Monday, 20 August 2018

When the Going Gets Tough, The Animal Solution

Karl-Friedrich uses his tail as a comfort blanket.
Turning on the news, regardless of your choice of outlet, is getting to be a daunting task.  Mass shootings, natural disasters, celebrity suicides and then of course there is always a steady stream of Trump antics.  It used to be that Canada was the "safest" compared to the United States or other international continents.  But this summer, we've had our share of all of it: raging wild fires in multiple provinces, the shootings in New Brunswick and Ontario, the passing of Ricki Genest a.k.a Zombie Boy, and Trump's tariffs.  Even in Newfoundland and Labrador there is much handwringing over the fate of Saudi students at the province's university.  All these events are recent and in addition to anything else you might have already been worrying about.  Summer movies aren't a sufficient escape.

I've noticed that there has been a corresponding spike in animal stories on television, radio and print media.  Cats have dominated the internet for awhile.  All joking aside, I do think we are gravitating towards animal related stories as a remedy for so much bad news that is beyond our control.  Even late night TV hosts are reaching beyond their usual acerbic humour and bringing animals into the spotlight.  Steven Colbert took great glee in sharing with the public an account and video of Pancho, a dog in Spain who administers chest compressions to would be heart attack victims and then checks for a pulse by resting his furry chin against their necks.  Here's a link, if you'd like to see for yourself:

One furry criminal caught my attention–a baby red squirrel chased a man in Germany with such persistence that the man felt threatened and called the police.  The tiny rodent had probably lost its mother and was looking for a replacement.  When the police arrived on the scene the exhausted squirrel lay down on the pavement and went to sleep.  Charmed, the officers took the sleeping squirrel back to the station.  The commanding officer said they could not keep it as a mascot.  The squirrel, who had been given the name Karl-Friedrich, was brought to an animal shelter.

A theme park in France is taking advantage of its crows' clever ways and has implemented a system of reward.  When the crows collect a piece of trash, say a cigarette butt, and place it in a special waste bin, a food pellet is released as a reward. 

 Oh yes, and on Quirks and Quarks the CBC science radio program, it was reported that goats' anxiety levels in Italy were measured by satellite as an early warning system to predict volcanic eruptions. 

Goat participating in Icarus project in Sicily.