Instagram is a place where people with phones and tablets can post pictures of whatever. It is a mash up between Facebook and Pinterest, and it is becoming increasingly popular for pets and businesses!
Pilot and I have a lot of fun on there. You should check us out!: Kathryn & Pilot On Instagram
It has almost been a year since Pilot was given to me, September 10th, 2013. He and I have been through quite a bit since then. He loved going to work with me while I worked at a local greenhouse for a short time, but when the greenhouse quit for the winter, he quickly learned to cope with staying at home all the time. However, he takes any chance available to jump in the vehicle with me for a road trip. He loves sticking his head out the window or the back of the pickup while we are driving to let the wind blow in his face.
Pilot is a firecracker full of energy! If I were a jogging/running person, or an agility guru, we would be a match made in heaven! Unfortunately for him, I only walk and hike. He loves to explore, so the time we spend hiking is well spent.
When I stopped working at the greenhouse in October, I had to find another energy and mental outlet for Pilot. So we got into trick training and obedience. This proved to be a real challenge for the both of us. Pilot is whip smart, but he has the greatest of difficulty focusing on any one thing for too long. So, I started using meal time as a time to teach him to calm down, wait, and focus. He quickly picked up on the "all good things come to those who wait" proverb.
He likes playing Frisbee (for about 15 minutes, then his attention span goes *bye-bye*), so I also started using that, along with tasty treats, to reinforce his manners. I would refuse to throw the Frisbee until he sat, laid down or, later, rolled over. Then I would treat him and/or throw the Frisbee. Now he's a pro at "Stay", "Sit", "Down", "Roll Over", and we are currently working on nailing down "Spin".
I did have a teeny-tiny agility course set up for him to run during spring. He LOVED that course until we took it down when the weeds started getting bigger than me. He likes jumping up on things, climbing things, running through things, and learning how to navigate stuff. Honestly, I think he would be a great agility dog star. I posted a short video in April of him doing some of his agility, if you would like to see it.
As far as personality, Pilot gets along with everybody. He has been very well behaved and gentle around the elderly and disabled, and he just adores children. He also gets along well with other dogs, even those that are known to be a bit mean and grumpy. The first thing he wants to do with another dog is play, but he has learned to sit down, wait, and smile at the other dog until it warms up to him.
On the other hand, rabbits and small fuzzy animals are his to chase, bite, and kill. He will tolerate the pet rabbits being outside of their cages, as long as I have my eye on him, but I dare not turn my back to him or the pet bunny will be NO MORE!
Birds tend to be an interesting subject with Pilot. He ignores the chickens, and he watches the adult peacocks from a distance, but littler birds are just a ball with wings for him. He has killed more sparrows than I care to count, and he killed one of our baby peacocks when it was trying to fly. He just snatched it right out of the air (yeah, that was not one of our better days). He also wants to chase cattle and horses. Thankfully, I have been able to drill a very strong recall into him, which has saved us both from a few accidents more than once, but I still keep him on a strong lead whenever I know we are going to be around cattle or horses. Goats and sheep don't seem to bug him too much, but this could be because our little lamb and our goat have whipped his rear and taught him some manners.
So, aside from digging holes in the yard for his bones, and tearing up whatever toys get accidentally left outside, he's a pretty good boy. And he is super cute when he howls with the coyotes at night. He does! He sits in the middle of the yard, raises his head, and howls with the best of them!
When I was a young girl, a very kind lady I've known all my life introduced me to a fascinating creature: a ferret.
I remember that the ferret had been sleeping in an old t-shirt in its cage. I thought the cage was empty, until suddenly, this strange little creature popped it's head out of the t-shirt and looked right at me with the utmost curiosity. I froze where I was at, and I must have screamed, because the ferret disappeared back into his t-shirt and the kind lady came to my aid in a hurry "It's called a ferret, darling." she explained with a smile "Would you like to hold it?" she asked. Of course, I said yes. The moment she put the long, furry creature into my small hands, I was in love. I wanted one.
Years later, my parents were still not sold on my having a ferret. They thought it was a rodent (which it is not, by the way.... daddy, I'm talking to YOU.), and rodents are not allowed in our house (we have field mice visiting our house all the time, after all). So, I contented myself with taking my desire to the one person I could always rely on: God. I told Him very often how much I liked ferrets, and how I would like to have one some day. He must have heard me, because I did end up with one.
In 2009, my sister and I went to the local pet shelter to turn in some stray dogs. While we were there, I noticed a small cage with two ferrets in it. One, a big one, was the acclaimed mascot of the shelter. The other one was small and younger, and had been found wandering the streets. One of the managers at the shelter, a sweet old gentleman, was celebrating his 80th birthday that day. His grin was quite large as he pulled the small ferret from the cage and said "Today is my birthday, and I want to give you a present!" and he handed the ferret over.
No, it wasn't proper procedure, but it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and I will never forget it.
From that time on, Popi (poe-pee) lived with our family. The vet guessed her to be a little over a year old when she was given to me, which would've made her about 6ish years old this year. That is a very ripe age for a ferret, considering most don't live past that age.
In the past, Popi was always a very active little girl. She could play outside in my flowerbeds for hours, and would never hold still for pictures. She would hunt mice and tarantulas (shudder), and could take a full grown Golden Retriever down to the ground! She was feisty and full of fight! Over the first few months of this year, however, Popi had begun to show her age. She was moving slow and tired easily. Her appetite came and went, and she had several fainting spells and a couple of seizures if she stressed too much. I knew that her time was growing very short.
On May 16th, Popi was feeling active and lively, so I said to myself "While she's feeling good, you should get some decent photos of her..." With the help of the kids, I laid out a nice blanket on the couch, grabbed my camera, gave Popi some treats, and took some pictures of her. She actually posed for me a couple of times! I was so happy. I knew that, if she were to pass away that night, I would have a couple of good pictures to remember her by.
On June 14th, 2014, before 10AM, my dear little Popi passed away quietly. I miss her very much.