Monday, April 11, 2011

Crime Scene Investigation

(WARNING: graphic picture at the end of this post.)

It was a nice day on Saturday. Ed's main hobby is fishing. Since a nearby creek was stocked with trout recently, it was a good time to take Niko and tag along. I bought an ice cream cone and struggled with it in one hand and Niko's pulling leash in the other. As Ed got set up to do his fishing thing, I took Niko for a walk along the creek. It was a lot of brush, dried up tall grass and leaves from last year, some muddy spots, and some holes in the ground (homes to furry friends I am sure). Being that it was new ground for Niko and that there were plenty of smells, Niko was hippity and hoppity. He hops around in different directions, sniffing things out. I generally do look at what he sniffs if he insists on doing it for more than a few seconds. 

Niko pulled towards one area and sniffed around a bit. I looked closer at what he was interested in. What I found made me take a step back and pull Niko away. It was a skeleton of an arm!

My first thought was, could it be a human arm? It was rather small (the length of 2 or 3 leaves). After the initial shock, I took a closer look. With a sigh of relief, I saw there was short fur near the fingernails.  The nails were pointy and sharp, like an animal's. I was a little shaken up seeing that, but at the same time, proud of Niko for finding it. Weird, I know. We walked on and when we turned around, Niko found the arm again. It is easy to miss with the human eye since it is camouflaged by the leaves.  After Ed was done fishing, we went back to the area to look at it. Since he has more experience in watching Discovery channel than I do, his expertise was helpful. (My knowledge of animal arm skeleton is limited to chicken feet at dim sum and pig's feet in stews.) He laughed that I thought it could be human, but admitted that in the picture, it does look human. But given the size and its shape, he concluded it was more like a possum or muskrat. To ease my worries, I googled the skeleton of both those animals and was rest assured. It was an animal bone.

This was an exciting adventure for us; playing Scooby Doo was fun. Niko proved that he has a good sniffer. Let it be known, he solves mysteries for a few licks of ice cream.

Yummy Ice Cream!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Last Bit of Snow

Two weeks ago, we had our last significant snowfall. It was unexpected and unwelcomed by most people, as they are looking forward to Spring.  Niko doesn't mind one bit. We took one more trip to a nearby state forest where we go to cross country ski. It was a good outing with Niko being off leash while we skied. 
We came upon a tree that was worked on by beavers. Niko approached it to admire their work:
"..hmm reminds me of what i do at home to furniture"
Beavers are amazingly hard workers known for building dams as their habitats. They also have the same mate for life. **end of sidebar**
Close to the end of our trail, we stopped by a frozen pond. We played fetch with Niko and a tennis ball. This is the only time Niko would voluntarily go into a pond, so the joke's on him!
He was very good at coming back with the ball.
Look how far he went:

One more thing to note is that I fell many times due to icy snow. When Niko was near me when it happens, he would stop to look at me and sometimes came to sniff me. He waited a little before moving on again. Very seldom does Niko show affection and I'll take every hint of it when I can.