Dogs and Kitties aren’t the only shelter animals…

I help out at a local animal shelter on occasion, and while we mostly take in appallingly large numbers of abandoned, dumped, surrendered etc dogs and cats (dammit people!), on occasion are the …others.

We’ve taken in birds, guinea pigs, bunnies, hamsters, goats (goats?) and today…a mini-pot bellied pig. Say what?

According to the web, mini-pot bellied pigs originated in Vietnam, but spread as a fad to pets in the US around the 80’s. They are generally pretty intelligent and clean (they can even be litter trained). They also supposedly produce less allergens so people allergic to a dog or cat dander may do fine with a pig (this courtesy of someone at work, whose nephew has one).

Well, little porkster, I hope there’s a home for you out there…

Piggie from a farm in Shelby, NC. No pic of the one at the shelter yet.

Aquarium: Natural Planted Tank, Set Up to 1.5 Weeks

This is actually my second attempt at a low-maintenance aquarium à la the Walstad method.  Basically, you make a mini biome by using real soil and real plants to purify water, and animals like shrimp and fish to create the fertilizer that keeps the plants going.  I used a barrel-shaped glass kitchen jar from The Container Store (link goes to similarly-shaped product as it doesn’t seem like The Container Store offers it anymore); I can’t remember exactly what size I got, but judging from how many gallon jugs it takes to fill the thing, it’s closer to 5 gallons than 2.  Cheap potting soil, then aquarium pebbles layered on top, planted with dwarf hairgrass, water wisteria and anacharis, and a couple large rocks I found walking around the neighborhood (after I rinsed umpteen times, because any small object that’s been on a New York sidewalk overnight, you’d better assume somebody let their dog pee on it).

The best thing about these is that they really are low-maintenance.  Animals are optional (I’m hoping to get some red cherry shrimp if the water quality test strip comes out fine this weekend); if you don’t get them, then you can have a bigger variety of sizes and shapes.  My first one was a cookie jar a little smaller than a soccer ball.  So long as the plants survive the first couple weeks, then really, all you have to do is make sure you add water–treated to remove chlorine additives–to replace what’s lost through evaporation, and make sure it gets light (I have a reading lamp shining over mine.  Just switch it on in the morning before I go to work, and turn it off when I get home).  And there’s just something about having a miniature water garden in the room.  Good feng shui or just plain pretty, they make it better.

Side note: Something I realized while previewing my post: glass barrels aren’t easy to photograph.  I love how the textured sides bend the light and make what’s inside look all impressionistic–I think it’s much more visually interesting than plain clear glass–but that doesn’t come across too well.  Either I need to invest in a better camera, or develop better GIMP skillz.

Things That Made Me Happy This Week

On occasion I go through phases when my perk needs some work, my chin is not up but down, and the cheer is just not there. When that happens, the little things mean a lot. Here are some things that made me happy this week:

Chinese New Year was last Sunday: I LOVE Chinese New Year, even if this year it was spent sitting at home and eating Chinese takeout (I almost never eat out, so it was special). It gives me something to look forward to after the whole Xmas and Jan. 1 fuss is over, and do-over on all those new year’s resolutions I failed at in the month prior.

I got RED on sale: I saw this movie on my 24th birthday–basically old people kicking ass. It isn’t the best, most dramatic or most thought-provoking movie I’m ever seen, but it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It’s worth it for John Malkovich’s pig and Bruce Willis breaking into the CIA to beat up Karl Urban alone. For $7.99 (on Blu-Ray!) there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.

Free Food at work: A Fun Team event. Yes, we actually have team in charge of Fun, that tries desperately to inject a bit of whimsy into our corporate atmosphere. However, as they have no budget, mostly this ends up as food potlucks. Thursday was the Chili Cook off. Well, free food, can’t argue with that.

Mango finally used the chair: For something other than scratching at least. I rescued this chair from the curb a couple of weeks ago–it’s a perfectly good piece of furniture and I had dreams of Mango curling up in it while I hauled it off.  All the kitty did was sniff and scratch but he finally flopped in it this week.

new chair Mango in the chair