11

How Dogs Solved the Cat Food Crisis

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We got a very unusual call recently. It was from a human. We almost never hear from humans; most of them assume we are a foreign-language publication. A very nice lady said that some neighborhood cats were very sick. The veterinarian said that it was probably just a virus.

The lady and her friends think it is a new food that they got for their furry friends. It’s supposed to have a special additive that would improve their immune systems. It’s called “Cat Power”. She wanted to know if there was a way for us to check it out. Our editor George said we would see what we could find out.

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We put one of our best reporters, Penelope Porcine, on the case. She discovered that “Cat Power” is sent out by a large distributor in the U.S. There was no information about who actually made the food. She decided to talk to the distributor. The closest distribution center is in the middle of the state.

Penelope drove up to Livingston and found the plant. She called, but only got a recording. She tried to see someone in person (so to speak). There was only one entrance, and it was guarded by a very large German Shepherd. The German Shepherd refused to talk to her. He said he couldn’t speak pig.

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Penelope decided that we needed to find a German Shepherd of our own to help. Not having one on staff, we thought it would be best to recruit one locally. It was a small town; they might even know the guard.

We posted a notice: “Looking for a German Shepherd. Temporary assignment. Must be fluent in several animal languages. The position requires persistence and a persuasive personality. Compensation will be discussed if you are called for an interview.”

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Apparently there is a shortage of positions for German Shepherds in Livingston. We immediately received more than 20 responses. Some of them we could delete right away:

“Speak several dialects: Pekinese, Beagle, and Chow. Have trouble communicating with other species. Once I misunderstood a mynah bird and ate him.”

“Experience speaking with other animals. Would prefer it not be any animals that I might consider as toys. Especially cats or squirrels.”

“I am qualified for your position. Compensation must include both kibble and meats of my choosing.”

We interviewed three candidates. We hired a wonderful dog named Lexi. She has a gentle disposition but is a very determined manner. Lexi speaks flawless pig, cat, mouse and hedgehog as well as a variety of dog dialects.

Penelope explained the situation to Lexi, telling her that we needed to find out where the food came from. Lexi was appalled and thought that humans had to be involved. She promised to call Penelope the next day after she had spoken with the guard.

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The next day Lexi said that she needed to meet with Penelope in person to tell her what the guard had said. Penelope wondered what could be so important that it couldn’t be told over the phone.

When she arrived at the restaurant, Penelope discovered that Lexi had two other German Shepherds with her. She hoped they were friendly. Three large dogs were a little intimidating.

The dogs patrolled inside the plant. The place was full of humans, but none of them had anything to do with making the food. The cans came in huge crates that the humans opened and put on conveyor belts. At the end of the belts were trucks that delivered the “Cat Power” and other foods to the stores.

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Penelope asked if they had any idea where the food came from. One of the dogs, Brutus, said that the crates were written in Shar-Pei. Brutus said that he hoped Shar-Pei’s were only clerks and not actually involved in poisoning anyone.

Penelope thanked Brutus and his friend. She bought dinner in appreciation. They said they had never met such a nice pig. Or any pig, for that matter.

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Later Lexi told Penelope that she had done further research on Shar-Pei’s and discovered that they specialize as guard dogs in Guangzhou, in southern China. She had also learned that there were two factories that made cat food in Guangzhou, both of them owned by the same company.

To be continued

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11

Job Application for Santa’s Reindeer

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Tony saw the poster announcing tryouts for Santa’s Sled Team. Tony came from a long line of sled reindeer going back to Blitzen and was eager to take his turn. He wrote down the web address for the application and went home to complete it.

When he opened the application, he was surprised by the length. As he read through it, he wasn’t sure he would make it after all. Or if he wanted to.

Application for Seasonal Employment

Santa’s Reindeer

Job Description: Work as a team member of an eight reindeer group to pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.

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General Requirements:

  • Ability to fly long distances at a consistent speed
  • Ability to make frequent short stops for an extended period of time
  • Ability to haul large cargo for long distances
  • Ability to work in a close, team-oriented environment
  • Ability to work in stressful environment
  • Ability to be flexible
  • Working knowledge of GPS preferred
  • Prior package delivery experience preferred

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Physical Requirements

  • Antlers must have sloughed for season
  • Hooves must be tough enough to stop quickly on icy roofs
  • Must be between 75-80 inches long
  • Must weigh between 350-400 pounds
  • May not be pregnant
  • Must be able to train for at least 12 hours/day without physical collapse

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Please note: Santa’s workshop is a drug-free environment and you will be required to pass random drug tests as well as a pre-employment screening. Additionally, all applicants will be required to pass a physical exam prior to hire.

Name:

Address:

Phone Number (home):

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Phone Number (cell):

Email Address:

Preferred method of contact:

Why do you want to be one of Santa’s reindeer (200 words or less)?

Why do you think you would be a better candidate than other reindeer (200 words or less)?

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Describe any previous experience in a related field.

Do you have any relatives currently working for Santa?

Do you have any relatives who have worked for Santa in the past?

Are you currently under contract with the Easter Bunny?

Date Available:

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Thank you for your interest in being one of Santa’s reindeer. If you are chosen for an interview, you will be contacted. Please do not call our office.

Santa’s Workshop is and equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on species, gender or age.

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12

The Adventure Bear Show (Part 2 of 2)

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So far – Joey and Mikey Bear were both trying to win a contest on The Adventure Bear Show. To win they had to write an essay about something nice they had done for someone. Somehow, both cubs had ended up at the same place to do the same job.

Joey was stunned and disappointed. Now what was he supposed to do? He didn’t have another idea. Mikey’s mom must have known about the Ursalines too. Mikey grinned from the sofa.

Joey turned to Mrs. Ursaline and said that he didn’t realize that she already had help. He didn’t want to bother her. She said not to worry; there were plenty of things to do. She was sure she could keep them both busy. So Joey sat on the sofa next to Mikey. Mikey’s grin faded. He knew Joey was a good writer and would be able to do a better job explaining their work.

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Mrs. Ursaline was right. There was a lot of work to do. They needed to clean out the garden and cover the plants with mulch. There was a lot of raking to be done. All of the tools had to be cleaned and put away. The back part of the den needed to be raked out and covered with leaves and moss for the winter sleeping.

This was going to be a lot of work. Joey hadn’t counted on anything this hard and wondered if he could back out. Then he remembered that if he did, Mikey would get to go with Adventure Bear. This had to be the best job anyone would have. Grrr.

They each grabbed a rake and started to furiously clear the leaves, trying to outdo each other in the amount they raked. After a while, Mrs. Ursaline came out to see how they were doing. She was not impressed. She called the boys over and told them that it wasn’t a race. They needed to be more careful and make sure they got all of the leaves up. They should work as a team.

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Joey and Mikey looked at each other guiltily. She was right. They had done a terrible job. They told her they would go over it again. They divided the yard, and each cub concentrated on getting all of the leaves. When it was done, it looked great.

They decided that they should rake out the den next. That way they could use the best leaves for the bedding. While they were in the den, they started talking to each other again. They decided that it was stupid to fight over Adventure Bear. He probably already had a favorite cub in the area. They decided to be friends again.

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They found some nice, soft moss for the ground and covered it with the best leaves they could find. None of the icky, smelly ones that had already started to rot. Those ones would be good for the garden. They went outside to get started on the garden.

When they got outside, they discovered that it was already starting to get dark. They told Mrs. Ursaline that they would be back the next day to finish. Mrs. Ursaline told them that they were doing a wonderful job, and she looked forward to seeing them again.

At dinner, Joey excitedly told them about his afternoon with Mikey at Mrs. Ursaline’s. He was happiest that he and Mikey were friends again. His mother smiled. She and Mikey’s mom had hoped that would be the result. Joey went to bed early, tired from all the work.

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The next day, they decided that the best way to clean out the garden was to cut back the plants, rake around them, and cover everything with leaves. It was a lot of work, and their paws were sweaty by the time they were done.

That just left the tools. The job was worse than what they expected. They had to wipe everything down, but then they had to cover the tools with grease to protect them from the cold and damp. It was almost impossible to get the sticky stuff off their paws.

Finally it was time for the Adventure Bear dinner. Mikey and Joey sat next to each other. They talked about how great it was to shake Adventure Bear’s paw and how big and strong he was. They promised to still be friends if one of them won the trip.

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Dinner was great, salmon and berries, but the cubs were all impatient to find out who had won. It seemed like forever until a bear stood up and said it was time for Adventure Bear to announce the winner.

Adventure Bear said it was always hard to choose a cub for his adventure; this time it was so hard that he had chosen two winners for the first time ever. He had chosen these two cubs because they had performed their tasks together and had helped each other as well as the bear needing the help. Both essays really demonstrated the Adventure Bear spirit.

Joey and Mikey looked at each other. He had to be talking about them! When Adventure Bear announced their names, they ran to the stage together. They stood on either side of Adventure Bear while he told everyone that they would be hiking up a local hill and looking for grubs and berries.

All of them joined together in a giant “bear” hug.

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18

The Adventure Bear Show (Part 1 of 2)

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Joey and Mikey had been best friends for as long as they could remember. In fact, they were inseparable. Every Wednesday, they’d race to Joey’s den after school. They wanted to make sure they didn’t miss the beginning of Adventure Bear. It was their favorite show. Every week, Adventure Bear would choose one lucky cub to join him on a special adventure like hiking, swimming, or hunting berries.

At the end of the show, Adventure Bear would lead them in their special pledge: “On my honor, I will be a good cub and always help others when I can.” Then he would tell them the next place he would be to meet with his fans and pick the lucky winner. Joey and Mikey would always recite the pledge then hold paws and close their eyes. But Adventure Bear never came near them.

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Then one day, they couldn’t believe their ears. Adventure Bear was coming to their town. Not near, but right there! Joey’s mother came running from the kitchen when she heard all the noise. The boys were so excited that they couldn’t get the words out. They told her that they needed to go online right away to request tickets. Mikey ran out the door to tell his mother.

Joey went to the show’s website and found the place to request tickets. He stopped at the last item on the page. It said, “You know helping others is important to Adventure Bear. Please write about a time recently that you helped someone. Tell Adventure Bear exactly what you did.” Joey didn’t know what to write. He was a good cub, but he couldn’t remember actually helping anyone.

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He almost started to cry. How was he going to get on the show if he hadn’t helped anyone? That was a stupid requirement. How did that prove he was a fan? By the time his mother announced dinner, he was mad. Adventure Bear was a hoax. He pretended to be fun, but he really was just like other adults.

His father said that he’d heard Joey was going to the Adventure Bear show. Joey said that he wasn’t interested in going to the stupid show. His parents looked at each other in amazement. Joey said that he was done with Adventure Bear. He had better things to do with his time.

Baby Julie said that she knew what happened. Joey told her to be quiet. She said that Joey hadn’t helped anyone and couldn’t get the tickets. Joey was embarrassed. Joey’s mother told him that if he did something nice that night, he could write about it. He needed to think about it.

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Joey’s father leaned over and suggested that he offer to do the dishes. Joey hated doing the dishes; it got his fur all soggy. How badly did he want to see Adventure Bear? He sighed. His fur would dry out by bedtime. And he wouldn’t have to tell any of the guys he did girl work.

The next day at school, a bunch of the cubs were talking about Adventure Bear. A couple of them hadn’t registered yet. Joey wondered if they had the same problem he did. But he didn’t ask. He didn’t want to talk about the dishes. He and Mikey talked about how excited they were about meeting Adventure Bear. Neither one had thought about Adventure Bear only taking one cub on the adventure.

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A few days later, both Joey and Mikey got messages telling them that they were invited to a special dinner with Adventure Bear. They would each get to meet him and shake paws. At the end of the dinner, Adventure Bear would announce which cub would be going on his next adventure and what the adventure would be. The message included an application for any cub who was interested in being considered for the adventure.

Joey read the application. Why did he want to meet Adventure Bear? What was his idea of the perfect adventure? What did he admire most about Adventure Bear? He was excited. Joey knew he could write better than most of the other cubs. Then he read the end of the application.

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Adventure Bear was impressed with the help you told him about. Now he would like you to go out and find something extra-special you can do. You have until (10 days later) to return this application.

Great. This was going to be worse than the dishes. He asked his parents what he could do. His mother told him that the Ursalines, an elderly couple, needed someone to do chores around their den before winter. Joey thought it was a fantastic idea and raced out.

He knocked on the door, and Mrs. Ursaline answered. He said that he had heard they needed some help before winter. She smiled and invited him in. When he got in, he saw that Mikey had beat him over.

To be continued.

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(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

16

Cheeseland Personal Ads

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(Please note that Cheeseland is not responsible for the content of these ads. It is solely the responsibility of the individual to determine the truthfulness of any claims.)

Lonely male lion looking for mate. Must be sleek, fast and good at presenting dinner. Please no mothers with cubs. Send RECENT picture to S231@chz.catz.

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Attractive hog looking for love. Do you like walks in the woods? Snuffling for goodies? Wallowing in the cool mud on a hot day? You might be my dream girl. Contact me at S232@chz.catz.

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Single lady groundhog looking for gentleman to den with this winter. Must be of good character. Possibility of romance. Prefer country living.  S233@chz.catz.

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Good-looking Tom cat looking for a kitty to share fun times. If you like hunting mice, chasing bugs, and lapping a bowl of good cream, we should talk. Not looking for a relationship, just a friend. S234@chz.catz.

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Male moose looking for girl to take home to Manitoba. Must be willing and able to walk long distances. Good home, plenty to eat. Remote location with no hunters. S235@chz.catz

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Female raccoon looking for male who enjoys city living. Likes: tipping garbage cans, dumpster diving, woodpiles and garages. Dislikes: plastic lawn ornaments, metal cans, and people. Sound like you? Contact me at S236@chz.catz.

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Female monkey looking for partner. Should be hunky monkey who’s good with keys. I want to escape this cage and run away on a romantic weekend. Family in another country a plus. S237@chz.catz.

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Hunting dog seeking same. I need a partner for an upcoming trip. Must be able to handle loud humans, bad hunting skills, and poor sleep. Potential for permanent home with humans. Interested? S238@chz.catz.

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Male sloth looking for companionship. I have a good coat with an attractive moss cover. Prefer local female. Would like to meet face-to-face within the next six months. S239@chz.catz.

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Adorable kitty looking for Prince Charming. Should be clean and well-mannered. Must be willing to treat me like a princess and fulfill my every whim. Human responses will be considered. S230@chz.catz.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Snoops and Kommando here – Next Thursday is Remember Me Thursday – it’s a reminder that every kitty deserves a forever home. Please do your part and adopt several cats. Kittens are acceptable.

9

Why Wolverines Left Michigan

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Background: When Michigan became a state in 1837, there were thousands of wolverines roaming the state. So when the day came to choose a state animal, the winner was the wolverine. When the University of Michigan began playing intercollegiate football in 1879, they were the Michigan Wolverines. By the middle of the 20th century, wolverines were scarce. By 1997 there were no wolverines in Michigan, and the white-tailed deer became the state animal.

Here is the real reason there are no wolverines in Michigan. (All narration is done by wolverines.)

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1879 (Ann Arbor)

Jimmy: Dad! Did you hear the great news? Some humans are going to play a game called football. And they named the team after us wolverines because we’re so tough.

Dad: That’s nice, Jimmy. Now help me catch something for dinner.

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1890 (Lower Michigan)

Walter: This meal is delicious. I never knew you were such a good hunter.

Emily: Thank you sweetie. I heard something terrible from Betty. Do you remember her nephew Benny?

Walter: Not really. She has about twenty nephews.

Emily: Anyway, some humans got him.

Walter: That’s awful. Did they turn him into stew?

Emily: No; that’s the strange part. They put him in a cage and said they were taking him to school as a mascot.

Walter: What’s a mascot?

Emily: Betty wasn’t really sure, but they said he’d be great on the sidelines.

Walter: How very odd.

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1900 (Lower Michigan)

Joe: You’ll never believe who we saw today!

Peggy: Who?

Joe: George! That guy that the humans trapped last year to take to school.

Peggy: Really? How’d he get out?

Joe: A few of the humans took him out of his cage. They wanted to paint him maize and blue. He didn’t know what it meant but he saw his chance, bit a guy, and raced out. Well, we don’t really race, but you know what I mean.

Peggy: So did he tell you what a mascot is?

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Joe: Apparently when these humans play a game, they like to have a tough animal to represent how tough they are. And if they actually have one of those animals, they show it off to intimidate the other team.

Peggy: Goodness! How awful for the animal.

Joe: George said it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. They fed him as much as he wanted and walked him and gave him a good place to live. But the games were really noisy. And they wouldn’t let him eat any of the injured players, even if they were on the other team.

Peggy: Humans are strange. You would think they would want to eliminate as many enemies as possible.

Joe: George said that they will look for a replacement. We all need to move.

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1910 (mid-Lower Peninsula)

Paul: It looks like it might be time to move north again.

Jan: But it’s so nice here. We have the lake, the sun spots, the children have lots of friends. And there’s plenty to eat.

Paul: It seems that some of those “football players” live around here. They took Jenny with them when they went to school.

Jan: Oh, no! They took a girl?

Paul: Yep. But humans are clueless. They probably can’t tell the difference.

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1920 (below the Straits of Mackinac)

Bill: We’re going to have to do something. Those humans can still find us up here.

Jack: And they want more than one of us now. “In case one dies or runs off.”

Pete: I heard that some of the other students want us as pets. It’s ridiculous. Don’t they know we’re vicious?

Bill: I heard that some of the girl humans think we’re cute.

Pete: Grrr

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1930 (far west of the Upper Peninsula)

Don: Hon, I don’t want to scare you, but the students found us again. They have some kind of contest to see who can capture the biggest, meanest wolverine as mascot. The rest are going to be pets down there.

Ann: I am frightened. You’re a big, mean guy. What if they take you?

Don: It’s OK. The guys and I have a plan. Tonight we’re all going to move over the border to Wisconsin.

Ann: Don’t they have mascots in Wisconsin?

Don: Yes, but they’re badgers. And the fewer of them the better.

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Bucky Badger is the mascot for the University of Wisconsin

Note: Cat is a Michigan alum and would never have a wolverine as a pet. Go Blue!

(All pictures are courtesy of Google Images)

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13

You May Call Me Sir Ian T. Devil

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As part of our series on unique animals this year, we have decided to interview a Tasmanian Devil. Like the rest of our interviews in the series, it presented some unique issues. First of all, Tasmanian Devils eat pretty much anything they come across. They are nocturnal. And they have a reputation for being rather grumpy, to say the least.

It turns out that Tasmanian Devils are rather small, so are only able to eat young kangaroos. We found an adult kangaroo (Geoffrey) willing take on the task. However, we also found a human who would accompany him with a tranquilizer gun, just in case. We really can’t afford to have a reputation for letting our correspondents get eaten.

Geoffrey: Thank you for agreeing to meet with us today. I’m a little surprised we’re doing this during the day. I was under the impression that Devils were nocturnal.

Tasmanian Devil: We are. (looking at the human.) His type like to kill us. We have a problem with eagles as well. So we generally sleep during the day. But we also love to sunbathe; it feels so good on the fur.

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Geoffrey: It says here that your name is Ian.

Tasmanian Devil: Actually it’s Sir Ian Tasmanian Devil. But you are welcome to shorten it to Sir Ian.

Geoffrey (surprised): You’ve been knighted by the Queen? That’s very impressive.

Sir Ian: That’s a stupid question. I’ve never met the queen. I just like the name.

(Geoffrey and the human look at each other. Apparently the report of Devils being difficult is not a myth.)

Geoffrey: Sir Ian, could you tell us a little bit about your community?

Sir Ian: There are about fifteen of us, not counting women and children.

Geoffrey (surprised): Why don’t you count the women and children?

Sir Ian: Another stupid question.

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(Sir Ian doesn’t go further, so Geoffrey decides to move on.)

Geoffrey: What do devils like to eat?

Sir Ian: We Devils are great hunters. Very strong. We can take down prey several times our own size.

Geoffrey: I’ve heard that you also eat things that are already dead. Is that true?

Sir Ian (irritated): Well, of course we do. Who wants all those smelly carcasses lying around?

Geoffrey: Well that does explain your rather unique scent.

Sir Ian: Are you trying to say that I stink? That’s very rude. I don’t need to put up with that.

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(Sir Ian turns to walk away. Geoffrey debates whether to let him go, but decides against it.)

Geoffrey: I apologize Sir Ian. I didn’t mean to be offensive.

Sir Ian: Well, watch your words in the future.

Geoffrey: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Sir Ian: Of course, eating and foraging are great fun. Last week, I dug up a sheep. I’m not sure how old it was, but it was definitely ripe for eating. Totally delish. And young Devils are tender as long as they’re not too old.

(Geoffrey tries to hide his disgust. Luckily Sir Ian is still excited about his meal.)

Geoffrey: So what are your other interests?

Sir Ian: I love to swim. And of course, spend time with the ladies.

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Geoffrey: So you’re not married?

Sir Ian: You are full of stupid questions. Of course not. I like to spread my talents around. There are many good-looking women around. I don’t like to brag, but I am very much in demand.

(Geoffrey looks at the human. The human is trying not to laugh.)

Geoffrey: Why is that, Sir Ian?

Sir Ian (offended): Just look at me. Aren’t I one of the finest specimens of Devil manhood that you have ever seen? Look at the size of my body. And how muscular I am.

Geoffrey: That is true. I guess I really hadn’t looked that closely.

Sir Ian: And you call yourself a journalist? You need to spend more time paying attention to me.

(Geoffrey doesn’t tell Sir Ian that he is repelled by the aroma and can’t get closer for fear of vomiting.)

Geoffrey: Do you have any children?

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Sir Ian (proudly): I have more children than any male around. As I said, I am very popular. And that doesn’t include the ones who have been eaten or died competing for food; it’s only the ones who are still part of the group.

Geoffrey (relieved): Well I think that wraps it up from my end. Is there anything you would like to add?

Sir Ian: I hope that your readership will realize that there is more to us Devils than what that stupid Taz* shows. We are a noble species who deserve a better reputation.

Geoffrey: I will do my best. Thank you for your time.

(Both Geoffrey and Sir Ian walk quickly away. Neither of them can believe he spent so much time with such an idiot.)

*Taz is a Looney Tunes cartoon character with a terrible temper who spends most of his time chasing Bugs Bunny looking for a meal.

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All pictures are courtesy of Google Images