Category Archives: creatures

In getting a dog…

We’ve both been internet-peeking at tons of dogs all over the place off and on for over a year. Mostly the search has been in the Netherlands and Germany…at rescue organizations and shelters. Sometimes it was just looking, but M knew that ‘looking’ to me meant possibly ‘getting’, so he quelled the search a bit. Tee hee.

I’ve had two dogs in the past: Our family dog, Sheba, the Samoyed, beautiful girl; and a German Shepherd cross that was stolen from me after I had him for only two years. That was one of the most devastating things that has ever happened to me.

Since then I have worked as a part-time pet-sitter-dog-walker for over five years and have taken care of friends’ dogs. I wanted a dog so bad, but circumstances did not allow for me to have my own (work and such), so I lived a vicarious life through those who already had dogs and I loved it! But since I arrived in the Netherlands, 19 months ago, getting a dog has been forefront in my mind. Perhaps making M a bit crazy sometimes. *shrug*

Ripley —my sweet, old cat, made the journey to the Netherlands with me, but passed away only a few months after I arrived. I was broken.

We live in the country. I’ve never lived in farmland before. It’s beautiful here —don’t get me wrong— and we have a huge yard, garden and a big house (for two people, it’s big). M works and I was here by myself. It was too quiet, it lacked fur. We got Rudy and Lois, two cats that have immense characters and love being here…they have the huge house and they roam around outside. Having them saved my sanity. I love them with all my heart. Once I taught myself how to knit (after some excellent tutelage from my friend, Shelley, back home), I was on my way to busying myself into a new company that I started and subsequently, taught myself how to crochet and sew. (Thanks internet!) I was a lot less crazy once I could be busy.

But there was still a little hole in my heart…just big enough for a dog to squish into. Hence, the dog-peeking.

I found a very sweet German Shepherd cross with Rottweiler mix in Belgium and she’s just adorable and started off with a pretty crappy life in Turkey. Fortunately, the mother-daughter team of Sos Straathonden Turkije found her, her sister and their mom and then transported them to Belgium for adoption. The woman who is fostering them now is a very nice person and she knows what she’s doing. Between the Turkish shelter and the foster home, we spoke a lot about the young dog. While we were looking for dogs, M pointed out that we could look at the dogs in the shelter we stumbled upon during a bike ride earlier in the year, across the border in Germany. While I wasn’t looking, M called me to the computer and said: “I’ve found the perfect dog for you!” It was this little adorable girl.

We visited her at the shelter. She was ADORABLE!! Super happy and playful. A bit on the skinny side, but she is healthy. Someone had dumped her at the shelter one night while it was closed. Sad, but a much better situation for her than a million other horrible things I could imagine. So, fortunately, the people who had her were actually kind and did a good thing for her. And for me!! There was another, older dog, there that captured our hearts too. We’ll ask more about her/him tomorrow.

We get to go back tomorrow for walkies, then she might have a sleepover another night!!!

UPDATE: I didn’t have the information right about her life before getting to the shelter: She was with a man who became very ill and had to go to the hospital, so he brought her to the shelter. Very sad for him to have to give her up, I’m sure, but at least he did the right thing and wasn’t selfish. He gave her a better life. : )

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Cats like to pretend

I thought I was being helpful by taking the plastic cap out of my boot when I saw the cats struggling to get it out; however, they wouldn’t play with it again until I put it back in the boot.

I think cats really like pretending they don’t know/see certain things, like: they’ll play with a ball and then leave it alone…pretend it’s not there and then attack it from the side! Or they put things in boots just so they can pretend to ‘catch’ it.

Such weirdos.

Our little Charlotte in the shed


I’ve been watching her as I come and go from the shed…she’s always in the same spot. She has made several webs. Must be a good spot.

newborn shrew

Rudy got a hold of another shrew, but this time it was even itty bittier than the proper-sized ones. Its eyes weren’t even open yet! Luckily, I didn’t see any marks on it from Rudy the Killer Whale Cat. I cradled the little guy in the palm of my left hand, scooted the cats inside. Scoot.

Then, what I would imagine,  looked extremely comical —or strangely sad— was me embarking on Mission Find Momma. Every. single. little. squeaky. noise. was. her. I know what they sound like now,after having to save them from my cats so many times.  Mercy! Why don’t they just find somewhere else to live. Anyway, I careened haphazardly around the backyard —avoiding stinging nettles and the giant slugs that creep out at night (last thing I wanted to do was step on one) listening and watching…looking for momma shrew. It was getting dark. I brought the shrew inside with me and typed with one hand, searching the internets for an answer:  “found a baby shrew”, “take care of newborn shrew”, etc.

I knew, from previous shrew investigations, that they have the highest metabolism in the mammal world and they have to eat every 2-3 hours or they starve to death, so I had no idea what it was like for itty, bitty baby ones. But I read that they are totally dependent on the momma shrew. I knew they little guy’s chances were better outside if its’ mom found him, then inside with me…

So, I went to a hidey hole I have suspected of being a shrew den (?), laid a bunch of green and dried vegetation around it, put the baby shrew on it and lightly covered him with dried bamboo leaves. Then, I placed a big plastic pail upside down and made sure the hole, the baby and a getaway on a couple of sides were all secure and I topped the bucket with heavy rocks, so the jerk neighbour cat (who beats up our little Lois) couldn’t get the shrew.

I hope he is gone when I check him in the morning…down the hidey hole with its wee family.

Here he is and here is a video of him squirming around and being cute. (And this was my first ever youtube upload.)

Night night little guy. This is the little nature bed I made for the little shrew.

Big slugs carousing around at night.


UPDATE: Well, I didn’t expect much when I went to check on the little shrew, but he was still there: still breathing and moving. I scooped him up again and we sat in the sun for awhile. I gave him tiny amounts of water from a syringe. We just sat. He squirmed. His breathing was shortened and he wasn’t doing well. Tough little critter though, lasting the whole night. But he finally just faded. It broke my heart. I knew how it would end, but it still squeezed my soul. I buried him.

Creatures I met in the garden today

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Gi-normous hornet

This hornet (?) is almost 5 cm long! It wouldn’t fly away for some reason, so I put it in the bug studio, fed it raspberries and brought her to a nice area to walk around in and put the cats inside. Hope she flies away soon.

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Lois is a killer

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There has been …

There has been a male cat skulking around our place for the past few months. We had dubbed him Big Rudy because at the time he was first making his presence known he was bigger than our Rudy and he is black-and-white-splotchy like our Rudy. Big Rudy is now smaller than the real Rudy. He’s definitely a loner and definitely a stray: He’s been on his own for a long time, I’m sure. I need a new name for him.

ANYWAY, like usual, I need to make him my friend so I’ve been slowly managing to shrink the gap he allows between us. Today, was the closest yet…about  three metres.

Then, tonight M says, “There’s a cat out there we haven’t seen before.” Sho-nuff, there was. A sweet, tiny, wee cat…so pretty. I hung out with her and she eventually came over and did the cat face-nudge thing and allowed me to pet her. !!! She was super skinny, but I think she was also a pretty recent mommy-cat. I gave her some food and water in the shed and made a comfy box for her to stay out of the rain. But every time I looked out the window, she was sitting back out front where M first spotted her under the (dry) cedar trees. And me being the sucker that I am, kept going out to pet her and make nice-nice. I’ve already named her Clementine.

Mini mole

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Moley, moley. Rudy had this poor little guy cornered…so I saved him.


  • Jon says this is a shrew, not a mole
  • Machiel says the Dutch word for shrew (spitsmuis) translates to pointy mouse hahahaaa



Swan on the Maas River

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