Three orphaned squirrel babies snuggle in a towel

Dear Squirrel Momma, We have your three babies and they are doing well. You took such good care of them---all three were sleek and well fed. Together, they must weigh more than you! How did you keep them all fed and cleaned so well? You had to feed yourself and make enough milk for them---and during the winter. What an amazing feat. The first couple of days were a difficult adjustment for all of us, as they didn’t like the rubber nipple and we couldn’t get them to defecate after the change in diet, but it looks like that challenge is over. The milk formula we give them is no substitute for yours, made by your very body and taken into theirs in an exquisite continuity of Squirrelness...

Grizzly Bear Laying on snow-covered log

This may not seem like a big deal unless you have bears residing on your property. Then, you’ll spend the winter worrying about them---how CAN they live without food and water? They can’t be alive! I’ve had 23 years of winter worry for our older bears, and although they come out of hibernation alive each year, you can never worry too much. Well, maybe you can---but it doesn’t feel like a choice, despite comforting myself with the fact that we’ve all been okay for nearly a quarter of a century. It truly is a miracle. In any case, all five made it, coming out with varying degrees of energy and not always looking their most intelligent. We ordered boxes of dark lettuce to help...

Young wolf standing against the backdrop of the blue sky

— By Dawn Harrison — There are just as many personality differences in animals as there are in people, a concept that becomes more evident to me each time I do my daily rounds. While Tanaka the wolf and I are now good friends and he excitedly greets me on my daily visits, not everyone has the same reaction. I just keep reminding myself that Tanaka and I weren’t always friends and he went through his steps just like each animal will go through theirs. Tundra is a handsome young wolf. He has had less opportunity to be handled by people, and as a result, is much more wary of the humans around him. Despite this, I find myself making progress. It started one day when he approached the...

Woman cuddling with black and white malamute dog

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I had a beautiful dream in the early morning hours, though it didn’t start that way. I was at the vet with my malamute, Woodle. She was on the operating table and she was dead (she passed away a year and a half ago). But then she made a little movement and she was somehow maybe alive. The vet did something to her and she made a huge and sudden evacuation of gas, stirred, and sat up! It was very disorienting---how could she be alive after being dead? Dare I believe it? But there she was. She lay down on the table, leaning against me. I was in shock---she was there! I could touch her! I had my Woodle back! Was it real? Not possible! How could it be possible?...

White German Shepherd Dog laying in the middle of a cross-country ski single track

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — In my personal opinion, it is entirely unnecessary extra exercise to have to cross country ski in deep snow with an 81.4 pound white German shepherd attaching himself to the tip of my left ski with great enthusiasm with each stride I take. (For some reason, he prefers the left.) He, apparently, thinks it is entirely necessary---and that it’s tremendous fun, growling and barking as he attacks the constantly moving target. When he is not attaching himself he pulls out large branches of sagebrush and drops them directly in my path (the only place he drops them). Or racing from behind with one so big that it hits me in the back of my knee. Shota and the...

Bobcat walking through deep snow

— by Dawn Harrison — Winter and an aging bobcat with arthritis? Not a great mix. Better the Bobcat has been ailing for some time. We’ve been trying to figure out what mix of supplements, vitamins, and feed would help poor Better feel better. The journey has taken months and included help from vets, research, and trial and error, and so far, it seems like nothing has worked. But still we clung to the hope of a solution for Better. So imagine my surprise when I walked by Better’s enclosure and, instead of limping up to the gate, he runs up and swipes out at my feet! My heart leaped for joy. Every animal is different, just like every human. We know that what works for one doesn’t...

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