Piney napping in his new homePhoto by: Chelsea Carson

— by Dawn Harrison —

Moving days are stressful enough, but imagine if you were moved and no one told you what was happening. That would quickly turn a stressful day into a scary day. For Piney the Porcupine, moving day was a little scary. He had to wait in an unknown area with the sounds of construction going on around him. Luckily, it was a short-lived experience and he wasn’t actually getting relocated—he was getting an upgrade. Even then, I wanted to make sure he knew what was going on, so I did something that usually works for calming down kids and dogs: I sat and told him a story:

Once upon a time, there was a handsome porcupine named Piney. One morning, Piney woke up to find himself in a scary new place with lots of loud noises. He still saw his neighbors, Loki and Foxie Moxie, but he didn’t know what was going on and he was worried. He thought that maybe he was going to be moved away from his friends and his yard. There were a lot of loud noises and he even watched as his house was taken away. “Oh no!” he thought, “Where am I going to sleep?” But just as he thought he would have to sleep out in the open, he saw that a brand new house was going into his yard. “Hmm, maybe this won’t be so bad. But I’m still not convinced.” Pretty soon, Piney was moved back into his yard. He ran all around it and found that all of his sticks and climbing places were still there. And best of all, he had a brand new house that was bigger and better! Not long after looking all around, he ended up splayed out on his favorite nap branch. “Okay,” he thought, “this will do.” Piney lived happily ever after in his new house and his favorite yard.

The best part of the story was that even though it was meant to be for Piney, his neighbor friends all got to listen in, too. By the end of the story, the foxes around me had calmed down and were watching me with their heads on their paws and Piney had gone from pacing to tucked up and napping. I guess sometimes you just need a good story and a little bit of reassurance that everything will be okay.

Chickens Walk on Dogs!?!

Brunhilde, ever trying to be the office chicken, was unsurprisingly in the office again today. She had to pass by Zak, one of the German Shepherds, who was lounging in the doorway, but she was so determined to come in that his presence was no big deal. When I told her she had to go out and then herded her toward the door, Zak immediately changed from “no big deal” to complete blockade, even though he hadn’t moved a muscle. Upon further prodding, Brunhilde finally decided that she could pass by the almighty Zak. Well, not exactly pass by—more like run over him. Literally. She ran right across his shoulder and down his hip. Zak’s surprise was only temporary. With all the sassy chickens we have around here, he must be used to it by now. 

Two images of people on a construction site

Chelsea, Caleb, and Ross working on Tahi’s new garden| Dawn Harrison

Breaking Ground on Tahi’s Garden

The plans for Tahi the Cougar’s new garden have been in the works for quite a long time, and we have officially started construction. We dismantled a couple of fences in the bear garden to make room for a mini excavator, which we used to dig for posts and level the sleeping quarters. Chelsea, our Director of Outreach, put on another hat and worked alongside Ross, the contractor helping us make the garden come to fruition, and Caleb, one of our ranch hands. We’re all very excited that this project is finally becoming a reality, and soon Tahi will have her new romping grounds!

Dawn Harrison is the Office and Ranch Manager at Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. With a diverse background ranging from accounting and customer service to animal caretaking, her true passion is to help enrich the lives of animals, one being at a time.

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