Ah, my extended family! They include not only family in the traditional sense, but friends furry and scaly. I've not had the courage to work up to feathers... yet. Some of the animals you see here are no longer with me, "crossed the rainbow bridge" so to speak. They're part of me, however, and can never really be separated.


Pogo was adopted from the Humane Society around September 2010. He had apparently spent his just over a year life (at that time) in the Humane Society of another state, though how no one adopted him before is beyond me -- he's wonderful, the right amount of energy, and always happy. I did have the genetic test done for him, and it turns out he's half Brittany, and half Golden Retriever. He looks like a black Brittany, but you can see gold highlights in the sun, just like his auntie Jago had.

He has been described as Ridiculously Cute and Dangerously Charming, his full name is Pogo Charming Maple Donut Meissner and his A.K.A.'s are Pogo Wigglebottom, Pogo Charming, and Seņor Fantastico.


Ruby is my room-mate's dog, and Pogo's pet. After his auntie Kelsey and then Jago passed away, he was lonely, so of course we got him a best friend. Ruby's breed is Chow Hound, always on the make for treats. Judy adopted Ruby as an older black dog, perhaps the least adopted of any kind of dog. We're very glad she did, too. Not only do black dogs and older dogs tend to get ignored in adoption, but it's a tragic waste, as our black dogs have all been wonderful. Ruby in particular, she's a terrific playmate for much younger Pogo, and though she could throw him around like a rag doll when they play tug of war, she doesn't, and is always careful to adjust her pull to make it fun for both of them. Her full name is Ruby Red Velvet Cake. Our dear Ruby passed away in May of 2016, on a beautiful day, resting on her bed after a long walk with her pack.


I list my dear boy first, as he's always been the center of my heart as far as pets have gone. He was a black lab / border collie cross, smarter than me by far, and so blindingly fast when he was young. He was once observed nabbing a chicken leg falling from someone's hand at a party at my house, getting it before it hit the floor. He was the Beggar King, and the best dog in the world -- like all dogs. He lived a full live, and passed away at around thirteen years of age. Buford's A.K.A. was Squirrel Slayer... though I'm not sure he ever got one, it was more honorable a name among dog kind.


Sidney Greenstreet, a.k.a. Sidaplumpapuss, a.k.a. Sid, ended up living with my dear friend Janice Anderson. She took wonderful care of Sid due to her experience fostering cats, but doesn't have an allergic room-mate. Sid came to me from my friend Leo, whose was ready to take on a cat some time after his own Jonesy had passed away. A co-worker of Leo's had found Sid at a truck stop. Sid has since passed on after having a full and rich life of thinking he was a dog.

Though it doesn't show in the picture, Sid was quite the cat. About twenty pounds worth! So we put him on a diet and limited his food intake, and his weight plummeted from twenty pounds all the way down to twenty-one pounds! He's... big-boned. Yeah. That's it.

Maybe it was because they were outnumbered by the girls in the house, but Buford and Sid were best friends, grooming each other and sleeping together. Really, I no lie. Take a look at the pic.


Lex Luther, the Greatest Criminal Mind the World Has Ever Known, was my pet rat many years ago. Rats make quite good pets, they're very friendly. And again, Buford's pal. I once had both of them in my lap, and Buford starting grooming his little buddy, who in turn started grooming my finger with great happiness.

If you're considering getting a rat for a pet, please be sure you don't use cedar or pine bedding -- it's toxic. I knew about this beforehand so Lex never had to suffer with it, but many poor rodents die from lack of education of their owners every day. I'd recommend Carefresh bedding, it will treat your rat right.


Now don't get any ideas -- when Lex passed away he was buried in the back yard. This is Sally, my oldest girl, who passed away in December of 2010 at 19 1/2 years old. She was given to me in 1991 when she was two weeks old, only about a dozen inches long and only as big around as your finger. She became... bigger. About eight-and-a-half feet long, and at her widest as big around as your calf. She was a common or red-tailed boa constrictor, and to get the basic questions out of the way:

Keeping a large snake like this does require very specific environmental settings. Her large cage was constructed specifically for large boas by Boaphile Plastics, complete with top and bottom sections, and thermostat-controlled heating elements.


I've had many, many iguanas over the years. The first was Baldrick, named after the character on Black Adder. I got him when he was very young, and handled him every day. As a result, he was very tame, and would scratch the glass on the front of his cage to come out when he saw that I got home after work. I'd put him up in his favorite spot, in a hanging plant looking out the windows of my second floor corner apartment we were in during part of his lifetime.

Since then, there have been many others. I used to live across the street from the Humane Society in Golden Valley, and was their contact for exotic pets. Most of the time, the iguanas didn't live more than a day, having been brought in by people who never bothered to learn how to take care of their pet and didn't want to feel guilty when it died. So I'd take the poor creatures in, and though they were often past saving, at least they passed away warm, with food and water available, and in the company of other iguanas.

Rinzai is one fellow who was brought in in pretty good shape. He was young, but not a baby. He responded well to the right heat and light (again, very specific environmental requirements must be met to keep iguanas happy and healthy) and the other iguana, Hopkins, who has since passed away.

Iguanas do indeed recognize individuals, and have specific tastes. They do bond with you, and you do bond with them. I've not spent the time with Rinzai to have him as handleable as Baldrick was, but the other pets I have now would be a bit more dangerous to him -- he's safest in his large, home-made cabinet-sized cage, and likes it that way. He does let me pet him, enjoys it in fact, but won't let anyone else get that close.


Ah, Daisy... my sweet girl. She's gone now, but still very much in my heart. Daisy was a rescue dog, spending many years in the "dog witness protection program" after getting removed from a neglect situation. She was covered with ticks, and we found out later had two different kinds of worms. She'd been hit by a car, attacked by farm dogs, and was at one point unable to use her back legs; yet the owners did nothing to treat her.

Not surprisingly, this kind and loving dog was all too happy to climb into my car and make a daring escape. She was, as I understand, not looked for by the abusers, but quickly replaced by a cat who had the good sense to run away the next day.

Daisy was very, very shy at first, of course. She already knew the other dogs in the house so was comfortable with that, and her health improved from that as much as from medical treatment. She'd go outside with the other dogs, eventually even being able to run again and climb stairs. But she was always very self-conscious about coming back inside -- never sure if you really, really did want her to come in with the other dogs. And it was a wonderful surprise for her, every time you welcomed her inside.

Eventually, though, she learned that this was her home, she had a pack, and was dearly loved. It took her some months, but eventually she came right along inside with the others. Home, at last. Her full name was Daisy Mae Buttercup Biscuit.


Kelsey, though technically not mine, was very much daddy's girl. She slept in my room on most nights, and did every night when I was out of town for a couple of weeks on retreat. She was a huskey / sheppard cross, with one blue eye and one brown eye. Kelsey saw just fine through both -- it's her hearing that was a bit lacking in her golden years. She had sympathetic cancer when I had mine; I asked her not to do that again.

Kelsey was a bashful girl, either when you found her sleeping on the couch when you got home from work, or when she ran up to children in the park when she was off leash. She was a lover, not a fighter. Unless of course she was protecting a puppy she'd "adopted". The only time Jago lost a fight in her life, was to Kelsey, jumping in to defend a puppy I was taking care of for awhile, when Jago simply said it dogspeak Enough Already! Kelsey often physically put herself between two dogs if it seemed one of them was getting too rough with the other, in the dog park.

My dear girl was surrounded by love when, due to advanced alzheimer's and canine vestibular syndrome episodes from which she was not recovering, we let her go. She passed away with me, her FirstMom Melissa, and SecondMom Judy, petting her the whole time. Her full name was Kelsey Boo Oatmeal Cookie.


Okay, technically Jago (pronounced JAA-go) wasn't mine, either. But she was the princess of the house, and it's just not right to leave her out. Ever.

Waaay back when, my room-mate at the time wanted a dog of her own. It was just Buford until then. So, I recommended she go to the Humane Society across the street, and to make sure to visit lots of dogs over several different visits. I learned that dogs may behave wonderfully one day, but be totally different the next time. So she did, and eventually called to say she found one she liked, and would I go check the dog out, too.

No problem, I went over to take a look. By myself; my friend was the labor coach for someone in Duluth that had just gone into labor, so she was out til the next day. And I fell in love instantly with the dog, whose tail would go in big funny circles and pushed her head into me for luvin'.

Completely disregarding my own advice, I took the dog home.

Buford was a little confused, but welcoming. I set up the dog, not yet named Jago, in Buford's crate in the kitchen (Buford having since graduated to sleeping up on the bed with me). After a little cute whimpering, she settled down and went to sleep. And the next day... one of my favorite memories, ever. Buford and I went into the kitchen to let Jago out of the kennel, and she came out all sleepy-eyed, and you could see it in those eyes -- "It wasn't a dream! I have a home!"

Jago lived a long and full life, and when her time came she was at home with her mom, dad, and little boy Pogo at her side. Jago's full name was Jago Muffin Ostroot, and her A.K.A. was Jago-Ji.