Bluejay Babies

In the last couple of weeks, any time I would let the dogs out in the backyard, a robin would start yelling at me. Also I saw a broken eggshell where a baby robin had hatched. So I was on the lookout for a nest. This morning I found one in the branches of my maple tree in the back. But the bird sitting on the nest was gray, not a robin. This afternoon I noticed the mother bird was gone so I got the camera and ladder and went up to check out what was there. The babies (3 or 4) opened their mouths when I came up. But before I could snap their pictures, their parents came around yelling at me. Bluejays! The father actually smacked into my head a couple of times. With them yelling the babies crouched down in the nest. I still got a picture:

bluejaybaby.jpg

Here’s another one taken May 23, getting feathers:

bluejay2.jpg

By May 29, the nest was empty but the parents were still hanging around and protective. I found a fledgling under the tree hidden in the ivy:

Austin Update

This weekend, Jenny from work asked if she could keep Austin. You might remember that the first time she kept him, he broke her nose. Anyway, that never affected how much she adores Austin. Here’s an e-mail I got from her today . . .

He has been very deprived as you might suspect. After you left, he had homemade mushroom and cheese pizza with some homemade mac and cheese and chicken. You know he hated that! Yesterday, he had sliced chicken mixed with the yucky hard crap [dog food -ed.] for breakfast and a Bruster’s snack after the traumatic experience of seeing other dogs at the park. For dinner he had 3 helpings of roast with potatoes and carrots! Oh and a biscuit and banana pudding for dessert. Today he had roast and chicken with his hard crap and he’s been responding well when I say “uhuh” to the huge water intake so he only urped a little yesterday. He really likes vanilla wafers. We’ve done a fair amount of walking. He’s been his usual angelic self, cute as a bug and responding fairly well to excessive petting. He has turned into a little snore bird; must be the company he keeps. He really likes soft covers and robes. At any rate, that’s the update.

Squirrels

Katie is always very interested in squirrels when we go for walks. But they always run behind trees. Then when Katie runs up to the tree, she looks behind it, like the squirrel might still be there. As if by magic, the squirrel has vanished. But, just like Kahn in Star Trek II, Katie doesn’t think in three dimensions and does not realize the squirrel has scampered up the back side of the tree. (Austin, however, is more like Kirk and fully realizes the squirrels are going up where he keeps an eye on them and will bark at them sometimes).

Today on our walk some signs on yellow 8.5×11 paper had been posted along one street saying “DO NOT PARK STREET TO BE PAVED.” About halfway up the street, Katie saw a squirrel which ran behind a tree just like always. And Katie pulled me along to the tree so she could look behind it for the squirrel. Only today, there was the squirrel! And she almost got it in her mouth before it jumped off of the tree trunk and across the street. On the back of the tree a yellow piece of paper had foiled the squirrel’s plan and it wouldn’t try to get past the sign (which blocked most of the back side of the fairly skinny tree). Also, the microprocessor that is a squirrel’s brain somehow prevented it from giving away the trade secret by going to the front of the tree to get around the sign. So it was just stuck until Katie came along.

Good day for streets and Katie. Bad day for squirrels.

Introducing Lilli

The weekend before last Susan was volunteering for Paws Atlanta helping with adoptions at Petsmart. They had a batch of puppies and Susan wound up adopting a cute black and white female. She is half English setter, which is kind of like an Irish setter but without the sense of humor and doesn’t drink as much. She was told the other half is Australian Shepherd, which is kind of like a German shepherd but <insert gross generalization here>.

After considering hundreds of names, Susan decided to name her Lilli as a short form of Lilliputian, which she certainly is right now: She can walk right under Beacon as if she were walking under a table.

Lilli

Austin’s Sitter

Since Austin doesn’t get along well with cats, the last couple of times I have been out of town (Tybee and Dallas) he has stayed with my friend from work, Jenny, instead of with Katie at Susan’s house. She absolutely adores Austin and pampers him beyond belief while he stays with her. One time when I went to pick him up she told me how much Austin likes ham and eggs with cheese on top. Her two boys help take care of Austin as well, taking him for several walks a day. He gets constant attention all the time, which he just adores.

Jenny likes Austin so much that she asked if he could stay over this weekend just so they could see him again. So I packed up his bag and took him over on Friday. On Sunday Jenny called and said her family had taken a vote and it was 3-0 to keep him for another day (Jenny telecommutes on Monday so she would be home all day with him).

Last night I went to pick him up. I noticed Jenny had a bruise on the bridge of her nose. I asked her what happened. Apparently Austin was on the couch next to her when one of Jenny’s sons slammed a door or something, causing a giant bang. This startled both Austin and Jenny and Austin wound up knocking into Jenny’s face pretty hard, breaking her nose. This was on Saturday and I think the reason she wanted to keep Austin another day was because she had missed out on being with him most of Saturday, what with the trip to the emergency room and everything.

Austin is back with me now, but it will be several weeks before Jenny heals up from his visit.

Names

I decided to do some research on names for the new dog. For instance, if I was going to name him “Kevin” then I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a belief that naming a dog Kevin was bad luck, or that dogs named Kevin are considered a delicacy in Burma. I didn’t find anything like that, but I did find out that Kevin is Irish and means handsome and/or beloved (I think the dog looks kind of like Kevin Costner who is both handsome and beloved).

I also found a neat site run by the Social Security Administration where they rank the popularity of different names by year. I guess they know everyone’s name and date of birth. If a name falls in the top 1000, then it will be listed. You can also pull up the popularity of names over time. For instance, in the year I was born, Michael, John, and David were the most popular boy names (Lisa, Mary, and Karen were the most popular for girls). That year Kevin was number 13, about the highest it ever got. In 2005, Jacob, Michael, and Joshua were the most popular names for boys and Emily, Emma, and Madison were the most popular for girls. Meanwhile, Edward has gone from 29th to 134th, putting it behind even Trevor at 112th.

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

New Dog

Yesterday I went to the Paws Atlanta shelter with Katie to look for dogs. We wound up taking home a near twin of Katie, except he is male.

He is part pit bull, I’m sure (he has a big head), but he has a very sweet disposition despite some unsolicited advances on Katie yesterday. I don’t think he has barked yet. He is extremely skinny right now, but has been eating a lot, so he should be fine. Though I formally adopted him, I consider him to be on a working test for the first week or so. The shelter named him Austin, which is okay, but I’m thinking about Buddy, Buster, or Trevor. Any suggestions are welcome. Katie seems largely indifferent towards him. They don’t play, but they don’t growl at each other. He is very affectionate towards me though.

Continue reading

Clio’s illness

Yesterday Katie got a clean bill of health and a green light to resume full activies, 16 weeks after her knee surgery. Ironically, I was at the same specialist today taking Clio in for an “abdominal mass” that had been detected by her regular vet last week. ClioThey did an ultrasound and found she has a large growth of some kind on her intestine and several lymph nodes have swelled to a couple of inches in size. They took tissue samples of the lymph nodes to run tests, but it will be Friday or Monday before I hear anything conclusive.

It is possible that they could operate on her intestine and the lymph nodes will just be non-cancerous swelling, but they said if she has cancer in her lymphatic system that they couldn’t operate, but might try chemotherapy. I’ve been reading about dogs with lymphoma (or lymphosarcoma), which is what they think she may have, and usually, even with chemotherapy, a dog’s lifetime after diagnosis is measured in months, not years.

Despite intestinal problems, she has been feeling pretty good lately. I’ve got her on a combination of salmon and rice dry food (for “sensitive systems”) with canned food mixed in. I think she thinks she’s getting cat food, so at least she is eating and not losing weight like she was in the last few weeks. Also she isn’t itching nearly as much, so she has to be more comfortable. She was awfully glad to see me when I picked her up yesterday afternoon and stayed even closer to me than usual when we got home. She drank a ton of water and promptly went to sleep. We went on a walk later on, so for the most part, she is doing pretty well physically.