Connecting Kids to Wildlife by Touching & Learning
Max and I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! You can view his Thanksgiving YouTube Video. I have been busy in the last week installing a second double entry and perimeter fencing although we are not open to the public. It’s just a few hoops to jump through. I’m working on Max’s small photo book and his own website. So stay tuned.
So, I’ve been doing some thinking. Uh-oh, that can be dangerous. For the last couple years, I have had people tell me that I should create a calendar of Max or a coffee table book of his gorgeous face. Calendars come and go but a book would be nice. However, wouldn’t that be expensive? The cost of producing and then international shipping might be beyond my means or even chaotic. I can see myself on a Saturday morning shipping to the U.K., Spain, Italy, Australia, etc. Oh boy. I’m sure there are probably other options. Another thing to consider is the cost of the book. Oh my, most of us are on tight budgets during this time in our lives and it would need to be affordable. Some have suggested a smaller version of the coffee table book that could be handed as gifts. Hmmmmnnnn.
I thought of creating a website showcasing his photos. Would I want to add his story or our stories? Maybe. I would need a premium site which would allow for monetized advertising and a donation button. But I’m not a non-profit, so donations would not be tax deductible. I have discouraged donations to date because of that and because I can afford Max. I knew what I was getting into with the cost of meat, veternarian care, housing, fencing and enrichment. However, donations could go towards stocking Max products or even the coffee table book.
Some have suggested creating a children’s book of Max’s adventures. Wouldn’t that be fun? I could get local children to draw the pictures depending on the theme. Okay, that’s a possibility.
I really want to give back to his followers. Yes, I have a YouTube channel and this blog, but really this blog is about my educational programs with all my animals, not just Max. If I have a photography website, people can download his photo. Setting it up will be a nightmare with nine years of great photos to upload and each will have to be optimized to save on space. Perhaps they will want a photo mug, note cards, note pad, a tote or photo postcards. I don’t know. There are many possibilities.
Well, I put the question out on YouTube and the comments are flooding in. I will give it a week and then make a decision. I have a couple new toys for Max and so a video needs to be taken this weekend. If you haven’t visited our Wildlife Bernie YouTube channel, there are some recent vids.
I’ll close this article with a photo of the boy.
As you know in April I took in a stray, Sammy and he has been doing so well with our other cats. He has gotten to be one lazy fat cat! I guess that’s what happens when you take in the homeless and give them everything they could ever dreamed of. A photo of before and now at the end of the post.
Max has been loving his new loft that was built in May and is up there every morning. He didn’t lose his winter weight. Oh, the fur is gone but for some reason he held onto those 5 pounds. Now he is at 43 pounds! Whoa Max! You can see our most recent video Max Middle-aged.
I was a volunteer with a local cat rescue group but after 4 months it was clear to me that the founder of the group was only interested in her opinion or her boyfriend’s. She lacks people skills but is darn good at trapping and caring for feral cats. However, there were several abuse cases that she refused to address which in my book is not acceptable for any reason. Her choices and decisions in certain matters were not based on common sense but on her ego and her desire to establish a legacy. She had no policies or procedures and believed she didn’t need any although she applied and received a non-profit status. Non-profit organizations have many rules to follow but not her. Board members were in name only and had no say to anything. She belittled another member which was embarrassing and that person has more experience than her. I resigned as board secretary in late June because of this and no one dismisses or talks to me in the tone like she did. I knew it was only a matter of time when she would ask me to leave (July 3). I asked too many questions, stuck up for my friend and had too many opinions. She was and is still looking for “lemmings” which are people that will follow her and ask no questions until they fall off the cliff. Already a foster has 11 cats because they don’t know how to say no or to stand up to her. They are good people being unjustly used by this person. I shake my head. Max and I donated a lot of money and goods but I look at it as a learning experience and I met some really good people. We are now supporting a shelter in Florida and local gal in a neighboring town that takes care of feral cats. There are many worthy organizations out there.
June 6, our 14 year old cat, Spud lost his mind and became distressed and confused and we had to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep. This didn’t happen overnight. We saw changes in his behavior over a year’s span.
Also in June, my neighbor called telling me there were three kittens in her barn. The rescue group had taken care (trapped & vetted) her two black barn cats and then all of a sudden, here are kittens. I spent my time trapping these little guys and were thrilled when their eyes were not blue which meant they were probably weaned and 8 weeks old. The group loaned me the traps for this I’m grateful. However, all costs have come out of my own pocket. I’m really happy I didn’t turn them over to them to be fostered as their quality of care could never have lived up to my expectations. I will tell you that I was prepared to put these kittens to sleep had they not been able to socialize. My neighbor was happy feeding two ferals but didn’t want five and who could blame them. There is no one willing to take on caring for ferals in the area. On June 17, I trapped a runt I called Theo. Sunnie was next on the 18th and I didn’t get the third kitten, Skipper until the 22nd. He would not go into the trap for anything. So, I outsmarted this little baby by using his brother and sister as bait. I placed them in a cage at the end of the trap and covered both. He saw them. He heard them and he entered the trap and all were saved. These guys were love bugs from day two and were purring before day five. That’s the story of the 3 Amigos. Here’s a video Max Canada Lynx & the 3 Amigos. With vet clinics shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult getting appointments, so I had to opt for my own vet which is more expensive. They got to see him on 6/29 and were treated for worms. Who knows what they had been eating! Then they got their first distemper shot on July 17. I had a friend who wanted the little girl, Sunnie and she really needed to become acquainted with her before Sunnie started bonding with me. So she went off with her forever mom on July 18. It was hard but the boys were bonded and needed to stay together.
July 18 was also the day that our 18 year old cat, Miss Gremlin, had a stroke or severe case of vertigo. She was already going down hill with losing weight, going deaf and then forgetting that she had eaten (dementia). We chose to let her go. Losing our old girl and then the kitten was a heartbreaking day for us.
Check out Max’s video Max’s Summer Slimsuit. It has been really hot this summer. Max is not liking it and I give him extra water and a spritzing on occasion. I’m looking into a corner water fountain. How cool would that be?
So, after losing two cats, we decided to keep the little boys. I call them Tiny Terrors. I’ve taken lots of photos because they are growing up so fast! Max has seen them and was really curious. The kittens have seen Max and went puff! Here’s a video of all three The 3 Amigos Adventures outdoors. Our crew is now Smokey 14, Tramp 10, Tigger 4, Sammy 2 and Skipper & Theo 15 weeks.
The Museum I work for opened back up on July 14th. We haven’t had that many visitors but it’s because most of our summer visitors are tourists from other states and right now you have to quarantine for 2 weeks if you come into NY state. Many people are not travelling. We really hope this pandemic goes away soon.
All of our educational programs were cancelled this summer. It figures. Hopefully, we can pick them back up next summer.
In the meantime, stay safe and be well.
It is a never ending of busy-ness in our lives. The pandemic has me working from home which is challenging with a vocal bird and a mother that needs my help. I’m not complaining too much because I am getting paid. However, although I’m an introvert, I do miss my co-workers and museum visitors. In addition, I don’t have the proper computer setup. Either I’m at the kitchen table which is too high and my shoulder hurts or at my antique desk with no leg room and my elbow and wrist hurts. I know, a small price to pay to work at home. I do venture out once a week to the grocery and convenience stores for the necessities. I’m always mindful about being asthmatic and mom being 82 years old with COPD.
On April 15th, I took in a rescued stray from another area as a foster. Sammy is a Russian blue with such personality! Well, the foster turned into an adoption. So, now we have 6 domestic cats.
In Mid-May, I helped a cat foster parent put a new cover over their kennel. Max had leftover wire from his large enclosure and wood too. The girls are fostering a mama cat and her babies. What better way to give back than to give them a new wire roof?
So, what’s going on with Max? He turned 9 years old on May 4th (no photos, only a video) and he now has a loft under his pole barn. Yes, you must visit our YouTube Channel Wildlife Bernie to watch the videos! Here are a few photos.
Well, 2019 was a heartbreaking and busy year for us. We lost two cats, Teddy in March who had a stomach mass and Spooky in September who we believe had cancer. Both were about 12 years old, obtained the same year (they were dumped) and both had the same eye removed due to health reasons over the years that we had them. They had to have been brothers but different litters and found their way to our house needing to be neutered, of course. Both were between 6 months and a year old.
My sister got married May 11th after 10 years of being together but then he had a stroke and died June 7th. She is still struggling.
And then I lost Willow Ferret in November. She just stopped eating, became lethargic and the vet said she had a heart condition. She was a bit over 4 years old. I have yet to own a Marshall-bred ferret live to 6 years old. I believe they are inbred. December 8th I rescued two adorable little ferrets but they are middle to late in age. Frankie is 3 and Frannie is 2 but I will love them like crazy in the little time that I’ll have them.
Poppy rabbit got a new hutch. Oh boy, that was a chore to put together but it gives her a chance to be on grass and out in fresh air. She loves it. Max loves it too as he can watch her from his enclosure. Enrichment! I have to move the hutch every couple weeks to give her fresh grass.
Lots of improvements were made to Max’s enclosure. I took down the wire roofing which was right under the barn roof. I had to attach it to the sides of the barn beams from the sides of the panels, so the little devil could not leap over the fencing. I never finished two sections but he hasn’t noticed.
May I installed bamboo fencing to give one end a cozy feeling. Of course I had to add Plexiglas behind it to protect the metal panels from rusting when he marks his territory. So, not a cheap improvement. I found a fake boulder online and purchased it. Max loves to hide behind it as if I can’t see him!
In June I created a corner cubby for the boy. It was not fun because the fencing had been delivered in the rain and got warped in their boxes but I managed. I finally got around to painting the shelving and bottom pallet in September.
In November, I hauled a dead tree into the enclosure and balanced a portion of it on the fake boulder. Now, Max loves the big old scratching post! I also built him an elevated walkway for days in the winter when it floods or gets icy. On the ramp, I had to add wooden rungs for Max to steady himself. I haven’t had a chance to post a video of him on YouTube using it but it’s on my to-do list. It took me days to get the posts in and then the shelving all before the snow and frost showed up!
I dialed it down with programs during the year. I presented five and Max was in four of them.
2020, I plan having a loft built under the pole barn on one side. Good friends Christine, Evan & Vinnie the cat have helped financially. I’m not sure when it will be completed but the contractor is good, reliable and says he will get it done.
If it seems I’m posting less and less here is because I am! Life has become hectic which leaves little free time.
2018 – My mother’s health is slowly declining. It’s not critical but I have found she has less energy and her breathing has gotten worse. She turned 80 and has COPD and has a knee issue she refuses to take care of with surgery. I don’t fault her for that because once you get the surgery, you can’t kneel and the recovery can be lengthy. She likes to stay active, as much as possible. We lost two of our beloved cats. We tried everything to keep them healthy but old age took them and we had them put to sleep in July and October. My exotics remained all okay. Improvements were made on Max’s enclosure. In April I put together a cool bench which converts into a table.
In November, I hired a contractor and he put in a pole barn over a portion of Max’s enclosure. Boy, it was not cheap but it looks great and we can sit on our bench without getting wet. It also gives Max a place to be without snow but still out in the area run. You might notice that I also put a pallet in there for him earlier in the summer.
We presented 12 programs in 2018…libraries, youth programs, senior center, and outdoor events. Max Lynx participated in 11 of those programs!
What’s in a name? Naming an animal is sometimes easy and sometimes not. We had a difficult time naming my new hedgehog. We took all the suggestions by you and picked our favorites. Then threw them in a jar & picked one out. The winner was Quillie Nelson Hedgehog UNTIL I was sitting at the table with the little guy and he was eating out of my hand but the least bit of movement sent him into all quills. He twitched this way and then that way and it occurred to me that his name should be Twitch. And so a name was born. Meet Twitch Hedgehog.