This post started out as a list of favorite things, but it has somehow morphed because I started to dwell on the deaths of some favorite animals lately. I guess it was what’s on my mind this morning.

Vince

This is a picture of my bird, Vince, a cockatiel. He was with me for 11 years, and I had him put to sleep on January 2, after he was diagnosed with cancer.

It has not been an auspicious year so far for animals I care about. Micco, a beautiful six-year-old dolphin at Brookfield Zoo, died last week of a respiratory infection. He was the first child of a dolphin named Kaylee, who rejected him, so his grandmother Tapeko took over his care. For some reason he’s the first dolphin of the zoo’s dolphin group that really interested me, maybe because I watched him grow up and because his life started out with such turmoil. For whatever reason, the first offspring of a mother dolphin in the wild or in captivity has a big chance of not surviving. Researchers believe this may be because of toxins in the moms’ body from their increasingly polluted environment, which become concentrated in the first infant. So, when Micco was born, we watched him very carefully until he was a year old, which is when baby dolphins supposedly leave the danger zone. He got sick in December and died last Sunday. I was at the zoo that day, and didn’t hear anything about it. He died in his keepers’ arms, I understand.

Also, I just found out this morning that Dusti the giraffe died as well. He’d gotten his head trapped in a pulley system that he shouldn’t have been able to reach. The way I understand it, the rope in question was over his door, at least six and a half feet away and around a corner from him, fastened against the wall with clips to make it hard to move. Poor Dusti. I’ve spent hours watching him and his mate and his kids at Brookfield Zoo. He was always in the back, separated from the females, and most of the time he was exercising his tongue by licking everything in sight. He has three offspring, one of which turned one year old just recently. He was a lovely animal. His keepers, of course, are devastated. My heart goes out to them.

But I still have two silly cats to comfort me, at least.

George and Beasley

Maybe I’ll try doing another favorite things post later on, since I don’t seem to be much in the mood today.

Helen, 34, Glenview, USA

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