Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fun with Hearts

I didn't mean to go this long between blog posts, but what can I say?  Night playtime the last two weeks, with the exception of one night, has been in my office and not in the tent. All four gliders have a good time running and climbing. They can go an hour an a half like that on most nights. We also have a wheel in the room and it gets a good workout- three of them are spinning around in it right now.

This week they have enjoyed the challenge of playing "hearts", so to speak. M picked up some small heart-shaped plastic containers used for candy. She made a few small holes in the container lids. She has been filling them with about 6 meal worms each, and we put them out for the gang to try and open. It usually takes a while, but they eventually get them open for their reward. It is a hoot watching them try to get the containers open, wrestling it and pushing it around (as if that is going to get it open). When one glider is working on one, a second will often come over to help out.  When they do get it open, well, then often the others show up to enjoy the reward.

Tonight Virga was the persistent one. She stayed with it and eventually opened two of the containers. CB is usually the more adept one at opening them, but he wasn't very interested tonight. I did manage to get some video of Virga and Cirrus working hard to get one of the containers open. They eventually do, and either CB or Foehn (not sure which) joined them for a meal worm. We keep the light at a low level in the room, so the video is a little dark.

Virga works at getting a heart open for the meal worms inside

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shirt Tales

Now that the holidays are over and things have settled down again the gliders are back into their routine. M still gets up in the morning and brings them into the office for some yogurt and some exercise, and then gives them a kefir and meal worm snack in the afternoon. We really haven't done much time in the tent the last week because I've been letting them have the run of my office.  We put sheet on the floor and set up some of their toys. Once they get their evening treat, off they go. Well, at least three of them.  The last couple nights CB has crawled into my shirt for a nap, and seems to come out to play only when I'm ready to wind things up. 

They have also been spending time in M's shirt after their afternoon snack - all four of them. M usually wears a long sleeve cotton shirt over a long sleeve pullover and they are finding it very comfortable between the shirts. I'd take a photo but I don't think M really wants a photo of her looking like she is wearing an inner tube. Well, it's not that bad, but she does look pretty lumpy. The problem is that they don't always settle in one place, and move around her shirt finding a more comfortable place to settle down.  They seemed to be especially active today. There were a couple of exclamations for M this evening when she felt small areas of "warmth", shall we say, spreading on her shirt. So, we decided to start "office time" a little earlier. Right now CB is currently in my shirt starting think about coming out, Foehn is taking a nap in their soft-sided boat, and Cirrus and Virga are running in the wheel.. They have been going for well over an hour now, so it's about time for me to gather them up and get them back to the cage for their dinner and yet another nap. Ahh, the life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Bridge in the Distance

I recently learned that my sister, who raises and trains horses, had suffered a second unexpected loss of one of her horses in a matter of less than two months.  The first was a horse she had raised, trained, and rode for more than 12 years, a horse she had a special bond with. This horse succumbed to a sudden infection. A few days ago she lost Snickers, a 9-month old filly, in a freak accident. I had a chance to give Snickers a scratch between the ears when I was there on a visit last summer when she was a little over a month old. She had a good temperament, was friendly, and a good looking horse. A twinge of sadness came over me when I learned of the accident, not just for Snickers, but especially for my sister because I know how much she cares for her horses.

Occasionally I read through the Real Stories forum on Glider Central. This is where members post stories about medical and other challenges with their gliders, or memorials for gliders that have passed away, euphemistically called "crossing the rainbow bridge". Many of the stories are poignant, and it's clear that the glider owners feel a real sense of loss. When I read these I sometimes wonder how I will feel when one of our gliders passes away - not that I am looking for that to happen anytime soon. We have only been at this a little over a year, but in that time these four energetic marsupials have definitely captured our hearts. We know their personalities and they pretty much know what to expect from us. They have bonded with us and us with them.  It will be a little difficult to deal with when they are gone. 

There was a time when I did not quite get why some people got as upset as they did over the loss of a pet. I had pets as a child, mostly what I call "look at" pets - turtles, chameleons, goldfish, etc.  We did get a dog when I began high school and she was terrific. However, after I left for college I spent little time with her and what attachment I had faded away as the years passed.  To that point I never had suffered the loss of a pet that I was really attached to. In the many years since, through the experiences of family and friends, I came to realize how pets can become part of the fabric one's life and family. That's where we're at now. I hope the bridge remains just a speck on the horizon for a long time.