Kitten Meets Hedgehog

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If you follow me on Twitter (@Kyrieosityblog), then you may have seen me tweet the cover of a new book that I purchased while I was in Oregon. It is called Unlikely Friendships. It is a collection of stories by Jennifer S. Holland about animals who have befriended each other in unique circumstances. I can’t wait to dive into this book and share some of the stories with you! Until then, enjoy this sweet little video of a babycat inspecting her new friend.

UPDATE: Nicky, the Blind Baby Rhino

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@BBCNature

Do you all remember the story I posted about a month ago? Nicky, the Blind Baby Rhino was rescued by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy when they noticed he was behaving oddly — running into things, straying from his mother, looking generally lost. Upon closer inspection, the team realized he had cataracts and was blind.

On February 26, @BBCNature tweeted that Nicky was about to undergo his operation to restore his sight.

Unfortunately, @SaveTheRhino updated on the operation the following day to say that the vet had concluded that the operation would not restore his vision, meaning Nicky will be blind for life.

This is very upsetting news, but there is a lighter side to the story: just like Desmond, Nicky has never had sight, so he does not know that he is “missing out” on anything. He is adapting to his world, and under the care of Mike Watson, Nicky is living a pretty posh life. As far as I know, he still hates the rain, and is still best friends with the Watson’s yellow labrador.

Cheers, Nicky! You have a lot of fans across the globe who are excited to watch you grow.

An Encouraging Day

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I posted a picture of Desmond to the Black Cat Appreciation Page on Facebook, and people have been so incredibly supportive of my little blind cat. In honor of him and of all the kind-hearted souls out there who took a minute of their day to appreciate a stranger’s cat, thought I would share some more photos of my little sweetheart.

In these pictures, you can see him doing all of his favorite things: wrestling his (second) favorite toy called “Dragon,” snuggling, listening to the “water birds” in the sink, playing in a crinkly paper bag, and licking a tiny treat of whipped cream off of his nose.

Newfs

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They look like bears. Sometimes people mistake them for “those black St. Bernards,” but neither of those assumptions is right. Tonight, we’re talking about Newfoundlands! The shaggy, drool-y dogs that are as gigantic as they are sweet.

I had the immense pleasure of wrestling and snuggling this beautiful dog, Belle. She is a total sweetheart and inspired me to find out more information about her breed.

Belle was rescued from the side of the road when she was a tiny puppy. She has one white spot on her front leg, which was broken when she was found and taken to the vet. The vet thinks that it was because of this “imperfection” that she was abandoned. I happen to be quite close to Belle’s new family, and even though she had a rough start to life, I don’t think she could have found a better home than the one she is in now.

Belle

Belle, today. Have you ever seen a friendlier face?

Newfoundlands, fondly called “Newfs” or “Newfies,” originated in – you guessed it – Newfoundland (now part of Canada), and were commonly used on fishing boats. Newfs have webbed toes and are incredibly strong, so they were able to haul heavy fishing nets out to sea. There is no way I would be able to do that! Newfs do not do the “doggy paddle” like other dogs. Instead, they move their legs in a down-and-out motion, which would kind of be like a dog-modified breast stroke. This makes them extra powerful.

They were also very skilled at saving crewmembers (or others) who had fallen into the freezing waters. Stories of rescues led by Newfoundlands go all the way back to 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte was kept afloat in the ocean until he could reach safety by a Newfoundland. The dog had jumped off of a fishing boat to rescue Mr. Bonaparte during his escape from exile on the island of Elba.  This is just one example. Google “Newfoundland dog rescues…” and you will find countless stories of these courageous “gentle giants.” You can also find statues of them! Explorer Meriwether Lewis had a Newf companion named “Seaman.” There is a statue of them on Quality Hill in Kansas City, MO.

Loyal and intelligent, Newfs are great family dogs who can tolerate kids, other pets, and family visitors. On average, they grow up to be 150 pounds, but even with all that mass, they remain very gentle. The largest Newf on record weighed 260 pounds and was over six feet long from nose to tail. Whoah.

A lot of people are afraid of big dogs, but if put in charge of a baby, Newfs are natural nannies (Nana from Peter Pan, anyone?) and I have heard that they will not sleep until they are relieved of duty. They are some of the most docile and loving creatures you will ever meet.

Have you ever met a Newfoundland? I think they have an amazing history, and I love how their bodies have evolved to make them swimming machines. What kind of dog(s) do you have?