Last month I travelled to Panama to make a short film for National Geographic about a sloth rescue organisation called APPC. The film is now ready and I’m really pleased with the result. As well as all the usual gorgeous baby sloths it shows a less cuddly side to adult sloths, which serves as a reminder why they should never be kept as pets.

Wherever you are in the world right now, it is 100 percent time for a sloth break. Adults! Babies! Dramatic rescues from foreign environs! Emotional releases back into the wild! It has absolutely everything you want in a sloth documentary, I’ve watched it three times and I can’t get enough.


Animal Place turns 24! Let’s party!  »


To celebrate its 24th year of hard work as an animal rescue group and beautiful sanctuary, our beloved Animal Place is having a party, and we’re all invited!

Lucy cordially invites you to our 24th birthday party—our Pig-Out BBQ Birthday Bash. While you may celebrate all the animals, Lucy wants to celebrate food with you the most. Bring a watermelon or cantaloupe: At 2 p.m., we’ll let you give them to the big pigs! Be welcomed with some bluegrass music by local band the Fruit Jar Pickers, and enjoy vegan hot dogs from Field Roast and burgers from Amy’s kitchen. Cupcakes will be available as well—because what’s a birthday party without cake!

When: Saturday, July 6
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (food served 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Barns are open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $15 per person, and include a vegan hot dog or burger!

You can arrive any time, but if you want to hear a birthday speech from Executive Director Kim Sturla and enjoy feeding the pigs some watermelons and cantaloupes, then be sure to stop by the pig barn at 2!

Pre-registration is required. Open to all ages—a great event for the family!  

For more information, visit Animal Place on Facebook, or just click through to register. Pig out with the pigs and celebrate 24 years of amazing work and happy animals.

[Photo of Lucy by Marji Beach]


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

It has been hot outside, you guys! You know what’s worse than a mid-autumn heat wave? A low-grade fever during a mid-autumn hot wave. That way, you don’t know whether the heat is coming from outside or whether it’s your body boiling the evil little monsters that are giving you the sore throat and that light-headed feeling that makes walking an extreme sport. Really keeps you on your toes!

You know what else keeps you on your toes? Wild hamsters! Listen, I don’t know if you know this, but I love hamsters. I became a vegetarian because I picked a hamster up off the street. In my day (before grad school/Allen/anti-psychotics came along), I ran quite a little menagerie out of my room—not apartment, room—which culminated in the Mouspice, a hospice for mice. I mean, I pretty much had every rodent available up in my hizzay. Hamsters were (and still are) my absolute favorite animal. They’re adorable, resourceful, and fucking vicious—to me, a charming quality—and these are just ordinary house-hamsters. Wild hamsters, friend, are a completely different story. They will take down anything, including Russian teenagers out for a good time. You just don’t mess with them. Actually, here’s an even better idea. Don’t mess with any wild animals no matter how small they are. And if you do, don’t complain that they bite you really really hard. That’s what small animals do! That’s how they defend themselves! Have you ever wondered why a small animal’s first reaction when you reach into its cage is to bite the hell out of your hand? it’s because your hand is huge and the animal is tiny. And that’s why you leave hamsters alone.

In related news, I was at the bookstore with Allen last week when he gasped and thrust a book in front of my face. Usually when Allen does this, it is because he has found another obscure book about how to do pushups ergonomically or how to activate your chakras with hypnosis, so I was surprised to find that it was actually a book I might be interested in. Allen was surprise by my elbow in his ribs. Like hamsters, I also react dramatically to sudden book attacks. Anyway, the book, Happy Hamster, is about cooking for your hamster, as opposed to cooking your hamster, which is apparently something some people do. I was on the bus once when a woman offered me $10 for my hamster and then started rubbing her belly suggestively. Since it was obvious that she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak whatever language hamster-eaters speak, I grimaced in horror and screamed “NO! NO EAT HAMSTER!”* “Ten Dollar!” the woman shrieked at me and continued rubbing her stomach. I freaked out and got off the bus 10 blocks before my stop. And that’s how that story ended. Check out Hamster Tracker, though. There are some adorable pictures there!

Good news! A new-self cloning lizard has been discovered! Female lizards are finding they need male lizards even less than a fish needs a bicycle because a newly discovered species of lizard can clone themselves! Bad news! The lizard is on the menu of a restaurant in Vietnam. That sucks! Why do people have to eat lizards? I think I ask a question like that every week and offer absolutely no answer. Probably because there isn’t one. There aren’t any reasons to eat lizards, especially if you’re getting them from a restaurant. Thanks for the downer, Meave!

Also: In a scene straight out of Mary Poppins, porpoises rescued Dick Van Dyke from drowning! Apparently Bert was so tired after his magical penguin picnic on an enchanted island with Jane and Michael that he fell asleep while surfing back to land (tip: If you’re falling asleep on your surfboard, it is probably time to take up a different leisure activity). When he woke up, he was adrift and land was nowhere to be seen. Then, porpoises GENTLY NUDGED HIM TO SHORE. THIS IS SIMULTANEOUSLY CRY AND VOMIT UP A RAINBOW IT IS SO ADORABLE! I told you Dick Van Dyke was good people. I bet the porpoises wouldn’t have saved Sarah Palin.

That’s all for this week! Send me tips for next week and have an awesome day! OH AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, ALLEN! You’re the best!

*I don’t know why I burst into broken English, but I assume it is a leftover reflex from the time I spent living with Elvira, a real-life Peruvian witch with whom I had to communicate only in broken English. Last time I ever innocently answer a roommate-wanted ad.


Fallout from Missouri’s puppy mill proposition has already begun!  »

The big election doesn’t happen for six more days, but the threat of Prop. B ending canine slavery in Missouri puppy mills has already shut down some breeders. OK, technically it was a massive investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, but the horrors HSUS revealed is definitely helping the case for Prop. B.

HSUS released its report on Missouri’s worst puppy mills [pdf] on Tuesday, Oct. 5, awarding Mettoville Kennels/”Teacher’s Pets” a Dishonorable Mention for the horrible “treatment”/neglect of their dogs—800 purebred, popular, pedigree dogs that the owners would sell to a broker, who then sold the puppies to our favorite places: pet stores. On Friday, Oct. 1, Teacher’s Pets and another massive puppy mill, Conrad’s Cuddly Canines—not named in the report—announced they were going out of business, and would sell all their stock in a two-day auction on Oct. 29 and 30. Combined, that’s 800 dogs who need homes! Animal rescue groups naturally freaked out; what if other, profitable puppy mills bought up the dogs? Compared to the “Dirty Dozen” the HSUS report focused on, these two prisons were luxury retreats. Obviously the rescue groups had to buy all 800 dogs.

Rescue groups have been working like crazy throughout October to get the funds and foster homes to be able to save all the soon-to-be-homeless dogs and puppies. They’ve arranged for veterinarians to do onsite examinations, innoculations, and spaying or neutering. Still, even if some dogs go for as little as $5, the medical and transportation costs won’t fluctuate, and these groups need help. You can click on any of the following links to donate to various rescue groups, including Something Special Castaways Rescue of Missouri; Paws For a Cause of Minnesota; and multi-state AdoptALab, which is getting extra help from Boston Baked Bonz: the company will match all donations to AdoptALab made before the auction begins on Friday, Oct. 29.

This is super last-minute, which is really annoying; also annoying is how much work it took to find news about this massive dog auction. Three articles about it, total. If you have a few spare dollars, toss them to one of the rescue groups—even $5 could save a dog from going back into a puppy mill, and that’s huge. Not to get too Sally Struthers here, but if your choice is between a beer and saving the life of a dog who has only known misery and pain, maybe forgo the beer this one time?

We’ll let you know the results of the auction as soon as we get them. Cross your fingers all 800 little animals get rescued. Cross some more fingers that Missourians pass Prop. B next week, so no more dogs suffer like these poor articles have.


One of a series of photographs in Life magazine of an ornamental fish hospital. It’s run by a man called Patit Paban Halder and his family out of their home in Chandannagore, India; they have 32 aquariums. The photos are pretty amazing (despite the snotty Life captions).

One of a series of photographs in Life magazine of an ornamental fish hospital. It’s run by a man called Patit Paban Halder and his family out of their home in Chandannagore, India; they have 32 aquariums. The photos are pretty amazing (despite the snotty Life captions).

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