New Chins

8-18-22 – I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to post that I got two new chinchillas to be ambassadors for my program. I was told they were friendly. Haha. Where do I start? I drove 3 hours one way to pick them up from a guy who had more than the two. When I first contacted him, Coco had just passed away. He didn’t tell me how many he had but said there were male and females with ages from 4 months to 3 years old. The colors were beige, regular grey and black. I decided to wait to give myself time to grieve and decide which Saturday I would have time to pick one up. I did a lot of thinking and contacted others that had a chinchilla to rehome. One did not like to be held. I was told that the species didn’t like it. Ha! I had two chinchillas ever and both loved to be held. I decided that perhaps I should get two chins to keep each other company. When I was ready I contacted the gentleman again and he had two left and both were bonded. He said they were siblings. As for age, one was almost a year and the other about 1.5 years old. They were siblings? Both are standard grey. On July 9, he loaded them into my carrier and when I got down the road to a pitstop, I pulled the little one out. She was very squirmy and her fur was greasy which meant that she had not dust-bathed. I named them Ruby and Pearl as suggested by my good friend Christine. Ruby is the baby who had mats in her fur on her backside. Pearl’s fur was greasy but no mats. Ruby doesn’t know how to dust bathe but Pearl jumps right in. Both DO NOT like to be held and Ruby is a nipper. Yes, she bites. Pearl will lunge at me and try to bite me when I reach in. It takes a lot of logistics to fetch them. I’m thinking dropping a towel over and scooping them up will be the easiest. Sometimes Ruby will constantly squirm and nip when I hold her. Pearl is a little better about being held. Both will happily take a cranraisin (dried cranberry) from my fingers. I try to hold them daily and talk to them every time I walk by their cage. Neither are litter-trained and will pee on the shelves. Ugh! I decided that they needed a new cage. The one was 10 years old and the shelving had been chewed on by many. The new one was a little pricey but is perfect for them. I have seen them using the bottom tray as a litter pan on occasion. I mean, chins will poop everywhere and that’s fine. Their urine is strong and it needs to always be in the bottom tray and not on the shelving. Sooner or later, hopefully we’ll get there. Right after getting them home I took a comb to Ruby’s mat. Underneath the mats were sores. As of now, the fur has been growing back nicely. She also had a sore behind one ear which has healed too. Because Ruby doesn’t know how to roll in a dust house, I got a sugar shaker and will shake the dust over her and fluff her fur. This will keep her soft, fluffy and greaseless. Sometimes afterwards she will roll on the shelf to get the dust off. That’s how she should roll to get the dust on! Anyways, these two are challenging.

The Book

I am max coverThe book is done! Yes, I finished Max’s book two days ago and have ordered my proof copy which will probably arrive in a few weeks. You know how it goes with printing and shipping. Once I give it a look over, then I will hit the “publish” button and it will be available to everyone via print on demand! Please pray I don’t need to do any edits. It is a bear.

It has taken me 8 months to compile stories about Max’s life over the last 10 years. Then I had thousands of photos to go through to match to the stories. I have had to purchase two new software programs in order to get it done correctly and still I was told by the printer that my photos were not 300ppi. But dpi’s and ppi’s are so confusing. I made sure that every photo was 300dpi and finding the correct answer on line is difficult. I also had to add additional gutter space because of nine pages over their guidelines. So, did I add too much space or just enough? I have my fingers crossed that it will be okay. If not, well I will just cry…a lot…but will get back to it and figure out the whys and how’s and just fix the darn thing and re-upload.  Be patient.

Wildlife Festival

12-25-15 3356 cover copy (1)If you live in New York state or any of the neighboring states, Max and I will be at this Wildlife Festival on Saturday, September 18 from 10-4. Burt Parrot and Smudge Hedgehog will be with us. There will be lots of North American animal artifacts for touching and learning. Come one, come all. Here’s the link to their Facebook event – Blenheim-Gilboa Wildlife Festival

New Freezer

8/16/21 – Well, I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. Max’s upright freezer for his package meals is on the fritz. It is old…manufactured in 2008 and I got it in 2011 for him. I looked online everywhere for a replacement 5.1 cu. ft. upright freezer and nothing. So, I just ordered a 5 cu ft chest freezer from Amazon and it will be here in a week. I wasn’t expecting this but luckily I haven’t gone to get 200 pounds of meat yet and therefore I can switch the meat I processed last week to the chest freezer which is currently pretty empty except for his chicken. Fingers crossed that the new one will last as long as this one!

Great News!

5-30-2021 – Great news, I received my Dangerous Animal License for Max from the State yesterday. So, Max is safe with me for another year. I jumped through every hoop appropriately. We also have four programs scheduled this summer which will pay for the insurance. I’m happy! Here in this photo you’ll see Max in stalk mode. Deb helped me remove the plastic sheeting which we had installed on the outside of his loft to make it more cozy in the winter. We also raked the straw from the corner cubby and what had fallen out of the loft into a large pile. When I let Max back into this space he was not at all interested in our housekeeping but was keeping a watchful eye on Deb who was twelve feet away. I used her camera to snap a shot. So, this is another version of “Pounce.” When we turned to walk away, he charged the fence. When she turned around, Max flopped down as if nothing interesting was happening. I would have loved to have video that.

To Book or Not?

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.Max 9-2020

Summer News

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.