Bloggerhood Etc. 1/26/15

Luzern Bridge

Photo: Niall Wallace/BBC News Magazine

Best Beginning.Introducing Our New Baby Boy” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Photoblog.The Camera That Captured People’s Lives” at BBC News Magazine.

Best Special Needs Post.I Know What Causes Autism” by Carrie Carriello.

Best Parenting Post.All My Issues With Goodnight Moon” by Raquel D’Apice at The Ugly Volvo.

Best Question.Is Your One-Word Resolution Holding You Back?” by Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith.

Most Thought-Provoking.The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and it is Not What You Think” by Johann Hari at Huff Post Politics.

Most Encouraging.Trust Between Friends and Strangers” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Idea.Uno, the Bomb, and How You Can Make Game Night More Epic” by B.K. Mullen at Dad on the Mic.

Best Commentary.Kirby Delauter’s Not the Only One Who Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment” by Tyler J. Francke.

Best Tribute.An Elegy for Casey” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Essay. The Fighting Indians Earn It” by Peter Rugg at SB Nation.

Best Parody Video.New England Patriots Cialis Commercial Parody” by Bestonium.com (via YouTube).

“Ask your equipment manager.”

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/1/14

An all-purple Advent Wreath

But where’s the pink candle? (Photo: Cara Strickland)

Happy December and a Blessed Advent to all of you. Here’s the best of the last two weeks, beginning with an Advent post.

Best Start to Advent.Dwell” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Special Needs Post.We See You, Calvin” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Best Dad Post.Sorry Kids, I Will Never “Let” You Beat Me” by Beau Coffron at Lunchbox Dad.

Most Moving.Ghostly Grief: On Miscarriage and Loss” by Micha Boyett at On Faith.

Best Retrospective.A Eulogy for Radio Shack” by Jon Bois at SBNation.

Best List.12 Things For Which I Forget to be Thankful” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Commentary.Why the Lack of Indictment for Mike Brown’s Shooting is a Devastating Blow” by Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan.

Best Personal Essay.Gate A-4” by Naomi Shihab Nye at David Kanigan’s Live and Learn.

Best Response.Foolishness, Poverty, Mobility” by Elizabeth Stoker Bruening.

Best Photoblog.Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks” by Janet Potter at The Millions.

Best Interview.Faith and Science: 15 Questions for Dr. Stephen Barr” by Sean Salai, S.J. at America.

Best Reality Check.Pomplamoose 2014 Tour Profits (or Lack Thereof)” by Jack Conte at Medium.

Best Meditation.I Was Wrong About You, 2014” by Natalie Trust.

Best Profile.A Football Martyr” by John Rosengren at SB Nation.

Cutest Video.Paranormal Petivity” by Pets Add Life (via YouTube).

“What?”

Introducing Buddy and Knight

Buddy and Knight

Photo: Greenhill Humane Society

Our family has pets again, and sooner than we expected.

It’s been a rough couple of months. On May 15th, we had to say goodbye to one rabbit, Oreo, and less than two months later—on July 3rd—we lost our other rabbit, Jellybean.

We figured it would be a while before we got another pet. We wanted time to grieve.

A few days after Jellybean died, we took our bunny supplies—timothy hay, rabbit feed, and bedding—over to Greenhill Humane Society. While there, we visited both the cattery and the small animal room. We weren’t sure yet what pet we would want eventually.  Anna was sure she wanted a cat—her grandmother has two cats that Anna loves—but both Julia and I were reluctant to get an indoor cat in our current apartment. Instead, Julia was considering guinea pigs.

So while we were in the small animal room, we took a little time holding the two guinea pigs that were there. Two boys named Buddy and Knight. We wanted to give Anna a little experience with them to prepare her in case  we brought home a pair ourselves in a few months. We got Knight out first. Buddy didn’t like that—he wanted to know what we did with his friend. He paced the cage and squeaked until we got him out too.

Then they both settled down—Buddy on Julia’s lap and Knight on mine. Anna took turns petting both. And then, Knight decided to go exploring and burrowed under my elbow.

“Look.” Anna giggled. “Knight’s burrowing under your arm.”

“Get back here,” I said, gently pulling him back up on my lap. Anna laughed.

After that visit, Anna was more enthusiastic about getting guinea pigs instead of a cat. So were we. We always wanted to get our next pets from a shelter if possible. There’s no excuse when it comes to cats and dogs—shelters are full of them—but most people don’t think to look for a rabbit or a guinea pig at a shelter. The more we thought about it, the more it made sense.

Greenhill had two bonded guinea pigs that they would only adopt out together.

We wanted two guinea pigs.

But were we ready?

It took about a week to decide, but we were. Last Tuesday, I rearranged the furniture in our living room to make a four by four foot space for a pen, and I gathered and blocked off wires to make the space piggy-proof. We bought supplies—including hay, feed, and bedding plus some fun guinea pig toys. And Friday, we brought them home.

They’ve settled right in. Every time they hear the refrigerator door open, or a plastic bag rustle . . .

“Squeak, squeak, squeak!!!” They’re at the fence, begging.

And inevitably, they get a sprig of parsley, or a lettuce leaf, or a baby carrot to share.

Four days, and we’re already well-trained.

Want to know more about guinea pigs? Check out Guinea Pig Lynx for information on guinea pig care.

Considering a pet? If so, what would you get? Would you go to a shelter? Or do you already have a shelter pet? Tell me in the comments.

The Responsibility of Owning a Rabbit

The House Rabbit Society runs a campaign each March to remind people that Easter and Rabbits Do Not Mix.

House Rabbit Society strongly urges parents not to buy their children live “Easter bunnies” unless they are willing to make a 10-year commitment to properly care for the animals. Each year, thousands of baby rabbits, chicks, and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts only to be abandoned or left at shelters in the days, weeks and months that follow Easter . . .

“Rabbits are not ‘low maintenance’ pets,” says (HRS President Margo) DeMello; they require at least the same amount of work as a cat or dog, and often more.”

Julia and I adopted two rabbits the year we got married. We brought Jellybean home in August of 2004 and then added Oreo the following December. Once they were both fixed we put them together and after a short sparring match bonded and have been friends ever since.

Jellybean just turned nine and Oreo is eight and a half. They’re elderly bunnies now. They don’t run and hop and play like they used to, but they’re happy, well fed, and well cared for.

We took the responsibility for them, treating them as beloved family pets not as toys. We give them a balanced diet of mostly hay with some pellets and fresh vegetables, and the occasional nibble of banana for a treat. We keep a clean litter box, brush them regularly, and give them the run of a bunny-proofed living room.

If you’re not willing to take on the responsibility of a pet rabbit, don’t get one. If a child wants a friend to cuddle with, a stuffed toy will do nicely. You can even get a FurReal Friends pet that acts like a real animal. Anna has a dog and a chipmunk, and she enjoys playing with both.

Or do what the House Rabbit Society suggests, and Make Mine Chocolate. But don’t adopt an animal without knowing the responsibility involved.

Easter is one day. A rabbit is ten years.