I Rescued a Butterfly!

butterfly rescue
The Black Swallowtail I Saved

Last Wednesday, I was sitting inside my home, petting my cat and looking out on my deck.  A black butterfly floated by, but I thought nothing of it.  Just then, something happened.  A stray gust of wind must have caught the butterfly wrong, because he suddenly back-flipped through the air and landed on his back!  Lying on the deck’s boards, his legs kicked helplessly in the air.  

I immediately yanked the door open and stepped outside.  I thought: “Don’t worry, little guy!  I’ll save you!”  I extended my finger to him and his little legs grabbed on.  

I knew that butterflies get their nutrients from mud, and the soil in one of the flower pots on the deck was saturated.  So I quickly lowered my hand down to the rim of the pot.  The butterfly crawled off.  

As he just sat there, opening and closing his wings, I hovered nervously nearby.  Was he alright?  Was he hurt?  If he could fly, why didn’t he?  

I remember when I was a kid, I found a butterfly in my backyard with half of a wing missing.  (Ironically, she was also a black butterfly.)  I took her in and cared for her as a pet.  Thinking back, I recall that her favorite food was blueberry yogurt.  

With vague plans of feeding this butterfly swirling in my mind, I picked him up again.  I walked down the deck steps to the ground.  Since the little fellow seemed perfectly content to perch on my hand, I paused to snap a few photos.  

Now he started to move.  He crawled up my hand, up my arm, and across my back.  I laughed.  What did he think he was doing, exploring new lands for Spain?  

Then he flew up into the air.  I smiled; he apparently wasn’t hurt at all!  Perhaps the fall onto his back had stunned him, but that was it.  

The pretty thing flew up to the deck again, landing on the wire railing.  I rushed up there, thinking: That would make a lovely photo!  I managed to get a few more nice pictures, including the one at the top of this post — then he flew off into the trees.  He was gone.  

This incident may seem like a small thing to some people, but little things mean everything, don’t they?  And besides, what’s better than saving a life?  For an animal lover like me, it was the Best.  Day.  Ever!  

Stay fuzzy, my friends!  


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I stayed up all night to save the life of an adorable, baby chipmunk.  And it worked!  Read the full story here: 


A Camera, Some Birds, and Gandalf the Squirrel

I tried something new the other day: bird watching.  Why is this news-worthy?  Well, for one thing, I don’t like birds.  You can’t pet them like a cat; you can’t teach them tricks like a dog; and you can’t go on adventures with them like a horse.  You can’t even take non-blurry pictures of them because they are constantly flying to a new perch every few seconds (trust me, I’ve tried).  Really, you can’t do anything with them.  

In contrast, my mom loves birds.  She feeds them throughout the year.  Whenever she would talk about them, I would smile and nod politely, without much real interest.  

But all that changed lately.  

I looked out the window one morning recently, and behold!  There was the last snow of the season.  So I grabbed a camera and headed out to take some photos. 

Almost immediately, a cloud of birds descended upon me.  They flew from tree to tree, following me like paparazzi swarming a celebrity.  

Some chickadees (little black and white birds) were particularly bold.  They would always perch the closest to me, and sometimes they would even fly by me in aerial maneuvers tight enough to make fighter pilots proud.  

It was early, and my mom hadn’t found time to feed the birds yet, so they probably thought: “The human is bringing breakfast!”  I decided to embrace my new-found fame and use it to take some pictures.  I snapped this:


Keep in mind that this is harder than it looks.  Not only were the birds zipping from branch to branch, but they would dart away at the slightest movement.  So I had to stay as still as possible.  Furthermore, when this chickadee landed so close to me, I had only seconds to: first, zoom in; second, get it in focus; third, get the bird centered; and finally, tilt the camera so that the branches framed the bird nicely instead of weirdly sprouting out of the chickadee’s head.  

It took me dozens of tries to get that photo, but I was so elated when I did.  

Little did I know, the best was yet to come!  

After I took that photo, I lifted up my camera to snap some more. 

But when I did, the chickadee landed on my camera!  I repeat, the chickadee landed on my camera!  That such a nervous, flighty little thing would trust me — I can’t even tell you how happy that made me.  It was only a few seconds, but I will remember it for a lifetime.  

Shortly afterwards, my mom came outside to give the birds their seed, and I saw something stunning.  

bird tricks

Let me explain.  My mom uses an old cottage cheese container to carry the bird seed in.  Before she dishes it out, she holds it up and waits.  The brave little chickadees will fly up, land on the rim, pick up a seed in their beak, and then fly away.  Mom does this for maybe a minute or less, and then she feeds the birds properly.  

I was delighted to see this.  They have such confidence in my mom!  It’s like seeing a dog do a trust fall, except even better, because birds are naturally so un-trusting.  

After the seed was passed out, a hungry squirrel appeared.  I was interested to see what he would do.  Unfortunately, he started harassing the birds and trying to steal their food, so I had to chase him away a few times.  But even so, I still got a neat shot of the mischievous little guy.  

gandolf the squirrel
American Red Squirrel

Out of the countless photos I took of this little fellow, this one is by far the best.  Here’s why: it was over in less than a second, but for one single instant, he reached up and grabbed that stick.  Isn’t it adorable?  I certainly thought so, and later I showed it to one of my friends.  She laughed, and pointed out how the squirrel looked like Gandalf holding his staff.  That gave me an idea…  

little gandalf squirrel
Middle Earth Gray Squirrel

Look, it’s Gandalf the Squirrel!  I don’t know about you, but this makes me smile.  

Ironically, by the time I finally pried myself away from all the wildlife, the snow had melted.  I had missed my chance to photograph the last snow of the season.  

But I don’t regret a thing; I had too much fun for that!  

So now that you’ve heard about my feathered adventure, I’d like to hear from you, dear reader.  Have you ever had an encounter with avian life?  Maybe you rescued a bird from your cat, or maybe a bird flew into your house?  Or maybe you’re a bird watcher?  Whatever the case may be, let’s keep this discussion going in the comments!  

Next week, I’ll tell you about Stormy, a grouchy lesson horse that only I managed to befriend.  Or did I?  (It’s complicated, so come back next week to find out all the details!)  

Until then, always remember: stay fuzzy, my friends, and keep trying new things!  You never know what new love you could discover!  


I Saved a Baby Chipmunk!


When I found him one cold night, his leg was hurt and he couldn’t walk.  I vowed to do everything in my power to save him.  

Back when I was a little kid, some baby squirrels fell out of a tree.  I didn’t know what to do, so I left them alone, hoping the mom would come save them. 

She didn’t.  They died.  I was devastated.   

So when I found this baby chipmunk, I knew I had to help.  That way (even if he still died), I could rest easy knowing that I had done everything possible.  

With that in mind, I knew I had to catch him.  The night was cold, I didn’t see the mom anywhere, and my neighborhood is full of carnivorous animals who would probably love a snack, so leaving him alone wasn’t an option.  

I ran to go look for an old aquarium I’d stored somewhere.  I couldn’t find it, so I settled for a 5-gallon bucket instead.  

I’d let the chipmunk out of my sight for only a few minutes, but he had disappeared.  

I searched and searched.  The minutes ticked away; still, I would not give up.  I had to save him!  

Then something told me to search under the Hosta plants.  I lifted the leaves.  

And there he was!  

I scooped him up and swiftly deposited him in the bucket.  The poor thing started freaking out, so I placed some grass in the bucket for him to hide under.  He slide underneath.  

Now, what should I do with him?  

Well, first of all, it was too cold outside — especially for a baby — so I carried the bucket into my garage.  It was warmer there, but I knew he needed more.  I set up a space heater to keep him comfortable through the chilly autumn night.  Next, I found a hand warmer, wrapped it in a paper towel, and placed it in the bucket.  (If you look at the photo, it’s the white thing.  As for the yellow thing, we’ll talk about that later.)

I picked him up and examined him quickly.  He didn’t have any open wounds, but something was wrong with his back leg.  Either he was a cripple or he had a broken leg; fortunately, he didn’t seem to be in pain.  I set him back down gently.  

Next, I constructed a make-shift lid with burlap and yarn — just in case.  I didn’t want my precious patient getting loose and causing trouble.  

After that, research.  I went inside, sat down at my computer, and researched for hours.  I learned everything about baby chipmunks: how they eat, how they sleep, how they mature — everything.  

The next time I checked in on the chipmunk, he seemed calmer.  However, I noticed that he wasn’t using the hand warmer.  This was a bad sign, since babies need their mother’s warmth to survive.  So I dug some old, fake fur out of a crate and sewed the stuff over a hand warmer.  (That’s the yellow thing in the picture.)  

He liked it!  He snuggled up to it almost instantly, and stayed that way for hours.  My heart warmed to see the cute little thing so content.  

Now it was time for food.  My extensive research showed that chipmunks his age eat what adult chipmunks do: fruits, nuts, and veggies.  

Duly, I placed a variety of fruits and veggies in his bucket at a variety of places.  I tried all kinds.  

For many hours, he refused to eat and would only sleep.  I started to worry.  Was he too weak to eat?  Was he dying?  Should I force-feed him through an eye-dropper before it was too late?  

But finally, he ate a raspberry and a kernel of corn.  

I cannot tell you how happy this made me.  I wanted to shout: “Yes!  He’s not going to die!”

For the next several hours, I periodically checked in on him.  Whenever I removed the lid, he would open one eye and calmly look up at me.  With the utmost gentleness, I would lower down one gloved pinkie and slowly stroke his soft side.  He didn’t mind; he was very sleepy and cute.  

I stayed up all night caring for him.  

In the morning, I talked to one of my friends, and we decided on a name.  We didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, so we came up with two names.  If it was a girl, I would call her Ivy, because that’s what I found her under.  If it was a boy, he would be Mr. Nibbles, named after the adorable sounds he made while eating.  

Once it was warm enough outside, I placed him outdoors near where I had found him.  Some chipmunks lived around there, and I hoped that his mom would come get him.  I set him and all his stuff in a shallow box.  The walls were high enough to keep him in, yet low enough to allow a healthy chipmunk inside.  A lid covered part of the box, so he could enjoy the sunshine or the shade as he pleased.  

I went inside and watched through a window.  After all, the last thing I wanted was for a stray cat to come by and eat the poor thing.  

I watched and waited.  And waited. 

One hour passed.  Then another.  Then another.  

3 hours later, and no chipmunk mom in sight.  I was starting to worry again.  But more than that, I was starting to get exhausted.  Staying up all night was catching up to me.  

So I asked my sister to watch him for a while.  She agreed.  Once she had taken over, I crashed into bed.  

But only 2 hours later, she woke me up.  She said that Mr. Nibbles kept jumping at the side of his box, trying to escape.  

It was then that I knew in my heart I had to free him.  He must have been feeling better if he was jumping, and of course, I couldn’t keep him in captivity if he was unhappy.  

I released him back where I had found him.  He scooted away from me and vanished into the ornamental grass next to the ivy.  

I threw some wheat seed into the grass for him to eat, and then stumbled back to bed.  

The next day, I saw a normal adult chipmunk very near where Mr. Nibbles had vanished.  I hope that was his mom.  

That was 2 weeks ago, and I haven’t seen him since.  

Unlike some stories, this one doesn’t have a neat-and-tidy ending.  I don’t know if Mr. Nibbles lived.  I hope and pray he did, and it seems like he did; but I don’t know.  I may never know.  

Yet even so, there is one thing I can know with absolute certainty: this time, I did everything within my power to save him. 

So I can rest easy.  

Raccoon Climbs a Skyscraper

raccoon 2
Credit: unknown

Did you hear about the raccoon that scaled a skyscraper in St. Paul?  I kid you not, this actually happened.  The truth is indeed stranger than fiction!  

The trouble started on Tuesday, June 12th, when someone spotted a raccoon stranded on a building in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Why on earth was a raccoon up there?  Reporter Tim Nelson probably hit the nail on the head when he tweeted that the raccoon was “likely on an errant mission to raid pigeon nests”.  

Onlookers called animal control, but even they weren’t sure what to do, so animal control told everyone that she would probably get down on her own.  

But she didn’t.  

So the next day, maintenance workers built a makeshift wooden ladder for the raccoon to climb down on. 

Unfortunately, when they put it up next to her, the clatter scared the raccoon and she ran away.  She scaled another nearby building before moving onto the UBS Plaza skyscraper.  

Then she went up.  

Holding their breath, everyone watched as she passed 10 stories.  Then 15.  And then 20!  

raccoon 4
Credit: Johnson88Ben on Facebook

Normally, most skyscrapers are made of smooth steel, so this climb would be impossible.  But the UBS Plaza building is made of textured concrete.  If you look closely at the videos, you’ll see pebbles sticking out of the concrete.  

By now, a crowd had gathered at the base of the skyscraper.  Employees inside the building watched, too.  In fact, people across the world looked on through the trending hashtag #mprraccoon (named after the local news) and through a live-stream. 

Everyone anxiously hoped that this amazing climb would not end in a tragic fall.  

Mpr raccoon’s next move, for reasons only known to herself, was to climb back down and tire herself out some more.  

Incredibly, she then climbed back up to the 23rd story before taking a break.

raccoon sleep
Credit: Tad Vezner

(Isn’t she cute?)

Anyway, after the rest, mprraccoon began climbing again on the final push to the top.  Then, at about 3 A.M., she reached the roof!  

25 stories and about as many hours later, without any food or water, she had made it.  

Animal control officers had set traps on the roof with wet cat food in them.  Fortunately, she took the bait and was safely caged.  

Animal control came first thing in the morning.  It was then that they discovered that mprraccoon was female, and about a year old. 

raccoon 3
Credit: @timnelson_mpr on Twitter

They took her out of the city and released her on some private property in the suburbs.  Now she can live out her life as a proper raccoon would.  

Don’t you just love happy endings?  



12 Crazy Pets that Presidents Actually Owned


Yes, this picture is not click bait; a President really did own an alligator.  In fact, two presidents did.  

Of course, a few of these tales may be just myths, but most are real, and they are amazing!  

The list below is intended to showcase the exotic Presidential pets, so you won’t find any horses, dogs, or cats mentioned.  I ranked them from “most normal” to “most crazy”.  Enjoy!  

12. Abraham Lincoln’s turkey.  A turkey was brought to the White House to be fattened for Thanksgiving.  But one of Lincoln’s boys grew attached to the bird, so when the deadly time came, the boy begged his father to spare it.  Fortunately, Lincoln issued a Presidential pardon, and the turkey lived.  

11. Andrew Johnson’s white mice.  When this President discovered a family of white mice in his bedroom, he did an unusual thing.  He didn’t kill them or drive them off.  Instead, he fed them.  In a way, they became his pets.  

10. Andrew Jackson’s parrot.  Poll the parrot was taught to curse, possibly by the president himself.  At Andrew Jackson’s funeral, the parrot started swearing like a sailor; Poll would not stop, so it had to be removed from the premises.  The Reverend who presided over the ceremony wrote that the crowd was “horrified and awed at the bird’s lack of reverence”.  

9. Grover Cleveland owned hundreds of fish.    

8. Woodrow Wilson’s tobacco-chewing ram.  His name was Old Ike, and he is probably the grumpiest creature on this list.  He would lower his horns and charge at people, staff and visitors alike.  He also developed the bad habit of eating the cigar butts that he would find on the White House lawn.  All of this eventually led to his removal from the White House and a fall from grace.  

7. William Taft’s cow, Pauline Wayne.  In the early 1900s, there were no milkmen or grocery stores that sold milk, so everyone — even the President — kept their own cow as a source of milk.  Taft’s cow is unique because it was the last Presidential bovine.  After she left in 1913, milk was delivered.  However, Pauline has more to her name than just that.  She nearly ended up as hamburger!  On her way to a prestigious dairy event, the train car that Pauline was in was accidentally sent to a slaughterhouse.  Fortunately, someone recognized her just in the nick of time.  After that close-call, Taft no longer sent her to events.  

6. Benjamin Harrison’s opossums, named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection, for some reason.  

5. Martin van Buren’s tiger cubs.  Yep, you read that correctly.  And be warned — things only get crazier from here!  

4. Thomas Jefferson’s two bear cubs.  

3. John Quincy Adams’ ALLIGATOR.  Ahem, yes, that.  As the story goes, Adams received this alligator as a gift from Marquis de Lafayette.  Adams decided to keep the alligator indoors.  He gave it access to a room and a bathroom, then he would take guests to see it.  Naturally, they were shocked and terrified.  As if one instance of this wasn’t enough, Herbert Hoover also owned an alligator.  In fact, he had two of them.  Yup, nothing could go wrong with that!  

2. Calvin Coolidge’s bobcat named Smokey.  Besides having Smokey, Coolidge also possessed a donkey, a black bear, a wallaby, a small hippopotamus, two raccoons, two lion cubs, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Well, all except that last one.  

1.  Theodore Roosevelt owned a literal zoo!  It’s fitting that the President who was renowned for being an outdoors man would have the largest, craziest collection of all.  In addition to the usual swarm of cats, dogs and horses, the White House also held snakes, owned by the President’s youngest son, Quentin Roosevelt.  Not to be out done, his father got a flying squirrel, a coyote, a lion, five bears, and a zebra.  A zebra!  

…And there you have it — 12 wild pets that Presidents maybe should not have been keeping.  Now then, we are all prepared.  I won’t bat an eye if President Trump wants to bring a whale to the Oval Office!  

All joking aside, however, I have an announcement to make.  Next week marks my one year anniversary of weekly blogging.  I’m so excited to have made it this far!  

To celebrate, I’m posting the first chapter of the book I’m writing, The Fuzzy Feud, which is about the funny misadventures of a cat and a dog as they reluctantly go from hatred to friendship.  The post will be sort of an exclusive sneak-peek.  

Anyway, I’ll see you there, and remember — stay fuzzy, my friends!  


UPDATE: Here is the link to the first chapter of my book.   Enjoy!