Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 29, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 29, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc



Meet Betty DeVille models her distinctive black and 
white colored fur coat markings. It looks like she’s 
wearing a solid color designer cap with cat ears attached. 
She has the same name as a Rugrats cartoon mother, 
who has a nice but loud personality. Our Betty also 
was a loving mother to her two kittens named Phil and 
Lil. (Who are also currently available for adoption.) 
Betty has a calm loving nature, is friendly, and enjoys 
seeing new people coming to meet her. Melting into 
hands that massage her head and throat, Betty purrs 
with contentment. A lap is always nice to sit on when 
offered. If given a toy, she will show her sporting playful 
side which ranges from bat and pat to attack and toss, 
depending on what is being offered for her amusement. 
Whether it’s a still object, a flying teaser, or the laser 
dot, Betty takes the challenge. Her adoption fee is $99 
and includes spay surgery, vaccinations, microchip and 
a free wellness exam at a participating veterinarian. 
Betty is accepting visitors at Alhambra PetSmart, a San 
Gabriel Valley Humane Society adoption partner. For 
more information, call (626) 284-3390.

I remember when I was a kid, hearing the 
adults say, “When one stops learning, one 
stops living“. That probably meant very little 
to me at the time, but as I grew older and had 
my own personal experiences with learning 
and living, I began to realize the amazing 
lessons that God’s wonderful creatures can 
teach us.

 I once saw a video which reminded of an amazing 
phenomenon of nature that truly astounds me, 
and makes me wonder, “How can this be?”. I am 
talking about animals of distant and unrelated 
species who are apparently able to put away their 
inherent instinctive differences to, not only survive, 
but share symbiotic and friendly relationships with 
other beings that are for the most part very different 
from themselves.

 There have been many documented accounts of 
cross-species relationships over the years, but the 
e-mailed video that brought this subject to mind 
for me was uniquely inspiring. It was a home movie 
showing a dog and a wild crow playing together in 
the pup’s enormous back yard located in the south 
of Germany.

 The dog was apparently quite a social sort but 
there were no other pets in his home to interact 
with, so having become lonely for companionship, 
he decided to befriend a huge crow that came flying 
out of a tall tree nearby and plopped itself down 
in the backyard. The crow promptly commenced 
squawking at the dog and taunting him. Instead 
of rushing forward and frightening the seemingly 
crazy crow, the dog approached slowly, whimpered 
humbly and proceeded to rub his furry neck 
against the big black bird’s beak! Soon they were 
inseparable pals, spending all their time together 
under the tree canopies in the back yard. Who 

 After watching that video, I decided to look up 
more information about unusual cross-species 
relationships, and I found a few similar stories. One 
was about a maternal relationship that developed 
between Pixie, a darling standard poodle, and three 
abandoned wild squirrels who, by forces beyond 
their control, showed up on the poodle’s property.

 The tree where the squirrel family had nested for 
years was felled by chainsaws, so the adult squirrels 
were left with no choice but to abandon the nest. 
The three infant squirrels were too tiny to run 
when the tree came down, so they were left lying 
in the grass where Pixie romped and played daily. 
In an epic stroke of fate, Pixie opted to befriend 
the baby squirrels rather than attack them, as one 
might expect a dog to do.

 Not only was Pixie 
friendly with the baby 
squirrels, she allowed them 
to exploit the remaining 
lactated milk left over from 
a recently birthed litter of 
puppies. If it hadn’t been 
for Pixie’s willingness to 
show random kindness, 
those baby squirrels would 
most likely have perished. 
As it turned out, all three 
of those little squirrels 
survived and grew strong 
enough to be released back 
into the wild.

 Another remarkable account of an unlikely 
loving relationship between members of two 
very different species happened at the Elephant 
Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, just southwest 
of Nashville. In this case, a young female elephant 
affectionately named Bella bonded with a yellow 
lab named Tara.

 All of the other elephants at the sanctuary chose 
a friend of their own species to connect with, but 
apparently Bella ended up the 5th wheel in the 
deal, so with no other elephant to partner with, she 
focused her need for friendship on a cute, cuddly 
canine companion. There are several rescued 
elephants and dogs at the Sanctuary in Hohenwald 
who share the same open space, but the two 
species typically avoid contact with each other. But 
that was not the case with two unlikely lovebirds 
named Bella and Tara, who ultimately became 
inseparable. They ate together, wandered together 
and even slept together until the day when Tara 
passed away at which time the good folks at the 
sanctuary immediately got to work finding Bella 
another partner and today she is happy to have 
another kind canine in the center of her small, yet 
significant circle of friend(s).

 I observe and learn so much from the animals 
every day. They truly inspire me, and I hope to play 
it forward by inspiring others in the same way. If 
animals, both domestic and wild, can be willing 
to forego instinctual expectations in order to love 
and be loved by someone very different from 
themselves, why can’t we humans do the same?

 I don’t know about you, but I am willing to cross 
the bridge of unfamiliarity and reach out to those 
with whom I may have very little in common. 
When I do take that chance I find that I learn a lot, 
not only about other people, but about myself. I 
learn about living with a giving spirit and it allows 
me the opportunity to get out of my own head 
and be part of something bigger than myself. And, 
interestingly enough, I often find out that I have 
more in common than not, with folks I thought 
were very different from me. Learn from the 
animals, try to emulate their positive traits, and as 
always - love and let live!


These sweet 
babies are just 
adorable! They 
are about 5 mos. 
old. Sweet Pea 
is the pretty, all 
charcoal gray 
girl, very cuddly, 
who looks at you 
with such soulful 
eyes. Tiger is one 
of her brothers, 
and he has 
an abyssinian 
look to his 
fur, gray with 
whitish ticking. 
Spunkster is a 
definite gray 
tabby, with white 
under his chin, white paws, and a cute white tip on 
his tail. All have a very mild condition of cerebella 
hypoplasia, which makes them shake their heads 
a little. However, no meds are needed and they 
can run, jump, & chase just like any other feline! 
To meet them 818-749-9095 or kelly@pasadena-



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



Can anything be learned from TV? 


[Nyerges is an educator and 
author of nearly two dozen 
books, such as “Extreme 
Simplicity,” “How to 
Survive Anywhere,” “Self-
Sufficient Home,” and others. His web site is www.] 

I took a short lunch break today, sitting down on 
my couch and turning on the TV. I wanted to hear 
the weather forecast, which I never did. 

 I first learned about a bicyclist who was killed 
in Torrance, and the killer simply drove away in 
his Toyota truck. Shocking! How is that a person 
can run down someone on a bicycle, kill them, 
and then just drive off into the wild blue yonder? 
As someone who looks at the non-sustainability 
of the Los Angeles area “machine,” I know that 
more and more of us should take to our bicycles 
and become a part of the solution. As I sat shaking 
my head, I thought about my own lifetime of 
bicycling, and how I just started bicycling more, 
in part, inspired by a female friend who wrote 
about her bicycling to her job in Azusa from 
Highland Park. Wow! I used to have difficulty 
biking to my job in Pasadena from Highland Park 
because I’d show up dripping in sweat and had no 
way to change or shower. 

 Drivers need 
to wake up, and 
realize that the 
bicyclist is your 
friend, and is 
a friend to the 
sprawling mass 
of Los Angeles 
County. Don’t 
treat them as 
an irritation, 
or a fly to be 
swatted. And 
bicyclists – 
some anyway 
– also need 
to wake up to 
the fact that 
their total 150 
pounds of small mass is nothing compared to a 
minimum 2000 pound car. I have never figured 
out why some bicyclists taunt auto drivers, and 
bicycle far from the curb in a way that makes 
them a target in a confrontation they can’t win. 
As Rodney asked, “Can’t we all get along?” 

 Then, when I was about a third done with 
my soup, the news program began showing the 
wreckage of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. 
OMG! It was clearly not good for my digestion 
to see whole neighborhoods half underwater, 
houses turned into splinters, people crying for 
help, families in need of food and fresh water. 
And I watched some of the remarkable rescuers 
who came out on boats and took people to dry 
land and brought supplies to those who needed it 
the most. There were also showing a convenience 
store in some town that was being looted, and a 
few people were arrested. 

 As C.S. Lewis so insightfully pointed out in 
the Screwtape Letters, times of great stress and 
disaster brings out the worst in mankind, but 
somehow it also brings out the very best as well. 
Heroes are made and lives are changed. I watched 
these dramas being played out on my TV screen 
as I pushed my empty soup bowl to the side and 
started for my half-sandwich (Subway vegetarian). 

Floods of memories flowed through my mind 
as I recalled two of the best bits of advice for 
anyone preparing for disasters (or old age, for 
that matter): Develop useful skills, and develop 
deep meaningful relationships with people. Not 
“gather lots of stuff,” and not “make sure you have 
the biggest knife,” etc. ad nauseum. Yes, stuff is 
important, but look what Florence did to all that 
stuff! You can’t predict the weather, but we should 
be able to rely upon our own hard-earned skills 
and our deep friendships. 

 I didn’t 
have much 
time to watch 
TV, and my 
sandwich was 
nearly done, 
so I flipped 
around to other 
stations, and 
came up with 
a few ironclad 
rules of life, 
though of lesser 
than what 
I’ve already 

 Number one: 
If you have a 
small claims court case to settle, and you’re guilty, 
never, ever, under any circumstances, have Judge 
Judy try your case. She will not only expose you 
but will humiliate you as well. Try your luck with 
one of the local judges in a local, non-televised 

 Number two: If anyone from the Jerry Springer 
show ever calls you to come onto their show to 
meet some mystery person of your past, don’t 
even think about calling them back. It will not 
turn out well.

I must confess that in the 
Parsonage there are times of 
confusion. It has nothing to do with age; it has 
everything to do with the human brain that is 

 The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage can 
say one thing and I can say something completely 
different. There are those rare occasions when 
we are on the same page, the same sentence and 
almost the same words. Those occasions do not 
come as often as I would like.

 The good news is, we are all on the same book, 
which makes the difference.

 The other day, for example, I was in a panic 
mode. I was trying to get stuff done and was not 
making progress. Finally, the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage said, “What are you in such a 
fuss about?”

 “Well,” I said rather exhaustively, “it’s Friday 
and I’m trying to get my work done.”

 My wife just stood there looking at me with 
one of those “looks” she is most famous for. Then, 
placing both hands on her hips, she said, “Silly 
boy, don’t you know it’s Thursday?”

 It is quite disconcerting when you get 
something wrong. You think you are doing the 
right thing, but it turns out you are not. I think 
it is one day and it turns out to be another day 
instead. Sometimes one day looks exactly like the 

 As we were eating breakfast the other day, my 
wife stopped and said, “Do you know this is the 
first day of autumn?”

 I had to stop and think about that for a while. 
That means summer is over and fall is in the air.

 “If it’s autumn,” I said quite seriously, “why is 
it still so hot outside?” The last three weeks the 
temperature has been in the 90s and the heat 
index was over 100. That is really hot.

 Looking at her, I said, “It sure doesn’t feel like 
autumn does it?” She agreed with me, which was 
quite an accomplishment on my side of the table.

A song says, “And the beat goes on.” I would like 
to change that a little bit and sing a song, “And the 
heat goes on.” Simply put, I found no difference 
between the first week of autumn in the last week 
of summer. After all, if it is autumn then the 
weather ought to act like it is autumn.

 I did not realize how serious the heat was. I was 
going Wednesday morning to a local elementary 
school to participate in the “Pray around the 
Pole.” It was the first thing in the morning so I 
decided not to have breakfast before I went, but 
rather go to my favorite restaurant for breakfast 
after the event.

 As I was walking to the pole, I noticed it was 
rather hot outside. Oh well, I thought to myself, I 
am not going to be here long so I can just endure 

 About eight of the teachers had gathered 
around the pole along with a resource officer. We 
gathered in a circle, held hands and began to pray. 
Many of them prayed and my job was to close the 
session in prayer.

 As they began praying, I felt a little odd. Now 
my wife will tell you that it is not just a feeling; 
I am odd. But my blonde roots were beginning 
to manifest itself and I was feeling a little dizzy. 
I felt the sweat roll off my face and my legs were 
wobbling, more than usual. I really did not feel 
good at the time.

 Then, it came time to close the session in 
prayer. I cannot remember what I prayed because 
every word that came out of my mouth felt weird 
and odd. I was getting dizzy and I was thinking to 
myself, “Just don’t fall down.” I knew if I fell down, 
somebody would call the ambulance and rush me 
off to the hospital. The last place I wanted to be.

 When we were done praying one of the 
teachers looked at me and said, “Are you all right? 
Your face looks flushed.”

 The more I stood there the wobblier my legs 
got. Finally one of the teachers said, “Let’s take 
him inside and get him some water.” In the 
meantime, one called my wife to come and get 

 I do not remember going into the school at the 
time. Everything was quite dizzy for me. Then the 
nurse came, checked me out and made sure I was 

 As it was, I was having a heat stroke. I never 
had such a thing before in my life. I think I heard 
of them, but I did not know what they were.

 As I was collecting myself a little bit, my wife 
and granddaughter arrived to take me home. 
They would not let me drive my own vehicle. 
Don’t tell anybody, but I sure was glad. I am not 
sure I could have driven that vehicle out of the 
parking lot.

 It took several days to recover, but during 
recovery, I could not help but think of an incident 
with Jesus in the midst of the storm. “And he 
arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the 
sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and 
there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).

 You cannot always select the “storm” in your 
life, but you can always trust Jesus to get you 
through it.

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship. He lives with the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage, in Ocala, Florida 34472. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

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