November 8, 2009

It’s Been an Animal Day





     CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is awarding a monthly prize to the reader making the most comments at To be eligible for the prize, comment on any post. The more comments you post, the greater chance you have of being the winner.

     The first prize, to be announced on December 3, 2009, will be awarded to the reader who made the most comments on during November.

     The winner will be notified by E-mail. In the event of a tie, a name will be drawn. Winners will be listed on this page. 

     Thank you for your loyalty to my writing site.      Carolyn C. Holland


      It’s been an animal day.

      Black bear. Cat. Cat. Owl. Horse.

     While I groggily prepared my morning coffee, something caught my eye. I glanced out my window and was amazed to see a small black bear strolling through my driveway. I called my husband Monte, and we watched the bear lumber to the path leading to my daughter’s house.

     I grabbed the phone and called Sandy. She and her husband, Michael, watched the bear approach their yard, meander between her house and the neighbor’s house, return to the path and head back towards our house. At the edge of the driveway it suddenly ran towards the road.  I hadn’t had time to grab my camera. Thus, no pictures.

     However, Sandy had grabbed her camera, with the following result:

     I’d heard that black bears were a constant presence in the upper end of Laurel Mountain Borough, our small park-like community. We hadn’t spotted any since spring. But Debbie had, and she managed to mount a camera which took some nighttime photos:

     Bear gone, we settled in to our day’s activities.


     I snuggled down on my couch with my coffee, meds, and the newspaper. There was a signed editorial on the editorial page: Bob Pellegrino (Tribune-Review editorial page editor—Greensburg). At the risk of plagiarism, I will post his first two paragraphs:

My three pampered cats, lulled comfortably into inactivity by the welfare state of pet ownership, were supposed to spare me some expense during these challenging financial times by at least keeping our common abode mouse-free.

Well, that didn’t happen. Apparently good living — three squares a day, all the litter they could possibly use plus free health care — has negated what I presumed would be at least instinctual behavior among felines.

(To read the rest of his editorial, click on: )

     A further fact caught my eye. Two of his cats were New Englanders—from Connecticutt—which explains why they feel entitled. (I, too, am a New Englander, so I can relate). There is no logical explanation as to why the third cat adopted a couple of rodents. After all, she is a Pennsylvanian.

     Bob complains that his cats aren’t mousers. My cat, Honey, didn’t do too well in that department either. Now she’s romping about in animal heaven with police dog Ando (they met the same fate at the same vet, perhaps on the same table, within two weeks time). Since then I have continually been washing towels stored in a drawer where the mice liked to romp. The furnace man, who found evidence of mouse-nesting in our basement, suggested the plug-in devices that make a high pitched sound the rodents dislike. So I invested in six. They seem to be working. I hope I’m right. Perhaps, Bob, you should try them, in spite of the expense. It may be a worthwhile investment.

     Bob, another suggestion. Forget expecting your felines to behave in the prescribed fashion. You are correct: the animal rights groups may come down on you. Perhaps you should redirect your energies to a new cause. Might I suggest ridding communities of feral birds? (FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD & Eliminate feral birds: A call for political action). After reading my posts on this activist action, might I request that you pass a petition around the Trib office, returning it to me, and I will forward it to the correct politician?

     (By the way, I have been a freelancer with your newspaper since 1995, under Paul Heywood, Ed Cope, Jerry Storey. Moving on to Westmoreland County, I wrote for the Ligonier-Latrobe section, and now submit items to the Ligonier Echo.)


     Later, I went to the Internet. There I discovered that cats can catch the swine flu. A “13-year-old feline in Iowa (was) diagnosed with H1N1 after its two owners both came down with the flu. The cat was treated at a veterinary hospital after appearing lethargic, losing its appetite and having trouble breathing…this was the first documented case…consider it a cautionary tale.” ( )

     Since I have no cats at present, I’m not concerned. But I love to share other people’s pet felines. How much must I worry about their being contagious?


     Tired, I snoozed after lunch until mid-afternoon. I was just waking up when Monte rushed in to put on his shoes.

     “There’s a bird caught in the deer netting (of our garden),” he said. He grabbed a pair of scissors, and I grabbed my shoes and camera. Sure enough, there was a bird in the netting. A big bird.

     “It’s an owl,” Monte said, as he cautiously began to cut the netting wrapped tightly around the bird’s feet. (to view photos click on: & & It took a few minutes, and several times the owl flapped its wings wildly. It looked at me as if to say “what’s happening?” It grabbed onto the netting with its beak, so when it was freed it took it a moment to realize it could leave. It flew a few feet and landed on the netting. We thought we would have to free it again, but it took off. It seemed to have trouble getting started.

     “It’s probably pretty exhausted,” Monte said as it gathered steam and became hidden by the trees.

     When Bo Brocius read about this owl, she responded by writing a poem, The Hunter is Caught. To read it, click on:


     About 8:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) my friend Lois arrived at our house to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. San Jose Sharks hockey game. She had been at her brothers’ house to watch the Breeder’s Cup Classic horse race. Ecstatic and elated, she asked me if I was going to write anything about women’s lib. Girl power. After all, “Zenyatta had won the race!”

Zenyatta, the undefeated five-year-old mare, was taking the ultimate challenge by running against male horses for the first time in her career, on horse racing’s biggest stage. She came from last place to win easily. My husband Monte had also watched the race, and was equally impressed. “This is unbelievable,” said race caller Trevor Denman. “What a performance. One we’ll never forget.”

“She’s better than Rachel Alexandra,” insisted Lois, referring to this year’s other super female thoroughbred. “Zenyatta deserves to be Horse of the Year.”

I was made to watch the race at before I was allowed to include Zenyatta, the horse, in my “animal day” post. And yes, it was impressive.


     Black bear. Cat. Cat. Owl. Horse.

     It’s been that kind of a day.

     November 7, 2009. An animal day.


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is awarding a monthly prize to the reader who makes the most comments at To enter, comment on any post. The more comments you post, the greater chance you have of winning. For further details click on the page MONTHLY PRIZE FOR COMMENTS at the top of the column to the right. 







Honey’s Coming Home! Our cat must recuperate

Honey went home—She’s romping in animal heaven




  1. lois showed me this. you should think up a name for the owl.

    Comment by jerry kalata — November 15, 2009 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  2. this is probably a screech owl. they are either gray or reddish brown. you should think up a name for it.

    Comment by Jerry Kalata — November 15, 2009 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  3. Off Ligonier Living blogsite:

    Deej said…
    I really like the owl picture. It’s so small and really cute. Also, re: your black bear, I had 3 black bear cubs in my front yard last week! Thankfully they crossed into the woods. I saw no mama bear with them. I live on Ross Mtn Park Road in Fairfield Twp, so there are bears around!

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 2, 2010 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  4. Off Ligonier Living blogsite:

    Sue Parker said…
    How did you extricate the owl from the fencing? Did you then need to put him in a tree? Don’t know much about owls 😉

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 2, 2010 @ 12:51 am | Reply

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