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Frisky would like to welcome you to a gallery of photos of some of her many friends, in this case of the non-human persuasion. She is quite the socialite and often tries to make friends with any creature that she sees, whether or not they are willing. Sometimes her rambunctious manner is a slight hindrance in inter- and intra-species communications, but the other animals that Frisky encounters are a constant source of interest, amusement, and curiosity, so she would like to introduce you to them.

The first animal on this little tour is one that Frisky only encounters when we are vacationing in Colorado, but the joy she experiences from those visits is enormous and the marmots keep her endlessly entertained. They hide in their rock dens, whistling warning calls, and pop out of different entrances at various times, much like prairie dogs.

A much more frequent acquaintance, wild rabbits are very common in our area of Texas. We see them on walks all the time and Frisky certainly knows their odor, often diving into the weeds for no obvious visual reason; her nose just tells her where to go. We go on early morning walks several times a week and at one place we park on the edge of a large shopping center lot near a field and wooded area before walking. At least one rabbit is often waiting for us right where we stop the car and Frisky has attempted, on several occasions, to put her head through the windshield in her excitement.

Not all the rabbits around are wild. The cute bunny at left is named Harvey and we found him hopping happily near our neighborhood while we were walking. We put up signs and tried to find his owner but nobody came forth, so we kept Harvey for a while before giving him to one of our nephews who wanted a pet, since we are more into having a dog in the family than a rabbit.

Frisky has ongoing relationships with many cats in our neighborhood. For some reason, people think it is okay to let their pets run loose, so these wanderers often come uninvited into our yard. Frisky greets them with enthusiastic yelps of pleasure and plays a game of chase, with the cat always jumping the fence or climbing a tree in the end.

Two wild animals that Frisky sometimes encounters are armadillos and skunks. There are plenty of both these creatures around here, but they never venture into our neighborhood. Frisky sees them on walks and doesn't quite know what to make of them, except that they move, and therefore must be fun to play with. There is no problem if she meets an armadillo, as they are harmless, even if surprised by a overly friendly canine. They usually just shuffle off. The only less-than-satisfactory results are when Frisky comes face to face with a skunk before the person walking her is aware of its identity. Then there is the frantic reeling in of the leash and trying to put distance between the disgruntled mustelid and a VERY excited dog. The aftereffects can be rather aromatic.

The first thing that Frisky does in the morning when we get up is go outside and check out our backyard. She is usually willing to come in and eat breakfast 10 or 15 minutes later, but sometimes won't respond when we call. This is often because she has discovered an opossum in the yard and, by the time we go investigate, it is safely up in a tree or on the fence. Frisky LOVES opossums because, perhaps as a consequence of their smaller brain size, they do things like run (or waddle) back and forth along the fence between two overhanging branches in the manner of little toy ducks in a shooting gallery. This can keep Frisky entertained for as long as ten minutes, until the opossum finally figures out that it can step OVER the branch and thereby continue on its way.

This little fellow was rescued by Frisky after his owners turned him loose in a neighboring yard. An albino hamster doesn't stand a chance on its own, with predators from cats to hawks frequenting our area. In an act of compassion totally out of character for a terrier, Frisky alerted us to the tiny beast and merely licked him in a playful manner. We named him Hobo, and then saw to it that he went to a good home.

Frisky has never lost her puppyhood love of toys and still plays with a variety of stuffed animals, so she definitely identifies with the little Jack Russell Terrier puppy pictured here. This is Amos, and he lives with Steve and Connie on a beautiful country estate along with an older Jack Russell Terrier named Gertie. Steve is a colleague of Larry's and often entertains him with amusing stories about the dogs.

The adorable dog you see here is real; it is not a stuffed toy. This pup was a friend of Frisky's for several years and is a Shih Tsu named Suzie. She belongs to our ex-sister-in-law, but while she was part of the extended family, she often visited with us, and she and Frisky would play, either chasing each other around or chewing on toys. Suzie was quite a bit smaller than Frisky, but when the two dogs got outside, she would make a valiant effort to keep up with Frisky's tireless antics. Compared to how Frisky picks up burrs, which is bad enough, Suzie was like Velcro.

This is a champion Rhodesian Ridgeback named T (for the mark on his chest). He lives in Wisconsin with Val's sister's family, and often gets to run through the woods and fields in the summer, and through the snow drifts in the winter. T and Frisky visit occasionally, along with the other Ridgebacks in their family. Frisky can barely keep up with these tall, big dogs and, as they lope along effortlessly, she is usually streaking in an all-out rocket run since she never EVER wants to be left behind.

Not all of Frisky's friends and acquaintances are mammals. She also enjoys the attentions of some birds. This Amazon parrot is named Paco and lived with one of Larry's brothers for several years. Paco visited frequently and Frisky couldn't help but notice such a lively, fast-moving bird IN THE HOUSE. Paco usually perched on high things, probably because he wasn't so sure that he and Frisky could play safely, and his inaccessibility made him all the more enticing. Whenever he descended to her level, Frisky showed great interest in playing and, at least once, Paco lost a tail feather in one of their energetic romps, but never suffered any real damage.

At the other end of the size spectrum, swans are bigger than Frisky and weigh about the same. We walk around, swim in, and kayak on Town Lake in Austin, and frequently encounter pairs of mute swans. These birds, due to their large size and aggressive nature, are not at all intimidated by Frisky and usually approach partly out of curiosity and mostly out of territoriality, knowing full well that they can outswim her, outfly her, and even outbite her. When the swans are at a distance, Frisky shows great interest in them, trembling with excitement, but the closer, and bigger, they get, the more she tries to ignore them, to the point of looking away and suddenly taking an interest in those turtles way on the other side of the lake.

While we meet a number of birds on our walks, one small species puts on an incomparable performance. Killdeer, when protecting their nests or young, feign a broken wing while screaming with high-pitched calls. This charade is meant to lure predators in a different direction and fools Frisky just like any other animal. It's as if the birds are simply calling Frisky to play with an irresistible siren song. In fact, their cry is so distinctive that the first utterance is enough to catch Frisky's attention and put her on high alert.

Wild turkeys are common in our area and we have encountered them a number of times on walks. They are large and obvious, and Frisky is delighted in their habit of running rather than flying away. The turkeys seem to know that they can simply outrun a leashed dog (or mortally wound it if cornered), and usually just move fast enough to stay out of reach. I'm thankful when they finally disappear into the woods or weeds so that Frisky immediately forgets about them and we can stop running around like idiots.

Cows hold a special fascination for Frisky. This could be because they are the only very large beasts with whom she has frequent contact. We spend quite a bit of time on a ranch near Waco and there are several cows in residence at any given time, including black angus and longhorns. Fortunately, they are fenced in and, although Frisky is free to crawl under the fence at will, the cows must stay on only one side. While Frisky does like to get up close and personal with the cows, their enormous size often keeps her sensibly out of harms way, since a single accidental misstep by such a big creature could spell disaster for a diminutive mutt.

For the past few years, we have had a great place not far from our home to go walking where deer sightings are almost guaranteed. There is and has been construction going on, but there is a large wooded area with fields and paths and the deer are always around. We've seen at least one large buck who, in the late summer, looks quite splendid with his fine rack. In the earlier months there are fawns, small groups of does, and bucks in velvet. Frisky loves their smell, often sees them as they dash across the paths and roads, and gets quite excited by the loud snorts they make if we startle them at close quarters. These are not tame deer and they usually make a mad dash for safety if they feel threatened by our presence. Sometimes a whole herd will run across a field and, one by one, jump the fence. When Frisky sees this, she is so intent on those animals, that she jumps up and down with them, even though she is restrained by the leash.

We've saved one of Frisky's favorite animals for last. She is well-acquainted with squirrels, both on our walks and in our back yard. Their rapid movements, noisy chattering, and small size make them so attractive to her that she often can't take her eyes off their antics. They even take an interest in her, especially the ones that live in and around our yard, perching just out of reach and making noises at her and flicking their tails. They also play with each other, and Frisky is always beside herself with excitement when they are chasing each other, at breakneck speed, around tree trunks, leaping from branch to branch, and running over the roof of our house. When she sees one on the ground, it invariably waits until the last second to leap out of her reach, probably knowing that it is much faster than she.

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