Is it really food violence to eat a chicken?

Lucy, one of the hens in my flock.

Last week I was in a hurry to get to a meeting and needed to get something quick for dinner, so I bought a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery. As I pushed my cart through the store, I kept looking at the chicken and seeing my hen Lucy's head on the lemony peppered chicken body.Seeing a whole chicken is different than a package of parts. It reminded me that my food came from a living animal, that I care about how the animal was raised and where it came from and how that affected … [Read more...]

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin dead at 48

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who passed away this week. (photo

 The dog community is mourning the loss this week of renowned veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who died Monday at her home in Davis, CA. Her death has been ruled a suicide.Dr. Yin was a veterinarian as well as a prolific author, lecturer and consultant who was a pioneer in the field of positive reinforcement methods of training. In addition to workshops and lectures, Dr. Yin as the author of  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, and Low S … [Read more...]

Susie the pit bull mix named “American Hero Dog” of 2014

Susie the therapy dog was named the top American Hero Dog at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. (PRNewsFoto/American Humane Association)

A pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina, has been named this year's "American Hero Dog" at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, and then adopted by a woman named Donna Lawrence.Donna herself had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that n … [Read more...]

Researchers develop cloaking device – for real!

Whenever I'm asked what super power I wish I had, flying and invisibility are usually at the top of the list. The ability to just leap into the air and soar like a bird satisfies a deep desire for total freedom.But invisibility? Now that's real freedom.  To be in a room and be able enjoy what's going on without having to actually participate - or feel like I'm the obvious wallflower - would certainly appeal to introverts like me.Turns out that might not be such a crazy thought. Right he … [Read more...]

Writing, technology and the beauty of the pen

I'm an avid scribbler. I'm constantly making notes in small notebooks tucked in my purse, on scrap paper and receipts, and when paper can't be found, I write on my hand.I joke a lot about how I hate technology, but that's not necessarily true. I hate the way technology has become a crutch for most Americans, replacing our own ability to think, to solve problems, and to record thoughts and ideas.So I love this TEDTalk by Master Penman Jake Weidmann, in which he extolls not only the … [Read more...]

Automated Thanking Machine surprises bank customers with gifts (video)

I'd like to say that this video of customers using an ATM and receiving gifts instead made me a little teary. But it didn't. Nope, no misty eyed response for me. I cried. I'm talking giant tears rolling down my face.The video is from TD Canada Trust, a Toronto-based bank offering a full range of financial services. In short, it's a regular old bank. But after watching the video, in which they say thank you to some of their regular customers with gifts that show the employees truly know them … [Read more...]

Mrs. Robin and her babies: the final chapter, part 3

The last robin baby stands alone.

If you're following along with today's story, we saw the robin babies getting more active in the nest, and then venturing out onto the window ledge. (See Part One)I've been fascinated the last few days with how much the birds had grown in the two weeks since they hatched. But I was even more surprised by the progress just this morning. They went from awkwardly falling all over themselves to purposely getting out of the nest onto the ledge. (See Part Two) When I left them at about 1 PM, all … [Read more...]

Mrs. Robin and her babies: the final chapter, part 2

Three robin babies, getting ready to leave the nest.

It was just this morning that I noticed a lot of activity in the robin's nest and decided to set up the tripod to get some video of the fledglings. In Part One, you saw how active the babies had become, and watched one leave the nest - possibly by accident.PART TWO: If it was an accident, it was a happy accident, because he not only left the nest again and again, he brought his siblings with him. What I found really interesting was the difference in reaction to the mother robin when she … [Read more...]

Mrs Robin and her babies: the last chapter, part 1

This morning, I noticed that Mrs. Robin's babies were getting active in the nest. Crowded, antsy, excited. So I brought the camera outside and set it up on the tripod, just in case anything exciting happened.It was only yesterday I noticed one bird trying to perch on the side of the nest and I thought it might be cute to watch them stretching and puffing up their feathers.What I didn't expect? That today was their last day in the nest.PART ONE: This is how the morning started, the bir … [Read more...]

Mrs. Robin’s babies – almost ready to leave the nest

The baby robins at 12 days old, May 27, 2014

It's been almost a week since I last reported on Mrs. Robin and her babies. I've been taking photos and video , but have just been too busy to post them.The biggest problem is that the little birds change so much every day:Over in the other garage window, there's been lots of activity. The second egg hatched, I think on May 22:All of this activity in the nests means that soon the babies will try out their wings. The morning doves are fortunate that their first … [Read more...]