed;  I’m a vocalized tornadotorn ado I’m the shrieking shrieki ng of the damned. “The Coyote’s Song”  by

Ernest Thompson Seton, 1913

 

Proud to support  creaturesall creatures all

in sharing enriching stories with  Alberta readers,  young and old!  Mr. Len Webber , MLA

Proudly representing the Calgary communities of:

Member of the Legislative Assembly

Calgary-Foothills Constituency

Citadel • Edgemont • Hamptons Hidden Valley Valley • Kincora • Sherwood

403•288•4453

in the Alberta Legislature

page28

 

When I was a pup, before I grew up,

Oh, I’ve seen the way they bleat and bray

there’s one thing that I knew.

as folks drive by in cars.

The living room floor is not used for

Pointing their finger, never to linger,

giving a dog his doo.

leaving psychological scars.

When they see ‘that look’, they give us the hook

As if smelling death, they hold their breath.

to the alley or the yard.

I see their noses stick up.

They’re quick to scold as we’re out in the cold,

Now, ever so pained, my owner’s trained

Beagle or St Bernhard.

to follow me and pick up.

They move like lightening, faces whitening

I’ve got to admit it’s more than a bit

scared I'll have an ‘oopsie’.

difficult to abide.

How could they think I’d not cause a stink,

It used to be ‘twas just dogs you see

knowing my name was “Poopsie”?

get tossed on their ears outside.

So it’s out I go, to ‘go’ in the snow,

But times have changed, with things rearranged.

regardless of my plea.

I’ve got new alley mates.

It makes me blush to get tossed in the slush

Once left to atone for my sins alone,

for all the world to see.

I now share the sewer grates. Shamefully tossed, society’s lost, battle for alley space. It amazes me (I’m just there to pee) how much they stink up the place. I beg for a breeze, I daren’t inhale these nasty and noxious odors.

Poopsie

More than me smolders ©

as I rub shoulders with sad and outcast smokers. by

Très Bore

 

THE FI FINAL NAL WO WORD RD musings from home by

Helen E. Willy

h, wasn't that a freezing cold week last week!! I felt so sorry for all of our outside critters and spent a little more

O

have some good food too. We commented to one another this week on how the group used to spar when we first started feeding them years

Our resident moose, Mamoose and her calf Baboose, (this year's calf... last year's was Caboose) are by regularly for their salt lick. The bull

money than usual on oats for the deer and seed/suets for the birds. We have been feeding, on average, about a dozen deer morning and night. We get up at 7:00 AM to give our cat, Benny, his insulin shot. At the same time I go out in the dark to give the deer their breakfast snack. Some are usually waiting near the side garage door for me, as that is where they know I will appear. I speak to them softly as they follow me single file to the feeding site where others are waiting. The fawns clearly show their appreciation at the prospect of being fed by wagging their fluffy tails out of  sheer joy and sometimes tossing their heads like they do when they play. A couple of the fawns from last summer are very clever. As I put the piles down on the ground, gr ound, they follow close enough for me to touch them (I don't). This way they can get the first fresh bite of each pile instead of  having to eat from the cold snow. They hang around for about an hour until almost every kernel is gone. What they don't polish up, the magpies and ravens do. They all disappear for the day; we think to t he leased property next door where there is denser brush/trees and more solitude. Or they are making their rounds elsewhere for hand-outs, hay, etc. At about 4:00PM the usual suspects begin arriving again for their evening snack. Stan and I eat our dinner at 4:00PM so we think it only right that our outside friends should

ago but they have grown so accustomed to the routine now that they just fall into line and stand there quietly munching. They often get a special treat on Sundays from the General Store as I bring home old vegetables whenever I can.

moose with his rack of antlers (Daddy?) comes with them once in a while as well. During a strong wind in November, Heike from next door phoned to say one of our trees had fallen across her driveway. I said we'd be right out to clear it. Stan was sharpening his chain saw in the garage as I ventured out to see how big of a job we were in for. Mamoose and Baboose were standing square in the middle of the driveway driveway,, almost as if to say, “If this wind brings down any trees maybe they won't hit us here.” They reluctantly moved aside while I walked slowly by them. As I arrived at the foot of the driveway, Heike was already there. She pointed behind me with a smile. I turned around to notice the moose had followed followed me. Heike and I star ted talking, at which point the moose headed off down the road. They didn't seem to like the swaying and creaking trees. And, as trees looked to start star t blowing over at any moment, we humans decided to head off to shelter too. And then, of course, the cats. They continue to provide us with much love and many cuddles. Brie and Britches have had their day of  notoriety with their story in a previous issue of creaturesall, but I know there is a story to be told about Benny as well. Life is never dull on the Willy property. One only has to go for a walk and be surrounded and astounded.

My neighbor, Heike, had a spectacular experience with a Sharpshinned Hawk last Sept. She was outside visiting with a friend when the hawk slammed into one of her house windows. She gathered him up, checked him, and released him, only to have him circle and slam into the same window again. Again she gathered him up, held him for a while, checked his wings, walked farther from the house and released him again. He circled, only to come back down and land on her shoulder!! Her friend went into the house, grabbed a camera and got a BEAUTIFUL BEAU TIFUL close-up picture of Heike and the hawk on her shoulder.

page30

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