This was Fips as a baby (it's an old scanned photo, so excuse the quality).
It was 1996. I had had surgery on my arm and therefore couldn't go work at the zoo on Saturday. So I was quite surprised when the tall guy called me and told me to come up there right away. "Someone needs love", he said.
Of course that made me curious. When I got there, I was handed a tiny bundle, and when I looked in there, I saw a prairie dog baby. The prairie dogs had moved out of their enclosure without asking us (although we thought it was safe with a concrete wall into the ground and everything, we did learn from that experience) and set up house with the emus. This particular baby had ventured out of the nest and probably got hit or stepped on by one of the emus. He was bleeding, and when I took him to the vet's, she found he had a broken jaw. It healed up fast enough, but of course there was no way he could go back to the nest.
So I got to bottle raise a prairie dog. I carried him around a lot or held him for warmth, and I even took him to work in his cage, so I could feed him during the day. He escaped more than once from his cage (I still don't know how he managed to squeeze through the bars), but since he was locked up in a separate room, he couldn't do much harm. As it hadn't been possible to set the jaw right, it grew together a little crooked which meant we had to cut his teeth regularly.
The name Fips came from the feeeeeeep sound he made when he heard us, the cats or whatever.
I wish I could show a picture of him as a grown up, but I don't have any, I just have him on very dark video.
He was the only one who even made our Mim run just by sitting up and staring at her.
I miss you, Fips. You were really something else.
To honor him I loomed this bracelet for myself.
Every time I think about him I'm reminded of this great print by Anthony Falbo. I keep coming back to it because it's so hilarious and I really love it.
|Praising prairie dogs|
And now two pet peeves of mine ... meerkats are NOT the same as prairie dogs and prairie dogs do NOT bark! Thank you ;-)