#1122 Save the world, starting with bees

Pollinating the lupine in Rotary Marsh, Kelowna, British Columbia

Just when news of the day threatens to make optimism look like a fool’s errand, I learn about a 4-decade-old organization that connects scientists and citizens around an important goal: to protect invertebrates and their habitat. Since 1971 the Xerces…


#1066 This goat was sliding toward death until he was reunited with his beloved burro

Jellybean and Mr G

Touching reunion of Jellybean and Mr. G; photo from Animal Place Facebook page

During my stint as a reluctant farmer, I witnessed a lot of interspecies friendships, but none as moving as this one. A goat named Mr. G and a burro called Jellybean were rescued from a hoarder. According to Animal Place the woman “could barely care for herself, let alone the dozens of dogs she hoarded and three barnyard animals.”

Animal Place Rescue Ranch offered to take in the goat. Another sanctuary took the burro. After a tiring, 8-hour drive, Mr. G settled into his new home. There he sank into deep mourning, refusing food and only leaving his corner of the barn when staff literally moved him.

The home he shared with Jellybean may have been substandard, but at least he was with his beloved friend. Separated from the burro, Mr. G was inconsolable.

From my own experience with animal friendships, I have no doubt Mr. G would have died of a broken heart had Animal Place not decided to bring Jellybean to him. You’ll see in the video that Mr. G could hardly believe his senses when his beloved friend appeared. In short order he was eating again and following his friend around the paddock. Animal Place says the two friends have found their forever home, right there at the sanctuary.

Building and running an animal shelter is an enormous commitment. Heartaches are common. But a story like this makes any amount of work worthwhile. Animal Place gives me – and a lot of animals – hope.

You can follow Animal Place on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


#1061 Did you ever hear a rat laugh?

Black and white rats

Rats are seriously unimpressed by human jokes, but you can make them laugh. How? Tickle them. The scientist who is credited with that discovery is neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp. He and his colleagues discovered that not only did rats engage in…


#1050 Her dog went missing so the animal shelter sent her home with a baby sloth

Sloth in the Amazon

Sloth in the Amazon; photo by Carol Schaffer, via Flickr Creative Commons

Monique Pool never intended to found an animal sanctuary. It all started with her lost dog. When she asked the Suriname Animal Protection Society if they had found it, they offered her Loesje, a baby three-toed sloth. That baby’s sweet smile captured her heart and changed her life.

The BBC’s Vibeke Venema wrote a heartwarming story about her. Loesje died after two years, but Pool’s attachment to sloths turned into a full-scale fostering operation. One or two a week were sent to her for temporary care. Then in 2012 forest clearing near Suriname’s capital destroyed a major sloth habitat, and Pool ended up rescuing 200 sloths.

Now the Green Heritage Fund she launched in 2005 works to protect the three-toed sloth as well as others of the Xenarthra species. They also fund a dolphin-conservation project as well as research and education programs.

Fair warning: don’t even think about fostering a sloth unless you have a ready supply of just the right fresh leaves. However, you can adopt one through the Green Heritage Fund Suriname. And you can look at the sweet photos Vibeke Venima posted with her BBC article.

Monique Pool, with her compassion for animals and her commitment to work on their behalf, gives me hope.