Friday, November 22, 2013

Maybe There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

CB and Sprite have been getting along great the last several weeks and have really bonded. We have been switching cages between the pairs every week and that has generated some interesting behavior. Sprite lived alone in the smaller cage for several months and it was her domain. Once she and CB paired up and we started switching cages, she has behaved somewhat the same as Foehn when she was camping out at one end of the big cage to watch Sprite. When she is in the big cage Sprite goes to the end near the smaller cage and makes a low crabbing sound at Foehn in the smaller cage. I wasn't quite sure what this was about at first but I think she is trying to let Foehn know that the small cage was her territory and not Foehn's. She isn't nearly obsessive about as Foehn was when she is in the big cage. As they have all gotten more used to the arrangement even Foehn seems to have mellowed out a bit and doesn't spend as much time checking on Sprite and Rossby.

For the first time in over a month we reunited Rossby with Sprite and CB today. M carried them around in a pouch all day, and I had them in the tent together tonight. I'll probably take Foehn, Rossby, and CB tomorrow night and see how that goes. M said Foehn stuck her nose in the trio pouch today while giving them yogurt, but did not go after anyone. That's a small but good sign. Maybe we'll be able to get all four together yet.

This evening M was giving Sprite (and then Rossby) a drink of cranberry juice. They really like it (actually all of them do) and they will readily climb out for a drink. I took this photo of them while they were out getting their drink tonight.

Sprite and Rossby having some cranberry juice.

Monday, October 28, 2013


It's been a month since my last post, not necessarily for lack of things to write about. I've been trying to shake a cold/respiratory thing for over two weeks, and it's one of those things that drains the energy out of you. By the time I was done with the gliders I was done for the night myself.

Well, back to our success. About two or three weeks ago we decided to try a different strategy. We moved Sprite's cage within a few inches of the trio's cage, in hopes that Foehn would get used to her being in proximity and relax. The second thing we did is to limit play time to Sprite and CB together by themselves. One thing that was occurring was that once Foehn got everyone riled up by chasing Sprite, they wouldn't settle down again even if she was removed from the cage. Our hope was that Sprite and CB would be more likely to feel comfortable around each other without other distractions.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks we did see small signs of progress. They would briefly approach each other, but then one of them would bolt and that scared the other one. The one very positive sign was that they were not chasing each other down and balling up. CB seemed to be the one who was more skittish about everything and once spooked he tended to keep his distance. It was, for a while, a one-step-foward-two-steps-back kind of thing. Last week we saw the first major step. CB was running on the wheel while in the tent and Sprite jumped on the wheel to join him. Instead of jumping right off as he usually did, he stayed on the wheel for a minute or two. No crabbing, no chasing, just two gliders running like crazy on the wheel. Since that night they have been pretty neutral about things. For example, on Saturday night after I gave them their mealworms CB curled up on a pouch to sleep and Sprite found a spot under the tarp in the tent to settle down. That was it until it was time to put them back in their respective cages.

Last night was the game changer. I had all four gliders in the tent for mealworms. After they all had their fill, I coaxed Foehn and Rossby back into their sleeping pouch and M returned them to their cage. Sprite was in a bonding pouch (M had carried her most of the day) and CB was on my lap. To my surprise, he slowly entered Sprite's pouch. There was one small bark (not sure who it was from), and that was all.  I looked in the pouch and Sprite and CB were getting themselves comfortable in the bottom. We couldn't believe it at first. We went so far as to double-check it was in fact CB with her and not Rossby (made that mistake before). Sure enough, it was CB in the pouch with her. We had decided some time back that if these two ever got together, we would leave them together. So last night CB spent the night in Sprite's cage.

They were still a little nervous with each other, and once they were out in the cage they tended to avoid each other. CB spent hours on the wheel and must have been one exhausted glider this morning. They ended up sleeping apart last night, which is understandable and fine. It will take them a little bit to get used to each other, especially since Sprite has been by herself for so long now.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Still Working at It

It's been four weeks since my last post, but September has been a busy month in this household. Nevertheless we have continued our efforts to get all of our gliders together. There hasn't been a lot of change since the last post, but I don't think we've taken any steps backward. We have made a number of adjustments to the play time routine. On one night CB, Rossby, and Foehn play together, and on alternate nights Foehn gets put back in the cage and Sprite stays with the boys. Foehn was getting too aggressive trying to get at Sprite and we were really worried one of them would get hurt. With the current arrangement we can continue to work on the CB/Sprite relationship. When Foehn started her chasing it got all of them riled up and everyone was on edge the rest of the time.

About a week ago the zipper on the tent we use for playtime broke and since then I have been using one or our bathrooms for this (a replacement tent is on the way). Until recently they have all been pretty quiet. They would come out of the pouch after their mealworms and run around and explore for a few minutes, then go back in the pouch or crawl under the tarp and nap.  They have been much more active the last two nights. Except, that is, for CB. He has, for the most part, preferred to remain in the pouch and arrange his blankets. He pulls them into the pouch around him and arranges them to his liking, and eventually settles down for a nap. A few days ago the normally active Rossby raced through the pouch (it was on the floor) undoing all of CB's work. CB came out and pulled all of the blankets back in around him. A few minutes later, Rossby did them same thing. CB looked out at me as if to say "Really??"

Tonight CB came out for a a few minutes, but then retreated to the pouch to arrange his blankets for a nap. I checked on him later and there he was, with his tail around his head trying to sleep.

"Can't a guy get some sleep around here?"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Not Sure Where We are Going...

...but we will know when we get there.

The gliders have pretty much maintained the status quo the last few weeks. One big change is that we no longer are letting Foehn and Sprite share the tent at playtime. When Sprite is in the tent Foehn is determined to get at her to the pint where she doesn't do anything else. To be fair, sometimes all she wants to do is sniff Sprite and check her out, but Sprite takes exception and the result is usually a ball-up and lots of noise. That gets the other two on edge, and then all we have is everyone trying to stay away from everyone else.  So, on one night CB, Foehn, and Rossby play in the tent with me, and on the next night it's CB, Rossby, and Sprite. Sprite and CB aren't good buddies yet, but most of the time they leave each other alone. Lately both of them have been venturing closer to each other. Last night I looked down and CB, Rossby, and Sprite were all nose-to-nose in one corner of the tent. Then one of them realized how close they were and took off, followed quickly by the other two. I think they are both slowly coming around, so maybe it will only be a couple of more weeks before we can get them together. In the meantime it will mean two play times, two snack times, etc. However, it will be all worth it if we get get them together.

Sprite munching on one of the blueberries in her yogurt yesterday morning.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Some Slow Progress

Time in the tent, in close proximity. seems to have been gradually improving the situation between Sprite and CB. Sprite no longer chases CB, and they will actually get relatively close to each before one of them, usually CB, jumps away.  I have also wrapped one or the other up some fleece and held one close to the other. Tonight I had CB wrapped up, and Sprite just sniffed him and then walked away. CB wasn't exactly thrilled, but there were no problems afterwards.

We are still having problems with Foehn an her chasing. She goes after Sprite, and sometimes CB. She and Sprite ball up at times, but Sprite has become pretty good at anticipating her moves and stays ahead of her, often ending up on my shoulder.

One of Sprite's favorite things now is running on the treadmill in the tent. She will run as fast as she can to get it spinning, then stop running and hang on. Her head will be at the center  and she will hold on until the treadmill stops spinning, her tail straight out over the edge. When it slows down, she starts running to get it spinning again. It's like watching a little kid playing on one of the merry-go-rounds on a playground.

Sprite hanging on for a spin on the glider treadmill.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Still Walking Down that Road

The last ten days have been interesting, to say the least. Time in the tent continues, and there have been a few positives. However, it seems that just when things seem to be progressing another monkey wrench is thrown into the works.

First, the positive news. The last two nights Sprite and CB have co-existed in the tent without any issues. There were a couple of chases last night, but tonight they spent a full hour and a half together, but apart. The generally keep out of each other's way, although every once in a while they will venture closer to each other.  The best part of this is that Sprite was not actively stalking him. This is promising, but I think there is a ways to go before CB is not scared of her and she is not afraid of him. Sprite is getting better, and I think a big part of it is the daily time with all of them and that fact that I am there to settle things down.

On the negative side, Foehn has been "after" Sprite the last few days. Foehn was in heat the last few days and that may have had something to do with it. When Foehn comes near Sprite she (Sprite) starts crabbing and complaining, Last night when they were out in the tent Foehn was chasing Sprite and they balled up twice, We are hoping this is just temporary since they have gotten along before.

Sprite and her stuffed animal friend.
Sprite is still sleeping in a cage by herself and she does miss Rossby. Fortunately they get to spend time together in the tent until Rossby decides to crawl under the tarp for a nap. M has been carrying Sprite around in a pouch after morning yogurt when she can. The other day M placed a small stuffed animal in the pouch with Sprite and she cuddled up with it. We now put it in her sleeping pouch each night.

Overall, we think they are making progress. If Foehn gets back on track and there are more nights like tonight with Sprite and CB maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Long Road?

We are still working on getting the two pairs together.  After some consultation with another glider owner who has a lot of experience with intros, we tried some new tactics.  This first was to put them all in the same sleeping pouch during the day and let them work it out. M had made a large pouch for them, so when they were sleepy we put CB, Foehn, and Rossby in the pouch and then added Sprite. Yes, there was crabbing and fussing and jockeying for position, but for all of that they did settle down the rest of the day without incident. The pouch was zippered so they could not get out, and one of us had them at all times just in case. We were starting to get hopeful about the situation. They seemed to sleep OK, although most of the time CB was at one end of the pouch and Sprite at the other (yes, it was that big).

After a couple of days of this, we put them all into the large cage to see how they would get along.  CB was again the odd man out, and some of the chasing got rather loud at night. They were going full tilt and we were concerned one of them was going to get hurt flinging themselves across the cage. This couldn't continue so we removed Sprite and put her in a cage by herself.

CB keeping an eye out for Sprite from atop
the tree in the tent.
Our latest tactic was to go back to using a tent for play time for Sprite and CB. That has the advantages of a smaller space forcing them to be in proximity, and it allows me to easily intervene if something gets started. In the office they could be under the desk or bookcase and I would have a hard time getting to them without getting bit. The first two nights with Sprite and CB alone were as
expected. He tried to avoid her, and she would chase him if the opportunity was there. Most of the time it didn't end up as anything but crabbing. After two nights of this, we thought it might help if all four were in the tent. Sometimes Foehn goes after Sprite (but most of the time she does not), so we figured if Sprite was distracted watching for Foehn and enjoying time with Rossby things might settle down. They actually did for a couple of nights. In fact, on the second night of all four in the tent during mealworm handout, CB and Sprite actually sniffed each other (cautiously) without incident.  That didn't last, but each night seemed to be getting a little better. There is not quite as much chasing, and when they did it wasn't to the point they were balling up or anything.  The new complication is that now Rossby and Foehn are a "couple"! They end up crawling under a blanket or in one of the toys to sleep so they aren't the distraction we were hoping for.

We're going to keep up the tent sessions in the hope that consistency and continual "moderated" exposure to one another will help them settle down and get used to each other.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Odd Man Out

The second attempt at introduction on July 4 went a little better than earlier in the week. Sprite  finally overcame her apprehension with Foehn which was good to see. Unfortunately CB and Sprite were not getting along. They avoided each other while I had them in the in the bathroom and there was only one minor tussle. We decided to put them all in the large cage in hopes that this was a "pecking order" issue and that they would get worked it out. The first night was very active (we had a bavy monitor set up) and we could hear the chasing and crabbing. In the morning CB was sitting in a small toy at the bottom of the cage instead of a pouch. We are using a set of three open pouches in the cage instead of the typical pocket-type pouch. These allow the gliders to see their environment and keeps them from getting defensive about their sleeping area. However, apparently CB didn't feel secure in any of them. Foehn, Rossby, and Sprite were together in one of the pouches. CB looked pretty forlorn, and he certainly wasn't sleeping.  M decided that he needed some security and carried him around in a pouch all day so he could sleep without worrying.

The second night was a little better, but CB didn't settle down until after 8:00 a.m., again in a pouch by himself. As soon as he heard me come out into the room he was up and on the side of the cage. I took him out for a few minutes and then put him back in his pouch. Yesterday was cage cleaning day, and when the cage is cleaned we usually hang their pouch in the bathroom with the door closed. Yesterday we had CB join Foehn and Rossby in one pouch and kept Sprite in a separate one, so CB was able to relax and get some much needed sleep.

Last night were had them all in the office for play time, and CB made it a point to avoid Sprite. Unfortunately she was making it a point to look for him. There was chasing and some balling up, a lot of crabbing, but no damage. He spent a lot of time in M's shirt, one of his favorite napping spots. Once she went to bed, however, he was out in the room with the rest of them. He would climb to the top of the climbing tree to keep a lookout. If he saw her coming he would jump to my shoulder. Eventually they all settled down and I put them back in the cage. It was actually quiet as they all headed for their respective pouches, CB by himself again. That's where I found him this morning, sort of sleeping with one eye open. So, I took Foehn out of the pouch with Sprite and Rossby and placed her in the pouch with CB. He immediately jumped out. I picked him up and held him near Foehn, and as soon as he realized it was his sister they both snuggled down and slept soundly the rest of the day.

We are not quite use what to do at this point, and we are seeking some advice from more experienced glider owners we know.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Overnight activity in the cages seemed to be going OK. The four of them were checking each other out, and there was some noise at times. So, we decided to try and introduce them yesterday. It was clear that it was Foehn and Sprite that had the "issues" - CB and Rossby seemed to be pretty matter-of-fact about it all. The strategy was to intro the two girls first, and then work in the boys.

CB and Foehn (left) and Rossby and Sprite (right)
checking each other out a few nights ago.
Off I went into the bathroom with Sprite in one pouch and Foehn in another. They eyed each other from opposite ends of the bathtub and cautiously approached. Within seconds they were balled up making a racket. I separated them and they seemed to be OK. After a period of time they would sniff each other, but at the slightest sound or movement Sprite would jump away. This lasted for about an hour, during which they generally avoided each other. The good news is that no one was going after the other.
Foehn was looking for a place to sleep, and Sprite was having a good time climbing and jumping.

After about 90 minutes of this I went out and talked to M and we decided to bring Rossby into the mix. Our feeling was that if Foehn and Rossby got along, Sprite would realize that and want to be with Rossby enough to get past her jitters with Foehn. We had some diazepam that we got to help Cirrus reduce her anxiety at one time, and gave a dose to Sprite in hopes it would calm her down. I brought Rossby into the bathroom and let him and the girls out in the bathtub. He paused for a second, and then walked right past Foehn into the pouch she was in. You could see the wheels turning in Sprite's head. She wanted to follow him in, and did make a couple of attempts before backing out.  It was probably another 30 minutes or so before the diazepam kicked in. You could tell she had mellowed out, and spent a lot of time just sitting and watching. I moved the pouch with Foehn and Rossby near her. She so wanted to join Rossby, and again made several attempts to go in but got spooked. After two and a half hours there was no more progress. Perhaps a change in tactic would help. CB has always been our laid back glider, and last time he and Sprite had no problems. I brought him in and let them see each other in the bathtub. Sprite immediately went after CB and there was much noise. I kept them separated, and at that point we thought it best to call it quits for the day.

Last night CB, Foehn, and Rossby spent the night in the big cage and Sprite was by herself in the other. They will have the same arrangement tonight. Right now Sprite is in the office with me for play time, and she has been very active as usual. I'm sure she has been looking for signs of Rossby, as he was her earlier. We are going to make another attempt  to get them all together on Thursday.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moving Closer to Introductions

We have continued the process of familiarizing the CB and Foehn with Rossby and Sprite. So far we have been switching cages (and pouches) every other day. Last weekend I moved the small cage about 5 inches closer to the large cage. This week we will start switching cages every night. That will be sort of a pain, only because the pouches stay with the cage, not with the gliders. So, each night I'll have to do the glider shuffle, placing CB and Foehn in a separate zipped up pouch while I get the other two up and out for their mealworms. Once that's done, I put that pouch back in the cage and turn CB and Foehn out.

Normally CB and Foehn are sleeping when I bring Rossby and Sprite back. They head for their kitchen right away for some dinner. In the few times both pairs have been out and about in their respective cages, there seems to be a lot of checking each other out but not much more than that. Nobody seems to be freaking out. So, assuming the familiarization process continues smoothly we may be able to try introductions again soon.

An update on the false alarm on CB the other night. The next day M had Rossby and Sprite in the room for yogurt and Rossby disappeared. She could not find him anywhere. That is, until she heard some rustling and scratching over by the computer desk.  M went over to look for the noise and found it was coming from the printer tray on one of our printers. It turns out Rossby had found a nice little spot to hide. She pulled out the tray and there he was, a little scared because of the noise and sudden movement of the tray. From the looks of the chewed paper it appeared that CB had also found this spot. It was sort of confirmed when CB headed that way the next time he was in the room

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

False Alarm

Last night we had CB and Foehn in for playtime. As has been the case lately, they spent most of their time in the pouch, finally emerging and hour or so after we brought them in the office and gave them mealworms. Last night they emerged about 10:30 or so and spent some time running around. Things got quiet after awhile and I figured it was time to get them back to the cage and bring Rossby and Sprite in. Foehn was settled into a plastic container that they like to climb in and out of. Normally CB is in there with her, but not this time. I looked around for him a bit, then decided to put Foehn in the cage and come back to fetch CB.

Usually CB will come out when I shake the pouch (the zipper rattles), but last night there was no response. I got the flashlight and thoroughly checked out the room, looking behind, in, and underneath anything he could climb into. No CB. I looked everywhere one more time and he was nowhere to be found.  The only time he could have escaped is when M cracked open  the door to let me know their food was in the cage. They are fast and on more than one occasion have gotten by us without being noticed. I went and told M (she was just getting ready to turn in), and she came out to help with the search. Unfortunately doors were open to all rooms, including our outdoor screen room.

With flashlights in hand we checked his usual haunts and neither saw or heard him. M checked the office again. We decided to lay out pouches in each room hoping he would climb in if he came across it. We set a live trap in the basement with food on the chance he went down there (he would not be able to climb up the stairs). I told M to go to bed. I still had to take Rossby and Sprite out and give them their mealworms and some play time.I figured I would stay up as long as possible and make "rounds" of the rooms periodically to see if CB had found one of the pouches. He would be easier to find once he was up and active as opposed to sleeping in some corner.

M went out to the screen room one last time to look around and I fetched Rossby and Sprite. They jumped to their tree once we were in the office and I started to give them their mealworms. There was a scratching sound over by the computer, but since Sprite likes to take a few runs around the room before her mealworms I didn't think much of it until I noticed they were both on the tree.  There was movement underneath a pouch I had dropped there to the right of the computer, and a moment later there was CB! I gave Rossby and Sprite each a mealworm to keep them occupied, then gathered up CB and took him to the cage.

We don't know where he was hiding for sure, but M thinks he may have crawled into a pencil cup on the computer table which neither of us bothered to check. We were just glad he wasn't running around the house. It could have been a very,very long night.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Road to Introductions Has a Few Bumps

We started the process to introduce Rossby and Sprite to CB and Foehn again. The first stage in that process was to move their cages within about 18 inches of each other. We did that about a week ago and so far so good. They have been out on the sides of the cage checking each other out.  It has been uneventful and none of them seem to be stressing out over it.

Today we began phase 2. Both pairs got clean pouches, but we mixed the fleece blankets each of them have been sleeping with together. They both have some of their own and some of the other pair.  None of them were too sure about this at first. Since I was cleaning cages today we hung CB and Foehn's pouch in our bathroom while the cage was being cleaned. They weren't quite settled in when I shut the door. When M went back in later they were both asleep in M's sweatshirt, which was sitting on the bathtub, instead of the pouch.  On the other side of the house, Rossby and Sprite settled in pretty well to their pouch. The different-smelling blankets didn't seem to make much difference to them

When the cages were clean and back together I lifted Foehn and CB out of the comfortable nest in M's sweatshirt, placed them in the pouch and hung it in the cage. Foehn and CB came out of the pouch, but it wasn't long before CB was back in and sleeping.  Not Foehn. She seemed to be stressed and did not want to go into that pouch. She ran and the wheel and climbed all over the cage. We figured she would eventually settle down with CB.

When I checked on her some time later I found her curled up asleep in a small watering can toy in their cage. No blankets, no CB - just Foehn looking rather tired and forlorn.

M took the toy with Foehn out of the cage, and Foehn climbed out. We put her back in the cage and she ran around a bit, ran on the wheel, and finally decided to join CB, who now had poked his head out of the pouch to see what was going on. They have been asleep since, except to have their mealworms. M noticed that Foehn had arranged all of Rossby and Sprite's blankets on one side of the pouch.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Life After the Ladies

It's been almost a month since we lost Cirrus. CB and Foehn knew something was different but seemed to be fine after a few days.  We still have not received the final necropsy report on Cirrus, but when M was in to see Dr. W. with Sprite two weeks ago Dr. W. told her that Cirrus not only had tumors in her lungs but also on her trachea. She was not in good shape.

Recently CB and Foehn seem to be more active during play time, but that is likely related to the warming weather. Rossby and Sprite are as frisky as usual. More importantly, Sprite has seemed to settle down quite a bit (and not skunking as much as she used to), so we have decided to try and start the introduction process again. This weekend I moved Rossby's and Sprite's cage within visual range of CB & Foehn. We'll begin swapping pouches in the next week or so and then start swapping cages. When they all seem comfortable with the arrangements we'll attempt to introduce them again. We'll just take our cues from them. I have a better feeling this time around. Cirrus and Sprite seemed to have the biggest issues in the past, so hopefully Sprite will have an easier time of it. She is older as well (she and Rossby were a year old on April 14), and hopefully the maturity will help.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ladies are Together Again

Cirrus on her favorite toy, the wheel
The day after my last post, during morning yogurt time, M mentioned that she thought Cirrus was having trouble breathing. Her breathing appeared to be a little labored, and her nose wasn't its characteristic pink, usually a sign of low oxygen in the blood.  Over the weekend she wasn't very interested in her mealworms and her energy level seemed down.  After holding her weight steady for the past four to five weeks, she was down to 57 grams at her weekly weighing yesterday, her lowest weight since she has been with us. Yesterday M carried Cirrus in a pouch inside her sweatshirt to keep her warm and Cirrus slept there content the whole day. The first thing this morning we called our vet to see if we could get her in to be checked out. Even though they were booked not only today but for the week, they gave us an appointment this morning for a half hour after I called. Off to the University of Illinois Small Animal Clinic we went with Cirrus.

We got in right away. After getting some preliminary information from us they went to put Cirrus on oxygen for a few minutes prior to her examination. Dr. W. came in, examined her, listened to her breathing and her heart, and said that there was some noise on both inhale and exhale. In addition, her heart sounded "muffled".  Dr. W. said that she felt there were three possibilities for Cirrus' distress - pneumonia, a congestive heart problem, or tumors. We decided to go ahead with an x-ray to find out what was going on. We were hoping for pneumonia. At least that would be treatable.

M holding Cirrus after she woke
from from the x-ray anesthesia,
We were expecting to wait for 20 minutes or so while the x-ray was being done, but it was only a few minutes before Dr. W. came out to talk to us - they hadn't even finished the x-ray scan yet. She said it appeared Cirrus had at least three tumors in her lungs, with a fairly large one in her right lung. Part of the reason her heart sounded "muffled" was because the tumor was blocking the heart.  Obviously the cancer had metastasized rapidly. Dr. W. said she could give medication to reduce the inflammation which would keep her more comfortable, but it was only a short term solution.There was really nothing more that could be done at this point. We made the difficult decision to let her go. We were able to spend some time with her after she woke up from her x-ray to say goodbye, and we were there with her at the end. Neither of us thought that we would be coming back home without her today.

Cirrus was a very special glider, and she was M's favorite. We are both heartbroken to have lost her, but happy that she is with her sister again and not suffering.  Cirrus and Virga will always have a special place in our hearts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holding Her Own

Our worries about Cirrus seem to have been unfounded. She has been holding her weight at about 60 grams for the last several weeks and her activity level has been good. She still is usually the first up at night and waits for M to come and get her out of the cage. I think she likes the extra attention she gets before CB and Foehn climb out, if they climb out. I'm not sure if it has been the cold gloomy weather or what, but they have preferred staying in the comfort of the pouch after their mealworm snack. It's hard to interact with them when they stay in bed. On the other hand, I have a little fun with Foehn while she is in there. I pull out most of the fleece blankets and then one by one set them near the opening of the pouch. She slooowly sticks her nose out, and as long as the blanket isn't to far out, she will come out, grab the blanket in her teeth, and pull it into the pouch. If there are a lot of pieces this can go on for awhile. CB is content to stay in the back of the pouch and let Foehn make a nice nest of blankets around him. If and when the two of them come out to play they eventually end up in M's sweatshirt and settle in for a nap until it's time to scoop them out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Early Riser

The last couple of weeks have had us worrying about Cirrus. For about a week and a half she had no interest in meal worms, which is totally unlike her.  They have always been her favorite snack and were the first thing she went for on awakening and coming out of the pouch. She finally started showing interest in them again this week and to our relief has been eating her allotment. She was down to 59 grams at her weigh-in last Sunday. For the most part Cirrus, Foehn, and CB have been eating well as a group, but of course we don't know how much Cirrus herself is eating at night.

The latest change in her behavior is that for the last week or so Cirrus has been waking up and coming out of the pouch between 8:00 and 8:45 p.m, and hour or so than she used to. We'll usually notice she's up when she jumps on a wheel for a spin. When M approaches the cage Cirrus climbs to the front to wait for M to let her out, then climbs on to M's arm for the trip into the office for play time. Cirrus is active in the office, although she does seem to be reluctant to jump the distances she used to. It may be that age is finally starting to slow her down (she just turned 10 in March). In most other respects Cirrus seems to be doing OK, but we still worry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Someone Has An Issue

We still haven't merged the gliders yet but to be honest haven't made an attempt since before Christmas. There's been little opportunity with M recovering from her February shoulder surgery, but we're starting to think about it again. The latest little "setback" has to do with Sprite. Lately she has been "skunking" M when she takes them out, for example, for yogurt. Gliders can release a musky odor very similar to a skunk when as a defensive mechanism or when they are scared. Sprite's skunking has been very strong and we also noticed she is secreting a fluid when she does it. We thought this was at first just a coincidence, but Sprite did it to M on several occasions, and she does not skunk me at all. They both climb on to my shoulder from the cage every night for the ride to the office. When it'd time to go back to the cage, they either climb up my leg to my shoulder or I pick them up and place then there for the trip back.  I've never had an issue with them skunking me. So, we are trying to figure out why she is reacting this way to M. It could be some change Sprite is detecting in M's smell that we can't detect or something else fairly subtle. It also probably means a trip to the vet to have her checked out and make sure it is nothing physical. Before we make an attempt to get the trio and the pair together again, we probably need to get this figured out.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Is It Yogurt Time?"

Mornings have been interesting if not fun the past couple of weeks.  M hasn't been getting up to give the gliders morning yogurt since her surgery, and I don't always have the chance if I have to work that day. Lately, however, they have made it difficult not to hang around to give them their morning treat.  Since we have gone back on Daylight Saving Time I come out closer to the time when they are  just starting to settle in.  They are usually in the pouch by 7:15 or so, although Cirrus may be still out from time to time. Rossby and Sprite are usually in their pouch, but not asleep. They listen for me to walk by the cage or make some other noise, Then, two little heads poke out of the pouch to watch me. If I come toward the cage they are out and at the door waiting for their yogurt. It really is sort of comical. Sometimes I deliberately am quiet and will come up to the cage and say" Does anyone want some yogurt?" There is wiggling in the pouch and then their heads pop up. Most of the time they will come and eat the yogurt right out of the small bowl I am holding, sitting on my hand eating and chirping away. Once they have had their fill they scramble back into the pouch and are out for the day.
Sprite and Rossby checking to see if I had their yogurt this morning.

Cirrus also responds to the "Does anyone want some yogurt?" question most of the time, and once she's eating Foehn and CB will usually come up to investigate. Sometimes all three of them are already sound asleep and don't respond.  Rossby and Sprite, however, wait as long as they can for their morning treat.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Raging Hormones?

Cirrus resting on my chest
Cirrus had her checkup on Tuesday of this week. Her weight was only 61 grams, but Dr. W said her body condition was good and she could find nothing abnormal. We told her about Cirrus' marking behavior (crazy) and her activity level (good). Dr. W was able to feel her uterus during the physical exam possibly a little more prominent than normal. She was surmising that her marking activity may be due to elevated hormone levels (the uterus was another clue) and there could be a number of reasons for that. She was a little concerned that perhaps there was something going on that she could not feel or see possibly related to her cancer a year ago. So, we decided to have an ultrasound done to be sure.

The ultrasound was done yesterday, and the good news is that everything looked normal. There were no tumors or other abnormalities evident. On the other hand, it's a little more difficult to explain her marking behavior.  Cirrus will be 10 years old this month and is long past the age where she could reproduce. Dr. W is going to do some more research and inquires about the hormone theory and we'll see where we go from there. Her lack of weight gain may be due to her elevated activity level and the hormones. They certainly seem to be related, at least from our point of view. Both have occurred over the same period of time

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hanging in There

The weigh-in after the last blog post was pretty remarkable. CB, Foehn, and Cirrus all gained 4 to 6 grams, and Sprite and Rossby gained 11 grams!  Eating has never been an issue for them, They have their likes and dislikes, but for the most part they eat very well. We dropped the Ensure from their portion, but kept it up for the other three for another week. Last week all of them dropped weight not totally unexpected as they started getting more picky about their food. This past week they were eating better and they were back up a couple of grams each today.

Cirrus has her wellness checkup on Tuesday, and we're anxious to hear what Dr. W has to say. It's been almost a year since her surgery. Cirrus, although low on the weight side, has been very active (M says she is up half the night running in the wheel). She is still marking a lot during play time - who knows why since she should be used to Sprite and Rossby being in the room. It doesn't phase CB and Foehn.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Trying to Keep Weight On

In an earlier post I mentioned how Cirrus' weight was dropping, and how we though it may be partly due it anxiety. The diazepam seemed to help at first, but she was continuing to lose weight and we were getting concerned. Over the last few weeks they were all losing wright. However, some of that is seasonal. If you look at a plot of their weight throughout the year it tends to be lower in the winter than in the warm months. Two weeks ago, however, we could tell Cirrus was not gaining anything. She has exhibited any behaviors or other symptoms that indicate is wrong. At their weigh-in on February 3rd she was down to 58 grams, which is where she was at when we first got her. For the last two weeks we have been adding a little Ensure to their staple mix, and the first week they were eating better all around. I should point out that all five gliders had lost weight, but nothing like Cirrus.  Last Sunday we saw significant improvement. Cirrus had gained 8 grams, CB and Foehn about 4 each, and Rossby and Sprite 11 grams! Sometimes I have to double-check the scale because I don't believe some of the changes we see.

Rossby's and Sprite's gains I did believe, because they almost always eat everything we give them. Apparently they have a good time doing it, too, because their kitchen often looks like they had a party. Since they gained pretty well, we cut out the Ensure addition for them but kept it up for the trio.

Now this week everybody is getting picky about eating again. I've been doing the food the last week (normally M does this, but she is recovering from shoulder surgery) and I've been buying fresh stuff for them (instead of giving them frozen vegetables). I gave them nectarine for their fruit, and no one touched it (we knew the trio was so-so about it).  Bok choy, the trio's favorite was good for two nights and then the next time they left it. Even cantaloupe, which they love, was sitting in their dishes this morning. They almost always eat all of their staple mix, but the last two mornings two out of three dishes in the trios cage had plenty left. One thing about Cirrus, however, is that she is one active little glider. M has been sleeping on the couch in the family room for the last week and remarked that Cirrus seems to always be out and on the wheel, while the other two nap. So, it will be interesting see how the weigh-in goes this weekend.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sleepy Gliders

Lately we have been trying to carry the gliders with us more when we are at home. Most of the time this has to be when we are doing something benign like reading or watching TV. Today was one of those days. M had the trio for most of the day, and after I finished doing the stuff I had to get done I had Rossby and Sprite while we watched a movie. When I initially took them out of the cage they were a little squirmy in the pouch, but after a few minutes of gently rubbing them through the pouch they settled down. I peeked into the pouch a few times and one or the other would raise their head and look at me. About 20 minutes after my last peek I looked in again, and this is what I saw.  I just had to take a photo.  They were sound asleep and even the flash didn't wake them.

Sprite (L) and Rossby (R) sound asleep in their pouch.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Cirrus has been on her medication for two weeks now, and it seems to be helping. Well, at least she is gaining weight.  This past weekend she was up to 66 grams, and while it isn't a lot, it's in the right direction. Her energy level is still good as well. Although she is gaining weight, it's hard to say how much is from the Diazepam. She still runs around the office marking when she is in here at night, although perhaps not as aggressively as before. For the last week or two they all have been eating well, so perhaps they are all more relaxed now.

One of my favorite times is the hour or so I spend with Rossby and Sprite after the trio's playtime is over. They are a hoot to watch. Their previous owner warned us that they were a mischievous pair, and they are. They often just run around and climb on things in the room, with Sprite following Rossby's every move and jump. If one of them finds something of interest, the other one is usually right there checking things out as well. They will get into stuff on my desk and when I go over to see what they are doing, I get this look like "What??? We're not doing anything!" They frequently use me to climb on, clambering up my leg to my shoulder and then launching to the climbing tree. Rossby and Sprite are very comfortable with us. Many times they are already up and around before I can bring them in here in their pouch. They come to the front of the cage when we approach will climb on to my arm for the short trip to the office without jumping off. I sometimes take them back to the cage on me as well, although I usually try to take them in a pouch. Rossby and Sprite don't readily climb into the pouch when it's time to go like the trio do. I usually have to coax them in, or just pick them up and place them in the pouch.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Another Visit to the Vet for Cirrus

We have been concerned about Cirrus' weight loss over the last six weeks. On November 17 she weighed 75 grams, and today she was at 61 grams. With her medical history in mind,last week we called to make an appointment with the vet to have Cirrus checked out.

Cirrus enjoying her morning yogurt last week.
Today was her appointment, and we were relieved to hear that other than the weight loss she is doing well. Her muscle tone was good as was her overall body condition. She is a very active glider. Out of all of the gliders she is the one that probably spends the most time on a wheel or the glider treadmill and she burns a lot of calories. It is probably more than a coincidence that her weight loss has occurred since we obtained Rossby and Sprite. The two attempts at introductions were stressful for all concerned, but perhaps more for Cirrus. During playtime in the office she spends much of her time "marking", which is something we have rarely seen from her before. This is even after almost two weeks of being separated from Rossby and Sprite.

Our vet does not want her weight to drop any further, and thought that reducing her anxiety might help improve her appetite. Cirrus is now on a low dose of Diazepam.  Of all the drug options for a glider, this is is probably the safest. It is often used post-surgery to keep gliders calm and prevent them from overgrooming and opening their incisions. We will see how this goes until Cirrus' next follow-up appointment sometime in February.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to Square One

While things went well during the afternoon, once they were up and out later Saturday night the reintroduction didn't go very well. There was a lot of chasing around the cage and a couple of ball-ups with lots of noise. The chasing wasn't so bad, except that the chaser and the chasee threw themselves around the cage and we were concerned that someone was going to get hurt. Since Foehn, Rossby, and Sprite were in one half of the cage, it didn't leave a lot of room for the chases. After careful observation it was clear that often Sprite was the one doing the chasing after oFoehn came up to check her out.  We ended up staying up most of the night to referee things. At 3:30 a.m. or so we headed to bed. After sunrise when I came out to check on them Sprite was still up while Foehn and Rossby were in one of the pouches.

On Sunday I removed the divider in the cage. The introduction of CB and Cirrus went OK, but Sprite hesitated a long time before going in to the pouch with the others. We had removed all other options for her.  We hoped Sunday night would be better, but it was not. They were quiet for awhile, but Sprite was not amenable to letting any of the other gliders except for Rossby near her. She would jump from the wheel after anyone, except for Rossby, who came near her. There would be a chase and once in a while a lot of noise. We were really hoping they would work it out, but it wasn't going that way. The only break was when the trio and Rossby went back to their pouch for a nap. At one point M noticed something on the white plastic of the wheel and on investigation it turned out to be blood. M checked Cirrus and I checked Sprite. At that point Cirrus was stalking Sprite and that resulted in a couple of chases and ball-ups. Sprite had an abrasion on her tail and while we were concerned, it did not seem to bother her and it had stopped bleeding. We suspect it occurred during one of her leaps from the wheel, but it's hard to say.What we were concerned about was further injuries to any of them. I finally went to bed about 5:00 a.m., and M made it in about 7:00 a.m. In the two hours she was watching them Cirrus had been ganged up on once, so M removed Cirrus from the cage after some morning yogurt and Cirrus spent the morning in her robe sleeve.

After two nights it was clear this was stressing out Sprite, and it was also stressing Cirrus. Cirrus has lost 10 grams in the past month and we are worried about her. The stress of having Sprite in the same cage is not what she needs. We decided to separate Sprite and Rossby from the trio again and they are now in two separate cages. The problem is definitely with  Sprite. She is scared of the other gliders. They come up to sniff her and she crabs at them, and then tries to stay away. I noticed that she also likes to test things with her teeth and occasionally lightly nipped one of the others. Of course, they do not like that and let her know.  It was definitely time to take a big step back with the introduction process. However, we're not sure what to do at this point.