Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet the Critters: Mojo - Part 1

Mojo the Pound Puppy Poodle

On the afternoon of April 1, 2011, Mama and Dadda were driving home from Grandma’s house, and they were a long, long way from home.  Suddenly, Dadda got an idea. He felt like they should stop at the nearest animal shelter…just to look at some adoptable dogs.  He said he was feeling some interesting mojo and something was telling him to stop - right now - and they located the nearest animal shelter on Dadda’s GPS, got directions, and went to look at the adoptable dogs. 

Sure enough, Dadda was right. 

When they arrived at the shelter, they did meet a little dog that captured their hearts.  It was an 8 month old male poodle puppy with long, curly brown hair and a little white beard.  His hair had never been brushed and it clung to his skin in tight matted clumps. The matting was so bad that he had dreadlocks behind his ears.  To top it all off, he smelled like he had never had a bath in his life.

But even in this condition, he was an adorably sweet, endearing little dog. 

When Mama and Dadda met Mojo, he looked like this:

 His previous owner had dropped him off at the pound, and now this sweet little boy needed a home. How could anyone leave a precious little face like this in a pound?  Mama and Dadda certainly couldn’t, so they adopted him and decided to name him Mojo.   

They would call him Jo for short.

Mojo was perfectly well behaved on the long ride to Mama and Dadda’s house.  He sat with Mama in the car, napping most of the way. When Mojo finally arrived at his new home, he was introduced to Murphie Bunn, who growled at him and tried to punch him through the bars of her hutch. Then, he met Beaker, who sounded the ‘Chicken Alarm’ and attacked him on sight. 

Discouraged and confused, Mojo hid under the coffee table until Mama and Dadda pulled him up onto the couch to cuddle. 

In the days following Mojo’s arrival, it became evident to Mama and Dadda that Mojo’s first owner had been less than kind to him. Mojo was afraid of sudden movements and loud noises. He was afraid of his collar and his leash, and every time Mama picked them up, he would run to hide under Dadda’s chair. He was afraid to go potty. He didn’t even know what to do with the new toys Mama and Dadda bought for him.  Mojo was afraid to be a dog.   

He didn’t know how to be a dog. 

Furthermore, Mojo was unusually well behaved for a puppy.  He was calm; he was quiet—he literally never did anything wrong.  He was so well behaved, in fact, that Mama began to worry that something might be wrong with him…so she took him to the vet for puppy shots and a thorough checkup.

The vet took his temperature and ran lots of tests.  Aside from an ear infection and a mild case of kennel cough, Mojo was in good health. The vet gave him some shots, he gave Mama some ointment for Mojo’s ears, and he strongly recommended that Mojo come back for a haircut when he was well.  

On his first trip to the vet, Mojo weighed in at 7.6 Lbs…most of which was probably hair....

....the rest, of course, was pure awesome.

Over the next two weeks, Mama and Dadda nursed Mojo back to health.  They were very kind and gentle with him, and Mojo began to realize that no one was going to hurt him anymore.  He began to feel safe and comfortable with his new family.  He began to really love Mama and Dadda, and he decided that they were very nice people.  

When Mojo started to feel better, Mama and Dadda took him on lots of exciting adventures! They went for walks through the neighborhood every day. They went ‘bye-bye in the car’ all over town.  They went to pet stores where Mojo got new toys and a nice, soft bed of his very own. They went to parks with big open fields, where there were lots of nice people, and little kids, and other dogs…and everyone loved Mojo.  The world existed to pet him.  He was so happy in his new life that he could hardly believe it was real.

And then…the unthinkable happened.

Mama awoke earlier than usual one morning and announced that they were going ‘bye-bye in the car’.  Mojo was so thrilled at the news that he bounced around the room like supercharged Flubber.   

‘Bye-bye in the car’ was always awesome!   

Mojo and Mama walked outside, hopped in the car, and drove away on what was sure to be another legendary adventure…but it didn’t last as long as he had hoped.

After a disappointingly brief ‘bye-bye in the car,’ they arrived at the place where they had gone before—the place where he had been poked and prodded.  Only moments after he and Mama stepped into the waiting room, a lady in a uniform came walking towards Mojo.  She was holding a leash….

....and it was identical to the one used at the pound.  

Mojo’s heart sank into the pit of his stomach as he realized in horror what was happening:  Mama was getting rid of him.   

Mama was leaving him!  

As the lady in uniform slipped the Horrible Thing over his head, he stood on his hind legs and frantically pawed at Mama’s knees, his dark, sad eyes pleading with her in absolute desperation.

“No, Mama…don’t leave me! I love you! Whatever I did, I’m sorry! I promise I will be a good boy! Just please, please don’t leave me!” he whimpered.

“Blah wah wah, Mojo.  Mama wah blah blah blah,” Mama said, as she petted him on the head.

And then….the person in uniform took him away from Mama.  She led him into another room and put him in a cage…and Mojo knew he would never see Mama again. 

To be continued...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meet the Critters: Beaker


Welcome to 7.6 Lbs of Awesome!  This story tells the tale of Mojo the dog, Beaker the bantam, and Murphie Bunn…the bun.  Of course, as the menagerie’s caretakers, Mama and Dadda play a fairly large part as well.  

Other minor characters, like Dorian Grey, Bella the Fail Dove, Bodhi the Burly, and Screamin’ Shaman will probably also make periodic appearances.  This blog will eventually become a web comic of sorts, but the initial introductory posts will be written in an illustrated blog format. 

In the beginning of…well, anything really…I suppose it’s never a bad idea to proceed with proper introductions, so here’s a little background info on everyone…we’ll begin our story with Beaker:

Beaker the Bantam

Beaker is a three year old white bearded silkie bantam hen. (How’s that for a string of adjectives?)

Silkie Bantams are of Asian origin and were referenced in the writings of Marco Polo.  They are the only species of chicken with five toes, and they have blue-black skin, blue-black beaks, and bright sky blue patches of skin around their ears.  They are extraordinarily docile (except towards bunnies and poodles, apparently), and they are extremely affectionate - and even cuddly - animals.

Mama has often said that she honestly believes chickens would rival dogs and cats in terms of household pet popularity if more people knew how wonderful they are.  (Mama’s a weird one.) 

Dadda has referred to Beaker on more than one occasion as the ‘Pomeranian of Birds’.

Honestly, however, his comparison is strikingly accurate.  Yes, Beaker is a chicken…but she’s not your average chicken.

Beaker looks like this:

To answer the question I’m almost certain you are asking, yes, she does have eyes, and yes, she can see….

....just not very well.

In addition to strongly resembling a Muppet, she actually sort of sounds like one, too. Granted, there’s the occasional loud and somewhat obnoxious ‘Chicken Alarm’ (an absurdly loud 'BOCK-bock-bock-Bah-GAWK-bock-bock-bock-Bah-GAWK)...but those vocalizations are few and far between.

And they’re typically directed at Murphie Bunn anyway.

The majority of her vocabulary consists of almost cat-like purring sounds and soft little noises that sound like ‘boop’.  For this reason, Mama frequently calls her ‘Little Boop’, ‘Bitty Boop’, and sometimes even ‘Itty Bitty Boop’…or some other ridiculous variation of the aforementioned phrases.

Regardless of the absurdity of Mama’s nicknames for her, they aren’t entirely off base.  Beaker really is quite small.  The majority of her apparent mass is, in fact, feathers…lots and lots of feathers. Beaker only weighs a little more than two pounds…feathers included. 

She has lived with Mama and Dadda since she was just a four week old baby chick. In August 2008, Mama and Dadda adopted little baby Beaker from a nice lady named Mary who had lots and lots of beautiful Silkie Bantam chickens. Mama had wanted a little pet hen for a very long time, Beaker was a very sweet little baby, and Mary was almost certain that Beaker was a girl.

Much to Mama's dismay, when Beaker was three or four months old she started to crow!  So, Mama and Dadda decided she must be a rooster.

....but then she laid an egg a few weeks later!

Beaker was confused in her youth.  It happens to the best of us, I suppose.  Perhaps she’s just a really butch hen.

Either way, it’s very difficult to determine a baby chick’s gender unless you’re a professional farmer or something.  Even Beaker herself couldn’t tell at first.  One thing was always certain, though—Beaker was one cute baby.

When Beaker first met Mama and Dadda, she looked like this: 

Who could resist a face like that?

Certainly not Mama…and that’s why Beaker is what she is today.

See, there’s something you should understand about Beaker.  Regardless of what Mama may say or believe, the truth is that the bird rules the roost.

For starters, the hen lives in the house.  She wears a custom made diaper, in blue, to match the color of the skin around her ears.  She is three years old, but she doesn’t have a single callous, because she’s spent her days strolling about on plush carpet in an air conditioned house, and occasionally on soft grass on very pleasant evenings.

She takes warm showers with herbal lavender cleanser. She sleeps in a fluffy plush pet bed, with a fleece baby blanket and her own stuffed animals.

Seriously, the bird has a teddy bear…as well as a stuffed dog, a little plush lamb, and a fuzzy little baby duck. It is the most absurd thing you have ever seen in your life. Honestly, Mama questions her own sanity sometimes.

But, Beaker doesn’t seem to mind. Why would she? She gets whatever she wants whenever she wants it, including all of the freeze dried mealworms her heart desires…on demand.

Beaker’s routine is very important to her.  She is not fond of any sort of variance whatsoever.  In the event that something contrary to Beaker’s expectations does happen, the world will hear ALL about it, at least until Mama scoops her up for a comforting cuddle.

Beaker has trained Mama well.

She likes to ‘talk’ and Mama has learned her language.  Mama has also learned that ‘shoulder time’ begins promptly at sundown.  When Beaker is ready (things are always on her terms, of course) she will stand at Mama’s feet until Mama picks her up for a cuddle. Beaker then climbs up onto Mama’s shoulder, and the two of them watch television together.

It’s completely absurd, isn’t it? 

In Beaker’s defense, however, it must be said that (although she is entirely spoiled) she does contribute significantly to the household, mostly by maintaining a constant vigil and protecting the house from all intruding insects. She’s faster than she looks (when she wants to be), and she is frequently seen to snatch flying moths out of the air.

It’s a beautiful, symbiotic relationship, really:  Beaker gets fresh snacks; Mama and Dadda get free pest control.
Beaker is the perfect pet, actually - despite her prima donna tendencies. She has never destroyed anything, she comes when she’s called, she’s affectionate (but not clingy), she doesn’t peck or bite (at least not people)...and she’s quite unobtrusive. long as she gets what she wants when she wants it.

She is a kind, beneficent master. Provided her routine is never disrupted, everything happens on her terms, and there are never any surprises in her life whatsoever, Beaker is a content and happy hen.

Up next, Mojo the Pound Puppy Poodle…

What's it like to have a pet chicken? Mama shares the pros and cons and answers some commonly asked questions:!/note.php?note_id=142122565866151

Want to see photos of Beaker? You can! Click here:

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