Creatures in the news — winged, four-footed, cute or scary

Cicadas are always safe to have around The US EPA

@mtierney, not sure how those cicadas are going? Apparently New Orleans has found a way to deal with them: Truly…fascinating 

mtierney said:

Phew, looks like New Jersey is safe this time around!

Lovely tribute to a small dog….

Big Love for a Small Dog

I need Rudy, the runt of the litter, as much as he needs me.

By Mike Kerrigan

April 19, 2024 


Rudy, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is 13, or 95 dog years. I fear the Old Man, as he’s also affectionately known, won’t make it to his 14th birthday this September. The day he dies will be painful, for Rudy and I have a special bond.

When my family visited a Greenville, S.C., breeder in 2010, my wife and kids all had their eye on the same puppy: a lively darling with “best in show” written all over her. Believing my brood had an abundance of love to give, I had other plans.

I made the case for choosing the runt. While all his siblings snuggled close to their mother, one impossibly scrawny pup remained quietly on the periphery, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of hounds. My family reluctantly backed the choice.

The pooch that instantly captured my heart reminded me of another undersized overachiever, the cinematic hero who on determination alone willed his way onto Notre Dame’s football team: Rudy. And so we named him that.

The past two years have been tough on Rudy. He is arthritic as well as completely deaf and blind, and he has to be watched whenever he goes outdoors. But true to his namesake, his heart is strong, with no sign of the mitral valve disease that often burdens his breed as it ages.

He barks after dusk, when he tends to become more disoriented, so our veterinarian suggested someone cuddle him every night before bedtime. The idea was that a familiar scent and touch would help reorient him. Happily, this ritual fell to me.

After dinner my ailing dog and I sit together. I play songs that remind me of him, hoping they won’t be impossible to enjoy when he’s gone. Sometimes it’s Neil Young’s “Old Man”; less often it’s the poignant “Feed Jake” by Pirates of the Mississippi. I hold Rudy close before taking him to bed.

Strangely, this routine has calmed me at least as much as it has Rudy, for our time together reminds me of something important: Whether life is long or short, all anyone possesses is the present, and all that matters is what is done in it. In that precious moment, the Old Man simply basks in love.

What a wonderful way to go through life—choosing to give and receive love, both acts of the will, in every moment. For me, what a triumphal reminder that the source and summit of the created universe is the perpetual presence not simply of something loving, but of Love itself.

Rudy needed me more when he was young, but as we both grow old, we need each other equally.

Mr. Kerrigan is an attorney in Charlotte, N.C.

Have we all fallen in love Max Dow, Master of Litter-ature, Vermont State University?
He seems quite amazing. 

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