Remembering Jake

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

I’ll write the planned post about another endangered beauty spot a different time. Today I simply want to remember a beloved friend. My dog Jake has gone on ahead of me, as dogs too often do, taking a journey I’m not yet ready to take.

Jake in the back yard with me, in October 2016–Photo by Signy Gephardt

Jake was my writing companion, the co-inspirer of certain dragon body-shapes in my artwork, and my exercise buddy who made sure I took walks as often as possible–at least until his lungs gave out.

He was a rescue dog, an Italian greyhound-whippet mix (thus, a “whiggie”) who came into my life around the turn of the decade. He died this week of lung cancer, at the age of almost eleven.

He will be sorely missed.

Mine’s missing someone at the moment, alas.

IMAGES: Many thanks to my daughter Signy for capturing a moment between Jake and me in 2016, and to Defining Wonderland’s post “Adventures in Dog Watching,” for the Roger Caras quote. The source they cite for the quote image is no longer there.

Drill, baby, drill?

The Artdog Images of Interest

As I noted last week, this month’s theme is working toward a better future, and my Images of Interest for the rest of the month feature amazing places in the United States that are threatened or actively under attack. As long as they continue to exist, we can still fight to save them, even if things are looking bad at the moment.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is one such place that is under threat. Not immediately, but the Trump Administration has green-lighted the initiative to begin drilling there, so the process has definitely started. 

What kind of damage is that likely to do? That first link may have a dated lede, but the rest still applies. It’s also true that tundra “heals” after disruption extremely slowly.

ANWR is so enormous, no single picture can hope to capture its variety and beauty. It’s true that five won’t do it either, but I’ve tried to find a good variety to give a small taste of what’s at stake.

IMAGES: Many thanks to William Bonilla and Defenders of Wildlife for the polar bear photo taken in the ANWR; to Robert Salazar and Origami for an Interdependent World (what a cool idea!), for the photo of the famous Porcupine Caribou, a subspecies; to Peter Mather and The Wilderness Society for the lakeshore-and-clouds image from the refuge; to Florian Schulz and The Audubon Society for the aerial photo of the braided river, plains and mountains in the refuge; and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the photo of the mountain foothills. sloping down to a plain in the ANWR. I deeply appreciate all!

Pongo faces

Last year I had occasion to look more closely than I ever had before, at orangutans (Why? Long story). I’m not generally much focused on ape species–there’s a touch of the uncanny valley in my initial response. I’m more of a “dog person,” in general. But on closer examination I found fascinating beauty and diversity.

Baby and mother, of the newly-identified species, Pongo tapanuliensis.

More recently, I read about the discovery of an entirely new orangutan species, Pongo tapanuliensisIt was announced in the online journal Current Biology last November. If you want a more in-depth dive into how they decided it’s a separate species, here’s a video abstract that lays it out well.

Pongo tapanuliensis looks to a clouded future–it is one of the most endangered ape species in the world. We’ve only just realized we have it–and we’re already about to lose it.

But reading about Pongo tapanuliensis reminded me of my earlier research. I hope you’ll enjoy this little gallery of Pongo faces, in all their marvelous variations.

With only about 800 individuals known to exist, this Pongo tapanuliensis baby has an unfortunately fraught future.

Pongo tapanuliensis may be new to us, but the other two species also deserve our regard and protection. All are endangered. All are amazing creatures.

A Sumatran Pongo abelii mother and baby find something of interest to look at, over there.
This Pongo abelii male looks to me as if he’s about to say something profound. If only he could talk!
Another P. abelii male, but clearly not the same guy as the one pictured just above. I wonder what he’s thinking about (probably wondering, “Who is this crazy human, and what is that contraption he’s waving at me?”).
A Bornean male, of the species Pongo pygmaeus, seems to have a lot on his mind.
Noisy zoo visitors prompted this reaction from a Pongo pygmaeus in an Indonesian zoo. Haven’t we all felt this way at times?
Meet Mari, a Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan), with her baby. They live in a zoo in Singapore.

If you still haven’t had enough wonderful orangutan faces, there’s a nice collection of them on this video from The Orangutan Project, based in Australia (be aware: there’s a fundraising plug at the end).

I wasn’t able to find The Orangutan Project among Charity Navigator’s listings, but another orangutan-devoted organization rated very high on their evaluation scale for financial integrity, accountability and transparency. It’s Orangutan Foundation International, based in Los Angeles, CA. If you’re inclined to donate, here’s your chance.

IMAGES: Many thanks for all the wonderful Pongo faces, to: Zee News, Stuff, and The Atlanticfor first glimpses of P. tapanuliensis; to photographer Thomas Marent on Fine Art America, for the Sumatran P. abelii mother and baby; to iNaturalist and Roni Bintang’s Flickr Photostream for the male P. abelii faces; and to Jason Hon of WCS and World View, for the askance-looking male P. pygmaeus, to Robertus Pudyanto, photographer, via Metro (UK), for the P. pygmaeus reacting to noisy zoo visitors, and to photographer Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty and Slate (nice article on animal personalities), for the photo of Mari and her baby. Thanks also to The Orangutan Project (AU)  via YouTube, for the video. 

Better watch out!

It’s Christmas Eve. Did you remember Santa? (They hope so!)

IMAGE: Many thanks to FunnyPicture for this image!

It’s all about proportions

The Artdog Image of Interest

Yeah, that’s a pretty generous garnish. I’ve heard of lemon water, citrus water, cucumber water, and mint water, but who knew pine water was a thing?

IMAGE: Many thanks to Funny Pictures Christmas Cats, via Pinterest, for this image!

That funny-looking tree!

Seriously, people. 

You have pets and you also want one of those tree-thingys?

In researching this month’s Images of Interest, I found a BUNCH of funny pictures of pets tangling with Christmas trees.

I’m not going to glorify the ones where the animals appear to be in active danger (though the tree-topper cats are pushing it), but here’s a collection of assorted favorites. Happy holidays!

This was a much-re-posted favorite, all over the Internet.

Assorted critters

It’s not just dogs and cats who get in on the Christmas tree action.

Yes, it’s a rat. Don’t judge–rats make great pets. They are sweet natured and smart. Also take to trees pretty naturally.
Almost a “Hallmark moment,” if you’re a rat-lover.
Here’s another natural climber. Matches the pseudo-flocking pretty well, don’t you think?
Who knew Bearded Dragons made such good Christmas decorations? This one liked the warmth the lights created.
I thought this little guy was especially stunning. When better for a chameleon to show what it can do?

But the Cats rule

Dogs, lizards, rats, and ferrets may take the occasional stab at consorting with the Christmas tree, but the cats OWN this territory. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

This is my favorite Christmas Cat photo of all time.
What? You thought it needed something more?
it’s almost like the toy closet scene from ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, don’t you think?
Ruler of all s/he surveys . . . naturally.
Never doubt it.

So, then, are we who want Christmas trees defenseless?

Well, maybe. But we do still have a few options left.

We could take the “minimalist” approach . . . or is that simply how the tree looked after the cat got done with it?
I think this might qualify as “extreme cat-proofing.”
I actually did a variation on this “Fortress Christmas Tree” idea one year, when we had a puppy. Made it harder for the humans to mess with the packages, too!

Whatever pets you may have–and however they interact with your Christmas tree (if you have one), I hope you got a Christmas laugh from this post, and I wish you the best holiday season possible!

IMAGES: Many thanks to The German Shepherd Dog Community’s Facebook page for the “Oh Christmas Tree” German Shepherd; to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the Christmas tree Rat on a limb and the Christmas Ferret; to Michelle Nyree’s Pinterest Board for the red-package Christmas tree rat; to TikkiLink’s DeviantArt page for the ornamental Beardie, and to Harlingen Pets’ Facebook page for the Christmas Chameleon. As for the cat collection: a thousand thank-yous to: Emma Bruck’s “Emma’s Pics” Pinterest Page, via my own earlier post from Christmas 2015; to FunnyCatsGif’s “Christmas Cat” post, for the two mid-tree cat photos; and once again to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the tall “Tree-topper Cat” and “I’m the Star.” The three “cat-proofed” trees are all from i iz cat’s “6 Cat Proof Christmas Tree ideas to try out during the holidays” page. I appreciate you ALL!

Holiday charm-eleon

The Artdog Image of Interest

When caught in a jam, be creative! It also helps to be cute . . .

IMAGE: Many thanks to eBaum’s World for this image (check the linked page for more!)