Monday, August 29, 2016


Geography: This Canadian province is located in the central prairie region between Manitoba to the east and Alberta to the west. To the south, it borders on Montana and Dakota of the United States and to the north, are the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Grassland covers its southern plains and to the north are the rugged rocks of the Canadian well as coniferous forests, rivers and lakes.

Regina, its capital city, is home to The Royal Saskatchewan Museum...with exhibits on natural history and the people of Canada's First Nations. The city is also home of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mountain Police) Training Academy.

Saskatchewan” comes from a Cree word “Kisiskatchewani Sipi” meaning “swift flowing river”, which referred to the Saskatchewan River.

Its motto... “From many peoples strength”.
Provincial Emblems: flower...Western Red Lily; tree...White Paper birch...bird Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Land and Water: One half is third is farmland.
Over 100,000 lakes, rivers, streams.
Northern Saskatchewan features forests, marshes, lakes and rivers.
Southern region is mainly flat prairie with some rolling hills and valleys.
Sand dunes, 30 meters high at Athabaska Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan.
Great Sand Hills” in southwest Saskatchewan.
Main rivers: Assiniboine, North and South Saskatchewan and the Churchill.

The People: First People: Chipewyan (north); Assiniboine (east); Blackfoot (west); and Cree-Metis (of mixed European and Aboriginal descent) were among the first settlers. The majority of Saskatchewans are of British origin, followed by Germans and Austrians, native people, Ukranians, Scandinavians and French. On October 1, 2011, the province's population was just over a million. The largest cities are Regina and Saskatoon (193,100 and 222,189 respectively) as of October 2011.

History: The earliest explorer was Henry Kelsey (1690).
Samuel Hearne built trading posts for the Hudson's Bay Company.
English and French trappers and fur traders arrived.
Forts were built to maintain law and order.
In 1874, North West Mountain Police arrived to establish law and order.
Settlers were encouraged to come and 'homestead'.
The railroad was built across the southern part of the province in 1882-1883.
Settlers came from Eastern Canada, British Isles, the U.S. and continental Europe.
Immigrants arrived in large groups and settled in different regions.
Settlers included Barr colonists from England...Doukhobors from Russia...Hutterites, Mennonites, Hungarians, Ukranians, French, Germans and Scandinavians.
Saskatchewan became a province in 1905 with Regina as the capital city.

Climate: Long cold winters and hot dry summers.
Polar air masses bring winter storms with nasty wind chills and blowing snow.
Windy both winter and summer.

Economy: Saskatchewan grows over 54 percent of Canada's wheat crop.
Crops include canola, rye, oats, barley, flaxseeds, wheat, lentils.
Raising hogs, cattle and poultry on farms.
Forestry in northern Saskatchewan.
Rich in minerals (potash, uranium, coal, oil and natural gas).
World leader in the production of uranium.
Leading exporter of potash (fertilizer).
Canada's second largest producer of oil (after Alberta).
Third largest producer of natural gas in Canada.

Significant People and Places:
W. O. Mitchell (born in Weyburn) wrote about prairie life in his book, “Who Has Seen the Wind?”
Jean Sauve (born in Prud'homme) was the first woman to become Governor General of Canada!
Gordie Howe, one of the greatest hockey players of the NHL, born in Floral, Saskatchewan.
Allan Sapp, a world-renowned Plains-Cree artist was born on the Red Pheasant Reserve.
Brent Butt (born in Tisdale) created and starred in “Corner Gas Station”, a TV comedy series.
Buffy Sainte Marie, a well-known singer/songwriter, was born on the Piapot Reserve in the Qu'Appelle Valley.

Tunnels of Moose Jaw: underground passageways used by the Chinese, gangsters and bootleggers.
Bid Muddy Badlands: unusual land formations and petroglyphs.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park: archaeological digs provide info about the Indians of the Northern Plains.
RCMP Heritage Centre and Training Academy: in Regina.
Grasslands National Park: original shortgrass prairie, herds of pronghorn, rattlesnakes, endangered black-tailed prairie dogs, burrowing owls and peregrine falcons.
Prince Albert National Park: the only protected white pelican nesting colony in Canada; cabin of “Grey Owl”; herd of plains bison.

Saskatchewan Flag is divided into 2 equal parts: the green represents the province's northern forests and the gold section is for the golden fields of grain.
The Provincial Shield is in the top left corner and the Western Red Lily is on the right side of the flag.
It became the province's official flag in 1969,

Western Red Lily is the floral emblem of Saskatchewan...growing in wet places (meadows, ditches and wooded areas). The flower, blooming from late June to mid-July is beautiful with reddish-orange blossoms. When the pioneers first came to the prairies, there were thousands of lilies blooming.
The flower is now protected.
This means, that you should not pick the lily. It grows from a bulb, so once the bulb is pulled out, the flower will no longer grow. The lily was put on the flag to remind people of wild flowers.

Coat of Arms: The Shield has a red lion on gold background (representing England); below it are three wheat sheaves on green (symbolizing the province's agriculture and resources). Above the shield is a beaver holding a Western Red Lily. At the very top is a crown. A lion and a white-tailed deer stand either side of the shield....the lion wears a badge with a maple leaf...the deer wears a badge with the lily on it. Both the lion and the deer are wearing collars of beadwork, symbolic of the Aboriginal people.
Western Red Lilies form the base.

Information compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...June 26, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

In " Dog We Trust"

In a novel by Iris Johansen, she writes about Sarah and her Golden Lab, Monty, who are hired by a 'Search and Rescue' group in Touson, Arizona. Monty sniffs out odours to search persons in both man-made and natural disasters. His keenness is superb ~ a willing and dedicated work-mate with Sarah.

The following article was written by Martha Irvine
and published by The Associated Press.

Crime-Fighting Canines:
Key to Finding the Missing and the Murdered

The burly Labrador Retriever sticks out his wide snout to sniff the dirt and dusty air. As he runs, he's clearly excited, yelping through the high desert of California's Eastern Sierra region.

Buster, go find!” Paul Dostie commands. They are a team: the black Lab and the retired police officer.
For years, they have worked together to unlock mysteries ~ to find the bodies of fighting men who fell long ago on foreign battle fields, or of victims of unsolved crimes or disappearances. In all, Dostie says Buster's alerts have aided in the recovery of about 200 people. “He's one-in-a-million dog,” Dostie says, “but he's far from the only dog doing this kind of work.”

Increasingly, law enforcement investigators across the country and Canada are putting their faith in dogs such as Buster to help find remains ~ bodies, bones and blood from the missing and the murdered.

Cadaver dogs were used in searches after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...and to help find victims of natural disasters, such as hurricane Katrina. More recently, these dogs have helped convict some murder suspects, even when no body is found. Trainers and some forensic scientists say the dogs can detect human residue that's been left behind in a trunk, or on a blanket or tarp or a temporary grave of some sort. In some cases, the dogs also help pinpoint areas where air and soil can be tested with increased sophisticated detection devices. Proving what these dogs know, isn't easy.
If only Buster could talk,” Dostie quips
as he works his dog through a wide patch of scraggly brush,
about 80 kilometres east of Yosemite National Park.

Near an old mine shaft, Buster eventually zeroes in on a spot, then stops and barks with more urgency. “Show me, Buster!” Dostie shouts, as Buster pokes his nose in the direction of a particular spot in the dirt or at a rock...whatever has set off his nose. As a reward, Dostie tosses Buster a blue rubber toy he's been holding behind his back while the dog searches. “Good boy,” he says. This routine has helped unearth the remains of everyone from crime victims to missing Americans lost in WWII battles in Europe and on the South Pacific island of Tarawa.

They travel to former war zones with History Flight Inc., a non-profit foundation whose mission includes finding the tens of thousands of fallen American veterans whose bodies were never recovered. Among others, Buster helped find Lt. Robert Fenstermacher, an Army Air Corps pilot whose plane crashed in Belgium after being shot down in 1944. Last year, his family gathered as he was laid to rest, nearly 70 years later, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Handlers and dogs often walk on foot, mile after mile to find a body. That was how Deborah Palman, now a retired specialist with the Maine Warden Service and her German Shepherd, Alex, found the body of a Canadian woman named Maria Tanasichuk in 2003. Police later determined that she'd been shot in the head execution-style by her husband, David. “We had worked so long for so many days ~ a lot of long, hard searches,” Palman says. Then during another long day, trekking through a forest outside Miramichi, New Brunswick, Palman recalls how Alex ran to her as if to say, “Hey, come look at this! Follow me!” Palman pulled back some brush and saw green fabric, and signs that a body was underneath. “My pulse must have shot up over 200,” she says. That find was the break in the case that led to David Tanasichuk's conviction.

Labs and German Shepherds are the most common breeds used for cadaver work. While humans, when alive have individual scents, chemical reactions from decomposition are basically the same in every human, though those reactions...and the scent...change over time, forensic experts say.

Cadaver dogs “are an incredible investigatory tool ~ no question about it,” says Lawrence Kizilinsky, professor and chairman of the department of sciences at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “Certainly,” he says, “they can help uncover valuable evidence in criminal cases ~ a body, bones or clothing.”

Like most of the dogs, Buster started young, though Dostie concedes he ignored the pudgy puppy when his wife brought him home 12 years ago. She'd begged her husband to let her keep Buster ~ and then Dostie started noticing what a good nose the dog had.
(Excerpts from the original article)

Conversations About Man's Best Friend
(Courtesy of Sherrie)

Photo of Lab talking to female mistress , both sitting on a snow-covered bench: If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes. Only then, would you realize how special you are to me.

Photo of tired hound dog asleep in front of wood-burning fireplace: Owner says, “I can't think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog...completely exhausted after a hard day in the field...limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I'm sitting and puts her head in my lap...a paw over my knee...and closes her eyes...and goes back to sleep. I don't know what I've done to deserve that kind of friend.” (Translation by Gene Hill)

Photo of old man sitting on park bench cuddling two puppies sitting on his lap, each with collar and leash: “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog, makes you rich.”
(Quote by Louis Sabin).

Photo of spaniel with large brown eyes laying at master's feet: “Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul. (Quote by Pythagoras)

Photo of adorable puppy napping with head between huge paws: not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value they have to bequeath except their love and their faith. (Quote by Eugene O'Neill)

Submitted by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 25, 2014
To comment about the uniqueness of to:

Sunday, August 21, 2016


(Thank you, Tom, for this wonderful story.)

They came from a background of abuse and fear. Now, they have bonded together and are inseparable.
The BLT ~ Bear, Lion, Tiger
(Colour photo of these mature wild animals in full hug)
They are the most unlikely of Friends you'll come across...
in black coat, tawny colour skinned and a coat of stripes.

There is LEO the Lion...BALOO the Black Bear...SHERE KHAN the Tiger.
(Photo shows them playing together in lush greenery of a woodland.
The three-some were rescued as babies from the basement of an Atlanta's drug dealer's home when it was raided by authorities. (Photo of the cubs depicts Baloo drinking water from a pan; Leo and Shere Khan on a door step...such adorable cubs!)

They were starving...traumatized...and had bacterial infections. Since then, they were brought to Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. (Photo of Shere Khan as a 'teenage-size' Tiger). Here they have lived in the same habitat together for 13 years. (Photo of them in a fenced enclosure; plus a loving pic of Baloo and Shere Khan rubbing against each other's faces.)

The only time the three were separated was when Baloo was sent to surgery. While at the drug dealer's home, Baloo had been mistreated so profoundly that the harness that was put on him, had grown into his skin. The 2 cats were distraught and cried for the bear's return when he was left at the Vet's. Since then, no one has separated the group. (Photo of the 3 Friends on verandah of a wood shelter for them. Tiger and Bear watch as Lion pads down the steps.)

They had clearly bonded since their earliest memories...and never wanted to be apart. (Photo of Baloo and Shere Khan lay sprawled on newly fallen white snow. A summer photo shows these same two together in a tree-bordered green grassy field.)

Now, they live together as if they were brothers of the same species. (Wonderful photo in their safe haven of the brown-nosed black bear centered with the tawny-skinned lion on one side and the striped tiger on his other side...TOGETHER! They play together...they nuzzle one another...and are extremely affectionate. (A photo depicts them in tall leafy grasses and a close-up of their ever-so-contented-faces),

This three-some are the only Bear, Lion, Tiger living together in the entire world! Their faces..So Proud...So Kind with such Expressive Eyes ~ totally in an Environment of Happiness. They're just that exceptional.
Humans could really learn from the bond that these three have...
No one has ever told them that they couldn't love one they did just that! And NOW, ever after all these years: Bonded Forever are Baloo...Leo...Shere Khan in their safe and secure Noah's Ark!
The trio are affectionately referred to as BLT ~ standing for Bear, Lion, Tiger. They just might be the most adorable sandwich ever! ( A final photo of them in their “home habitat”.)

Everybody Needs Someone Who Makes Them Look Forward to Tomorrow!

What Friends Are For

Jane Francisco writes: “One of my closest friends moved to England a while back, so now I only get to see her once or twice a year. No surprise that when we do get together, we hang on each other's every word, often staying up late into the night, wishing conversation didn't have to end. We always resolve to do a better job of keeping in touch. But life inevitably gets in the way...occasionally months go by with little or no contact.

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from her with the subject: Because I think you are beautiful! What an awesome interruption in a hectic day! The message contained a link to a video requesting that I watch it. After viewing it that evening, I completely understood my friend's compulsion to reach across the Atlantic with her 'beautiful message'. And in doing so, she helped change my perspective of myself ~ first with the embrace of her words and then with the message in the video. I encourage you to pass a similar sentiment on to the beautiful people in your life.”

Friendship is a Sheltering Tree!
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

A recent colour photo caption sent me, depicts a toddler dressed in blue tank top, blue runners, black shorts and socks. He is bending forward with hands on his knees and head lowered. A German Shepherd, partly grown, sitting on his back haunches with left front leg upright on the ground...has his right paw above the toddler's head. The caption at the top reads...I Dub Thee and at bottom of picture puppy 'knights' the toddler with these words...My Best Friend Forever!

Philosophical Words

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
(Maya Angelou)

When anything strengthens a bond of friendship,
the friends have walked in the shadow of a rainbow.
(Chimmesyan Indian)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written June 20, 2014
Comments are most welcome...e-mail or

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Man's Best Friend

Why Some Men Have a Dog and No Wife:

The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.
Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name.
Dogs like it if you leave lots of things on the floor.
A dog's parents never visit.
Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
Dogs find you amusing when you are drunk.
Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.
A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died, would you get another dog?”
If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.
A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad...just think it's interesting.

And last...but not least ~
If a dog leaves, it won't take half your stuff.

To test this theory:
Lock your wife and the dog in the garage.
Then open it...and see who's happy to see you!

(My appreciation to Tom for the foregoing)

Dog's Bargain with God

On the first day, God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at any person who comes in or walks past. For this I will give you a lifespan of 20 years.”

The dog said, “That's a long time to be barking. How about only 10 years and I”ll give you back 10 ?”

And God said that it was good.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people, do tricks and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a 20 year life span.”

The monkey said, “Monkey tricks for 20 years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back 10 like the dog did?”

And God said that it was good.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a lifespan of 60 years.”

The cow said, “That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for 60 years. How about 20 and I'll give you back 40?”
And God agreed that it was good.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this I'll give you 20 years.”

But the human said, “Only 20 years? Could you possibly give me 20, the 40 the cow gave back, the 10 the monkey gave back and the 10 the dog gave back? That makes 80...okay?”

Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”

So that is why for our first 20 years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next 40 years, we slave in the sun to support family.
For the next 10 years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last 10 years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information.
I'm doing it as a public service.

If you are looking for me...I will be on the front porch.

(Gracious thanks to an ardent reader for the above)

Words of Wisdom
(Jack Layton ~ Leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada
wrote this prior to his cancer-death at age 61):
Love is better than Anger.
Hope is better than Fear.
Optimism is better than Despair.
So, let us be Loving, Hopeful and Optimistic
and we'll Change the World.

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted July 26, 2013
Comments or

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Doggies Speak to Masters

Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
(Anatole France)

Tom has sent the following illustrated masterful messages for us to peruse. Dogs are so loyal that they love us no matter what we do. But, if we want to provide the best life possible to these wonderful animals, we have to remember that they have complex thoughts and feelings, too...for us to decipher.

Illustration of dark-haired, medium-size dog sitting and waiting at front door peering upwards toward the oval window set within it; his posture is erect and tail straight out behind him...anticipating!
Don't be upset when I jump for joy when you come through the door!
I only live for 10 or 15 years. You are what makes that time enjoyable. It's hard on me when you leave.

Illustration of a beagle looking very inquiringly at you; with long ears and soulful eyes, he says:
Give me time to understand what you want from me!
I don't always get it right on the first try, but I promise I'm trying as hard as I can.

Illustration: A happy-faced Siberian Husky, tail curled over his back, befriends a hugging little girl.
Give me your trust!
Just like I trust you, I need you to trust me, too.

Illustration: A pleading puppy-face with long ears and sad, yet with anxious eyes speaks,
Don't be angry with me for too long.
And please don't lock me up to punish me!
You have your friends and family to keep you happy and entertained. I just have you.

Illustration: A dog sits outside on snow-covered yard....patiently waiting ...brrrr, it's cold out here.
Take me inside when the weather gets bad!
The backyard doesn't have air-conditioning or a heater. You don't have to let me on the couch; but a small part of the kitchen is much better than sleeping in the chilly snow.

Illustration: Dog language with front paws stretched out on the carpet with nose between them, advises:
Talk to me!
Sure, we don't speak the same language, but the sound of your voice brightens my whole day.

Illustration: Poor little fluffy white dog with black ears and snub nose is trembling with fear.
Comfort me when I'm scared!
You know a lot more about loud noises, strange people and new places than I do. I need to know that you'll protect me from them. I always feel safer when I'm with you.

Illustration: A young woman cuddles her dog with arm around him, hand beneath his chin, face to face.
Remember that I'll never forget how you treat me!
Teach me that humans are made of love, not pain. And don't ever let me forget it.

Illustration: A German Shepherd with alert ears walks with a 3-year old girl holding a loose leash
Come outside with me!
The sights, sounds and scents of nature are some of my greatest pleasures in life. I don't care if we play, go for a walk or just sit under a tree together...I want you to experience them with me.

Illustration: A “Bowser the Hound” face touches noses with a black/white striped kitten.
Let me make new friends!
Introduce me to other dogs, cats or even bigger animals. We might not get along in the end, but having some more friends that look and smell like me makes my life that much brighter.

Illustration: A Pekinese dog sits on a table chair eying the delicious-looking food tidbits on a plate.
Give me a treat every once in a while!
Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I know you want me to be I understand when you don't share your own meals with me. But giving me a dog biscuit when I've been good or mixing tasty vegetables mixed with my dinner is guaranteed to make me wag my tail extra hard.

Illustration: A doberman wearing collar licks master's face with long pink tongue.
Please don't hit me!
I have teeth that can crush bone. Instead, I cover you in sloppy wet kisses. Just as I choose not to hurt you...please make the choice to not hurt me.

Illustration: Medium-sized dog sits on boat pier gazing over quiet water with far trees mirrored in it.
Understand when I need my alone time!
I love you more than anything, but even though it's rare, I don't always want to play or cuddle. Don't be sad if I'd rather sleep on the cold tile floor instead of in your bed on hot summer nights. And be understanding if I don't want to play as much as the years go on.

Illustration: Doggie rides in car with a partially opened window...en route to somewhere else.
Show me your world!
The house and yard might be the only places I ever see unless you come with you...a trip to the pet shop, the park..or even just a ride in the car is exhilarating. I can't wait to see what you'll show me.

Illustration: Greyhound, sitting alert eying 5 cookies on his nose, waits for command to bump them up and catch in his mouth. He's house-dressed with gingham tie which is bowed at the front.
Teach me new things!
Learning new tricks keeps my mind active, but most of all, it gives me a way to impress you. For your friends, I love showing off...looking up at you and seeing how proud of me you are.

Illustration: A chocolate-brown Labrador is having “a ball playing like a pig in mud”...eyes aglow with dog-joy. Let me get dirty once in a while!
Your world is inside, but I thrive outdoors; sometimes I find a lot of mud or a lake that smells like all of its fishy inhabitants. I understand if you don't want to wash all that stuff off every day, but as long as it's safe, let me go back to my wild roots every now and then.

Illustration: Golden Lab puppy sits on a dock bench with his master hugging him...beside lake water.
Touch Me!
Nothing makes me feel more loved than when you take time out of your day to rub my ears or scratch that itchy spot on my back that I can't reach. I can't understand your words, but I definitely understand the feelings behind a hug.

Illustration: A photo shot of a young dog's head resting on pillow...eyes sad and droopy ears.
Pay attention if I don't seem like myself!
It might seem like I'm just being lazy or stubborn, but I might not be feeling well. I can't get help for myself...and I need you to look out for me and care for me.

Illustration: Man with long hair elastic-tied in a ponytail is in softly rippling water. He holds his beloved Siberian Husky in front allowing its body to float peacefully in this serene lake.
Love me when I'm old just as much as you did when I was young!
I might not be the cute puppy that I once was...but I still love you just as much as I did then. Please take care of me when my body doesn't work like it used to.

Illustration: Military personnel salute as “Husky member” is carried to his resting place: Dog Heaven.
Come with me...on my final journey!
I know it will be difficult, but I need you by my side when the time comes for me to leave this world. Every moment down to my last breath is easier if I have you with me.

* * * * * * * * * *

Readers...unknown to me just how you feel, but I was in tears as I viewed and read the last couple “conversations” from the man's beloved Husky to his Master...and the sentiments of love he displayed for his pet. We had two Siberian Huskies (Kiska and Sabrina) at home when my children were in school and I related extremely well to the scenario of “Family Pets”.

Pearl of Wisdom
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty
and gratitude...then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
(James Herriot)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written May 27, 2014
Comments appreciated...e-mail to:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Animals Employed as Servants

Many, we have as pets..repaying them with love, a home and enjoyment. 
 Others we use for various 'services (jobs)' including entertainment
 for other humans who pay admission fees.

Horses were used in wars by soldiers in combat; today, used frequently as 'control' measures in crowd events. They are ridden by equestrians in show-jumping competitions...or simply 'pleasure ridden'. They were useful for pulling farm machinery or for the carriages of elite persons. Some are trained for 'chuck-wagon races' at the many fall fairs.

Camels were ridden by the 'Wise Men' who following the 'Star in the East' paid tribute to Baby Jesus. They are a 'transportation vehicle' for travellers crossing deserts.

Circus Animals: Lions, tigers, seals, elephants...entertain families under “The Big Tent”.

Dogs: Scent and rescue dogs, highly trained, are at work in airports, border crossings and work with police forces in locating criminals and missing persons. In times of disasters...tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes...dogs with their owners, search for humans who have been caught. Sled dogs (mainly huskies) provide Arctic transportation for the Inuits (Eskimos) and for humans like us, outdoor winter entertainment in the North ~ these dog teams thrill at the opportunity 'to run' which is in their blood!

Navy Seals assist soldiers during war and other crises to the country...marine animals such as dolphins, the bottlenose and California sea lions work for the American navy.

Donkeys in some world countries are used daily...ploughing, carrying food, firewood, water & riding.

Reindeer are often used for transportation; they can adapt to cold climates. The herding of reindeer is practised by peoples of the Scandinavian countries, Russia and northern Canada.

Elephants can lift heavy loads, using their trunks. They are proven to be the most intelligent mammal and have good memory power for many years.

Goats, we breed for their milk and cheese. On an over-Christmas Caribbean cruise, my son, home from University, asked the waiter where they kept the cows on board for the milk offered at meals. He responded, “Not cows, they are goats that we have on board.”

Cows are the mainstay of our milk production. And of course, beef appears on restaurant menus.

Birds (canaries, parakeets) are house companions. When my father died in November 1962, we bought my mother a yellow canary, bird cage and accessories at Christmas to keep her happily engaged.

Have you heard of birds being employed to deter other species?
The following article appeared recently in news media.

Warrior Hawk...Xena Goes Missing
and 'Boss' is in a Bit of a Flutter!
(written by Carmela Fragomeni ~ The Hamilton Spectator)

Xena the warrior hawk has flown the coop, but owner, Rob Wernaart hopes she's had her fill of wanderlust and is ready to come home. It's time for her to return to work as a top 'gull harasser,' controlling birds at landfills, commercial properties and shopping malls. It's what she's been trained to do: scare those pesky gulls away!

Wernaart says he gave her the winter off. “She's on vacation.” But he figured she'd stick around her Freelton home and not fly off to who knows where. Xena 2 went missing a week ago when she didn't come home for her usual meals.

Wernaart's pretty sure she's hunting her own food now, but he still needs her ~ not just because she's an 'employee' of his Flamborough Bird and Wildlife business, but also because she is his pet.
She's Xena, my little warrior princess.”
Wernaart says losing her is like losing a pet dog.
It's really heart breaking ~ I do bring her inside and talk to her
and we have that great bonding.”

Xena has a leash attached to each leg so she can be grabbed to be fed and trained. She also has a bell on her right leg. But, he cautions, “I wouldn't suggest anyone touch her because her talons are pretty sharp.” He is asking anyone who sees her to contact him so he can “go down with food and my glove and, hopefully, she'll come down to me.” He can be reached at 905-818-6793 or via email at

Wernaart, his father and brother are all in the business of training hawks
and other birds to control nuisance birds such as gulls.

Xena is Wernaart's second hawk. Before her, he was given one to train and return to its owner. That trained hawk was 'Bitchy' who now works at controlling birds at BMO Field in Toronto.

Animal Wisdom
What a lonely species we are....searching for signals of life from galaxies,
adopting companion animals, visiting parks and zoos to converse with other beasts.
In the process, we discover our shared identity.
(Diane Ackerman)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled April 12, 2015
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Friday, August 5, 2016

Misunderstood Pets

A photo presentation from Tom depicts animals whom 'man' fails to understand
and the poor pet is left abashed and humiliated (although joyful in his activity)
but left disgraced in the eyes of its master.

A Bathtub Scene complete with the bottom of the shower curtain ripped off. The blonde-haired Puppy, looking so disconsolate, has written a note which he leaves on the floor:
The shower curtain was too I fixed it.

Collar for Prevention: A Chi-wa-wa, very embarrassed wearing a huge, awkward colourful collar like veterinarians would place to protect an associated injury, explains: “I sneak under the my Mom makes me wear this!!!”

Lego Blocks: A Black Lab says, “I've eaten so many legos, I could poop a Star Wars ship!

Potato Hunt: A big tan-toned Hound-dog confesses, “I often break into the pantry and hide potatoes all around the house.”

Colourful Afghan: Bull dog, sitting on a bed afghan of red, green, blue and purple with crayons still on the bed, states, “I love to eat crayons and poop 'rainbows'!”

Paper Fun: Black Lab says to his best friend, “I have shamed my family,”...looking at many torn paper scraps and a ripped calendar at his feet. His Lab friend befriends him, “I probably helped!”

Christmas Destruction: A Siberian Husky with ice-blue eyes, is laying on the floor, contemplating his misdemeanour, “I ate the Baby Jesus off our Christmas Nativity scene...not looking forward to the Second Coming (literally or figuratively).”

The Force”! The Golden Lab Puppy, with great remorse, states, “Killed Yoda, I did. The 'force' was with me,” as he views Yoda, the stuffed toy shredded to pieces laying deathly at his feet.

Bathroom Prank! A big Black Lab with laughing smile on his face, says, “I stick my head through the shower curtain and lick peoples' bums while they aren't looking!”

Food Theft: A big, long-haired dog gleefully says, “I jumped into a stranger's car and stole from someone's hands, a hamburger!”

A man's false teeth are in pieces on the floor.
Dog with forlorn blue eyes says, “I ate my Dad's teeth.” Man, who is sad, yet placing his arm around his pet....consoling him, says, “I took my teeth out and left them on the end table.”

Animal Instinct Observation
It was several years ago when my daughter was heading to a Sunday equestrian day to drive her and Jean Paul to and from the stables. At home, prior to a Real Estate Open House, I placed a roast of beef in the oven on a 'timer'...prepared the vegetables and set the table. Late afternoon I brought the teens home...they played in the yard with our Husky dog for awhile. Tremendously hungry, they returned to our Family Room with Kiska while I proceeded to complete the dinner. Delicious scents wafted through the kitchen as I began to carve the meat. My door bell rang...a neighbour with whom we shared election campaigning, brought me some needed information. And guess what??? The kids and I weren't the only ones hungry and anticipating this great dinner! Kiska had reached the uncut portion of  roast beef on the counter, and clawing it with her front paws had dragged it to the floor and was hungrily engorging herself with this great feast. The kids cried...I was upset...but we managed to 'forgive and forget'. I gave the kids the few roast beef slices...and enjoyed the remaining meal.

Trunk Talk: An elephant standing in water with his trunk raised high in the air, comments to a man who is nude and shivering in shallow waters, “That's cute! Can you pick up peanuts with it?”

Lion's Boast: After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good, he started roaring to surrounding prides...until a hunter came along an shot him. The Moral?
When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut!

Finish the Job: Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head...and keeps pecking away until he finished the job he started. (Coleman Cox)

Bird asks Bumblebee: “You work so hard to make the honey...and humans just take it away. Doesn't it make you feel bad?” The bee replied, “No...because they will never take from me the art of making it.” (Seen in a salon's magazine)

Penguins, so incredibly graceful underwater, yet on land, they are hilariously clumsy and still adorable in their tuxedo suits.

A Frog Cartoon states, “Sometimes, the thoughts in my head get bored...and go for a stroll through my mouth. This is never a good thing!”

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 5, 2015
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Messages from Animals

Just to clarify my understanding there are five “Animal Classes” with 'vertebrates' (backbones): Mammals...Birds...Fish...Reptiles...Amphibians.
Mammals include people, dogs, cats, horses, duckbill platypuses, kangaroos, dolphins and whales. What do all these have in common? MILK! If an animal drinks 'milk' when it is born and has hair on its body, it belongs to the mammal class.
Birds are animals that have feathers and that are born out of hard-shelled eggs.
Fish are vertebrates that live in water and have gills, scales and fins on their bodies. Some fish can climb onto land and hop about.
Reptiles are a class of animal with scaly skin. They are cold-blooded and are born on land. Snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators and turtles belong to the reptile class.
Amphibians are born in the water. When born, they breathe with gills like a fish. But when they grow up, they develop lungs and can live on land.
Any animals that have more than 4 jointed legs are Anthropods.
Insects, spiders and crustaceans all belong to this class of animals.

Do Wolves Really Howl at the Moon?
As mystical and ancient as the notion of 'wolves howling at the moon', they are predominantly nocturnal animals and are therefore, naturally associated with darkness and with the moon. This romantic idea came from ancestors' ancestors. Since the Neolithic Age, wolves have been paired with the moon, whether in images or literature. Native American Seneca tribes believe that it was actually a wolf that sung the moon into existence. With this historical significance, it really isn't surprising that this ancient folklore has evolved into today's popular belief.

Since wolves are nocturnal, naturally they will be more vocal at night. They point their faces to the sky to howl, simply because of the acoustics generated from this gesture...the higher they send the sound, the further it will travel. Wolves howl as a means for long-distance communication...and can convey a range of information with different pitches and suspension of notes. They may be rallying their a signal as to the alpha wolf's location...delivering a warning to other packs to remain outside this wolf's territory...a chorus of howling can act as protection for the pack!
When my daughter was in High School and my son in University, we had a black and white Siberian Husky called Kiska. On very cold winter nights, living outdoors with a unique doghouse for shelter, she'd go to the back fence around midnight...raise her face to the moon and howl and howl. Fearing that neighbours would be disturbed by this eerie 'wilderness call', I brought her into the house for a few hours on those nights. My son and Kiska had a special camaraderie, so I concluded she was communicating with him at tell him about the moon, the stars, the frigidity of the night and her loneliness without him at home.

Why Do Lions Roar?
Lions are very protective of their homes...and a male lion whose main job is to defend his pride, uses his loud roar to warn off anything that might threaten his family. On a still night, lions can be heard 7 to 8 km away. Roars are not only used to 'proclaim territory' but also to rally straying members of his tribe...and they do this every evening! Roaring is also one of their strategies for catching prey and as they creep up on them...and when they are close enough, they will let out a roar that confuses that animal and strikes fear into the lion's prey. The prey cannot then 'think' or 'react' correctly out of fear and so is trapped and caught by the lion.

The Trumpeting of Elephants
Living in herds, the African elephants trumpet, growl and rumble in a classic example of elephant conversations. Being highly intelligent, they are most fascinating to watch. All parts of their body movement convey messages; in verbal form they have very loud trumpeting sounds which can signify aggression as well as danger...this trumpeting can be sent at various frequencies depending on who they wish to contact. It is common for them to generate sounds that can be heard for several kilometres. When males want to attract females, they can offer very high-pitched sounds for many hours throughout the day...which may actually cause a female to emit powerful hormones announcing a desire to mate with him
Bees Sting
A honey bee that is away from the hive, foraging for nectar or pollen, will rarely sting ~ except when stepped on or roughly handled. Honey bees will actually seek out and sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened, often being alerted to this by the release of attack pheromones. Bee stings could be of a bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket (even the bite of a horse-fly).The stings of most of these species can be quite painful. A human body's reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly
Beware of Piranhas
They only exist in mostly white-waters of South America...some in black-water, some in habitat for them is where 2 rivers meet for combination of two waters. Ranging in length from 8 to 20 inches, they have long razor-sharp-teeth. By travelling in schools of 100's and 1,000's, they present a daunting challenge to predators, as well as with animals and humans. Jungles of the Amazon Basin are nature to them. While feared by swimmers for its aggressive attacks, they feed mainly on aquatic plants, insects, smaller fish and snails...occasionally feasting on small mammals and birds that fall into their environment. Piranhas are the prey of river dolphins, large birds, crocodiles, turtles and larger fish
The Songs of Birds
Birds can sing at any time of the day, but during 'Dawn Chorus' their songs are often louder, livelier and more frequent. It's mostly made up of male birds, attempting to attract mates and warn other males away from their territory. Their 'chorus' comprises trills, tweets, melodies and crescendos. Bird songs of the 'Dawn Chorus' (when the early hours are coolest and driest), lack the atmospheric variables ...which allow the bird songs to travel  farthest, giving their voices better range.

In my neighbourhood are many trees, often around 5 am when I'd be wakened by the many birds with their morning 'wake-up-calls'; frequently I'd hear a nearby FREE-DOM...then from a more distant place, Free-dom sent in reply as an echoing response (my translation) for their message which was a series of 'song and response'. Later I discovered a red cardinal in a tree near my parking space...and further away was his brownish morning songsters!
A delightful picture in my living room is of 5 small bluebird chicks
sitting side by side on a branch...titled “The Chorus Line.”

An Environmentalist’s Reflection (by Jane Goodall): The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree ~ I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there; I took, my books up there . If I was sad... it just felt very good to be up there…among the green leaves and the birds and the sky…just listening to the messages of nature

Merle Baird-Kerr…written January 16, 2015
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