What Are You Working On Right Now? #Mason’sQuestions

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Mason asks his weekly question, “What are you working on now?” The complicated answer is … probably too many things. I have many Works in Progress, but I will try to share about only one. Aside from writing some new poetry and short stories for the blog and Reedsy and some articles for Vocal Media, I am working on a longer “Digory Mole” book.

The next picture book planned for the Creature Kingdom series features a little mouse named Hyacinth. Several readers of The Journey of Digory Mole suggested that my little mole needed more stories about himself, so I have taken that into consideration. I thought I could write a more expansive story as a juvenile/middle grade novel.

In this story, Digory goes back to visit his old friend, Houlihan Owl, joined by a new sidekick, Willy Lee Otter and meeting a lot of other animal friends, including a whole passel of beavers.

So far, my favorite chapter is titled, “Help From the Busy Beavers’ Guild.” An excerpt …

Cole and Elwyn Chipmunk were put in charge of building a campfire. Digory Mole agreed to go foraging for dinner, while Willy Lee Otter said he would go out in search of a birch tree for a canoe.

“How will you build it … without any tools?” asked Digory Mole.

Willy Lee looked down and about him. “Have you got a hatchet in your pack?” he asked Digory.

“I’m afraid I don’t,” said Digory, “though it seems like a handy thing to have now … if only I could pack it without it cutting a hole in my pack.”

Willy Lee pulled his whiskers. “Well, that is a problem. I am a bit of a boatsman, but I can’t build a boat with my bare paws. Where’s a handy beaver when you need one?”

“Right there,” said Digory Mole, pointing just over Willy Lee’s shoulder.

“Don’t tease me,” said Willy Lee. “We’ve left Oakley Beaver far behind.”

“Well,” said Digory Mole. “Oakley’s not the only beaver in these woods,” and then, calling to the unknown beaver, “Ho there!” He waved a paw.

The unknown beaver came trotting up to them. “You called?”

“Yes,” said Digory Mole. “We are in a bit of a predicament. We need a canoe, and our friend, the otter, is handy with making canoes, only … we haven’t any tools. So, seeing you are a beaver and that beavers have a certain reputation …”

The beaver puffed out his chest just a little. “I’d say we have a reputation. To be a beaver is to be a craftsman. That’s all there is to it. So, you need a builder, you say?”

“I could build it. I just need a little help doing it,” said Willy Lee Otter. “By the way, I know a lot of fine otters who are builders.”

“We don’t have a lot to pay you for your work,” said Digory Mole, “but, perhaps, you would accept a fish dinner with some forage?”

“Fish dinner?” The beaver rubbed his belly. “I would love to have a fish dinner with some forage. Fish and forage, what could be better? Living off the land like regular good chaps. Just let me gather a few of my cousins from the Busy Beavers’ Guild.”

“A few? … Cousins? … Beavers’ Guild? Uh … certainly.” Digory Mole chuckled nervously. The more help the better, he thought, but he was anxious about just how many beavers would be coming to dinner. “By the way,” said Digory. “I don’t think we’ve properly introduced ourselves. I am Digory Mole,” and, pointing out his friends, “this is Willy Lee Otter, and these are Cole and Elywn Chipmunk.”

“Barnaby Beaver,” said the beaver, thrusting out his paw.

Digory shook the offered paw, and Barnaby Beaver turned and left, presumably in search of his beaver cousins.

“Well,” said Willy Lee. “I was going to build, but I’d best get fishing before the cousins descend on us.” Willy Lee walked to the water’s edge.

Cole and Elwyn Chipmunk began gathering twigs for the fire, and Digory Mole began using his hat for a food bowl once more, gathering edible wildflowers, creamy yellow primrose and fragrant bergamot that made him think of having a cup of Earl Grey tea back at his burrow beneath the squirrels’ apartment.

Digory Mole looked behind him. The chipmunks had gathered wood and built a pleasant fire and were now looking much more chummy than they ever had, warming their feet by it and chatting happily. He then looked over to his left. Barnaby Beaver had set up a raised plank work station and had felled a birch tree. Another beaver with a tool belt about him had joined him there. Digory looked ahead of him next, towards the water, and, unlike their new beaver friend, Willy Lee Otter seemed utterly relaxed, lounging back on the stream bank with his fishing pole in the water and his hat tipped as if he would fall asleep.

Digory continued to forage and gather some dandelions and clover blossoms along with their leaves. “We will have a wonderful salad,” said Digory, “and it will smell as wonderful as it tastes and looks.”

He couldn’t resist looking back towards Barnaby Beaver. He had two more companions now. They had the beginnings of a canoe frame, just a single layer of wooden outline in the shape of a canoe. Two of the beavers were splitting tree roots for the lacings of the canoe. He looked nervously at Willy Lee Otter. The hat was off his head now. Was there fish in it?

Holding his hat full of forage, Digory hurried over to Cole and Elwyn. “Since your job is done,” he said, “perhaps, you could dig us a temporary burrow, just bare bones, enough for three leaf beds. At least … I think three … Where exactly do otters like to sleep?”

The chipmunks shrugged and laughed like he’d told a wonderful joke, and though he didn’t understand the joke, he laughed too. It was wonderful to hear them laugh rather than see them attack each other with canoe paddles.

Digory turned around and looked at Willy Lee Otter once more and then at the beavers at work. They were multiplying by the moment, and the group was now double with eight beavers busy at work on the canoe.

“Oh dear,” said Digory to the chipmunks who had begun to dig a burrow. “Do you think Willy Lee will catch enough fish for us and eight beavers? What if he catches nothing but boots?”

“Is it easy to catch boots?” asked Cole Chipmunk. He, apparently, knew as much about fishing as Digory Mole.

“It is for me,” said Digory.

“Does everyone do it?” asked Elwyn Chipmunk.

“No,” said Digory Mole. “I expect it’s a special talent I have.”

The two chipmunks exchanged glances and pulled at their whiskers as if pondering what sort of talent it was to catch boots and why anyone would want it.

Digory Mole returned to foraging. If the fish were lacking, perhaps it could be made up in salad. He plucked violets and fragrant honeysuckle and added them to the colorful collection in his hat.

The beavers were beginning to sing a kind of work song Digory Mole had never heard before, and their voices sounded more numerous than before. “From break of dawn to setting sun, a beaver’s work is never done,” sang the beavers. “If your bones are too weary and your fingers too thick, a beaver can do it, quick, quick, quick.”

“The beavers do seem to like to sing their own praises,” said Digory Mole. He turned and looked, and now there were 11 beavers. Several were working on a long thin sheet of birch bark, scraping off lichens and loose bark.

Digory Mole ran over to Cole and Elwyn, with his hat full of forage. “Here boys. Make a salad with these. If you add a little of Belle-Amie’s honey with some berry juice and some walnut oil, you’ll have a nice dressing, and, if you find any seeds or acorns, toast them over the fire and add them. As clumsy as I am, I must help Willy Lee with the fishing … or the frying of the fish.” Very abruptly, Digory Mole set his hat on the ground and went running towards the stream bank, groaning, “Ooohh, 11 beavers for dinner!”

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Slice of Life: Cute Dogs, Healthy Food and “Rebel Makeup”

I’ve been reading lots of articles with blogging advice, and it seems I’ve read some advice against personal posts, but I enjoy reading other bloggers’ personal journal style posts and also vlogs of a similar format. I still plan to provide a variety of content, but you’ll have to let me know if you enjoy this type of post.

On Saturday, I went shopping at Ulta, the beauty supply store. It was my first time, since the pandemic started, shopping at any store other than a grocery store or pharmacy. I had run out of eye makeup and was looking for the same products I bought the last time. Earlier, I had purchased a Smashbox set of three eye colors. I couldn’t find the same product and, even looking over all the brands, I couldn’t seem to find a set that wasn’t basically all earth tones. I like a little bit of color, nothing berserk, but a little bit of lavender or green, to go with hazel eyes.

What I ended up buying will sound berserk, because I bought a larger set of eight colors all with rebellious names. The set is called “Punked” and the colors have names like Headliner, Anarkissed, Soft Punch, Destroyer, Punked, Studded, Riot Girl and Combat Boots. It was the only set I found that was close to the colors I wanted, but I don’t think it looks nearly as rebellious as it sounds.

Does this look rebellious to you?

And here I am, wearing a combination of Soft Punch, Destroyer and Combat Boots. Am I a rebel girl or what? It amuses me that I wore such innocent looking colors with such crazy names, but on a more serious note, at a time where there has been quite a bit of rioting and possibly anarchists, I have to wonder why the company would market their products this way.

This morning, I accompanied Dad to his doctor’s appointment at the Rutgers University Hospital in Newark. He and I both suffered bites from a dog in mid-August. Dad’s injury was much worse, and he had two surgeries, one to close up the wound on his hand with artificial skin and, later, a skin graft. This was a follow-up appointment with his surgeon.

University Hospital

We’ve been using Uber to get back and forth to appointments, mostly because I’m not comfortable driving to the city. Today, we had a driver, Bennie, who was fantastic. He waited for us to buckle up and said he would go when we were ready. He asked us if the temperature was right and if we had enough leg room. This is now my ninth Uber ride, and no other driver has been this courteous or asked us these questions. He was also genuinely warm and interested in us. When Bennie chuckled after Dad said he couldn’t find the buckle, I knew we had a different sort of driver.

He complimented us on our garden, and this prompted a discussion between him and Dad on gardening and other subjects that lasted the whole ride.

Our fence garden

I gave Bennie five stars on Uber and a compliment, but later, when I tried to give him a tip through the app, found I couldn’t do it. Sorry Bennie! Maybe, the compliment and tip had to be done in a certain order, but I hope the compliment benefits him in his driving business.

Dad in the waiting room

I meant to bring both a physical book and a Kindle with me to entertain me in the waiting room, but I left in such a hurry that I brought neither. So, I spent my waiting room time on Pinterest on my phone, pinning photos to my Flowers, Beautiful Places, Nature, Butterflies, Animals, Fashion History, Healthy Recipes and Transportation boards. Transportation is my board for anything transportation-related that is not a car, although it may include a few cars that are quirky like amphibious cars or bubble cars or Isettas. This was an interesting Transportation pin today.

Photo found on Pinterest, from Imgur

This mom found an interesting way to transport three kids. I suppose it isn’t technically a bicycle, but what is it? A quadricycle?

On Pinterest, I also found a recipe for lunch, a salad with cucumber, radishes, scallions and cottage cheese. We already had the radishes and scallions from our CSA and just needed the cucumber and cottage cheese.

Before we left the hospital, Dad, unfortunately, showed me a photo of his unbandaged hand which, instead of looking pink and flesh-like as he described, had quite a bit of black scab. I wasn’t ready to see that.

We headed home and, after texting some doggy care clients and taking some garden photos, it was time to head over to walk my little Maltese friend, Janie.


Janie likes to greet me by turning herself in excited little circles when I come in. I then lift her up, and she will proceed to kiss and kiss my face. I like exuberant doggy affection, but I don’t really like to be licked on my nose and mouth area, but now that I’m wearing a mask in her building, this area is covered.

Though Janie is tiny and has tiny little legs, she’s an energetic walker and our route is just a little short of a mile. We always walk past a pretty gazebo and fountain in her gated community.

We then loop around the community center in my town. We come down a hill past a football field. Lately, there are children playing on the field when we walk past, and Janie always wants to pull towards the field to meet some kids. But today, as we had a different schedule, we didn’t see any.

We then circle around past the police station, fire house and Department of Public Works and then up the hill and back into her gated community. I only brought one bag with me, and Janie did a second poo right in front of the police station. I thought I’d best do my civic duty right within sight of the police station and found a pile of takeout napkins in my purse for the cleanup. At least, a tiny dog has tiny poos.

Janie back home again

On my way home from walking Janie, I stopped at the store for the cucumber and cottage cheese and also bought some kosher salt and apple cider.

I passed through these floral and gift sections on the way to the produce.

I’m liking orchids more and more.


I like the hamster. These stuffed animals are called Warmies and are microwaveable. I’m not sure if they are for sick kids or chilly kids, but they are, evidently, made for some extra comfort. I think even adults would like this, if they could get by without looking or feeling too foolish.

Even though I pinned the lunch recipe, it was simple enough that I didn’t consult it later. I just made my own version of it. I sliced one cucumber, four large radishes and one large scallion and combined with the whole container of low fat cottage cheese and plenty of salt and pepper. It was pretty tasty and healthy too.

Radish and cucumber salad

We watched an episode of Food Network’s Chopped with a healthy eating theme while we ate our lunch. After lunch, I cleaned up, loaded the dishwasher and helped Mom get several new westerns on her Kindle. She’s been reading all sorts of westerns lately, sometimes nonfiction like a book about Dodge City written by someone who lived there in its Wild West days.

For the rest of the afternoon, I studied to prepare myself for launching a business in SAT tutoring for the verbal section. I have this pile of material to look through.

After this, it was time to prepare dinner. We got some very curious string beans from the farm through our CSA. I’ve never seen, cooked or eaten beans that looked like this before.

They are flat, somewhat white and streaked with purple. The information from the farm didn’t identify them as anything other than string beans, but information on a future delivery listed “dragon’s tongue beans.” When I did a Google image search for dragon’s tongue beans, it matched what we have. They look exotic enough to be dragon’s tongues but taste similar to green beans. I snapped these and steamed them.

I also roasted an acorn squash (in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes) which we had with some Smart Balance spread, brown sugar or Splenda and cinnamon. Our protein was grilled chicken breast with Stubb’s Barbecue Rub. Lately, also, I’m enjoying some Bubly sparkling water.

We watched an episode of the Netflix series Virgin River during dinner. It’s a drama featuring a nurse and midwife who moves from L.A. to a rural small town in California. There is all sorts of drama, multiple story lines, and each episode ends with some sort of cliffhanger. We are enjoying it so far.

And that was my day … until now. What was most interesting? Would you eat a dragon’s tongue bean?

Wordless Wednesday — Garden Photos

So, maybe this isn’t a completely wordless post, just almost wordless. Dad planted several varieties of flowers in what he calls the “fence garden,” and they’ve really flourished. They are all deer resistant. We have marigolds, ageratum and celosia. There are a few more varieties, and we have forgotten the names of them, so if you recognize some unnamed flower varieties in these photos, please name them in the comments.

A Collection of Beauty and Inspiration

A charming painted house in Denmark by Audrey Smit

Check out this gorgeous photo from the New York Botanical Orchid Show 2010 by Jessica Jenney. There are so many beautiful blooms arranged prettily around what looks like an architectural folly. You can buy the print on a pillow, tote bag, phone case and more at fineartamerica.com.

Interested in fashion history? Here is an interesting decade-spanning collection of women’s dresses, from the Edwardian era to the late ’60s, on display at the Hillwood Mansion in Washington D.C.

An adorable vintage-style kitchen found on Pinterest. I love all the colors. It’s colorful without being gaudy. Now, the trends are stainless steel, white walls and neutral colors.

Read about how a San Francisco man helped to repopulate his area with the California pipevine swallowtail butterfly.

Some adorable miniature sculptures of animals: mice, birds, frogs and more from artist, Fanni Sandor.

Take a look at these quirky buildings in Paris.

Monet’s Garden, photo from NPR

Read about Eugene Boudin, a man who inspired Monet.

Photo from https://blog.wellappointedhouse.com

View some gardens with a variety of full blooming hydrangeas in a palette of pretty pastels.

Read about Edward James, an English surrealist artist, and view photos of his dreamy, unusual structures in the middle of the jungle in Mexico. You could call them buildings, but they have no walls and have staircases leading to nowhere.

I Should Have Known I Was an Animal Lover When …

Currently, I am a professional pet sitter and dog walker, a bit of a change from former work I’ve done. I watch mostly dogs and cats, but, very recently, cared for a cockatiel, pet fish and even tadpoles. I’ve also given some care to backyard chickens.

I began reflecting on my former experiences with animals, and I realize I have quite a collection of interesting stories of my childhood pets, encounters with wild animals and more. Earlier, if you had asked me to describe myself, I would have told you that I was a writer, a dreamer or a creative person. All of these are true. I don’t know that I would have included “animal lover” in my description.

After all, I was an English major, not a veterinary science major. There was quite a gap in my life in which I wasn’t under the right circumstances to have a pet. I haven’t consistently been involved with animals in a major way, but there are little snapshots from my life that now indicate to me that I have always been an animal lover or had the potential to be so.

I should have known I was an animal lover when …

1) My Family Rescued a Stray Dog and Gave Her a Forever Home.

My dog, Trixie, with my cat, Frisky.

Lots of people have adopted rescue dogs and that is very honorable, but the story of my childhood dog is more unusual. She found us, more specifically, she found my three older brothers and my cousin while they were hiking at a reservation in New Jersey. She was an abandoned puppy, a mutt of some sort — the vet thought she was part fox terrier and part cocker spaniel — and was consisting off a diet of wormy acorns. She just began hanging around my brothers and cousin, and when Mom came to pick them up, she couldn’t resist her. We took her home, named her Trixie, took her to the vet, got her registered and dewormed, and she was ours. She was an energetic, bouncy, squirrel-chasing dog even to the end of her life.

Around the same time that Trixie found us, we took in a gray tabby cat named Frisky from a friend of ours. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Frisky long before he was hit by a car and died. Trixie and Frisky were friends though and voluntarily slept in the same bed and would eat from each other’s bowls.

You will notice in the list below that I’ve illustrated everything with stock photos. This is because, for most of my life, neither my family nor I were prolific photographers. Before I go on with my animal stories, I thought I would share a couple of photos from my youth where I am enjoying animals.

Nine-year-old me with my Aunt Linda’s dog Laddie
College-age me with my Aunt Lorri’s cat

2) I Had a Caterpillar, Frog, Toad and Even a Clam as Temporary Childhood Pets While on Vacation in the Adirondacks.

Photo by Byron Burns on Unsplash

My family took several woods and lake vacations when I was growing up. On one of these trips, when I was about nine years old, vacationing at Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks, I collected some unusual pets during the time I was there: a green caterpillar called Dumb Dumb, a toad named Teddy, a frog named Freddy and even a clam I called Herbie.

Dumb Dumb received his insulting moniker, because I was frustrated when he would not crawl on the stick I so handily offered him. I was discovering nature all around me, and I wanted to capture him.

It was my dad who discovered Teddy, the toad. He rowed my mom and me across the lake, and we found Teddy on the opposite shore. Dad scooped him up and put him into the rowboat. Back at the cabin, Dad created a little habitat for Teddy, pulling up moss and other natural materials to line a cardboard box we kept out in the screened in porch. This is one of the best childhood memories I have of doing something with my dad.

Later, Teddy gained a roommate, Freddy, the frog. The amphibian apartment didn’t seem to suit Freddy as well as it did Teddy. He seemed to need more water than the tuna fish can swimming pool we had. He also had longer legs than Teddy and was a good jumper, so he often made his escape.

Herbie, the clam, whom I kept in a Kool-Aid can filled with water, turned out to be a pretty boring pet. He did absolutely nothing. You are probably wondering 1) why I wanted such a strange pet as a clam and 2) if there were clams to be found at the lake, why didn’t we just eat this one? We had already been told that this variety of clams was not good for eating. To explain what was going on in my nine-year-old brain, I was hoping that Herbie would not be so boring and would do something like open his shell once in a while. That did not happen.

All the animals were released at the end of our trip, except for Dumb Dumb whom my friend and I buried by the swing sets. I remember seeing Teddy and Freddy hop off in opposite directions. It looked like they were not going to live out “Frog and Toad are Friends.” Sigh.

2.) I Rescued Three Gerbils from My Dog.

Photo by Silje Rosenberg on Unsplash

I never had any pet rodents, although my older brothers tell me funny stories about some pet mice they had before I joined the family. One of these is so funny that I will add it as a little story extra. I did get to take home my class pet gerbils for one weekend when I was in the fourth grade. I had my dog, Trixie, then, but I was not at all worried that this would not be a good mix. The gerbils would be in their cage, right?

Trixie was so excited to see me carry those gerbils through the back door into our kitchen. She bounced up and down like she was made out of springs, bumping her head into the bottom side of the cage in my arms. That bump triggered a whole domino effect of crazy events. The cage door popped open. Three little gerbils made their escape and ran for their very lives towards my bedroom. I did not know what Trixie would do if she caught a gerbil, but I also didn’t want to find out. I raced Trixie, who seemed part greyhound at times, towards the bedroom and managed to catch all three by their tails before she did.

3.) I Picked Up a Cool Orange Salamander in the Poconos.

Photo by Tyler Donaghy on Unsplash

There isn’t any outstanding story connected with the orange salamander. At 14, I didn’t collect him as a pet, even a temporary one. It was just a moment of awe, where I plucked him off the tree where he was clinging, held him in my hand, admired his pretty color and put him back on his tree.

4.) I Found a Living Purple Starfish at the New Jersey Shore.

Photo by Mathis Jrdl

Similar to my salamander moment, I was amazed when, as a teenager, I found a small, living, purple starfish at a New Jersey beach. I had found dried starfish at souvenir stores before but never a living specimen right there at the beach. I was with a youth group. Another friend and I named him Sammy. We knew we had to throw him back into the ocean, but we were reluctant to do so immediately. We kept him by us in a bottle cap full of water for a little bit. He spilled out of the bottle cap somewhat, but it was a wider cap than some and was enough to keep him going so we could appreciate him a little longer before returning him to his ocean home.

5.) I Brought a Baby Turtle to a Chapel Service.

Photo by David Leveque on Unsplash

As a college student, I made a surprise discovery one time walking across campus. I stepped over what looked at first to be a dried leaf. Doing a double take, I realized it was a tiny baby turtle. I was on my way to a Christian ministry meeting, but I couldn’t ignore this little guy. I also remembered an interesting fact. Pet turtles were one of the few pets that, according to the student manual, were allowed in the dorms. So, I picked up the turtle and took him to my meeting where he was awed over by all the other students there.

Right after the meeting, we had an evening chapel service, since we were in the middle of a Bible conference. Attendance at chapel was required, and there were students there at the chapel entrances to check your name off the list, keeping track of attendance. Now, I had a dilemma. I knew I didn’t have time to go back to the dorm before evening chapel, and I had this cool little turtle I wanted to keep. So, I brought the turtle to chapel. I had to let him go while we stood up for the singing portion of the service, and I kept a close eye on him as he slowly meandered across the pew.

I named him Fred and got advice from a professor friend in the science department – I was a nanny to his children – on how to care for him. Unfortunately, Fred was not with me long, and I suspect I didn’t understand enough about caring for turtles and he wasn’t getting enough food. Still, I loved my time with Fred.

6.) I Fed a Wild Chipmunk from My Hand.

Photo by Alexander McFeron on Unsplash

My family continued the lake vacations even in my post-college years. After my brother Dan moved to Maine with his wife and family, lakes in the Portland area became a favorite vacation spot. On one vacation, we stayed at Raymond Pond. The owners of the cabin we rented talked about a wild chipmunk they named Chippy which they had tamed somewhat to eat seed from their hand. They kept bags of seed in the screened in porch and encouraged us to try it ourselves. We did, and it was great fun to have Chippy feed from our hands as we sat on a rock a little distance from the cabin.

One morning, Chippy hit the jackpot, discovering where we stashed all the extra seed. I discovered him in the porch, both cheeks filled to bursting with seed. I tried opening the door to let Chippy outside again, but the excited chipmunk got disoriented and confused and ran further into the cabin instead. I chased the poor excited thing, opening doors for him and trying to get him outside, as he ran around, spitting out a trail of seed wherever he went.

My Sister-In-Law Caught Me On the Floor Cuddling and Playing with Her Dogs.

Photo by Brandy Bellini on Unsplash

It was on another trip to Maine when Dan’s wife, Dorothy, noticed me sitting on their floor playing with their two dogs, a yellow Labrador named Latte and a Sheltie named Schnookums. I was letting them lie over me, petting them, rubbing their bellies and lavishing them with attention. Dorothy’s reaction? “Susan, you need to get a dog!”

I Began Following More and More Animal YouTubers.

Photo from Erin’s Ark channel on YouTube

Even before I was involved with animal work, I somehow began subscribing to more and more animal channels on Youtube. That may have been partly due to the last point, that I began populating my fictional worlds with more and more pets and animals, so I used the videos for information and inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorites …

Topi the Corgi — Short little films starring Topi in almost human situations, sometimes featuring his long-haired chihuahua buddies.

Vlog After College — Ryan vlogs about his daily adventures, always with his Corgi sidekick, Gatsby.

Griffin Frenchie — The adventures of Griffin and his Frenchie roommate, Haru.

Crusoe the Dachshund — Little stories acted out by voiced and costumed dachshunds: Crusoe, Oakley and Daphne

Doug the Pug — Song parodies, costumes, spoofs, all sorts of fun things starring Doug the Pug.

Erin’s Ark — British teen, Erin, shares about how she cares for her pets: guinea pigs, gerbils, bunnies, cat and dog.

Hello Denizen — Fun channel with hamsters in miniature scenes, bunnies that fly planes, iguanas that go bowling with their tongues, etc.

Tiger Craft Squad — Very creative videos with hamsters, cat, bunnies, chinchillas, other animals, in adventures with remote control cars, Lego creations, mazes and more.

Peekaboo Parrots — Features several birds, but the star is a yellow Indian ringneck parakeet named Bowie who has a voice like Elmo and says such expressions as “Tickle, tickle.”

Mr. Max TV — Max is an entertaining cockatoo with attitude.

I Began Populating My Fictional Worlds with More and More Pets and Animals.

Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash

Jack Donegal of the “Jack Donegal Mystery” series has a beagle named George, and Grace Darby, who will have her own mystery series, has a Corgi named Shelley. Gradually, neighbors, supporting characters and even suspects had pets and not always either dogs or cats. My story worlds have a lot of single people, and I guess I feel like single characters need pet companions. Also, doing comedic writing, animals seem to bring comedy to situations.

My brother, as a kid, bought a pregnant mouse and hid it until Christmas as a gift.

My brother, Bruce, apparently, walked himself to a store that sold pets among other things. There, he bought a mouse, a pregnant mouse, as a gift for my brother Tim. Bruce didn’t understand the mouse was pregnant. Maybe, the cashier didn’t know it either. Who sells a mouse to a kid though?

Bruce hid the mouse in its cage in his closet, since it was a Christmas gift. Before Tim could get a Christmas surprise, Bruce got a surprise when several blind, hairless baby mice began wandering around his closet shelf. They were so small, they slipped through the bars of the cage. Bruce had to wake up our parents and explain the situation.