Monday, September 18, 2017

Pearly Whites

Toby had his teeth cleaned at the vet last week. He was a good boy and his teeth do look much better!

Just before starting, he looks a little bit nervous.

But after - waking up but still druggy...

…he was, um, relaxed!
Pearly Whites

The next day all that was forgotten.

All Smiles!

Many thanks to Great Neck Vet Clinic and Vet Tech Amber for taking such good care of Toby!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Butterflies of 2017 Are Hatching!

This afternoon the first two butterflies hatched from their chrysalises! One black swallowtail and one monarch were flitting around in the caterpillar cube when I went out to check on the milkweed supply. 

The monarch - a male - was still drying its wings. It must have hatched just minutes before.
Black swallowtail with empty chrysalis.
The monarch dries its wings before it can take off for Mexico.

 I was so happy to see the swallowtail since I've never raised them before. I decided to try after finding the caterpillars on the one small parsley plant and one brown dill plant in the garden. Our son Kevin graciously fed the caterpillars their fennel&parsley or milkweed diets while we were in Roatan last week.

I purchased a new caterpillar cube this year instead of using the cumbersome 29-gallon aquarium again. It's worked out really well. I cut a piece of plexiglass to form a partition to separate the two kinds of caterpillar, since they eat different plants. But I quickly discovered that the caterpillars easily get around the partition. 

Caterpillar cube with chrysalises hanging from top (monarchs) and the plexiglass partition and sides (swallowtails).
Raising the caterpillars inside protects them from birds, wasps, and spiders. Only about 1-2% of butterfly eggs survive to become adults. The butterflies compensate by laying hundreds of eggs. However, with butterflies at all life stages being killed by pesticides, vehicles, and habitat loss, their populations are suffering right along with the other pollinators. Many people are helping them survive by boosting the survival rate as much as they can.

While monarchs make a single silk peduncle from which to hang while they pupate, swallowtails use silk at front and back to form a "saddle" to attach securely to just about anything. I'm hoping all of them hatch. Swallowtails can overwinter in the chrysalis, but I hope they don't.

Sometime this evening the black monarch chrysalis in the foreground will hatch. I can tell by the filmy white coating that appears to cover it. Here you can see the different chrysalis shape and color of swallowtails vs. monarchs.

If all goes well we should be releasing lots of butterflies this year. These two flew away less than an hour after being taken from the cube.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Seeing Beautiful: Carolina Curly Tail?

Who am I, really? *sigh*
While our son was out for a walk with his girlfriend recently he saw a woman walking a dog that "looked just like Toby". She told him it was a yellow lab/Carolina Dog mix.

Carolina Dog, aka American Dingo
By Kurt Sagmeister -

See the curly tail? We've never known where Toby's curly tail came from. He's a lab/golden retriever mix, but we always knew there had to be something else in there too. Popular guesses have been Chow Chow and Shiba Inu.

Mystery Tail
Could the mystery of the curly tail be solved?

Preliminary mitochondrial DNA testing performed by the University of South Carolina's College of Science and Mathematics shows a possible strong genetic link between Carolina Dogs and other primitive breeds like the Australian Dingo. -

And how much fun can we have calling Toby an American Dingo?


Dixie Dingo

Darling Dingo Dog

I even have an authentic Aussie hat...
 Carolina dogs have stand-up ears too. Toby's are floppy but they do stick out from his head in a funny way. So we tried holding his ears up to see if he looked like a Carolina dog.

Carolina Dog. Notice the white spots on the toes and stand-up ears.
By Tomc1977

What do you think? Is Toby part Carolina Dog?
It doesn't really matter what breeds are combined in Toby. We "see beautiful" in him in every way. But it is a fun puzzle. We'd rather have the mystery to enjoy than do DNA testing or anything scientific like the mitochondrial analysis quoted above. 

BUT - the rescue DID save him from a pound in N.Carolina…home of the Carolina dog… just saying… 

If you're curious about this "primitive, first American dog breed", click here for info and a video of Carolina dogs.

This post is joining the {This Moment} See Beautiful Blog Hop, hosted by Golden Woofs. Join us in Seeing Beautiful!
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