Jun. 15, 2013
butterflies drinking the tears of a Yellow Spotted River turtle in the Amazon. It is believed the salty liquid is needed to help them produce. The endangered yellow-spotted river turtle cannot easily brush the salty liquid away, while the insects need sodium in its diet. In addition to sodium, tears also contain proteins that could represent a high-quality resource throughout the year.
Photo credit: Jeff Cremer
why is the turtle crying ;_;
Jun. 14, 2013
Location: Marietta, GA - United States
Mystic Owl Tattoo
Artist: Taylor Anne
My whole life in one tattoo.
Jun. 13, 2013
This is Stanley.
He escaped his fate, as an Angus cow, of being butchered and eaten and currently lives in sanctuary with his Holstein (white cow with black splotches) brother, Theo. He was very sick when he first arrived and it was thought that he might not survive, but this little one proved to be even stronger than first thought.
His mum was likely not as fortunate. It is possible that she is currently being forced to have more babies that will be taken from her for meat, or that she herself has been, or will soon be, slaughtered.
Bovines, being herd animals, are very social creatures and they form amazing relationships with each other. They are the kindest and most peaceful beings I know; they call out to one another when separated and they protect and groom each other.
The bond between calf and mother is one of the strongest. I knew a mother and son who lived on a sanctuary and they were inseparable until the day she died. The baby suckled until he had to bend down on his knees to reach her udders and she never once pushed him away. The few times they had to be separated for medical reasons, the mum would scream for him constantly until they were reunited, and indeed it became so traumatic for them that they had to stop removing them from each other, even for a short period of time.
It is rare that a bovine mother gets to keep her children. In fact some dairy mums have their babies taken away from them the very day they are born. It is devastating for both of them, it is not uncommon for the mums to stop eating out of sadness, or for the babies to suckle on random objects as a way to feel comforted.
Stanley engages in this suckling behaviour every day. He sucks on everything from his brother’s tail to human ears. In these photos you can see him “nursing” from my forearm. You can feel the desperation in his actions, you can tell how much he wants to be his mum. We try to care for him and snuggle him, but we are no replacement for the mum he should have had.
As long as the beef and dairy industries exist, billions of babies and their mums will face the tragedy of losing each other every year; the mums will yell for their children for days, and their babies will attempt to nurse from the farmers’ or slaughterhouse workers’ fingers.
This is not only sad, it is evil and unnecessary .
Give up beef and dairy and stop contributing to this travesty.
Do it for babies like Stanley.
Jun. 9, 2013
FUNDRAISING TO HELP THIS INJURED KITTEN
A week ago, I found this kitten dragging himself out of the street after having been hit by a car. Today, I went to visit him at the vet’s office and he’s doing so much better! His back legs are still weak after having some spinal damage but with rehabilitation he should be able to be an active little buddy. He’s incredibly sweet, playful, and loving. The vet has generously offered to take him on as a project and find him a good home once he’s back up to full steam. She’s calling him CC (Carcrash). If you can spare some money to send her way, hit me up. This little friend will receive excellent care either way, but I want to show this vet some love for doing the right thing and honoring his life.
my paypal is email@example.com
SIGNAL BOOST PLEASE
Jun. 7, 2013
5/19/13 - Kaylee’s Last Set
Sunday, May 19. Kaylee’s last set of photos. I just so happened to snap a few quick pics - just three! - when I spotted her lying, calm and peaceful, in the dog bed. I think I was at my desk, writing a book review. Wasting time with trivialities, as humans so often do.
Monday proved a rough day. Kaylee showed more interested in food, but less control over her hind legs. Her stool was loose on accounta her liquid diet, and it got all over her rear end as Shane tried to hold her steady outside. She seemed terribly unhappy with her current situation. The vet advised us that, whatever was going on with her legs, it might take a few weeks of rehabilitation (or, paradoxically, rest) to heal. She was on antidepressants - both to help with her affect and stimulate her appetite - but we hadn’t seen much change in either as of yet. We began to discuss the e-word. Not as an imminent possibility, but as something to consider in the days and weeks ahead. How would we know when it was time?
And then Kaylee, bless her too-big heart, told us. A rough day turned into an even-rougher night. Kaylee, always prone to shaking (it’s a breed thing, I’ve been told), couldn’t stop; shaking turned into trembles and ticks. Neither of us got much rest that night, as I tried to soothe her to sleep.
Some time in the wee hours of Tuesday, May 21st, Kaylee suffered a stroke, or aneurism, or perhaps a blood clot (one unlikely but possible cause of trouble walking) traveled to her brain. She slipped into a coma. I became aware of it at first light. Once I could actually see one of her more violent shaking spells, I knew immediately that she was seizing. (Shadow suffered seizures on a monthly basis for most of her life, so I knew what they looked like.) My baby girl was no longer there; what made Kaylee Kaylee had slipped away unnoticed during the night.
After waiting 45 minutes for the at-home euthanasia vet to return our call - office hours didn’t commence for another 15 minutes - we decided to rush her to the ER instead. If given a choice, I prefer for my kids to die at home, in familiar surrounding and surrounded by loved ones. But as far as I was concerned, Kaylee was already dead, her sweet, silly, awesome little mind having departed hours before, as her equally silly little body lay nestled in my arms. And I couldn’t bear to watch her vessel - part canine, part seal, part Dandie - suffer any longer.
Kaylee’s heart stopped beating at 9AM CST on May 21st. In the end, I was glad that we made the trip to Blue Pearl. The staff was understanding and compassionate; they carefully cleaned her body for us, removing all hints of the hated feeding tube; laid her out in a coffin-like cardboard box, all peaceful and serene; and, in one last unexpected act of kindness, even preserved her pawprints, in both ink and clay. I’ll treasure these, always.
“Aye,” Roland said, “but first we should see what Mordred had for gunna—there may be something useful there—and bury our friend. Will’ee help me see Oy into the ground, Patrick?”
Patrick was willing, and the burial didn’t take long; the body was far smaller than the heart it had held. By midmorning they had begun to cover the last few miles on the long road which led to the Dark Tower.
Jun. 7, 2013
5/18/13 - Reading & Sunbathing with Mom
Saturday afternoon was spent sunbathing on a blanket outside. Well, Kaylee started out on the blanket - then she went and plopped down in the grass a short distance away, in order to put some distance between her and her arch-nemesis, Mags. I read a bit - STUNG, meh - but, had I known that this was one of our last days together, I would have snuggled Kaylee 24/7 instead.
My heart is heavy with many regrets concerning Kaylee’s last few weeks on this earth. Chief among them: not treating her last four days as though they were her last. I thought we had more time; that was the whole point of the feeding tube, was it not?
On Monday, I took a much-needed walk - my exercise routine long since neglected - and then spent an hour picking up debris scattered in our yard by a recent storm. Not 24 hours later, Kaylee was dead. So much time, wasted. If only I had known. I should have known.
Jun. 7, 2013
5/18/13 - Bathroom Break
Harassing Kaylee during a bathroom break.
While we relied on the feeding tube to keep her nourished through the rest of her life, Kaylee slowly showed more interest in food. She started off licking mashed veggies from my fingertip, and slowly graduated to eating a small serving of food right out of the bowl.
On the downside, the weakness/lack of coordination in her back leg worsened and appeared to spread to the left one, too. By the end she needed help walking; Shane held onto her sides to help support her and keep hear steady and, in an ill-fated move, we tried using a yoga strap, hooked under her belly, as a support. Great until the pressure made her throw up a meal she’d just “eaten.”
Jun. 7, 2013
5/17/13 - Kaylee Cavorting Outside
The day after surgery, Kaylee did remarkably well. She was up and about in the yard and, though she didn’t show a whole lot of interest in food, I did have to intercept her many efforts to nibble on grass. Her back leg was still problematic, though not terribly so.
I spent some time chasing her around the yard, taking pictures. She was not amused.
Jun. 7, 2013
5/16/13 - And a Feeding Tube It Is
At the time of her discharge, the vet brought up the possibility of “installing” an esophageal feeding tube in Kaylee’s neck in the event that we couldn’t get her to eat and drink voluntarily. At the time I recoiled in disgust: how barbaric! I know it’s not exactly the same - you can’t reason with a dog the way you would a human - but force feeding is considered a form of torture amongst h. sapiens.
And yet: not 24 hours and just two arduous meals later, I quickly reversed course. Kaylee refused to eat or drink on her own, and forcing food and water down her throat with a syringe was messy, time consuming, and - worst of all - quickly turning Kaylee against me. I feared that she truly would hate me after a few days of this. Plus there was her medication - so much medication! - to worry about.
Part of me feared that her refusal to eat was Kaylee’s way of letting go - asking me to let her die. But she’s always had weird behavioral issues with food, and this time around they manifested well before she got sick - or showed outward signs of sickness, anyway. Though her kidneys weren’t functioning optimally, they were at what the vet called "livable levels"; as long as Kaylee stayed fed and hydrated, she could enjoy a comfortable life for weeks or even months. As long as there was a chance, we had to take it - right?
And so, late Thursday afternoon, we took Kaylee BACK to the ER to have a feeding tube put in. The operation was short - just an hour - and we were home in time for dinner. Baby food, in the neck. Yum!
(On the way to the hospital, Kaylee refused to lay next to me, on the little bed I made up for us. Instead she crammed herself as far back in the van as she could go, nestling up and using a bag of totes for a pillow. She was most definitely NOT HAPPY with her humans.)
Jun. 7, 2013
5/16/13 - Kaylee at Rest
While Kaylee rested, I made her some fresh “baby food” - mashed sweet potatoes and carrots. Turns out she never ate them - she ended up going on a special k/d kidney diet the next day. Peedee enjoyed them with his soaked kibble instead. He had most of his teeth removed right before Ralphie fell ill, and was cheated out of the sympathy to which he was rightfully entitled.
(Check out my awesome Wegmans apron. I have a Domestic Terrorist one, but it’s too nice to ruin with wear!)
Jun. 7, 2013
Top two rows: 5/15/13 - Getting Discharged
By Wednesday Kaylee’s kidney values still hadn’t changed any, so the vet recommended that we take her home and see if she improved in a more comfortable and familiar environment. The most important thing was to get her eating and drinking again. (Unfortunately, she also stopped drinking while in the hospital, possibly because she was kept hydrated intravenously. That or she was just being stubborn, aka Kaylee.)
Though I was nervous - terrified, really - that I’d fail, I was so, so happy to have my baby girl back home. Up until this point, things hadn’t progressed as well as I hoped - but Kaylee also hadn’t declined as Ralphie had, the way I feared she would.
Kaylee was tired and still a little miffed at me, but also quite obviously relieved to be leaving THAT PLACE.
Third row down: 5/15/13 - Going Home
En route. I set up a nice little bed in the back of the van so I could cuddle her the whole way home.
Bottom photo: 5/15/13 - Home at Last
And Kaylee assumed her rightful place on the couch, right next to mom.
Jun. 7, 2013
5/14/13 - Visiting with Kaylee
By Tuesday, Kaylee’s condition hadn’t changed any: her kidney function wasn’t any better - but it wasn’t any worse, either. (Ralphie’s kidneys deteriorated on the last day, despite the treatment he received.) Since she was on a more conservative treatment plan due to her heart murmur, we held out hope that it might just take an extra day or two for the fluids to do their job, and decided to keep her in the hospital.
Luckily, we had another day of gorgeous weather for our visit. We took Kaylee outside for our allotted hour, but she seemed a little more out of it than the day before - whether due to exhaustion, depression, or anger, I can’t say.
She was also having more trouble walking, a fact that concerned us but ranked rather low on the vet’s list of priorities. What was first diagnosed as a herniated disc could have been any number of things, each hard to diagnose in an old, sick dog, and impossible to treat given her renal failure.