Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Morning Ritual

It's been almost a week since my last was a busy Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.

I wrote in a previous how Foehn, and occasionally CB, wait for me in the morning for their treat before turning in for the day. CB missed out at times because he was already settled in for the day in their pouch. Well, he has, as they say, finally "gotten with the program". The last several mornings CB has been there with Foehn scrambling to the front of the cage when I come out to get ready for work. The first of these mornings he was in the pouch, but curiosity got the best of him and just before I was ready to close the door he scampered out of the pouch and climbed down to the door for his share of the treat. Ever since that morning he has been waiting for me with his sister. No doubt they were disappointed with me this weekend as I did not get out in time Saturday or Sunday, and by the time I came out (around 7:30 am) they had already turned in. They were ready and waiting this morning, however. There was a minor mishap as I was closing the cage door after their treat. A small bowl with the yogurt/applesauce mix was in my left hand, and I didn't realize I had my hand close to the cage. Foehn nipped my ring finger as I was latching the door with my right hand. Startled by the unexpected nip, I jerked my left hand back and a nice glob of the mix ended up on my clean shirt.

Enjoying a morning yogurt treat(my yogurt-covered finger is the focus of attention in the far right hand side of the photo)

Well, they both are now awake as I write this and busy grooming themselves in the pouch. They are both looking out at me and I think they may be ready for their dinner. I best get them to their cage before they decide to try and explore on their own!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Is More Like It

The last few nights of tent time have gone well, but we have had a few "adventures" outside of that. On Sunday our son visited with his glider Molly and we had them all in the tent together (supervised, of course). Molly was all over the tent climbing and jumping, while CB and Foehn remained in their pouch, watching but tentative. They eventually came out and the three of them were checking each other out. As long as it was one on one things were OK, but when both Foehn and CB were sniffing out Molly at the same time it got testy. There was some hissing and brief entanglement but no damage was done. That ended that. We'll have to try a different tactic in the future.

M had them both on their blanket most of last evening. I left for a few minutes to take the trash to the curb, and when I returned M appeared to be searching for something. That something was CB. They had been scooching over to the side of the blanket, and when M saw that they were avoiding droppings, she tried to clean the blanket while still keeping them under control. CB saw this as the perfect opportunity to go on an adventure. He climbed up M's arm, ok, that was a good sign, jumped to the arm of the sofa, oh oh, bad sign, then hopped under the sofa. Scooping Feohn up in the blanket, M struggled to her knees only to see CB investigating the floor outlet under the sofa! Bad idea. When I came in she was trying to keep him corralled under the sofa (it has high clearance) to no avail. He wanted to explore - again. Into the dining room, back into the great room, and down the hall into the guest room. I was a little concerned because there was a lot of stuff in there, especially in the closet, which is of course where he headed. After trying to tempt him with his favorite meal worms to no avail, he scooted under the bed.. equally bad idea, as the bed has very low clearance... When he finally slowed down after 20 minutes I placed two pouches near him. He contemplated these for awhile. The lure of a familiar place and mealworms as his reward for the correct choice was too strong, and when he crawled into one of the pouches the game was up.

Waiting to come out and play

They have had their usual running and jumping in the tent the last three nights. They are becoming more comfortable each night climbing on me and using me as a launch platform. CB in particular is a hoot to watch. I usually sit with my legs folded. He will climb on my leg and run up on my knee. There, he scrunches down, wriggles his butt into position, and then launches himself to the side of the tent. He climbs up and around, jumps down, an does it again. They both also like to shinny up a 10-inch piece of 1-inch PVC pipe that we use to hold a water bottle. Once they get to the top they jump off to the side of the tent.

The best thing that has come out of the last few nights is that it appears we all now have agreed on how to end play time. When I start to see them slow down, I place one of their bonding pouches on the floor of the tent. The last three nights they both have been in the pouch within 5 minutes. I then gather them up and we let them out into their cage where dinner is waiting. We think they have started to figure out that when the pouch appears that dinner is not far behind. It sure is a lot less traumatic than trying to gather them up in a big piece of fleece - for all of us.

Foehn and CB enjoying dinner

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Fun in the Tent

I was out of town on Thursday night so M had some time in the tent with Foehn and CB. They were uncharacteristically quiet, at least by recent standards, and didn't do much climbing in the tent. M was laying down in the tent as it was more comfortable for her. Foehn and CB must have thought that was a good idea as well, and they curled up and went to sleep on her chest.

They were much more active last night and tonight. They were climbing, jumping, and running for the better part of two hours. Last night they had some more foraging activity. Once Foehn discovers there are meal worms or some other treat in the bowl, she stays with it. CB will go in and find something, eat it, and then go back to climbing for awhile. Last night one of the meal worms was inside of a soft plastic toy, and Foehn had her nose stuck in the open end trying to get at the meal worm. It eventually fell out, and there she was on her back, in the bowl, thoroughly enjoying her reward. (You can see the red toy in the photo.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Under the Big Top

We've had a couple of great tent sessions the last three nights. M and I think one of the reasons is that we decided to leave the wheel out of the tent for the time being. When it's there, Foehn and CB spend all their time on it. Without the wheel, they have to occupy themselves by running around, climbing on the tent, and climbing on me.

I'm able to lure them out of their pouch with a treat after they have awakened. The first offering or two is sometimes taken back into the pouch, but I hold each subsequent one further away from the pouch so they have to come all the way out. CB got the best of me tonight once...he stretched out of the pouch but left two toes holding on, and once he got his treat he pulled himself back in.

There has been more progress in establishing trust each night. They now regularly climb up and on to my legs and use them as a jumping off point to the tent wall. I've been putting a yogurt treat in my shirt pocket hoping they will smell it and then go after it, but so far no takers. They both had a a good day's sleep so they were full of energy. The big step tonight was that tonight, for the first time, they jumped on to my shoulder from the tent, and then off my shoulder to the floor or back on to the tent several times. Once of them jumped to my head as well, but I'm not sure who it was. When they are running and jumping it's pretty hard to tell who's who.

One of the things we enjoy watching them do (and they like it too) is "diving for mealies". We have a plastic contained filled with plastic practice golf balls and other small balls and toys. We put some meal worms in the container, in the golf balls, and in some of the small toys. They smell the meal worms and then go foraging in the container for their treat (they love meal worms - most gliders do). Sometimes all you see is a furry butt and tail sticking out of the container. Here's a photo from tonight's session.

Diving for mealies

We ended tonight's time in the tent after two hours. Although they were slowing down a bit, they were still rarin' to go and weren't real happy about having to ending play time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The First Four Weeks

Foehn's injured "hand" is healing well. If you didn't know what happened you could not tell by the way she has been climbing and running around. She and CB spent time spinning on the wheel tonight and Foehn was back to her old self, at least in regard to activity.

In all of the "excitement" around Foehn's injury several days ago, the mark of their first month with us sort slipped by. They both have come a long way in that time. CB has always been a little more tolerant and laid back. In some respects he has not come as far as Foehn, but partly because he didn't have as far to go. They both have have become much more trusting, and every day Foehn seems to be taking another step. Last week with her injury she let us examine her and treat her without crabbing or making a fuss. After the initial injury M held her for three hours, and Foehn was content to stay with her that long. We can easily reach into their pouch and pet them without crabbing or pulling away. In fact, if Foehn is crabbing she tends to calm down when we do so. Tonight was fun in the tent. For the first time she came to me for a yogurt treat. I was sitting in the tent holding treat in my hand while she was in the pouch. She saw me with the treat and scampered out of the pouch, up on my leg, and took it gently from my fingers. We did this a couple of times, and then CB poked his head out figuring he was missing something. He finally came around and crawled out but had to be coaxed a bit. He did eventually climb up my leg for another piece, but not with the enthusiasm of his sister! After all, we probably interrupted his nap time.

Play time tonight only lasted about an hour. After spinning on the wheel for a while (do gliders get dizzy??), they both crawled back in their pouch and we moved them to their cage for the night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On the Mend

We had a surprisingly quiet night. Foehn spent the night in the "hospital cage" on the heated floor of our bathroom. I woke up about 2:30 a.m. and she was awake but quiet. I had to refill her water bottle because it had dripped out into one of the blankets, and she crabbed a bit when I removed the bottle. M said she laid awake listening for Foehn until about 1:30 a.m., and when she went in at 4:00 a.m. Foehn was sleeping. The only other noise was about 5:45 a.m., just before my alarm went off. I heard some barking and wasn't sure where it was coming from. Once I was awake enough I realized it was CB and found him pretty active, climbing all over the cage. We think he was just calling for Foehn because it was time to go to sleep. He eagerly licked some yogurt from my finger (following it up with a chomp on my finger each time) and then checked out the two pouches in the cage looking for Foehn before climbing into one.

The visit to the vet was reassuring. He examined her closely, using a small hand-held examination camera connected to a laptop computer. With it he could examine her with magnification, and save the images on the laptop. Pretty cool. He told us that her injury was relatively minor and does happen occasionally with gliders. We are still not sure how it happened. The nail may or not grow back, but in a couple of days she should be feeling a lot better. You can tell it still bothers her a bit, but even the vet said that he could not tell right off the bat which limb was affected. We'll be keeping an eye on her for the next few days to make sure that it continues to heal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Small Crisis

M sent me a note late this afternoon saying that Foehn's front hand/paw was bleeding. M had been hanging some toys in their cage when both Foehn and CB jumped out of the pouch she had around her neck, on to her arm, and in and on the cage. That's when she noticed Foehn was bleeding. M was able to gather her up and check her out. One of the nails on her right front paw had torn partially from her "finger". M was able to get Foehn calmed down but wasn't really able to get a good look because Foehn did not want her to mess with it. The bleeding had stopped, though. By the time I got home the nail had come completely off, and that may have actually lessened the pain for Foehn. We applied some Neosporin to the affected area, and we have an appointment at the vet in the morning. Foehn is actually doing pretty well. The finger doesn't seem to bother her and she is leaving it alone, which is a good sign. We have her in a "hospital cage" for the night so we can keep an eye on her and so she doesn't injure herself further climbing around her cage with CB. After some initial anxiety in being in a new space she has settled down in one of her blankets. Her cage (actually a plastic storage container with a latching lid, with food and water) is on a chair next to me here and Foehn is curled up on her blanket watching me. She seems to be comfortable and calm.

CB will be spending the night alone in their cage and we're not sure how he will react. I expect we will hear him barking tonight trying to call his sister. Between the two of them, it may be a long night.

M adds: And as if this wasn't enough, Berg went to put CB back in the cage, and... Pop, he was suddenly in the mood for adventure! We had him cornered under the cage for about 10 min. then he escaped. I was holding Foehn, so she could not get at her nail, and CB scooted under the sofa, then made a bee line for Berg's office. Oh, good, thought I, at least he is in a somewhat safe room! But, even with mealies and yogurt treat, Berg was having trouble getting him to go back into his pouch! A first! After about 10 min, I asked him if he had CB, and he says, "No, I can't find him" WHAT!!! So, I cautiously open the door, and Berg says, "I think he may have gotten into that hole in my wall"!!! WHAT!!! Now, I am seeing a REAL crisis! How are we gonna carefully start tearing up drywall, at 11:00 at night, AND keep him close? We couldn't possibly... I am thinking, crap, he is going to get into the basement, and be gone!

Then, Berg says, "shhh, I think I can hear him!." I think,"Great, we can hear him in the wall, as soon as we start tearing up the wall, he's gonna run, " I am still cuddling Foehn, so she doesn't hurt her foot more, what the hell are we gonna do?

But, the noise was coming from Berg's closet!!! Berg opened the door slowly, and there was CB, kinda deep inside but visible. Almost had him, but he got away from us, and went over by that hole in the wall! We had him trapped there, it is behind a tall file cabinet, in a corner. This time, he needed an energy break, and went into the pouch to get his yogurt treat, and was safely deposited into his cage!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who's Who?

One of the first issues we encountered when we got our gliders was how to tell them apart. Of course there are the obvious differences "under the hood", so to speak, but that's not much of a help unless you are actually checking. You really can't see Foehn's pouch without brushing back her belly fur. There's no way to tell when they are running around or even when they are still. We read a suggestion to dab some food coloring on the white fur on the head, and we tried that with CB. However, that didn't last more than a day before they cleaned it off. It turned out the best way to tell them apart most of the time is by their personalities. CB is more laid back and likes to sleep. Foehn is much more active, always first up and first out. After about a week or so there was another difference which I noticed - the dark stripe on their heads is different. CB's stripe is a little wider and the end is more rounded. Foehn's stripe is a bit narrower and the end of the stripe is not rounded. Most of the time this is pretty reliable, especially when they are together. In the photo below, Foehn is on the left, and CB is on the right. See the difference?

Foehn (L and upside down) and CB (R)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Glider Wrangling

After I posted last night it was time to get the gliders back to their cage. I was still at the computer when M called out from the other room. Foehn had jumped out of her hands on to her arm and M hadn't yet opened the cage door. I hurried to give her a hand with CB still with me in a pouch. As I opened the cage door CB jumped on to my arm, much to my surprise. Uh oh. Since I was right at the cage door I moved my arm into the cage and CB jumped off. One down, one to go. She wasn't going to go easily. Foehn jumped on to the outside of the cage and for the next 15 minutes she ran up one side and down the other (but never the side with the door). CB was in the cage, and at times he and Foehn seemed to be communicating. Although M and I were keeping her corralled near the cage, she didn't seem to have much interest in leaving the vicinity of the cage, and she could have. Maybe it because CB was inside or perhaps because dinner was waiting. Eventually we were able to gather her up and let her join her brother. That was enough excitement for one night for them and us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

CB - the Explorer

The gliders had a somewhat different schedule today. We were gone much of the afternoon and so they spent the entire day sleeping in their pouch in the cage. They were starting to stir when we got home around 6:00 p.m., so M went into the tent with Foehn while I had CB, sleeping of course, in a blanket. (By the way, these are small fleece "blankets", roughly 12 x 18", lest someone thinks we are using a large regular blanket). When he finally was awake and a little more active he went into the tent as well. No wheel tonight, though. They both spent more than 90 minutes on the wheel last night, and except for very short climbing breaks spent their whole time spinning around. Foehn was climbing the walls of the tent tonight at first, but once they both found they could crawl under the flannel sheet on the bottom of tent, well, that was a pretty darn comfortable place to be. This was earlier than their usual play time, so both readily climbed in the pouch when we placed it in the tent.

We settled down again with the both of them, M with Foehn and me with CB. Foehn is getting very comfortable being out of the pouch, held (in a blanket), and petted. CB was in a blanket as well, but he's like a squirmy kid sometimes, always readjusting his position to find that "just so" comfortable spot. At one point he poked his head to look around, and before I could react he was again out of the pouch liked greased lightning. He jumped on to the arm of the sofa and then on the floor. He first headed under the sofa, and I could see the tip of his tail sticking out from under the back The pouch was on the floor but he was not interested. He skittered out from under the sofa and across the floor to where the entertainment center sits in a corner. This is where Foehn ended up the second night we had them. It's easy for a glider to get behind it, but not us big creatures. CB moved along the side and to the back before I could get him. I didn't want him getting into the dusty tangle of cables back there. Fortunately, he stayed toward the side, but out of reach. I went to the back, he would move toward the front. I went to the front, he would move to the back. In the meantime I knocked over a plant which fell on to the tent and them making a very loud noise and spreading dirt when it hit the floor. CB appeared to be a little scared at this point from the noise and with being in a new and strange place. We thought we would tempt him out with a yogurt treat. However, he snatched that before I could get to the front to grab him and took the yogurt treat to the back where we couldn't reach him. We figured by now he would probably welcome the security and comfort of his pouch, and we laid it on the floor with a yogurt treat inside. Within seconds he was in and ready to end his latest adventure.

"Cleanup on aisle 10..."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wheel Goes 'Round 'n' 'Round...

We just got finished with some time in the tonight. The last two nights we have put their "Custom Choice Cruiser" wheel in the tent, which they love running on. It's big enough so both of them can be in it, but they are not always of like mind. CB generally likes to run from left to right, and Foehn likes to run from right to left...I have no idea why. However, it's comical to watch because when that happens the wheel doesn't really turn and they end up running up their respective sides of the wheel. When they are in synch they love to really get going on it. Every few minutes one of them (usually Foehn) will try to get out while the other is still running full tilt. Foehn will hang on to the outer rim of the wheel for dear life while CB is running full speed. It makes me queasy just watching it! They take brief breaks from the wheel to run around and climb up the walls of the tent, then hop back on. For all of his sleeping, CB sure makes up for it on the wheel. He was on that for the better part of 90 minutes tonight. Of course, now that they are back in the cage he is "resting" in the pouch.

Yesterday marked their third week here. They are becoming more and more comfortable and the signs of trust are gradually becoming evident. Tonight, for example, Foehn let me pet her while we were in the tent. A week ago she would have run away from my hand. The next milestone we are looking for is for them to climb on to our hand or arm.

CB celebrated their third week by briefly escaping for some exploration last night. I was returning him to the cage in their pouch. Normally, you can't pry him out of it once he is in, but last night I opened the pouch to check him and put him in the cage and he was out like greased lightning. He jumped on to me and to the floor, and then it was exploration time. He headed to the foyer, and to my dismay toward the basement stairs. "Not good", I thought. If he got to the basement there are a zillion places for him to hide. He scampered down the first two steps and looked like he had intentions for more. The only way I had a chance of ending this well was to get below him on the stairs. I was able to do that pretty easily, and he tried to get away from me back up the stairs. However, the stairs are oak and not carpeted and he wasn't able to get a grip. I scooped him up with one of his blankets, ending his little adventure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A New Glider Sound

We have only heard the gliders bark twice...well, three times now. I woke up this morning at 4:00 a.m. to hear quiet barking (it didn't wake me up). A glider bark sounds much like a dog, but a very small dog. I went out to the great room to check on them, and it was Foehn barking this time. I think she was trying to call CB to get his butt out of the pouch and come and play. He crabbed a bit when he heard my voice, so he wasn't asleep.

M had an interesting experience today when she went to put them in a bonding pouch. CB was already in one pouch, and she had coaxed Foehn into a second. All of a sudden both CB and Foehn started what could best be described as crying. M said the sound was sort of like a cat mewing. She could not get them to settle down, and finally realized that they wanted to be with each other. When they finally got together in one pouch they stopped and settled in to sleep. This was something new - we've heard them crabbing, hissing (especially when Foehn bothers CB when he is sleeping in the pouch), barking, and chirping, but never crying.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bonding, Escape, and the Wheel

I didn't get a chance to write an entry this weekend. It finally stopped raining, the sun was out, and it was no time to be sitting on the computer! The evenings were spent bonding with CB and Foehn.

The last few nights we have been coaxing CB & Foehn out of their pouch and into our laps. They both have spent a couple of hours being held in a fleece blanket and being petted. M has had Foehn the last three nights (she is always the first out) and I've had CB. They both have taken to this little ritual without any problems, and we are both marveling at how far Foehn has come in two weeks. We still have a ways to go, but the progress has been great so far. Foehn seems to enjoy being held and petted, although she does crab a few seconds once in a while just to let us know she isn't completely happy yet. CB is more concerned with finding a comfortable position in which to sleep, so he wiggles around in the blanket to get comfortable. Then he tucks his head in and goes to sleep while I pet him. The boy does like his sleep!

Twice now CB has gotten curious and jumped away from me to explore. Last night he ended up on the screen on the window, and I could see that chasing him wasn't going to get him back very easily. So, I held the pouch up near him and the attraction of a comfortable place to sleep was too much to resist. He tentatively poked his head in the pouch, and then quickly the rest of him followed. It was almost too easy! He made a short escape tonight, but only to the arm of my recliner. I moved the pouch next to him rather than trying to pick him up, and without hesitation he headed for the bottom of the pouch. There he remained, looking out at me for awhile and even venturing to the top once or twice. However, it wasn't too long before he was curled up asleep, and now he is back in the cage, asleep, in the pouch.

We stayed up later than we should have last night to watch them in the cage. CB really likes to run on the wheel and this was the first time we have seen him go to town on it. He runs like crazy to get it going, then stops running, holding on while the wheel keeps spinning, riding it around. When the wheel slows down he does it again. Foehn joined him in the wheel last night, but they couldn't quite get the coordination thing down. At one point CB was running one way, and Foehn trying to run the other. The wheel doesn't work so well that way, but they were having a great time nevertheless.