Woman holding a black and white fox

— By Dawn Harrison — In a recent team meeting, we talked about the connections that each of us have with the animals. It struck me just how similar humans and animals are when it comes to making friends and connections, and that those connections don’t need to be textbook definitions. As each of us talked about the different animals who seemed to most enjoy our company, I had to think of how the personalities of humans and animals came out. In some ways, it took me back to high school. Loki the fox is like the kid who everyone knows, everyone likes, and who is kind to everyone. Always willing to stop and chat. Truly enjoying every interaction, whether it be with underclassmen,...

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...

A Wolf-Dog and two German Shepherds

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I guess all of us change over the years. Hopefully we grow. Hope the wolf dog did. We rescued Hope a few years ago. He was a feral wolf dog, haunting a subdivision and looking for canine company. No one knew where he came from. Members of the subdivision were afraid of him and worried he would eat their dogs. They asked the sheriff to remove him. After attempts to trap him were unsuccessful, the decision was made to shoot him. But one subdivision family understood that his “lurking presence” was from loneliness rather than intent to do harm. They called us and asked if we could help. We were able to trap him and bring him home. (Read the story of how he...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took Shota, my sensitive, gentle German Shepherd pup to Sun Valley, Idaho, for an examination by a specialist. He has had a limp for a couple of months now. Our local vet, examining him, had referred us to the Sun Valley vet. She said she could feel something in his shoulder but it needed an expert diagnosis with an advanced CAT scan machine and probable surgery. Speaking on a video call with wildlife vet Linda Bender about a program we were planning, I mentioned that I would be leaving the next day for Shota’s possible surgery. We continued talking and suddenly she blurted out, “He doesn’t want surgery.” A little confused because we had been...

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