2

Breaking News; Film at 11

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It’s been a pretty exciting day in Cheeseland, and we’re here to bring you the latest on the following stories:

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Cat Burglars Break into Another Animal Mart 

The stealthy felines are at it again. Early this morning, security cameras captured two cats running away from the store with what appeared to be a trout apiece. Unfortunately the video is rather fuzzy, so it’s unclear what they actually look like. A passerby said that one was a tabby and the other a calico. Police are requesting the public’s assistance. If you have any information, you can call 555-HELP.

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Iguanas in Need of New Home

Two young iguanas have left their humans after an extended dispute over the reptiles’ diet. It appears that the humans insisted on sharing their own tastes for arugula and bean sprouts, while the iguanas wanted collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens.  They all agreed on kale and beans, but the iguanas were feeling more lethargic than normal for their species. Animal Aid is hoping to find a reptile family that can foster them. Please note that the two have not reached their full size and could potentially grow another foot in length.

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Dry Weather Affecting Berry Crops

The unusually dry spring and early summer has resulted in a markedly smaller berry crop this year, particularly strawberries and raspberries. As a result, animals that rely on these fruits as a staple in their diets are having a hard time finding them. The berries that are available are extremely expensive. Some bears have been seen foraging in human orchards. We recommend that you go to our website to find the best prices and alternative food sources.

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Protection Against Fleas and Ticks

As you are probably aware, July 21 – 28 is Flea and Tick Awareness Week this year. Unfortunately, the more appropriate dates in May were taken over by the Cicada Welcome Celebration. You can get a free exam at the Health Center all week, as well as information on non-chemical treatment and prevention options.

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Rabies Hospice Center Needs Your Help

Since there still is no cure for rabies, the best that we can do is try to help these animals in their suffering. Since each patient must be kept in isolation, it can be an expensive undertaking. Any financial donation is welcome. The Hospice says that they are well-stocked in poison for those who wish to end their own suffering. Please visit our website for more information on how you can help.

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Preparation for Winter

If you are an animal who hibernates or goes into torpor, it’s not to early to start thinking about your needs for this winter. The Center for Seasonal Studies at the College of Animal Wellness is offering a free seminar on the necessities for survival.It is open to anyone interested in the subject, The seminar is free, but space is limited. Registration is required. Contact the Center for further information.

These are just the highlights of the stories. Join Biff and Buffy tonight at 11 for these stories and more, plus the weather and sports.

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(all pictures courtesy of Google Images)

6

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 3

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The gators made it to Tennessee, but ran into some bad luck there. They were tuned away from the motel because they were alligators. Then the place they chose to sleep turned out to be a cold river, and they were on the edge of torpor. When we left them, they had just been discovered by a couple of bears. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Bear (looking closely): It’s those two alligators from work. What’re they doing here?

Cub: Alligators! Our teacher told us about alligators, but I never thought I’d really see one! They live where it’s hot!

Bear: I know, Billy. These two came up to visit, but weren’t allowed to stay at the motel because the owner was afraid of losing business. They must have decided to sleep here.

Billy: But, daddy, it’s much too cold for them here. They probably can’t even move they’re so cold. We have to help them.

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Bear: What do you think we should do, Billy? Won’t they get better in the morning?

Billy: The teacher said that it takes a long time in the sun for them to wake up. What if it’s not sunny tomorrow? We need to get them out and warm them up.

Abby and Al listened to this, and relaxed a little. At least the bears weren’t talking about eating them. On the other hand, the cub was right. If it didn’t get warm enough to revive them fully, the gators would start going into torpor. They hoped the little bear had some kind of good idea.

Bear (looking at the river): Umm. Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Gator. I’m Will Bear. I think we met earlier today in town. My son tells me that you may be in trouble and we need to get you out of that river. You look kinda long for me to do it by myself, so I’m going to get someone to help. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.

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Will and Billy walked into the woods. The gators waited, hoping for the best. The bears returned home and told the neighbors about the gators. Will’s wife Betty seems a little hesitant.

Betty: Are you sure they’re really alligators? Maybe you two were just looking at a couple of logs.

Will: Dear, we live in the woods. I know what a log looks like.

Billy: And they had eyes.

Betty: I don’t know. Couldn’t they eat us?

Will: They seemed nice enough when I saw them in town. No one would let them stay, so they came out here to sleep.

Billy: Besides, Mom, they can’t move.

Bob: There are more of us than there are of them. If there’s a problem, we can handle it.

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The bears went down to the river. They appeared to be puzzled.

Bob: There’s definitely a couple of reptiles in there. But they’re big and look like they’re stuck in the mud. How do we get them out?

George: I think we need three bears per gator. One at the head, one at the tail, and one in the middle. If we lift together, it should work.

Bob: OK. Then what do we do?

Will: We’ll take them back to my den. I’ll get my older boys to help us warm them up.

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The gators were a little concerned about this plan, but really didn’t have a choice. They hoped they didn’t end up in three pieces getting out of the river. The bears climbed in and put their paws under the gators. With a little effort, they got the gators out of the mud. The six bears managed to get the two gators to Will’s den and lay them down.

Betty: OK, Joe and Jim are here. Now what?

They all stood in silence, watching the gators.

Billy: I know! We’re all warm and furry. Let’s put them between us tonight. Maybe it will be enough to get their blood flowing.

Abby was terrified. But before she knew it, she was between two large sleeping bears. She tried to relax. Before she knew it, the bears were moving again.

Betty: Good morning, everyone. How are our guests doing?

Billy: Let me see!

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The larger bears got up and looked at the gators. The larger one tried to say something.

Will: What’s he saying?

Billy (leaning down): I think it’s “Thank you.”

Will: It’s quite all right, Mr. Gator. Are you OK?

Al closed his eyes again. Will nudged him with a paw to see if he was still alive.

Al: Need more sleep.

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Will: I have to get to work. The rest of you lay down again. Don’t get up until they can stand.

The bears surrounded the gators again and relaxed. By the time Will got home, everyone was up and talking.

Abby: Here he is. Our hero!

Will (embarrassed): It wasn’t me. If Billy hadn’t noticed you, none of the rest would have happened.

Abby: We were all laughing about how we were afraid we would be eaten by the other.

Betty: It’s such a shame that they couldn’t stay in town. They are such nice creatures.

Will: You know how they are in there. If you’re not a small mammal, they’re sure you out to make them dinner.

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Al: But you work there.

Will: As security. That’s the only job a bear can get. Just in case something bad comes walking through the door.

Billy: Well I’m glad they wouldn’t let the gators stay. I never would have met them otherwise. And now they’re staying!

Betty: I’ve convinced them to stay a couple of days with us. I’m going to show them a couple of nice sunny spots for daytime, and they can sleep here.

Will: That’s great! Welcome!

The gators ended up having a great vacation. They spent the days in the sun, and the bears caught fish for dinner. They knew the other gators would never believe them, so they took lots of pictures and promised to keep in touch.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

8

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 2

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Al and Abby Gator have left their swamp in southern Florida for a visit to more temperate Tennessee. You can read Part 1 here.

Soon enough Abby and Al had a good idea of what the human’s desire to “go viral” was going to mean for them. It seemed like every time they started making progress on the drive, they would pull over. It was usually at a gas station or restaurant. The guy would get out and invite people over to see “his” alligators. Invariably he would draw a crowd of people to look at his “tame” alligators. It was totally humiliating, and the Gators hoped no one they knew would see it.

Abby and Al tried to endure it with dignity. It was terrible having a bunch of humans trying to put dirty hands on their bodies. It wasn’t even the children who wanted to pet them; it was the adults. Finally Al had enough. When one particularly obnoxious man said he wanted to “pet the suitcase-to-be”, Al snapped at him.

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The driver loved it. At the next stop, he showed the video of the “vicious” alligator he was courageously transporting. Luckily they arrived at Orlando before Al tried to discover how courageous he really was. They were dropped at the station for the Raccoon Brothers Regional Rail Lines.

Abby: Thank goodness! I thought we’d never get here.

Al (growling): It’s a good thing. The world was almost minus a couple of humans. Not that anyone would have noticed those two were gone.

Abby: Forget about them. I’m so excited! We’re finally on our way!

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Conductor: Welcome aboard. We don’t see many alligators.  May I see your tickets, please?

(Abby hands them to him.)

Conductor (looking at the tickets): Don’t think I’ve ever seen a gator go that far north. You sure this is really where you want to go?

Abby: Oh yes! I’ve done a lot of research. We can’t wait!

Conductor: Well then, have a wonderful time.

Abby: See how nice he was? He wasn’t even afraid of us.

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Al: I guess you’re right. This will be a good trip. I’m worn out from that horrible truck ride. Wake me when we get there.

(Al fell asleep almost immediately. Abby cuddled up next to him and was soon asleep too. A while later, the conductor noticed that their breathing had slowed considerably. Afraid of what would happen if they got too cold, he found a large blanket and covered them.)

Abby: Al! Wake up! Look out the window!

Al (mumbling): mmm…why?

Abby: We’re almost there. It’s very pretty.

Al (looking out): Where are we?

Abby: Tennessee, silly. Don’t you remember?

Al: What happened to the ground? It’s not flat.

Abby: I know! The conductor says that the little ones are called hills and the big ones are mountains.

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Al: And the trees look funny. Where are the palms and the cypress trees?

Abby: They don’t have those here.

Al: We better take pictures of it. The other gators will never believe this.

(The train stops and they get off. The sun is hot, and Al relaxes a little. )

Al: So where’s the swamp? I want to bask and warm up a little.

Abby: This is Tennessee. They don’t have swamps. They have rivers.

Al: You didn’t tell me they don’t have swamps.

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Abby (nervously): I didn’t know they didn’t have swamps. I thought there were swamps everywhere, so I didn’t ask.

Al: What’s wrong, Abby?

Abby: Everyone’s staring at us. And I don’t see a single reptile anywhere.

Al: I’m sure they’re staring because you’re so beautiful. Where are we staying?

Abby (pointing): Over there. The Critter Comfort Inn.

(They enter the lobby. The lobby empties and the little opossum behind the desk faints. The gators look around, confused. The manager, a rather large raccoon, comes out. He is accompanied by two large bears.)

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Manager: May I help you?

Abby: Yes, please. We have a reservation. It’s under Al and Abby Gator.

Manager (looking at his computer): Did you register online?

Abby: Yes.

Manager: What did you put down as species?

Abby: Alligator, of course.

Manager (embarrassed): There seems to be a problem with your reservation. It shows the species as “unknown”. The system doesn’t recognize “alligator.” We’ve never had one stay here.

Al (irritated): Is that a problem?

Manager: Unfortunately, it is. We cater to small mammals.

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Al: And you can’t make an exception?

Manager: I’d like to. You seem like nice folks. But like I said, we cater to small mammals. If word got out that we had alligators here, it would ruin our business.

Abby: Why?

Al (sarcastically): Because they think we’re going to eat them.

Manager: I’m sorry. But alligators do have that reputation.

Al: Fine. We’ll take our business elsewhere.

(The gators stalked out without eating anyone. As a gesture of goodwill they left a bag of their favorite treats, Boa Bites. They thought the mammals probably didn’t like snakes either.)

Abby (sobbing): I’m so sorry Al. I had no idea they’d be so specie-ist. They looked so nice in the pictures.

Al: Don’t worry, honey. We’ll hydrate ourselves in one of their rivers and take the next train home.

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Abby: OK. But let’s go out of town. I don’t like it here.

(They found a nice spot with a soft sandy bottom. Neither of them realized that the night air would get as chilly as it did. They were unable to move when they heard a noise.)

Cub: Daddy, what are those?

(The gators looked up to see one of the large bears they had seen earlier at the Comfort Inn.)

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Next time: Dinner Guest or Dinner? The Conclusion

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

9

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation

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It had been abnormally hot and steamy in the southern Florida swamp. While most of the gators loved it, Abigail had had enough. She was a Carolina gator who had met Al on a spring trip to Panama City. It was love at first sight, and they spent their time curled up in a hot tub some human had forgotten to drain.

When it was time to go home, Al invited Abby to come with him. She didn’t hesitate and had been living south of Miami ever since. It had been an adjustment. She thought it smelled weird, and all the gators did was lie around. She loved Al and she soon adapted. But this summer was too much.

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Abby: Al, the heat is starting to make me cranky.

Al: Sweetheart, you’re an alligator. Being cranky is part of our charm.

Abby: I want to go somewhere for vacation.

Al: OK, we can go to somewhere on the coast. You pick the spot.

Abby: I was thinking a little more north.

Al: Back to Panama City? That would be nice.

Abby: Um. A little further north.

Al: How much further north?

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Abby: Tennessee.

Al: Where is Tennessee? I’ve never heard of it.

Abby: It’s north of Georgia.

Al: That doesn’t sound very tropical. Exactly how far is it?

Abby (hesitating): Well, I couldn’t get the exact mileage, but it’s about 850 miles.

Al: 850 miles! Abby, we’re alligators. It would take us years. There’s no way we can take that kind of trip. Find someplace closer or we’re not going.

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Abby (starting to cry): Just look at the pictures. See, the humans are wearing shorts. That means it’s warm. And the place I found has a hot tub. It’ll be romantic, just like when we first met. We can leave the kids with your sister.

Al: What’s that big, furry thing standing in this picture?

Abby: It says it’s a bear. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s well-mannered since it’s at a resort.

Al: I don’t see any alligators in these pictures. All the animals are furry.

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Abby: I’m sure it’s just because of where they took the pictures.

Al realizes that Abby really has her heart set on going to this place.

Al: OK. How do we get there?

Abby: I thought that we could take an airplane, but we gators don’t have our own airline. Apparently, not enough of us fly. We used to be able to take All Animals, but they went out of business. The last one available is Creature Air Comfort, but they’ve banned gators.

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Al: Isn’t that discriminatory?

Abby: Apparently not. In the past few years, there have been five instances of gators eating other passengers.

Al: Trust some hooligans to ruin it for everyone.

Abby: So the next fastest way to get there is by train. The only problem is that the trains from Miami charge gators double because of the eating other passengers thing. We’d need to go to Orlando to get a decent rate. Apparently there are lots of humans in the area who spoil the alligators, so they don’t bother the other animals.

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Al: Well, there’s one positive to the human invasion down here. So how do we get to Orlando?

Abby: Well your sister Jean told me about something the humans have, called ride-sharing. Some people do it because they’re friends, but other people do it for anyone to make money.

Al: Well, that’s great, but we don’t know any humans.

Abby: Jean does. Some guy who was out here taking pictures. He said that driving alligators to Orlando would make him “viral.” We don’t know what that means, but she made sure that he would deliver us to the train station alive and in good shape.

Al (defeated): So when does he pick us up?

Early Saturday morning, the driver arrives in an old pickup truck. He has filled the bed with water after laying down blankets for their comfort. He has a friend who is recording everything while talking the whole time. Abby and Al climb in, ready to start their adventure.

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Next time: Tennessee is definitely not the tropics.

(Pictures courtesy of Google Images)

 

 

14

Ragnhild and the Big Cats

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We were able to score an interview with the awesome Ragnhild from Green Lights Ahead. She writes a blog from Norway, but has spent time in Namibia with the big cats. (That’s in Africa for you domestic cats who don’t get out much.) She has also been other places. (We saw a picture of a kangaroo while looking through her site.) Ragnhild writes poetry and various other things, but we really like her pictures. You should definitely stop by.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from Norway and am currently in nursing school. I’m an obsessive Netflix-watcher, love to dance, and have a passion for sleeping. However, most of all I’m a traveler. Anywhere, anytime.

Have you ever lived with a domestic cat?

No, sadly I haven’t. I hope to one day though!

Why were you out among the big cats?

I went to Namibia to be part of a volunteer project for some of the native species.

I helped take care of hurt animals and their environment

Did you actually live out in the open with them?

Yes and no. They were supposed to be in their designated (fenced off) areas; supposed being the keyword.

We got close… In all senses of the word.

It looks like some of your friends there were not cats or humans. What other species did you live amongst?

Meerkats, caracals, hyenas, vultures, vervets, warthogs, baboons (lots of baboons) and many more.

And ostriches!

Did you discover different personalities?

Yes! Cheetahs are kind of like dogs – they can be somewhat trained, but can also be deadly. Leopards are the scary version of housecats – love to be pet, but can, and probably will, kill you if hungry or annoyed.

As for the other animals I interacted with, baboons are the ones I remember the most. They can play all day long, and some of them are smart enough to figure out locks. In addition, a group of baboons is called a troop, and my scars can testify to that behind those cute eyes, there is a being surprisingly similar to a human – calculating, protective of its own, and yet violent and aggressive.

Baboon vs turtle!

 Did you learn anything from them?

I learned a lot. One of the most important ones probably being how to protect myself. I also developed a new understanding of how dominance works – true animalistic dominance.

There are four cheetahs in this photo, can you find them all?

 Did you have a favorite?

This is like asking me which of my children I love the most – if I had had children. But I did love a leopard named Missy Jo. She was the epitome of majestic and had a purr stronger than any I’ve ever heard. I also enjoyed the company of the caracals; their enclosure was my safe haven on bad days. Eventually, I did love a few of the baboons too, even though they probably hurt me the most.

This is her and one of her best friends. Probably one of my favorite pictures.

Do you miss them?

Sometimes I miss them more than words can express, while other times I’m glad that they are several flights away. I had the highest highs with them, but also my deepest lows.

But who wouldn’t miss this?

What advice do you have for someone who might want to do what you did?

Research, research, research. Find somewhere with a better insurance for your safety, and while there – remember that it’s probably a once in a lifetime; enjoy it, and don’t give up.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Just thank you for having me! Now I can cross Cheeseland of my Bucket List too!

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6

So Ugly I’m Cute?

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(ed. note – Due to the reaction humans have to blobfish looks, Bob has requested that we only use one picture. Therefore, the rest of the pictures will not be of blobfish.)

Hobart, Tasmania – Greetings. Ahab the Whale here. As you may recall, Cat wanted each of us to report on an unusual animal this year. Recently I received a reader request to know more about blobfish. Since Oceania is my beat, I thought I’d do both at the same time.

Easier said than done. Blobfish live far, far under the sea. They move along just above the ocean floor. Way, way too much pressure for a guy like me. No Internet. No cell phones. I talked with my colleagues. Someone knew a guy who knew a guy who had done something with blobfish. It was the best I got.

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The guy suggested I set up a relay to get the questions down and the answers up. I needed three intermediaries between me and Bob the blobfish, with an equal number of translators. I hope I didn’t lose everything in translation.

Ahab: It’s nice to meet you Bob.

Bob: Thanks for talking to me.

Ahab: Pardon me for asking. Do you look like a blob?

Bob (sighing): No I look pretty much like any other fish down here. But because it’s so deep I don’t need much in the way of muscle or bone to keep my shape. Those stupid humans have never seen me down here.

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Ahab: You’ve never met a human?

Bob: No it’s way too deep for them. They only see us when one of us gets caught in their fishing nets.

Ahab: That’s a shame. I’ve seen some of them after they’ve been in the water for a while. Not a pretty site. Just like them to judge though.

Bob: Since they can’t come down here, they can’t see what we really look like. I’ve heard them say we’re about 12 inches long and 20 pounds. I don’t know what that means, but I’m guessing it’s dead weight. (A little blobfish humor, I think.)

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Ahab: So is the food good?

Bob: Not bad. We mainly eat crabs, sea urchins, and shellfish. We just move along and wait for it to swim into our mouths.

Ahab: That is a good deal. Do you have to worry about someone else swimming along and getting you?

Bob: We’re pretty much top of the food chain down here. Except for the humans of course. I’ve heard we don’t even taste good to them. They think we’re “rubbery.”

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Ahab: That’s probably good. I’ve heard they’re rather tasty.

Bob: Hmm, that’s interesting. (I think this might have been a side comment from one of the translators.)

Ahab: Do you have a partner or children?

Bob: I don’t believe the humans know anything about our reproduction, and I’d prefer to leave it that way. Once they know anything, they always want to know more.

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Ahab: I understand completely. It’s really rather embarrassing the amount of time they spend discussing the sex lives of other species. The other thing is how long we live. What difference does it make to them? We don’t care.

Bob: Exactly! It’s not like there’s any way to tell down here.

Ahab: You’ve been a wonderful guest. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Bob: I would like to suggest that it’s not very polite for the humans to have a contest for the ugliest animal.

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(Canadian Mr. Rude)

Ahab: Don’t let it bother you, Bob. They only do it to take their minds off how funny looking they are.

Bob: Thanks, Ahab. It was nice talking to you.

Ahab: Take care of yourself, Bob.

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(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

3

Vox Animalibus*

*Voice of the Animals

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Angus McFluffin

 

We received a lot of feedback from our recent article, Cat Forum: Interview with Abby. We thought that we would share some of it with you.

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Princess Pawsome: I enjoyed your recent interview with Abby. I thought it was very interesting to hear from such a nice dog. Perhaps in the future, you could do interviews with other animals. Maybe you could talk to a bird or a fish.

(Thank you for your idea. We will put that in our file for further research.)

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Muffy Manx: I think that Abby sounds like a very sweet doggy. However, I read Cat Forum to learn about cats and cat stuff. I don’t think dogs fit in either of those categories. If you do something similar in the future, maybe you could call it “Animal Forum” or something so I will know not to read it.

(Thank you for your feedback. We apologize if we created any confusion.)

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Maxx Katt: Thank you for your recent Cat Forum about Abby. I read it to my girls and they loved it. However, now they want to get a dog. I have no idea where to look. Would you please advise?

(We have never actually had a dog in-house. However, we recommend that you try the local shelter.)

Probably the most unusual feedback we got came from a dog:

Louie Dog: I don’t get how a nice dog like Abby would get caught up with a group like you. I know Abby, and I can’t believe she’d talk to a bunch of cats. Cats! I hate cats.

Needless to say, Snoops and Kommando Kitty were pretty upset by Louie. But since we are an equal opportunity organization, we decided to give Louie the chance to explain himself.

Snoops and Kommando refused to talk to him. So we put our new investigative reporter, Angus MacFluffin. on the job. His interview follows.

Is it true that you hate cats?

Well, it’s not that I hate them. They’re just so funny looking and easy to chase.

Have you ever met a cat?

Actually I live with 3 cats. They really don’t care for me due to the fact that I look at them as targets to chase!! Hahahahahahahhaaha

Rumor has it that you have used controlled substances. Is that true?

Well see my extravagant human mom smokes constantly and I love to smell her tubes and bags. I can’t help it – they smell so good!!!! I love to roll around in her empty bags!

Do you think that it’s has any impact on your opinion of things?

No, I don’t. I think helps out a lot people and dogs. It helps my mom’s moods… she yells A LOT.

What breed of dog are you? Do you consider yourself a large dog?

I am a handsome fluffy full of p*** and vinegar 24/7 Shitzu. I have a large macho man personality! I’m very aggressive with my woman Roxie and she’s a German Shepard!

Do you get along with other dogs?

Well like I said I have a woman. It’s a cougar thing – she’s very old. And we have a roommate named Rascal. He’s a pug, and he’s off the charts of being on the weird side. I only like these 2 dogs; others I don’t pay no mind to.

What about other animals?

I wouldn’t know. I’ve only came across cats and dogs.  But mom keeps asking me about an iguana…. whatever the h*** that thing is.

Do you always have such a strong opinions about things?

Yes I do. I hate it when my mom doesn’t let me always have my way!!!! I get very, very vocal with her even though I’m going to get yelled at and my cookies taken from me!! Seriously – the cookies??

Do you think your human has any impact on the way you feel about things?

No – I really don’t know – she’s crazy – even though – we clash but I know she means well… FYI SHES SO D*** LOUD! She keeps saying it’s a Leo thing like I’m supposed to know what that means. Hahahaha

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

No there isn’t. But I read Abby’s interview and I loved it. That’s my home girl even though she don’t ever wanna play with me!! Love her human, though. Wendy’s so nice to me!

(ed. note –  We will not be interviewing any more dogs for Cat Forum.)