Ever heard the advice of never getting between a mother bear and her cubs? The same may very well apply to human mothers. In particular case, a mountain lion decides a 5-year-old was going to make a good target for its hunt and ends up making a huge mistake.
Located in Calabasas, the 5-year-old was playing around his house in the rural area when attacked by an adult mountain lion. The 65-lb cat with its aggressiveness overcame the child and dragged him almost a half football field before the mother could intervene. The boy was injured due to bite and scratch marks causing serious lacerations on his head and upper body, but the situation could have ended a lot worse.
Instead, the mother heard her son screaming and came running outside. Seeing her child being attacked and hauled off by the big cat, the mom kicked into high gear and went after the mountain lion with vengeance. With bare hands and feet, the woman attacked the cat and pummeled it until the mountain lion released the boy. Grabbing the boy, she then hauled him into a car, and by then her and her husband drove pell-mell to the nearest ER for treatment and the injuries.
Within seconds, the mountain lion involved decided it wasn’t going to have a huge banquet after all and took off from the immediate area. Later, animal control officers arrived and scouted the area for signs of the cat. It didn’t take long to locate the animal; it was still hunting in the area and looking for prey. As the officers approached the mountain lion hiding in nearby bushes, it went into defensive mode, hissing and pulling its ears back. All of the details, the attack, and the behavior gave officers enough of what they needed to shoot and kill the mountain lion on sight.
The cat was then examined, both for the potential of rabies infection as well as to confirm it was the one who attacked the boy. Positive ID was confirmed based on the DNA evidence the cat still had on its body as well as the angle of the teeth sets and claws.
Interestingly, a second mountain lion was also found in the neighborhood, potentially a mate or part of a roving pack. The officers captured that animal and then moved it safely to a far more remote location to break any growing cycle of getting closer to humans.
In the meantime, the boy was stitched up and recovered, but law enforcement involved were very much impressed at the capacity of the mom involved. By their estimate, she was the critical factor in saving the boy’s life from the attack.
The Mother Doberman and the Kitten
The idea of one animal raising a baby of a different species has long been part of human folklore. After all, the ancient myth of how Rome was created started with Romulus and Remus, twin babies, kept alive by a mother wolf. In far more modern times, Dr. Seuss books also took the same theme and reflected the story line with Horton the Elephant helping to hatch a baby bird. And then, of course, there is Dumbo the Elephant, Disney’s version, flying after being raised and taught by crows.
Of course, in real life, cross-species care rarely happens. However, once in a while, animals do show empathy and go beyond their norms to help a young one in need. Koko the Gorilla, famous for learning sign language, raised a kitten. And a big-sized Doberman, Ruby, did the same with a little kitten she found herself with. Ruby was already in mother mode, which probably helped the situation; she had six puppies of her own nursing at the time, so the idea of a newborn kitten being added to the mix didn’t seem that far-fetched, even to a big dog.
The human taking care of Ruby and her brood, Brittany Callan, normally manages the raising of Dobermans as her occupation. It helps that she lives on a farm, with plenty of room and facilities to manage animal husbandry. Given that background, when Callan happened to find a baby kitten without her mother and sure to end up passing away exposed, Callan immediately wondered whether Ruby could help. Ruby had just given birth to her own puppies just a few days before, so if anything, the dog would likely be in a prime maternal mood. It was worth a chance to save the cat.
It took a few minutes for Ruby to be comfortable with the new feline introduction, but once the nursing mother deemed the kitten no apparent threat, she was fine with taking care of one more baby in the melee of her puppies clamoring for food. Ruby was quite accommodating, actually, according to Callan. The Doberman was already used to being on the farm and surrounded by multiple species and sizes, so another kitten wasn’t going to be much of a shock to her compared to how a city dog might act.
Is inter-species motherhood common? Not really, but it does happen. Russian ookeepers trying to save two tiger cubs were able to depend on the help of a Shar-Pei that nursed the two cubs long enough that they would survive. And in Ireland, a similar situation occurred with a cat raising three ducklings along with her regular kittens. In Callan’s opinion and experience on the farm, the maternal instinct is so strong, it drives animals to become sympathetic to the plight of young ones needing care. And being around other animals regularly helps a lot with that trend of adoption.
As it turned out, Ruby’s new kitten puppy, Ramblin’ Rose, ended up doing just fine. The baby cat even got protective care from mom when the puppies started getting a bit too rough for the cat. The kitten ended up growing strong and taking on weight and will likely be just fine around dogs on the farm as a result of her rearing by Ruby.
The Cat That Came Out of the Time Machine a Decade Later
When cats go missing, the stories often end sadly or with no ending at all. Naturally born to roam, cats regularly get separated from their human owners and end up either being picked up by animal control, getting killed by a car or some other cause (dogs and, unfortunately, humans sometimes), or getting sick. As a result, when Forbes became lost from his owners in Aberdeen, Scotland, the couple were understandably upset.
Forbes had been a furry companion for the Hendersons for years. Neil and Lucy raised the cat and always assumed he would stay put and stay connected with them. Unfortunately, that was not how fate would work. In 2011, the feline got separated from the couple and seemingly disappeared. The pair were completely chucked and sad for months after the loss and, as the years went by, accepted the seeming finality that Forbes was permanently gone. So, when the SPCA called and kept talking about a cat microchipped with the couple’s info in him, the Lucy and Neil were completely shocked.
Neil and Lucy had had Forbes microchipped at a young age to prevent the exact thing happening that occurred with his disappearance. The thinking was, and continues to be with the program, that if the animal gets lost, it will then eventually be picked up by animal control. Scanned and identified, the cat would be returned. However, Neil and Lucy never expected it would take more than a decade for the program to actually work. Their surprise at being reunited with Forbes was nothing short of movie-like in the way things worked out.
The couple had spent weeks looking for Forbes, trying to find the cat when he was first lost. Ironically, years later, the cat was caught by animal control only a few blocks or two miles from where Neil and Lucy lived originally in Aberdeen. Since that time, Neil and Lucy relocated to Edinburgh, a lot in life has happened, and now they have Forbes back in their life. At a minimum, the couple is just overjoyed with the reconnection with their feline pet. As for Forbes, hanging out with two humans that take care of his needs is probably a lot better than living off the street. He seems to have gotten over that feline wandering need, and Forbes spends most of his time now just sleeping.
Looking back on the event, the couple and their friends remember canvassing the neighborhood with posters of Forbes, but nothing turned up, not even a simple, possible clue. It was as if aliens came along and just kidnapped the cat right off the street. Folks were checking everywhere to see if the cat had gotten himself trapped in a hole, a shed, a garage or anything similar. No luck.
When the SPCA call came through a decade later, Lucy was the first to get the contact and immediately rang up Neil. He had to pull over and good he did; Neil was flabbergasted when Lucy, in all seriousness, described to him how Forbes had been found again, alive. Neil swung a U-turn, got back to their home, and both started packing their bags to get to Aberdeen and see Forbes again. It seemed on meeting that Forbes knew exactly who Neil and Lucy were as well, likely by smell. The cat curled right into Neil immediately.
Forbes has an adjustment though. Lucy and Neil did end up getting more pets, so the old cat now has to share attention with two other cats and two dogs. Talk about a crowded life change from the empty street! Interestingly, Forbes seemed to do quite fine on the street all those years. Animal control noted the case was very friendly to humans, was not aggressive, and did not spook like feral cats usually do. Likely, Forbes had made friends doing the rounds visiting people daily all over the neighborhood. As for the couple and their cat now, it’s memories and reminiscing in a warm flat now.
RV Donations for Wildfire Victims Helps Nearly 100 Families
A recreational vehicle, or RV, is regularly seen at national parks, camping sites, on the big interstate highways and at beaches. They provide the means to travel the country by road and live for extended periods away from home with similar amenities and without the cost of hotels for the same. However, for many, RVs can also be a lifeline to some normality after losing a home as well. That was the driver that pushed Woody Faircloth to find a way to repurpose RVs into temporary homes for those who’ve lost a home due to wildfire.
Given the obvious changes that have occurred with the climate and the intensity of destruction being seen in wildfires every year since 2015, hundreds of people have lost their homes and not all of them have been able to recover immediately or move elsewhere. As a result, Faircloth’s nonprofit program tries to bridge the gap for such folks by helping them get a roof over their heads via an RV. The nonprofit, EmergencyRV.org, takes donations and donated RVs to help out those who desperately need a place to live after a wildfire disaster.
The issue is acute in the rural areas. Many people inherited their homes from relatives and had been able to live for decades without the otherwise prohibitive cost of buying a home outright. However, these same residents oftentimes functioned on very low incomes, sometimes government benefits, and had no ability to insure their property. When a wildfire tore through their area, they lost everything without any ability to replace it. Without Faircloth’s program, such folks had zero chance of having their own place to live again on their property.
The EmergencyRV program started as a GoFundMe project online just to get the initial RV refurbished, delivered and provided to a needy family. From there, the program took off and grew exponentially. Since the start, Faircloth’s program has now made multiple trips to communities hit hard by fire loss, including firefighters who have lost their own homes being on the firelines trying to protect everyone else. And with every delivery, Faircloth and friends basically help someone stop feeling like a burden on others.
By career, Woody Faircloth is another face in the telecom industry, but for the folks whom Faircloth and his support team have helped, Faircloth might as well have been an angel given how much his RVs help out.
Everyone Falls In Love With Baby Birds That Are Saved From a BullDozer
Sacramento, California gets hot in the summer, real hot. So when it’s a 100 degree day, folks tend to think that’s kind of a pleasant change from what can usually get up to a 110 hot oven blast by 4pm in the afternoon. Given all the levee work that had been going on in 2020 and 2021, the crews working on the construction and repair were feeling it either way.
Roberto Navarez was one of the contract workers on the construction site, and it just so happened his eye caught something as he was walking on the site. A branch had been broken off a tree and, sitting in the path of a dozer that was slowly moving towards that exact spot, were two baby birds. The chicks were just looking around, confused, trying to figure out what to do next. Navarez looked around for a nest, but he couldn’t find any sign of one wherever he looked. All that was evident was that the branches came from a nearby oak tree that hung over the levee itself.
Generally, most workers know to just leave animals they see alone. Nature tends to be very good at taking care of itself. However, while Navarez kept watching the birds to see whether the parents would fly down and scoop them up, nothing happened. The heat was reaching the high of the day, well over 100, and too much equipment was moving in the area of the birds. So, he decided get help from a biologist on site. That expert confirmed the heat was going to kill the birds if nothing was done, so the chicks were contained in a cardboard box and put into one of the nearby trailers with air-conditioning. One of the birds was quite active, but the other seemed drained of any energy.
Eventually, the workers placed the birds in the box in a branch, waiting for the parents to find them again. The lively one, however, jumped out of the box and to the ground. The parents found it, and it took off into a bush with one of them. However, the listless second bird stayed put. Eventually, it became clear the bird was going to need some help with the parents nowhere to be found. Lee Roork, an avid bird rescuer, stepped in.
Texting his wife at home about a new arrival, Lee Roork went into bird-caring mode, a practice he and his wife had done previously for other abandoned birds. In this case, their latest adoptee would be a scrub jay, it turned out. The first 24 hours were rough; it was a big question whether the tired chick would survive and live. However, by the next day, Roork’s wife, Susan, was able to get the bird to take food and water. That was a key start.
The bird was named Blu and took to Lee and Susan very well within a few days. Interacting excitedly, the bird decided humans were definitely going to be its food source and care. And, within a few days, Blu was trying her wings out, zipping around the house. The Roorks tried to get Blu to adapt back to the wild, but the bird would have none of it, enjoying interacting and hiding food all over the house. However, it was a firm plan. Blu would go to the wild when ready. Yet, weeks later, while they had planned to release her formally, Blu decided when she was ready and darted out an open door. Hesitating for a few seconds and chirping at Susan, Blu eventually embraced her freedom with other jays nearby and took off.
Yet, for Lee and Susan, the fact that Blu made it was all that mattered. Blu came back once, interacting with Lee and Susan for a bit and then taking off again. It was as if the bird wanted them to know she was alright and things worked out fine.
Goats to the Rescue for Dublin’s Fire Risk
Working in the fields around Dublin, Melissa Jeuken has one of the most effective wildfire crews under her direction. Her team are focused, dedicated to their work, and produce amazing results with fire breaks and fire prevention. They’re goats.
Melissa might chalk the synergy up to being a good leader for her team, but the reality is, her goats just go along with her wherever she takes them because there’s always a good amount of food for each. Aside from the errant individual who likes to jump into Melissa’s arms for a lift, most of her four-legged friends get along pretty well and understand Melissa’s role as the herder of the team. And, when let loose on the Irish countryside, they don’t waste any time trimming down a local hillside to reduce its fire risk, especially during the drier part of the year.
One wouldn’t expect to see goats at work in the particular area of Dublin that they operate in. Howth has an elevated vantage point over Dublin downtown, and most of its residents hum around the tech centers of Google as well as the local Facebook corporate campus as well.
The goats have a straightforward job. Their task is to cut down on vegetation and wild growth so the locals don’t have a repeat of the 65 acre fire that blackened the sky over Dublin earlier in July 2021. While it might not seem to have been a big fire on a grand scale, the burn was a wakeup call on how difficult it was for local firefighters and air brigade to put out a wildfire incident in their backyard.
Goatherding isn’t for everyone, however. The animals are very picky about whom they accept as a herder. Melissa realized early on the animals had a mind of their own and were not just going to be poked and prodded around. Gaining their trust was key and a primary reason why she works so well with the goats now.
Originally, the Howth Council tried a modern approach to the issue, using mechanical vehicles and tractors to churn up the surrounding area and provide for a fire break.
For Melissa, experience and animal knowledge were her advantage for the herder job. She had prior experience working on a farm and with goats before, she was studying veterinarian science, and as it turned out (no surprise), Melissa was a woman, which the goats prefer over a man. Animals can in fact be sexist towards humans. The job does require Melissa to live on site at the home base for the goats, but it all works out with an enjoyable job and projects that have her outside all over greater Dublin.
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