Tilly, cooling off in a foot bath
The record-setting heat-wave is old news by now, and thankfully the heat has broken on the east coast (the southwest is in for it now). At the front end of the heat wave, we had an unusual-for-the-area derecho storm rip through (June 29), causing millions of people to be without power for days, a few thousand for more than a week. I was one who lost power (friday night – tuesday afternoon), and the sanctuary also lost power (friday night – monday afternoon). Luckily they have a generator so they could run the water pump (essential when you are caring for 200 animals!) and a couple people lent them smaller generators so they could run the fans for all the animals too. So the animals were pretty comfortable (as comfortable as it ever is in the high 90′s and high humidity), and luckily there was no damage from the derecho winds.
This past weekend, when it hit 105 on Saturday, was the tail end of the heat-wave. A few weeks ago they’d set up a hose with the nozzle set on mist, and aimed at the mud puddle in the pig yard as a “cooling station” for the pigs. It was very popular, as you might imagine!
When I walked by on Saturday, I was happy to see that Harley was one of the pigs in the cooling station. He’s one of the younger pigs, and definitely low in the pecking order, so if another pig had wanted his spot, he’d have moved.
Dave was walking by too, and as I stopped to take pictures of Harley and the other pigs, he aimed the spray right at Harley’s head.
It was amazing. Harley, whose ears usually are covering his eyes, put his ears back and just leaned into the spray with a look of bliss.
As we were picking up in the pig yard, some people arrived with a new goose resident, Duchess. She followed them as they came to visit in the pig yard, but she seemed a bit confused as to where she actually wanted to be. After she came rushing in the pig yard through the gate, she then tried to get out again through the fence. She was getting agitated, so I picked her up and carried her across the pig yard toward the duck pond.
Duchess on the duck pond at psas
Terry held the gate for me, and we brought Duchess down to the pond and stayed with her while she got in and swam around a bit. As she cooled down and calmed down, Roxanne, the youngest pig, joined us, having escaped out the gate we’d opened to bring Duchess through.
I got some apples from the barn and tried to bribe her back through, but she wasn’t too interested. Forget cooling stations and creeks, here was a pond!
She wandered around the perimeter a bit before walking in. She was so cute, sticking her whole head in the water at times, blowing bubbles, and rooting on the bottom of the pond. Talk about bliss!
Roxanne in the duck pond at psas
I took some video, and was convinced to put the entire almost-8 minutes on vimeo.
Roxanne in the duck pond
A reporter showed up while we were doing the cow pies – he had contacted Terry to set up an interview so he could do an article on the animals and the heat. Roxanne had come back to the pig yard by then, so he missed seeing that cuteness in person, but Dave and Terry had me show him some of the pictures I took of her in there. He was interested in using a pic and linking to the video for his article, so I sent him a few that evening. He ended up using the one of Harley blissing out with the spray of water. It ran online in the Washington Post on Sunday, and in the print version on Monday!
So out of the blue, I got a picture published in the paper!
The hot days in summer are when the animals are the most lethargic (and I include humans – we definitely move slower on these hot days), so they’re often pretty dry in terms of photo ops. It just happened that we’d had a couple super cute photo ops that day – we couldn’t have done better if we’d planned and schemed to get photo ops for the article!
Our favorite quote from the article:
As I watched Terry round up Tilly the turkey and deposit her feet into the bath, it occurred to me that Terry was one of those people who made it impossible to measure yourself against: You can never be so good.
Terry is probably embarrassed that we keep quoting that one sentence, but it’s the truth for both Terry and Dave, so we’ll keep quoting it!