A list of animals and wether or not I think I could beat them in a fight.

Here is a list of animals and my opinion on if I can beat them in a fight.

I want to preface this by saying that I love animals and in no way want to actually fight any of these animals. I’m just bored and was running through hypotheticals.

These are not fights to the death. Imagine UFC with animals so it’s basically until the ref steps in because one party is losing so badly or until one party quits.

Sheep

Win 

80:20 w/l odds

  If the sheep doesn’t have horns I think I got it beat. While the hoove kicks would hurt and ramming would hurt, I am definitely mobile enough to juke the shit out of a sheep. Also, I feel like if I was wearing some nice boots I could deliver a swift face kick to the sheep. I have no clue how resilient sheep are, but if the boot doesn’t work I feel like I could choke it out Nate Diaz mode.

A crazy ass Iguana

PC: Fox 19 Cincinatti

Loss

25:75 w/l odds

I preface this with crazy ass to let everyone know that this is no regular iguana. I’m talking about a crazy, wily iguana that scurries all around like a freak. I do not have the speed to deal with an iguana. The boots wouldn’t help me, I bet it would scurry up my legs and bite me in the hamstring or the back of the knee or something crazy. Iguanas are like bigger scaly squirrels with teeth so I feel like I would get dissected. Their claws also scare me. 

A gang of Mini Chihuahuas

PC: Gawker

Toss up

50:50 w/l odds

The only dogs I dislike are chihuahuas, but only the mean ones with the big heads and beady eyes that just scurry around. I would be so chill with a nice chihuahua but the mean ones just have a flip switched. They go full bagel boss guy compensating for their size. If a pack of those guys are coming at me I don’t know what would happen. If I am wearing shorts and sandals I’m a goner. If I was wearing pants and boots I think I could win with some sort of Irish Jig maneuver to deal with them. Their plan of attack would be yap and nip until I am overwhelmed and just quit. 

Soft Shell Turtle

PC: Wikkipedia

Win but it would take me a long time.

75:25 w/l odds

Soft shell turtles really gross me out. Why do they have a shell if it’s all soft and gross? Also, why do their heads extend so much. Super gross all around. I think I could definitely beat the shit out of a soft shell turtle, but the question is, would I want to come close enough to one to be able to fight it? I think not. To put it bluntly, their head looks like a deformed penis, and the fact that it retracts and extends really grosses me out. Their claws couldn’t do any real damage but they still scare me. There’s no way one of these things could beat me up, but if there was one in my bathroom or something, I’d definitely freak the fuck out, cower in the corner for 30 mins, then maybe remove it or maybe make my mom do it for me. The thing about these guys is they’re either super cute or really gross.

100 Cockroaches

Loss

100% loss

I am terrified of cockroaches. They fly, make weird crackly sounds, and are gross. If I was in a room with 100, I feel like I could only stomp on so many until the twitching and fluttering panic of these bugs would scare me. I would shut down and they would crawl into my nose and ears and I would be screaming to stop the fight. End of story. 

On another note, here is a really cool video of a cockroach kicking a wasp in the face.

VC: NYT

Routine

I have conditioned my cat.

Her treats stay in the top drawer of my dresser, along with folded clothes. When I open the drawer, the handle bounces against the wood, making a clanging noise. Each time I hear it, she comes running in anticipation of treats.

Now comes the balance.

I worry to open the drawer for clothes, for fear of her conditioning wearing off. If she does not get treats when she hears the clanging, she may begin to unlearn her conditioned response. She will stop running to me, and I will have lost my leverage.

If I want her to come over, I open the drawer. Though, if I open it for clothes instead of treats, I feel obligated to give her what she wants. I wonder if it’s mean of me to tease her – even if I don’t mean it. She doesn’t know the difference.

I now find her trying to open the drawer herself. One day she will. And that day I will move the bag of treats. And the conditioning process will begin once more.

Trying to get her treats

A Culmination

I present my Capstone this Wednesday. It is a culmination of my experiences in high school, and a chance to share a topic I am passionate about. For my “project,” I fostered kittens. Not only will I share my experience, but I hope to educate others on how to care for animals and why it is a community responsibility.

Fostering is vital to the life of every cat. The Humane Society is filled with kittens, yet nobody considers where those kittens were for the first eight weeks of life. Every kitten was either raised outside by their feral mom, or they were fostered by someone who sacrificed their time to raise a kitten.

Fostering kittens gave me firsthand experience with the issue of finding homes for cats. While I “foster-failed” and ended up keeping one of the kittens, I did not have room in my then five-cat household to keep another. I named her Blue, and we took her to the Humane Society where she was adopted.

I look forward to sharing my experience and enthusiasm with my school, and I hope to inspire others to foster kittens and save lives.

Image Credit: Hannah Shaw

My Turtle Koa

For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.

Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.

Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.

I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.

Image Credit: Shane Meyers

Saying Goodbye to Blue

She appeared behind my house with her sister and her mother. She was the first to pop her head above the brick wall with her wide eyes looking curiously around the yard. She and her sister were beautiful. Her sister had solid white paws and defined face markings. My family and I planned on keeping her, but we had no room to keep the wide-eyed black and white kitten.

When we brought them inside, the white-pawed kitten, now named Penny, became the more confident of the two. They played together for weeks, and while we knew Penny would stay with us, the formerly unnamed black and white kitten quickly became my little baby Blue. She was shy, yet always curious of her surroundings. She turned to her sister for comfort as they kept each other company.

They had grown to be ten weeks old when Blue was ready to find her forever home. I spent the night holding her and watching them toss around toys. The sun rose sooner than I had expected and I found myself putting little Blue into a cat carrier while we said our goodbyes. Penny didn’t notice as we shut the carrier door and left their playroom.

I sat in the back seat of the car with Blue while she pressed herself against the back of the carrier. Her little body was shaking as she looked up at the passing buildings. As we pulled into the parking lot I stuck my fingers through the wired door hoping she would come to be pet. I knew I would never pet her again. I carefully picked up her carrier and handed her to the shelter staff before watching her be carried away.

I told the woman the name I had given her, and within a day my little Blue was up for adoption. I checked the website daily for updates. She looked happy and confident in the photo they posted, and within a week her adoption post had been taken down.

I watch Penny grow and imagine how big Blue must be today. I am confident that the Humane Society sent her home with a good family. I know she won’t remember her first home or her sister, but I think of her every time I look at Penny. She came to us as a scared feral kitten, and I am grateful that my family and I were able to socialize her and make her comfortable with moving into a real home.

Blue ❤ Photo Credit: Ojai Valley Humane Society

A Story of Glass, a Family, and Murder

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re back again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re watching us again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“I’m scared,” said the little boy. “I don’t want to be here mama”

“Someday baby, someday we’ll get out of here. Your father will come for us.”

And so they waited, and waited, and waited some more. But he never came and he never would.

Years went by. The boy was no longer little, the mother was no longer strong, and both of them were no longer hopeful.

“Mom,” said a no longer little boy, “we can’t wait any longer, we need to get out of here.”

“No,” she said, “it’s too dangerous. Your father will come for us.”

But the no longer little boy watched his mom’s once shiny black hair turn to grey and he knew that he could wait for his father no longer.

That day, while his mother lay quietly in the grass resting her tired eyes, he grabbed a rock and walked to the glass.

Bang.

Children began to scream.

Bang.

Parents grabbed their kin and began to run away.

Bang.

The mother of the no longer little boy ran after her son but it was too late.

Bang.

Three guards rushed toward the scene.

Bang.

The glass finally began to break.

Bang…

A bullet went through the no longer little boy’s chest.

Bang…

A bullet went through the mother’s chest as she ran towards where her son’s body lay.

Two weeks later the glass was fixed, the zookeepers removed all movable rocks, and two new gorillas filled the place of the deceased mother and son.

Photo credit: cincinnatizoo.org

A Man and his Mule

This one will be a lot shorter than the last one I promise.
Nearly two years ago, I was camping with OVS, 15 of us out in the sandstone canyons of Utah, unspeakably peaceful. In fact, I enjoyed the tranquility of that small, isolated river valley so much, I decided to spend the night in my hammock so that I could swing as the whirling breeze carried me to sleep. However, that night was a wild one for me and you’ll soon understand why.
Around 10 o’clock I get into my hammock, laying down as I watch the moon rise over the other side of the valley, a few stranglers dragging themselves into their tents, and I decided to retire as well. Maybe three hours later if I remember it correctly, I awaken to the sound of voices coming from the kitchen area, they all seem to be laughing, having a great time, then I look at my watch and it reads one o’clock. INSTANTLY I freeze- this isn’t right, I say to myself as I peak towards the opening in my sleeping bag, the absence of light confirming my suspicions.
I try to play it off as a dream, my dream continued even after I awoke, I tell myself unconvincingly, the voices are incredibly vivid, I can hear their laughter bouncing against my eardrums, it has to be real. A few minutes pass and they begin to call my name, like the sirens that taunted Odysseus on his travels, I too was being deceived, their welcoming calls making me all the wearier. I am fully awake now.
The minutes crawl by as these voices continue, situations changing constantly, from their beckons for me to get breakfast, to claims of me missing out on a glance at a nearby fox, they become eerier. These voices, maintaining their soothing tones, vary in their distances from me, somethings being five feet away, sometimes their voices traveling for seeming leagues before reaching me. But don’t doubt my account yet, because it only gets worse. After maybe 20 minutes of the voices, I begin to feel something brushing up against my swaying hammock intermittently. This feeling of helplessness consumes me as I can only fumble for the pocket knife buried somewhere in my sleeping bag (I sleep with one while camping now after that first encounter).
My senses take over and my imagination runs wild, the voices grow stronger, and with only the light of my watch reading 2:15 to convince me of my awakened state, I can’t help but feel as if a man is standing over me, watching my hammock sway, letting it brush against him in the periodic gusts. I can’t believe what is happening to me, the winds continue, but they don’t blend with the voices, they still call me to reveal myself, to emerge from my safe place, my empty tent four feet away, but impossibly out of reach. I feel a large round object protruding from the darkness against the left side of my back, maybe a foot away from where the man must be standing, the object stabilizes me, I cannot move now.
Maybe the winds pushed me into a branch, jutting from the sickly tree holding up the feet side of my hammock, further inspection the next morning revealed that there were none near me. I am trapped in my own sleeping bag, unable to find my knife, unable to escape the voices, the man, the fear that’s overtaken me. I lay still in this sweaty hell until 3 am as I remember it, then I must drift off at some point, exhausted by the sheer terror I felt that night.
The next morning I approach my classmates, bemused as to what transcribed the previous night, upon recounting my tale, I am met with blank stares, concerned faculty, and one bright face. One teacher, my advisor, recounts a story of a man and his donkey, this man traveled into this river valley in Utah some 80 years before and was never seen from again. He suggests that this man tried to beckon me out of my hammock for a companion to wander the endless nights of these canyonlands, the voices were his attempts, the brushing was the man standing beside me, and the object jutting into my back was the donkey, standing loyal at the man’s side.
I don’t know what I believe, I don’t believe that I could ever believe that story my advisor told me, but if you ever find yourself in the desert, and you hear the voices of your compatriots, calling you into the night, take heed of my warning, but make your own choice, for if I were to return and hear them again, I may just see what the endless nights have to offer.
Also, I slept in a tent the next night, wasn’t about to lose another nights sleep to a ghost donkey.

Orcas vs. Horses?

Orcas, or killer whales, have been kept in captivity since 1961, and there have been books and movies made about them and how cruel it is to use them for our entertainment. As I read Death at SeaWorld (and watched Blackfish), I started to think about the similarities between horses and orcas in “captivity.”

Both are large, potentially dangerous, and used for entertainment and sport. Both have caused injury, both have caused death, and both are highly intelligent and (seem to) experience emotions and moods.

The only difference I see is that horses have been domesticated for 5500 years, which is far more than the 50 or so years that orcas have been kept captive. Somehow, I feel like the domestication, and perhaps usefulness, is what’s saving horses from being “liberated.”

Our horses, like the orcas, are kept cooped up in small stalls, while feral horses can travel 65-80 km daily for food, water, and shelter. To rid their energy before riding, we make our horses run in circles around us in a little pen.

Horses can get “moody” and “off.” Sometimes they’ll refuse jumps, buck for no reason, or refuse to slow down while trotting or cantering. So we blame the rider, trainer, or the weather. Orcas can be like that too, refusing trainer orders or protesting in their guttural language.

After I was flung off my pony and broke my clavicle rather terribly, I couldn’t do much of anything but sit in my room all day. I still can’t ride, but I can lunge and groom as long as I’m careful. The pony that bucked me off didn’t seem crazy, guilty, or dangerous whatsoever, and I felt no fear or trauma while looking at him. I was injured so severely that my bone was in danger of impaling through my shoulder and I required a two-hour surgery, and something like that sticks in your mind.

Huge controversies came up and multiple rules were put into place when the first orca injured its trainer, yet when I was injured by my pony my friend was instructed to keep riding him because he “shouldn’t be allowed off that easy.”

I don’t think my pony’s intentions were to hurt me, just like I think that killer whales don’t really want to kill us. But if I were stuck in a cubicle, working for hours with little to no rewards, I would probably go a little nutty and stir-crazy.

Just sayin’.

ASITs, attention! ASITs, begin! Watch the children, watch the children!

During my first session as an ASIT, which was two weeks long, the Juniors from Tennessee fell in love with me. Or rather, with my tail.

They were aged six to seven and were very, very tiny. I’m rather small myself, so it’s always a strange experience being in close proximity with people smaller and shorter than me.

The first few days were chaotic, as both species (the children and my ASIT buddy and I) had to adapt to each other. Once the children discovered that I had a furry, gray wolf tail, they went crazy chasing me around the cabin while the other ASIT’s sat and chatted with the counselors.

There were 16 little girls and 4 counselors in the cabin, but there was maybe four or five of them that really got attached to me. One in particular, Lucy, that always insisted on holding my hand or hugging me whenever we saw each other during the day.

In all my 17 years, I’ve never had such an experience with children before. The strange innocence they have, the unintended ignorance, and the pure annoyingness they have from time to time. In the weeks I was an ASIT, I’m pretty sure I erased dozens of children’s fears of snakes and arachnids. I had to make sure kids didn’t run on the pothole-ridden field, teach them the safe way to hold a snake, and to make sure nobody turns a turtle upside down.

While my group of Tennessee girls left and new girls came, my job as an ASIT stayed the same. Watch the children, watch the children.

ASITs, attention! ASITs, begin! Cry a lot, cry a lot!

A 14-hour workday is not easy for anybody, especially not for teenagers aged 15 to 17. You have to, have to, follow the rules, or risk either being asked to leave camp or be demoted back to being a camper, which, speaking from experience, is a rather sad experience.

Being an ASIT gives you a lot more freedom. You don’t have to sign in and out during free time whenever you want to walk around camp, you’re allowed to have your electronics (phones and/or laptops), and you don’t have to be under constant Counselor supervision.

But with great power comes great responsibility. We, the ASITs, know more than campers, and often know more than Counselors too. During Morning Rounds, it’s our job not only to clean and water the animals, but to check for sick or dead animals. It’s usually and ASIT that discovers a dead or dying animal first, even before any Animal Specialists. Following that job is having the responsibility to not let any campers (or gossipy Counselors) know that an animal had died. Usually, a short “oh Dallas went to the vet” is enough to quiet a kid down.

ASITs are aged 15-17, so often times campers that are 17 years old won’t want to listen to a 15-year-old ASIT. “Threatening” them with a Counselor works most of the time, but some campers can be stubborn. Some rules are tough, annoying, or seem meaningless to the Camper and the ASIT too, but it’s there for a reason and ASITs do everything they can to keep campers and our animals safe.

The most frustrating part of being an ASIT may not be the hard physical work but dealing with animals and people who just don’t understand why things are they way they are.


Then there’s our mold problem…