We had an overnight guest this week. Tommys an animal lover and we cant take a walk at night without having four or five cats run out to the sidewalk to be petted. He makes this little click-click? sound that makes the fur-balls come running. Its endearing, in a way, but breaks my stride.
Same goes for dogs. Well be walking down the alley and a dog will be defending its territory. Tommy will coo and the dogs will wallow with affection. Hes a regular urban Dr. Doolittle.
Im sure a few readers will write in and say this is dangerous, but I have not found a way to talk him out of it.
I dont question it anymore when he sees a dog that looks obviously lost and scared. Three times weve pulled over to check their tags, and the dog jumps in the back of the car.
The animals usually have tags, so you just have them in your house for a few hours, make them feel comfortable and wait for the owner to come over and shower you with thanks. Either that or you walk around the neighborhood and ask a few neighbors and they help you point the dog home.
We saw a scared dog off The Esplanade this weekend.
Tommy pulled over and said something like git? and the dog instantly jumped into the back of the car.
We named him Rex.?
It was a Sunday so we couldnt call the Butte Humane Society.
Rex? found a nice spot on the couch and was obviously well-trained and well-loved. He didnt have a collar but we could tell he had owners because he smelled like shampoo.
It turns out the owners had just washed him and somehow the tag did not get back on immediately.
We took him for a walk to chat with neighbors and found out he was a pit bull. I know people have different opinions about pit bulls. I dont want to debate that here and am not absolutely certain how I feel.
However, I know this breed is more difficult to adopt out at the shelters, so we wanted to make sure we made an effort to find the owner of this well-trained and sweet dog.
We hoped he would recognize his house and run up to the front door and have some glorious reunion with his owner. But he ended up just sniffing all over the place.
This dog was very gentle, and wanted to go home.
Before we had a chance to put out the fliers we had made, my friend Julie and I stopped at the Chico shelter and looked in a book they have there where people can write a note if they lost a pet or found one.
It took only a minute and I saw the entry about the dog with a distinctive floppy ear and one ear that was upright.
Meanwhile, Julie said we needed to visit the celebrity kitty? room while we were at the shelter. This was a totally gut-wrenching experience. There were about three cats that I instantly fell in love with, and I told Julie she was evil for bringing me in there.
These pets were obviously very lovable. One black manx kitty rolled around on the ground exposing her tummy. It was very difficult to leave without a new friend, but Ive decided to wait a while before having another long-term relationship with a cat.
Tommy returned the dog, named Porter, that afternoon and the owners were really happy.
I remember those Peanuts cartoons where all the characters are holding hands and singing, their eyes closed and big giant smiles on their faces.
This moment was like that.
Fabulous Phil called this week just to chat about his garden. The experts say we can expect temperatures into the low 20s today and through the weekend.
Phils concern is about one avocado tree and several citrus he has been nurturing over the last several years.
Phil teased me because for several years Ive been haranguing him about a big stand of bamboo in one part of the yard. The bamboo is evil and invasive and once established can be difficult to keep from turning the yard into a jungle. My friend always defends himself and says Im overreacting.
Just to rub in the usefulness of this plant for which I have an obvious prejudice, Phil gloated about how he went over to his bamboo stand, hacked out some tall poles and made teepees. He then covered his tender trees with freeze cloth. He said hes had good luck with it over the past several years, but is still worried his young plants could get harmed this weekend.
He also built some elaborate frost protection with straw bales. Straw is known for being a very good insulator.
He stood the bales all around his young avocados and then stuffed more straw in the center. Well be curious to see how that works for him.
The Mexicola avocado variety is supposed to have better frost resistance.
For people who dont have time to build straw forts, some frost protection can be gained by hanging Christmas tree lights on tender plants.
Another is water. Heat generated by freezing water is supposed to keep your plants protected.
But also be prepared that some things will die. Dont expect the summers glorious Vinca rosea to make it through the winter and if a few other plants bite the dust, theres always something new to plant in spring.