So, if you hadn’t guessed from the lack of posting, covid has kicked my ass. I did not require hospitalization but we are almost a full month out and I’m still having pretty significant symptoms - excessive joint pain, respiratory distress, fevers, major fatigue, etc. It has been a hell of a struggle juggling work and animal care, and consequently I haven’t had the energy for much else (such as maintaining a blog).
Anyway, friendly reminder to take proper precautions for your own safety and also to protect others in your community. I tried to stay safe but working retail I deal with people every day who refuse to distance, wear masks, or avoid going out when symptomatic. Now I’m struggling with a loss of functionality because my community didn’t care enough to keep me safe. Don’t be the reason someone else is suffering; your choices and actions do not exist in a bubble.
“I’m going to get back to routine posting now that my personal life as calmed down a bit.”
Literally the same week: covid hits my household.
So far I am testing negative despite symptoms; my spouse is both symptomatic and positive. We are on a two week lockdown. Fun times!
The one good thing that has happened is that we found the owners of the stray goats, who are now back where they belong. As much as I like multiples of five aesthetic-wise, I actually did not want 15 goats.
It’s Wildlife Wednesday! I think we might need to come up with an alternate Wednesday post for the while unless you want to see just a whole lot of squirrels because all the herps and bugs are down for the winter - I’m open to suggestions. For today though, here is a cute little legpuppy my husband found.
Jumping spiders, while tiny, display a fascinating range of behaviors that suggest startling cognitive abilities not commonly observed (thus far) in invertebrates. In numerous scientific studies, they have demonstrated the ability to plan and adapt those plans, a level of thinking traditionally thought to be particular to “higher” animals. I look forward to seeing further studies on these spiffy little dudes.
A lot of things about living in Alabama are not what you would expect, but some things are exactly like you would expect, such as stray goats turning up in your neighborhood. We are keeping them secure until the owners are (hopefully) found.
Hello friends, long time, no see. I figure since we are starting a new month tomorrow, today is as good a day as any to get back on track with routine posting, starting with a Menagerie Monday picturing one of our precious claw kids.
Tomorrow marks one month to the day that my dear queerplatonic partner moved back to California with their husband, which is proving to be one of the most (possibly the most, period) emotionally devastating occurrences in my life to date. It also represents a substantial loss not just in my personal life but also in my rescue efforts; my partner helped a good deal with kitten fostering, transports, vet visits, and building projects on the property. This, paired with the fact that my devotion to the rescue has caused me to neglect my partners, my home, and even my own health has made it necessary to start doing a lot of introspection.
As I alluded to in my last post, I plan to start backing slowly out of rescue work by way of halting intakes indefinitely and focusing my efforts on placing what is adoptable while providing the best possible sanctuary for those that remain. The space and financial resources doing so will free up will allow us to optimize care and improve our admittedly somewhat haggard main building.
We do plan to continue to offer placement assistance/transport to other rescues, and indeed last week transferred two gerbils and a leopard gecko that we could not intake personally to a rescue in Indiana. On the home front, we are making preparations for winter; while Alabama winters are mild compared to those up north, we are anticipating night time temperatures in the 20s this week. Our food, bedding, and electrical bills tend to go up in the winter to keep the animals warm, dry, and bulked up, which makes now a convenient time to not be taking on extra medical expenses from new intakes.
Of course, Noci2, pictured above, doesn’t know anything about relationship problems or big changes coming to the rescue. She has been growing steadily and has developed a lovely blue tint to her claws! There are now four crays at ACS and they are all happily thriving.
Sooo you may have noticed I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. Don’t worry - I’m fine, the animals are fine. However, there have been some dramatic changes in my personal life that are going to result in a lot of changes around here. Summarily, my commitment to rescue over the past ten years has overshadowed my commitment to my human family, and I got a major wake up call about the state of my relationships this week. I need to re-evaluate my priorities, so we are going to be taking a prolonged haitus from active rescue work. The plan at this point is to do everything we can to make our facilities and husbandry practices outstanding for the remaining animals, but not take in any more, with the end goal being to reduce the population here to a level that will be manageable for relocation some years down the road.
What does this mean for the blog? Well, hopefully I will be sharing a lot of pictures of enclosure upgrades, happy animals having enrichment, special holiday feasts, and - in general - a even higher standard of care than we have already committed to. I will probably not be posting regularly for a couple of weeks, however, because that is when most of the big changes in our household will be happening.
So, see you on the other side I suppose? In the meanwhile please enjoy this smol snek.
It’s the first day of October! This month we will be sharing festive photos of some of our resident and adoptable animals. Today’s featured creature is Embeedee, a resident bearded dragon who came to us with severe metabolic bone disease and is very growth stunted as a result. Bearded dragons are marketed as “beginner” reptiles due to their calm dispositions, but they require a large habitat, specialized heating and lighting, an a varied omnivorous diet with adequate supplementation. Many bearded dragons lose their homes as they develop medical conditions or outgrow their enclosures, so make sure if you decide to get a beardie that you can devote yourself to lifelong care!
Sorry for no Menagerie Monday. Have I mentioned I’ve been very busy and fairly unwell? Anyway, I went herping yesterday and we lifted a big rock to find both a box turtle and a frog under it. I thought it was neat and that you might like to see it.
It’s Throwback Thursday! Today we are looking back eight years at one of our first large rescue efforts, the family of five! When we were still dog rescue newbies, relatively, we saw a post on Facebook pleading for help for three starving puppies living on a rural road near an abandoned trailer. The puppies were located about two hours away, nobody had caught them yet, and we didn’t even have an exact address, but I got it in my head that we needed to help these specific dogs and for some reason my spouse agreed to go look for them with me.
We got to the road they were spotted on and saw no dogs, but having driven two hours we didn’t want to give up, so we shook a bowl of food. Seven dogs appeared out of nowhere. Two were in good body condition but unapproachable; we later learned that they had a home nearby and were just poorly contained. The other five dogs were emaciated but friendly. But wait, weren’t we supposed to be looking for three puppies?
Well, turns out there were three puppies… but also mom and dad. We hadn’t planned on bringing home five dogs and only had a partner rescue lined up for the three puppies, but we also weren’t about to leave the adult dogs behind, so we loaded up our car with the whole family and decided to figure out the rest later. Happily, all of the dogs found adopters and rescues in New York easily.
The dog pictured here, Jo, was adopted by a very affluent family in the suburbs and went from being a rural street dog to a very pampered and doted on house pet. We had the opportunity to visit her two years after sending her north and it was wonderful to see her so happy and healthy with her new family. She is still with them, though getting on in years, and we get occasional updates from the family to this day.
It’s Wildlife Wednesday! Today’s featured creatures are reptiles who found themselves where they ought not be on my property. The king snake pictured left was an unwelcome guest in our dove enclosure (everyone is safe thankfully), and the five lined skink on the right got stuck in one of our dog water bowls. They were both relocated elsewhere on the property.
Yesterday our goat Cowpoke had his eye removed after a grisly injury sustained from another goat’s horn. A couple of you answered Monday’s call for donations and I am deeply appreciative. We have an excellent exotics vet who works with us on pricing, but quality care comes with an appropriate price tag, so running the rescue is often a very expensive out of pocket venture. We maintain a savings for emergency situations like these, but donations relieve daily operating expenses like feed and bedding. I really need to do another menagerie mechanics post to give everyone an idea on how much feed we go through because it is potentially interest content.
It’s Menagerie Monday! Yesterday we picked up this tiny rabbit nugget from an animal control shelter in Winfield, AL. I don’t have any history on him other than a ballpark age, but if he was surrendered in the cage he was transferred in we can safely assume he was purchased by someone who did no research on care, as the cage is tiny and wire bottomed and generally just unsuitable in general. On the bright side we have an experienced prospective adopter out of state pending a clear health check so, fingers crossed.
This is going to be a vet heavy week all around. Today one of the preemie goat kids, Cowpoke, needed an emergency enucleation after suffering a ruptured eye, we suspect the work of someone’s horns. We have three kittens who need to be spayed, a goat that needs to be neutered, and hopefully we will be getting a health certificate to send a cat north. Oh and Road Patty needs a fatty growth removed, but it isn’t urgent since it is benign and still fairly small.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, now would be a really fantastic time to donate if you’ve ever considered it. We might be starting an actual GoFundMe but in the meanwhile our PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s my first couple of weeks at my new job, I’ve been taking care of my friend’s farm while they’re away, and I’ve been sick, so I haven’t had much time or energy to post. Back on track ASAP, for now please accept yet another king snake that showed up in my house.
I didn’t find any good pictures for Throwback Thursday. But I do have updates!
Today Manxine left for her rescue in CT. The same rescue will be taking Crocambouche (Creamsicle) next week or the week after. We have pending applications on Houdini and Daggar, the two remaining kittens from the Lowes litter. That leaves us with just Galra and Leia to place (unless Beef and Lamb’s foster-to-adopt flops), and they’re not actually ready for adoption yet so, yay? I can see the light at the end of the kitten season tunnel?
Because I like to obligate myself to way too much, I have, in my first three days at my new job (DID I MENTION I GOT A NEW JOB??) I have been fucking slammed with rescue stuff the second I get off the clock. My wonderful partner has been a HUGE help bringing animals to the vet for me and even driving Manxine over two hours to her transport drop off. They’re coming with me tomorrow on an even bigger transport: to place a leopard gecko with an adopter in Nashville, transfer a special needs bunny to the person who is bringing him to The Pipsqueakery, and deliver Botan to his final home at Willa’s Pig Rescue.
Then I’m going to take it easy. Just kidding next week I’m watching a fellow rescuer’s farm for them while they are on a trip, and at some point between now and then need to drop off a buttload of donations with Chilton County Humane Society and drive or mail a bunch of dog stuff to various friends and rescuers. Oh and get a health certificate for Croque. And get him to his transport. And… Wait is this why I have anxiety?
Well I spent all day thinking it was Wednesday and yesterday was Tuesday, so you’re getting Wildlife Wednesday today. It’s going to be brief because I am on my lunch break.
Anyway, here is a neat caterpillar in a defensive posture. What kind of caterpillar? Good question! I’m pretty ignorant at caterpillars and I have no clue. I’ll probably post it to a bug ID group and see if it gets any bites. It… It kinda looks like Beetlejuice?
I have a ton of update tonight that I will post when I do Throwback Thursday since today is apparently Thursday.
It’s Menagerie Monday! Today’s featured creature is a brand new intake, a female green iguana. When she was a baby she was sent as a “bonus” animal in someone’s shipment of geckos. I wasn’t able to find out the name of the vendor, but that is a RIDICULOUSLY bad business decision.
Iguanas are not for beginners, and they’re a hell of a lot more difficult to care for than a damn leopard gecko. The truth of the matter is that these lizards are not well suited to most homes, and require a great deal of time, space, food, and dedication. Sadly they are sold inexpensively in chain pet stores, and many live short, miserable lives before dying from bad husbandry.
Let’s start with time. Iguanas get to be very large and potentially dangerous animals. They require constant socialization to remain hand tame. Left to their own devices they tend to be flight and not only may hurt you in an attempt to get away, but can also hurt themselves. They have a powerful bite, strong claws, and a very substantial tail whip. An iguana who is aggressive or defensive can become a big problem very quickly.
How big of a problem? Pretty damn big! Iguanas can reach up to seven feet in length (granted a lot of it is tail) and weight upwards of 20lbs! They require at minimum a 12lx6wx8h enclosure, and that is the bare minimum. Most iguana owners have to dedicate an entire room to their iguana eventually. Our original iguana, Girl, is only a few feet long but already lives in a converted walk-in closet. That enclosure needs to be equipped with powerful heat and UVB lighting, plenty of climbing surfaces, adequate humidity, a safe substrate, and bowl big enough to soak in. It is not cheap to house iguanas!
Know what else isn’t cheap? The grocery bill. Green iguanas are herbivores and require a varied diet of greens, fruits, and vegetables. Girl, at her size, eats a full 16oz bag of mixed greens every other day, plus fresh fruit and veggies. Large iguanas’ diets can become very pricey. You also need to consider supplementation for an animal this large; obviously a small pinch of calcium powder is nowhere near enough! Iguanas are prone to MBD and need a proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus to ensure skeletal health.
Finally, iguanas require dedication. You should never get an iguana if not fully prepared to provide for an adult’s handling, space, and dietary needs. With proper care iguanas may live to twenty years or more in age (this is the typical lifespan in the wild, though most in captivity die in their first few years from improper care). They are a big commitment in every possible way, and one should not enter iguana ownership lightly.
Happy Caturday! Remember literally about a week ago when I was like “I’m done with cats for this year, no more cats!” Yeah that’s going really well.
This cute bobtail girl had been hanging around an elderly couple’s property, getting into fights with their cats and constantly trying to dash into the house. She had kittens last year so they called animal control; they took the kittens and adopted them out, then spayed mom and put her right back outside even though she wasn’t feral. So that’s nice.
Anyway, all of the local rescues are completely overwhelmed, but I found a rescue in CT with room. She is only with us for about a week before she leaves on a transport out of Birmingham. We are sponsoring her vetting and putting her in foster, but I’m relieved that this is one less cat to worry about placing! Plus now I have a rescue contact in CT so that’s cool.
Speaking of transporting cats out of state, Fluff and Rugby left for their adoptive homes in NJ on Friday. We also have Beef and Lamb, the two surviving kittens from the litter of severely old four week olds, in a foster-to-adopt placement. That leaves us with… Okay still five cats to place but we are getting there?
It’s Throwback Thursday! Today we are looking back at a truly wild time for us as a rescue: when we were fostering four Malinois, three of which were pregnant, at the same time! These were all thankfully short term foster arrangements, because four Malinois is a hell of a lot of dog to contend with.
The Belgian Malinois is a variety of Belgian shepherd noted for its highly driven nature. A versatile breed, the Malinois is popular in herding, agility, shutzhund, dock diving, and other dog sports. These intelligent, athletic dogs excel at a variety of tasks and benefit from having a “job” to expend their seemingly boundless energy. They are probably most recognized for their work as military and police dogs. Several working Malinois have been awarded medals for exceptional service in the line of duty.
Malinois are generally not a good fit for non-working/non-sporting homes and may become dangerous or destructive without dedicated training and socialization. Bitework is in their blood lines and without an appropriate outlet for that drive are prone to inappropriate biting. These dogs have become popular in American media, but an unfortunate consequence of that popularity is that they are increasingly surrendered to animal shelters by overwhelmed owners.
All of the Malinois we have fostered have gone to breed specific rescues, and most have become working or sporting dogs. We are especially fond of the Malinois Ranch Rescue, an experienced rescue based out of TN that rehabilitates and trains rescued Belgian and Dutch shepherds and matches them with appropriate adopters. The Mal pictured here went to MRR and later became a sporting dog.
It’s Wildlife Wednesday! Definitely not Thursday, I totally remembered to post this on Wednesday. Today’s featured creatures are some of the amphibians on the property. We have a ton of frogs and toads this year, which is just fantastic. I wish I had something fun and educational to share with these pics like I usually do, but I can only post the same species so many times without it becoming redundant. So instead, I’m urging you to check out the organization Save The Frogs, an amphibian conservation group that has yielded real results in the US and around the world.
It’s Menagerie Monday! Today’s featured creature is a yet-unnamed leopard gecko that was transferred to the rescue as a resident recently. Our friend Kaycee at Bunny Puffs Exotics Refuge rescued this guy from a terrible situation where he was severely malnourished and never given calcium or vitamin supplementation. He has metabolic bone disease that has caused severe deformities of his legs. I was honestly concerned about quality of life when I first met him, but he’s an active little dude with a great appetite and a friendly temperament despite his condition. He still has a good bit of weight to gain, but he is now getting proper care under the supervision of our exotics vet and has a brighter future.
Reptiles, even common species found in pet stores, are exotic pets with highly specialized care needs. Proper diet, heating and lighting, and supplementation are a crucial element of all reptile care. Leopard geckos are a very hardy species, but proper husbandry is still essential to prevent avoidable, neglect-based issues like MBD. There is no reason for a gecko to be in this condition; this is the result of neglect to an abusive extreme. If you’re not willing or able to provide everything a reptile needs to thrive, please do not get one.
Crayfish update pics! Everyone is growing and thriving. The largest, Grabby, will hand feed. Noci2 has about doubled in size, and Ghost has molted twice though is still ridiculously tiny.
Sorry for the lack of updates this week. There are some big shake-ups (good ones, but stressful) occuring in my life right now and I’ve honestly been so anxiety riddled that I have not even thought about posting. I need to introduce a few transfers from Bunny Puffs Exotics Refuge, and there have been a few adoptions as well. Hoping to be back on track next week.
Happy Caturday! Four of our adoptable kittens are now fully vetted and ready for their forever homes. We are promoting them through a northern rescue to see the if we can find adopters in a state that isn’t, you know, utterly overwhelmed with endless kittens. These babies are going to make someone very happy; they were hand raised by our experienced bottle baby foster, who yields the most sweet, affectionate kittens.
Ah yes, summer. The time of the year when snakes start popping up inside of my house. This is the third one so far I think? Thank goodness my rescue doesn’t consist primarily of highly edible rodents and small birds, this is not a source of stress at all. 😬
Our friend here thankfully did not go after any of the animals and was just enjoying sitting under the ceramic heat emitter over the hedgehog cage. He was escorted to a more appropriate wooded are of the property and hopefully will stay there.
It’s Throwback Thursday! Today we are looking back two years at some of my last foster dogs, Tater and Spud. This two senior Chihuahuas were surrendered when their owner died and the family was unable to take them. I think they are a great example of people who love their pets to death; both were morbidly obese and suffering for it. I wish I had them long enough to put them through “boot camp” and see them fit some day, but they were only with us for a two week QT period before going to a rescue that specifically specializes in senior Chihuahuas.
Obesity is an increasingly common problem in cats and dogs. As of 2018, some 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the US were recorded as overweight or obese by their veterinarian. While people are quick to decry an animal being underweight, overweight animals are considered “cute” in our culture. However, being overweight is as unhealtly for a pet as being underweight. Numerous medical conditions including cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, and joint disease are highly prevalent in overweight and obese pets. Conditions like diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and cancer are also more common in these animals.
The shift towards obesity in pets coincides with pets adopting a more sedentary lifestyle, as well as the explosion of the pet food and treat markets in recent years. Whereas dogs were once working animals and cats chiefly used for rodent control, most pets are now strictly companion animals. A lack of exercise paired with increasingly rich foods and a plethora of treats was the perfect recipe for pet obesity. Pet treats alone are a 6.7 billion dollar industry, and many owners are doling out treats generously without feeding less dog/cat food to account for the added calories.
Thankfully pet obesity is very easy to control in most instances (barring certain health conditions that may be difficult to manage), and the solutions benefit more than just your pet’s waistline. A more active lifestyle, be it through walks, interactive play, sports, etc. help keep pets lean and also provides valuable stimulation. Making pets “work” for food and treats is also more enriching than just setting a full bowl down and walking away. And while many modern pet foods are more nutritionally dense than their predecessors, portion limited, timed feedings provide structure and predictability to your pet’s daily routine.
Sure, a “heckin big chonk” is loveable, but a trim, active pet will ultimately be happier, healthier, and longer lived.
It’s Wildlife Wednesday! Today’s featured creature isn’t technically Alabama wildlife: it’s an introduced species from Mexico, the pale bordered field cockroach. These guys have been slowly spreading from Texas, where they’ve been established for many years, to the Southeastern states. As far as invasives go they don’t seem to be terribly impactful, and they do not infest houses, so I don’t really mind seeing them on the property.
Pale bordered field roaches are found in humid habitats with plenty of underbrush and leaf litter. I will say I’ve never actually seen them in a field, it’s always in forested brushy places. They will eat both plant and animal matter (typically detritus) and are excellent flyers. If they weren’t such good flyers I suspect they’d become popular as an ornamental roach species in the hobby because they are quite striking.
There are frogs and tadpoles EVERYWHERE on my property right now, they must be having a good reproductive season. This guy is always in the bin right outside my front door. Today he’s wearing a little flower hat.
It’s Menagerie Monday! Today’s featured creature is Ronin, a young guinea pig with a slight head tilt. He is shown here modeling some of the hay we had generously donated yesterday - a whole car-load of premium timothy, orchard, and oat hays. Ronin won’t be sticking around to eat all of the new hay, but that’s not a bad thing! He is being adopted today by one of the vet techs that helped treat him. He will have guinea pig friends and be in good hands, always the kind of outcome we like for our small animals. So congrats Ronin on squeaking your way into someone’s heart and finding a home!
Today is an important day! It’s the two year anniversary of Fish Cake coming to ACS! Fish Cake was part of a feral pack of dogs that had been roaming my area for eight years. A local rescue trapped most of them, but Fish Cake was always too wary. Two years ago today we finally trapped him after years of trying. By the time we got to him he was in pretty rough shape: severe ear infections, eye infection, wounds from fighting with other dogs. He was a sad sight to see. But as you can see, things are going much better for him now: