Archive for the ‘…et les Animaux’ Category


Rino the hampster…

May 25, 2010

Rino in the cat carrier.


Yesterday, instead of spending the afternoon with me, Olivia mentioned that she wanted to go shopping with her Mamie.  She has been asking for a cochon d’inde, or guinea pig,  for two years now, ever since we went camping with some friends and they brought their guinea pig along in his cage.  She knew who would be more easily talked into this purchase.  Olivia didn’t come home with a guinea pig, however, but a tiny grey hamster.  Of all the pets she could choose from, she chose the one animal closest to a rodent.  Skittering little thing is cute but gives me shivers.  She christened him Rino (and spelled it for me too). 

She purchased Rino on sale with her own money earned from helping Papa during a market last Saturday.  She just lost a tooth this morning and now has plans to save up to purchase a toy for Rino.   A second tooth is loose and she asked me to pull it out for her.  There is no rush, I said.  Rino is still adjusting to his new home, in the cat transporter which last summer was home to an  injured wild falcon that Raphael found in the fields.  How to traumatize the poor hamster with smells of its predators.  

Olivia and Rino.


 Despite my phobia of rodents, I had hamsters as a child.  I used to let it crawl up my sleeve.  I even had a hamster ball.  (I hesitate to let her get one.  I have visions of her forgetting Rino in the ball and me finding it under her bed a week later or it going bumpidy bump down the stairs.)   

I’m not sure how long Rino will last in our household.  She’s dropped him on the kitchen floor at least five times.  He survived but thankfully Kitty was not present.  We’ve all warned her about the danger the cat poses.  Kitty hasn’t seemed to have noticed the new addition yet.  Then, he does tend to stay away from the cat carrier which usually means a visit to the vet.  The death of my first hamster, which was named Baby, was so traumatising I remember crying over it in music class.  He had eaten a piece of plastic bag that was next to his cage.  I found him that morning hard as a rock.  I had others after, but I never quite bonded with them in the same way.


The good luck bird…

May 11, 2010

We have a new guest at the bed & breakfast.  Thankfully this guest doesn’t need a bed, towels, a mirror or a clean bathroom. Since this bedroom is currently being tiled and repainted, none of these things are available.  This guest sleeps on the chandelier or perched on the curtain rod.  Our guest is a hirondelle or a swallow. 

For the past few days the bird has circled around the cave, flying in and out evaluating places to build her nest.  When Raphael first saw her he was thrilled saying that a hirondelle is a sign of life, a good omen for the house.  The myth behind the swallow says that she arrives for the day of the Annunciation in March and stays until the nativity of the Virgin Mary on September 8th bringing happiness to the house in which she chooses to make her nest.  For Raphael, a believer in signs and possessing a stong faith with a special sentiment for the Virgin Mary, our new resident is a sign of good things to come. 

While I’m not too keen on this bird building a nest in a bedroom, I’m okay if she relocates to the old cave.  The problem I think is Kitty, who has discovered the bird and makes an odd mewing sound while jumping from one place to another in an effort to catch it.  My father-in-law is certain that if we let the bird stay and make her nest, the cat will soon have a meal out of her.  Raphael disagrees insisting that the swallow is too intelligent to get caught.  It’s true, she seems unaffected by the cat, perched, as she is, on the light fixture, looking from side to side, her long forked tail pointing down between the lightbulbs.  I opened the window last nigh hoping she would fly out.  But the girls, excited with this new toy, kept closing the window when I left the room.  Raphael assured them the swallow was not going anywhere last night.  She feels safer in the house with us than out in the dark and rain.  He was right.  This morning she was still there when we woke, flying out the still open window around 8am, most likely off to search for breakfast. 

The window has been closed most of the day and the old cave as well.  I did see her sitting with another swallow, her mate perhaps, near the cave when I returned home from the school run.  She flew off shortly after.  As evening falls, and with the bedroom window once again open to allow the paint to dry, I’m wondering if she’ll return for the night.


Woof’s return home…

February 14, 2010

Filou returned home a week ago drugged up and kind after his surgery.  He was out enough to let even Raphael near enough to pet him.  We thought he had a change of heart towards Raphael but it only lasted 24 hours or so before the drugs wore off and he was feeling well enough to resume his incessant barking of any person other than my mother-in-law and the kids.

Although the veterinarian didn’t find a stone in his belly, the surgery allowed him to determine the true cause of Filou’s illness;  Pancreatitis.  It’s apparently an untreatable disease that is cured by time and limited food intake.  He is currently on antibiotics either for the Pancreatitis or in prevention of infection after his surgery.  His poor belly is slit from rib cage to his hind legs and I worry that the girls will hurt him in their excitement to have him home. 

It turns out, Filou did eat a stone.  A day or so after he returned home, my mother-in-law found a stone in his poop.  She kept it of course, to show the vet.  Is this the whitish shape seen on the x-ray?  Did it pass before the veterinarian performed the surgury or did he eat the rock after returning home?  And once again, I wonder, why would a dog eat a rock?


Pauvre chien…

February 4, 2010

There was a reason why I thought it odd that a dog would eat a rock.  It’s because he didn’t.  The veterinarian made a mistake.  The poor Filou got opened up only for the vet to discover he had nothing in his stomach.  Apparently, Filou was out of sorts yesterday so he was taken to the veterinarian.  The vet took an x-ray and ‘discovered’ a white form in the dog’s stomach and diagnosed that the dog had eaten a rock.  So now, the dog is still ill with an undiagnosed problem and on top of that, he is recovering from an unnecessary surgery.


Woof, woof…

February 4, 2010

The girls’ Mamie, with whom we live, got a dog for Christmas.  It’s a tiny beast called Filou, or for Angeline Titou or Woof, as in “Auriane won’t share my Woof.”  He is a 7 month old Tekal, a tiny dog that can be transported everywhere.  They are frequently used for hunting both animals and truffles.  The girls favorite place to be at the moment is wherever Filou is playing.  In fact, outside of their Mamie, the girls are the only other people he likes, or at least, they don’t scare him.  Raphael is his least favorite person. 

Last night Olivia came up stairs with large watery eyes.  She sat down beside me and leaned in.  “What’s wrong?”  I asked. 

She leaned up to my ear and whispered, “Filou is at the veterinarian, mommy.”

“Really?”  I noticed the afternoon had been quieter.  Filou has taken to barking, a lot.

“He might die,”  Olivia added taking my arm in earnestness.  My eyes got big and I wondered what could have happened to this otherwise healthy dog.  “He ate a rock today and it is stuck inside him.”

Okay, so I admit, upon hearing he ate a rock I struggled not to laugh.  I mean why, really, would any animal get the idea to eat a rock.  I imagine they don’t taste like anything.  They don’t smell like anything either.  So why?  It is a dog and I do believe Angeline has sampled rocks before so maybe I should ask her why the appeal.  Although I think for her it was a question of gnawing it around in her mouth. 

A minute or so later Raphael came upstairs and asked me if I heard about Filou?  “Yes.  Olivia said he might die.”

“Not likely,”  Raphael said.  “He’s at the vet with an IV and sleeping peacefully.  He’s scheduled to have surgery tomorrow morning to remove the rock, and it’s risky.”

“But why won’t he just pass it out in his poop,” I ask? 

“It’s too big and stuck somewhere.”  And once again, I wonder why would the dog eat an apparently rather large rock.