My Greek kitty crew

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guardian ethos

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How moving is it when four men jumps into a frozen river to rescue a swan whose leg and wing has gotten frozen into the ice? Well, these are the pictures of such a rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard in Ohio.

"The guardian ethos is the essence of today's Coast Guard," said Chief Seth Tomas. "Our core values remain focused on saving lives and protecting both people and the environment. My crew responded because their commitment to being guardians would not allow them to sit idle while this swan froze to death in the ice."

The freed swan limped to the shoreline where it was recovered by the station personnel and wrapped in a blanket to keep warm. Afterwards the injured swan was transported to a wild life rescue center where it made a full recovery.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One tender moment

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A couple of dear friends once gave me one of photographer Steve Blooms amazing books. For those who might not yet have had the pleasure of seeing his photos please follow this link:
Steve Bloom to have a look. His photos are quite extraordinary because they have a level of intimacy that feels as if you were invited into these animals lives without being invasive. It's like they are completely undisturbed by the photographers presence. That means he must have been there on their terms which is why I believe he's been able to capture amazingly tender moments like this one which is one of my absolute favourites.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Calling all cat lovers!!

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Well, it's official... I am smitten with cats. Therefore I want to share this 'insider information' with you :-) Follow this link and read the introduction to the book "Dewey - The small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World" and get sold!! This book has gone straight to the top of my wish list.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tiny Rupert

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Here's the story of tiny Rupert.
Rupert was orphaned after his mother was killed by a car while she was still pregnant with him. A wildlife hospital found themselves unable to save the life of his mother and therefore had to deliver this tiny deer three weeks early by Caesarean section. He was then put in an incubator where he was fed by a tube and eventually fully recovered from the traumatic events of his birth. It's considered very difficult to keep an orphaned baby deer alive (they seem to loose their will to live after their mother is gone), but luckily Rupert was strong and as a spokesman for the wildlife hospital said; "He's an extremely feisty little guy and quite pushy".

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Little Soul


I've always been fascinated by butterflies. There's such a delicate ephemeral quality about them that makes them just intriguing to watch. They are there for a brief moment... and then they're off again. Curiously the Greek word for ephemeral (ephemeros) literally means "lasting only one day". Well, some butterflies lives for about a week and some up to nine months.

In Russia they're called 'babochka' or 'little soul'. The ancient Greeks called butterflies 'Psyche' which also means 'soul.' And I find there is a very soulful frequency about butterflies. They often appear in moments of quiet solitude like a kind of 'something' you thought you saw out the corner of your eye.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why do they do it?

Photo by Steve Bloom
In his book "Minding Animals", ethologist Marc Bekoff tells of a study on penguins at Antartica. One of the things the group of researchers observed whilst studying the penguins was how the penguins would line up on ice floes and wait for an individual to jump in and test the water for the presence of leopard seals or killer whales. Then after a few seconds, if the 'scapegoat' surfaced, they would all jump in to look for food for themselves and their children. He goes on to explain how they sometimes would be grieved when a badly mauled penguin would surface, having encountered a predator.

When I read about this penguin behaviour, I wondered what determines which penguin puts itself out to be the scapegoat. I once came across a beautiful reasoning that might possibly serve as an explanation in the book "Mutant message down under". Here it describes how (when a group of animals knows that one of them must die) an animal wants to be honored for the purpose of its existence and to leave the strong to continue the lifeline. Call the book fictional if you will, but this description reached a deep sense of resonance in me.

There has to be a profound reasoning behind animal behaviour like the penguins, which we might not at surface level perceive, because everything natural on this planet has its owns laws and this gives a whole new and moving meaning to the words 'survival of the fittest'. Maybe the fittest survives because the weaker 'consciously' decides to give way. How beautiful is that?!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The truly awesome heroine cat Scarlett

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Only today did I come across this story which dates back to 1996, but if anyone deserves an honourable mention it oughtta be Scarlett, period!!!

She might not have the looks of your average cat, but here's the story of why:

Scarlett, an ordinary-looking short-haired cat, was not really noticed at first in the confusion that surrounded the burning building where she had been living with her small kittens. But Scarlett proved to be a devoted mother and hero.

Overcoming every animal’s innate fear of fire, she forced herself to go back into the roaring flames and billowing poisonous smoke of the building and retrieve each of her precious kittens. Five times Scarlett returned to the ferocious heart of the blaze to get each of her babies out.
Scarlett’s fur was singed off and her eyes seared shut by the flames, and yet she somehow managed to carry each tiny kitten to safety across the streets. There she was observed taking a head count by touch because she could no longer see them. Firemen finally found her and realized what had happened. Much of her body had been burned in the course of getting her kittens out. She was taken to the local animal shelter and separated from her kittens because she could not feed them due to her burns.

After a local TV station featured her tale of heroism, the shelter received over 10,000 calls from people wanting to adopt her. A week later, she was reintroduced to her kittens and the joyful reunion was broadcast across the nation. Scarlett had her kittens back and she licked each youngster in turn, purring happily. One of her fireman rescuers who had dropped by to visit said, “Just to see her do that same head count almost made me cry”.

Apparently Scarlett went on to live for another 12 years, thorroughly spoilt by her adoptive family.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The story of the weeping camel



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If the story of the elephants Damini and Champakali touched you, you will undoubtalby be moved by this story too. In an age where things move at such a rapid speed, this movie is like out of another place (which it literally being set in the Gobi Desert), because it moves at a 'soul speed' which allows for the story to reach you at a deep place in yourself. If you too like stories that shows that animals have feelings, you will love this unusual movie.

Brief synopsis:
In the spring of the Gobi Desert, in South Mongolia, a nomadic family of shepherds has troubles when one camel has a tough two days delivery, immediately rejecting the offspring. The family unsuccessfully uses their best efforts trying to force the female to accept and feed the newborn. When there is no further hope of saving the animal, they send their two sons to bring a musician from the nearest town to perform a ritual and save the "baby camel".

Monday, March 2, 2009

A prayer for the animals


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Hear our humble prayer, O God,
for our friends the animals,
especially for animals who are suffering;
for animals that are overworked,
underfed and cruelly treated;
for all wistful creatures in captivity
that beat their wings against bars;
for any that are hunted or lost or deserted
or frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put death.
We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them
we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals,
and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Look at the keepers faces!!


As science now proves we can fake a smile, but not a smile that is genuine. A genuine smile shines through the eyes. And just take a look at these faces...

In memory of Thomas, Knuts' minder and caretaker.