Tiger Day!

July 29th is International Tiger Day! The site hasn't been updated in a while, obviously, but we're going to celebrate anyway, because tigers are awesome. It's the best holiday you haven't heard about since Sysadmin Day. So, get out there and hug a tiger and toss a sysadmin a hunk of raw meat.

Strike that. Reverse it. This way please.

At any rate, I am taking this opportunity to appreciate the amazing nature of these creatures, our neighbors of the natural world who are really getting a rough go of things. Habitat loss and poaching are still a critical problem, and they've had recent issues with abuse in Thailand, all in the name of human entertainment of course. 

The fact is that if we don't work hard, there will be no tigers. Several breeds are gone, and all the rest are on the brink.

If nothing else, please consider taking a moment to think about what it means to share the world with animals like this. Spread the word. Donate what you can, be it time or money, or take a friend or relative to a zoo.

In the vein of donation, and in honor of Tiger Day, I want to do a blitz fundraiser for our retired animals. Two simple flavors: Fun and Functional.

Fun

While in general our cats like to mostly sleep, eat, and mess with their caretakers, we'd like to start working on more enrichment as part of our program. A simple starting spot is a toy. Tigers, as you might imagine, are rough on toys, so we want to get something sturdy that's rated for zoo animals. $240 buys (and ships) a sturdy 20" play ball from Boomer Ball.  We'll start with one and have everyone try it out for a week to see if they're interested in play, and get more if they seem to enjoy it.

Practical

Tigers certainly keep themselves clean, but their enclosures not so much. Sunlight and water means algae, exposed wood gets muddy in the winter and sometimes a bit moldy in the summer. We scrub everything away, but a pressure washer is really the right tool for the job. We're looking for $330 for a new unit from Costco (though if someone would like to donate a working pressure washer, we'd be happy to give it a good home!).

If you wish to help us with either or both of these supplies, please visit our Donate page and make a contribution. Be sure to let me know which of the two you want your money going towards, and we'll make sure it happens. I'll send out the results in a week.

Thanks! Happy Tiger Day!

 

Posted on July 27, 2016 and filed under Fund Raising.

On fluffy things and creatures of habit

It was about 3am, and I was still awake due to my propensity to be a nightowl.

I should roll back a moment and explain: We briefly experimented with an arrangement allowing a local farmer to graze his sheep and goats on the property. Critters eat, we don't have to mow the lawn, everyone wins. In practice, we did not win. The sheep, other than ostracizing their shorn friends at shearing time, were pretty well behaved. The goats on the other hand broke out of their pens every day, climbed on everything, and left droppings on everything they climbed, and everything they did not climb. Goats are celebrated poopers.

Back to the story. Hearing random bleating was not abnormal; in fact, watching the bittygoats frolic around and bleat was pretty cute, it's one of the things I miss about not having the critters around. This particular night, there was a lot of bleat. After about ten straight minutes of hearing one animal, I put on my outdoor duds and headlamp and went outside.

If you've never looked out into a field of herd animals in country dark and quiet, it's quite a sight to see a couple dozen sets of shining eyes looking back at you. As I approached, most bolted, but one set stayed fixed on me. Figuring this might be the culprit, I made my way through the tall grass over to the spot.

Turns out one of the bittysheeps had gotten his little head caught in an old bit of plastic fencing. Moving ever forward, he couldn't fit the rest of himself through the square, and was stuck, though fortunately wasn't having any breathing issue, and didn't cut or otherwise hurt himself.

So I get over there, and think, "The hell am I going to do about this?" I spent about fifteen seconds utterly flummoxed, looking for various tools I could use, or trying to think of crazy ways to get the sheep unstuck, and then it occurred to me: This is a sheep.

I spend time working with tigers. If you put an appendage in unprotected proximity to them, there is a chance that they will take that as an offering and relieve you of it. It isn't necessarily a huge chance, but it's far enough from zero that I don't go sticking my fingers or arms into tiger enclosures as a general rule. I had developed inertia from working with the tigers to the point that it actually took time before I realized that this was a sheep. It was a warm lurching ham wrapped in a fluffy sweater. Once I sorted that out, I simply took hold of the little guy, pulled the fence back over his head, and let him bound his way back to mama.

Tigers change you, man.

Posted on July 15, 2016 and filed under Day in the Life.