Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Tag Archives: Barney

A Quartet of Geese, A Dusty Pig, and Chin Scratches for Mini Moo

The Barneys

The Barneys – or at least Barney (with the black beak) and his three friends – came to the sanctuary after spending most of their life on the farm of a man who loved them very much. But when he died, his kids wanted to sell the place, and wanted the geese gone.

Luckily a kind-hearted person found the sanctuary, so that these geese would have a safe and happy place to live. Only one of them came with a name – Barney. He’s the only one who is easily distinguished from his friends, with his black beak.

They’re pretty friendly and curious about people. They’re clearly used to people-as-treat-dispensers, but mostly they just go off and do their own thing, always the four of them together.

I’ve been taking “meta” pictures lately, purely for my own amusement. Jonathan is fun and interesting to volunteer with – not only does he know a lot about animals, he thinks a lot about animals, and in ways that are often a bit different than the rest of us. It’s the scientist in him, gathering information and impressions, and doing mini tests on hypothesis percolating in his brain. He’s fascinated by things that I tend to take for granted.

Jonathan and Charlene

Last week one of the things that caught his attention was the dust rising from Charlene’s back as he patted her. He was trying to get a picture of it. I’m not sure if he succeeded, but I got a picture of him taking a picture!

The cows were all hanging around, so I gave Mini Moo a chin scratch. He loves to have his chin scratched! I was thinking to myself that it was too bad that it was impossible to get a picture while scratching his chin, but just a few minutes later Amy gave him a chin scratch, and I took advantage of the opportunity to take a few pictures.

Amy and Mini Moo

I love this because it is so clear how much Mini Moo is enjoying himself. I posted it on Facebook, and (as expected) there was at least one comment about how their cat does the same thing. Taking pleasure in life is not limited to humans. Anyone who has ever lived with an animal will be thinking “duh”, but oddly enough the scientific community is only recently coming around to agreeing that this is a valid viewpoint.

Amy and Mini Moo

Luckily there are scientists like Jonathan Balcombe, who pursue that line of study despite the scientific community’s disdain for the topic. Hopefully things have progressed by now. From the outside, at least, it seems to have.

If you haven’t read any of Jonathan’s books, and are interested in the topic, definitely check them out. If you like pictures (and since you are “reading” this blog, you probably do), you’ll want to pick up a copy of Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure, which actually has a lot of great words in it, not just pictures. I need to go back and read the book; I am guilty of focusing on the pictures and skipping over most of the words.

Now for some local announcements:

  • Tomorrow (Saturday 4/28) is the 2nd annual Baltimore Veg Fest. I’ll be tabling there for Poplar Spring from 1-3. Two other people – volunteers who became employees – will be covering from 11-1.
  • Sunday (4/29) is a benefit day at Great Sage, benefitting Poplar Spring. My favorite vegan restaurant in the area!