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Loving a dog means getting your heart broken in 10 to 15 years. You know it's going to happen, but there is no way to prepare for it. This week he stopped eating and drinking, and on the infrequent times that he would walk, he would shake himself and fall down. We sent him back to the universe at 10 am this morning.



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When we first got Maggie she was 16 pounds and cute as the dickens. Here she is, 13 years ago tugging on the cord of a non-digital camera.
urbpan: (dandelion)
The grief is very fresh as we said goodbye to Maggie yesterday. She had a mast cell tumor and it spread to her central nervous system. We eased her to final sleep outside on the grass on a beautiful fall day. If you've been following this blog for a long time you know how important she was to us, if not, here's a little gallery of memories.

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Alexis and I went to Forest Hills Cemetery last week. It's a large beautiful graveyard with public art and grand old trees; also, you are allowed to bring dogs there, so we did.

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Esplanade

Apr. 26th, 2015 06:06 pm
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On Saturday my dad visited, so I took us over to the Esplanade, the park that runs along the Charles River. There were lots of college students picking up trash for Earth Day.

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Friday we had our annual staff pumpkin contest. The hooves and horns department portrait of Hondo the Ostrich came together quickly.

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My dad came to visit on Sunday. Unbeknownst to him, an old LJ friend was also in town, so our mission was to meet up. First Dad had to love on his Charlie a little.

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I took this snapshot when Maggie was still under the knife, and I didn't know if she'd survive. I didn't want to post it until we felt a little better about the prognosis.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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I am indebted to my friend Ale (pronounced Allie) for suggesting the Cedar Grove Cemetery for our October Urban Nature Walk. It's large, beautiful, and unique. It borders the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester on one side and the Neponset River on the other. It is well-planted with sugar maples and other plants that are aglow with autumn colors (including the Boston ivy shown here).Read more... )
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When my first wife and I moved to San Francisco in December 1998, our housing fell through and we were cast adrift. Our friend Jaina let us stay at her place until we got back on our feet. We never really did, and in May of 1999 came crawling back to Boston.

Jaina's genuine warmth and supernatural generosity in a trying and dramatic time saved us from descending into chaos. Jaina is a grounded center surrounded by people in eccentric orbits, many of whom are very talented artists. Her home is a living museum, an oasis of calm joy in a exhilarating maelstrom of creative overstimulation. It was so delightful to see her again, and to spend the better part of a day with her.

Jaina came east on a combination spiritual journey and family reunion. The reunion with living relatives came later, but while in Boston she looked up one who had passed. Here she is (excited to be part of the 3:00 snapshot) checking the Mt. Auburn Cemetery touchscreen kiosk to find the memorial of her "Uncle Anne."

come along on the journey )
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Some of the offices across from mine have windows out to this area. I think of this as the mushroom area, since that bed of wood chips produces so many interesting fungi in the fall. There's also wintergreen that comes up there. (Pyrola picta, I believe)

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Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston is an active and historic burying ground, and also a sculpture park. These tiny cement houses were new to us, but I bet they've been there for a while. The sculptures used to have plaques identifying them and their artists, but they seem to be gone.

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Zookeepers are passionate and committed conservationists. I've been putting together a package of information about the conservation work that some of the zookeepers I work with are doing, and it's pretty inspiring. Two guys work with local turtle populations: spotted turtles at Stony Brook Reservation and Blanding's turtles in Concord Mass. One guy went to Seal Island off the coast of Maine to help with puffin conservation. Another zookeeper actively works with Massachusetts beach communities to create conditions that allow people to use the beaches without disturbing shorebird breeding. One keeper is about to go to Kenya, to study how well buffer zones between livestock and endangered Grevy's zebras are working. A couple others just got back from Mexico, where they were helping out with a spaying and neutering project, to reduce the population of dogs--the dogs eat sea turtle hatchlings, you see.

They are doing all of these things because they feel so strongly about wildlife conservation. They are keenly aware that wild animal populations are suffering mostly due to human created problems, and that humans have a responsibility to undo the damage. What's really interesting to me about all these projects is that the people involved in them HAVE NO MONEY.


They are getting grants and permits and scholarships and cobbling together savings because they love the planet and the creatures who inhabit it. I am so proud of them all, and so grateful for their efforts. I also have no money, but I am involved in several groups that can help raise some. I will be riding with three other zookeepers in the Jonathan Gilmour Fund bike ride. We will be wearing shirts that say "zookeeper" on them, so that people will know that zookeepers are real, and hopefully they will ask what we do, and I can say all of what I said above. I will also take photographs of the beautiful landscape of the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and post them here.

If you would like to help out, please visit my page: http://www.zoonewengland.org/urbpan
If you would like to help out but would rather not use a credit card, please mail your donation to the address behind the scissors:Read more... )
If you would prefer to donate via paypal, here you go:







Thanks so much for your support! Now back to pictures of dogs and bugs and mushrooms and stuff.
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The second two days of the Rodent Control Academy were held in the building I'm leaning in front of, a City Government Administrative building of some kind way way down on the southwest tip of Manhattan. It was cold and foggy in the mornings (even as the temp got up to the 80s in Boston) but when it burned off there was quite a view. Here's the balance of my NYC pics, including a couple that I took while doing Rodent Control fieldwork:
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We woke up and looked around--nice enough beach, kinda built up though. Ours was the little pink hotel on the far left.
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Last year I received a Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship, and went to Jersey to take a course on zoo pest control and endangered species conservation. People who work at zoos, if I may generalize, are passionate animal lovers and dedicated conservationists, who don't make much money. This scholarship (memorializing a young zookeeper who died during a conservation trip) provides opportunities for these passionate and dedicated people to apply their commitment to wildlife and the environment, taking classes and participating in field work that would otherwise be out of their reach. This allows them to be better stewards of the environment, better conservationists, and better caretakers for their animals.

I am very grateful to David and Peggy Gilmour for establishing this scholarship in their son's name. They have chosen a really meaningful and lasting way to remember him, and honor what was really important to him.

In this spirit I have decided to join the Gilmour Scholarship Fund Bike Ride, happening on May 7th. Honestly, I decided last year that I would participate, and I thought that by now I would have gotten myself into shape enough to do the ride. Alas, I don't even have air in my tires, and the ride is only three weeks away. Back when I was bicycling every day, 25 miles was a piece of cake. Now I'm nervous about it--which is good, right? It will be an achievement of some kind.

Please consider making a donation to the fund in my name, here: http://www.zoonewengland.org/netcommunity/jef

Any amount is great! Five dollars is not too small. I'm setting 750 as an ambitious target, since that's the upper limit of a Gilmour scholarship award, and I would love to say that I helped provide an entire scholarship. Thanks very much!

(Those of you who donated to my last charity drive, your stickers are in the envelopes, and should be in the mail this weekend--I really appreciate it!)
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At the East end of our neighborhood, the streets dead end to a woody hill. We found paths up into the scrubby land and found this view. On the right you can see the ski slope at Blue Hills. Through the gap and straight down the hill is a large cemetery. A little google map research showed me it was Fairview Cemetery, in the Boston neighborhood of Hyde Park.

see the cemetery )
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ea

Hopefully the anteater exhibit will open on time, there might be some delay because Read more... )
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A glance at a guidebook showed that the nearby coastal village of Llandudno had some kind of Alice in Wonderland connection. I'll let this squirrel explain:



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