Cast of Characters

This was Oskar O'Naturel de Guerande (on the left).  He was a Briard, which is a French herding breed of dogs.

Oskar was born August 6, 1998 in a suburb of Montreal.  When my beloved Buster died, I put out the word that I wanted to bring a Briard into my life, and Oskar's breeder, Veronique Mauroux, contacted me.  That was that!

Oskar accompanied me to work daily for the first four years of his life.  We attended many levels of classes at Call of the Wild School for Dogs in Chicago.

Oskar died in May, 2011.

Ulani, aka "U La La Ulani de Guerande," is my sweet girl.  Oskar was her uncle, and they came from the same breeder.  Ulani came to live with us when I was unemployed and able to spoil her rotten with attention and activities.

When she was a puppy, Ulani got into all kinds of hijinx.  In fact, I began to call her bad-dog-alter-ego "Stinky Emilio".  Some day I'll write the book about Stinky, along with the pictures I painted to illustrate it.  What a character!

Egglebert was the senior rooster of the Busy Solitude Flock.  He came as the fourth in what was meant to be four Cuckoo Marans girl chicks in 2006.  But it's a good thing to have a rooster to watch over the girls and so it turned out alright.  Egglebert was murdered in the barn chaos of June 2011.

Eggy Jr. looked just like his Dad, except that his spurs were much shorter.  He was feistier, but he also bowed to Dad in any conflict, so they were co-existing well. Eggy was killed in May 2011. 

The hens come from various breeds:  Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Cuckoo Marans, Araucana, and Isa Brown.  The Orpingtons and Marans are the broodiest, sticking to their nests until they have chicks.

To date, six chicks have hatched here:  Chick-Chuck (aka Peep), Eggy Jr. and his brother (Mr. Pink, who met an untimely end to a pack of dogs at his new home), Spot and his sister (who met an untimely end to Ulani), and the current white chick who I'm hoping is a girl!  (He wasn't.)

These two dapper guys were known as "The Wacky Quackers."  They are Indian Runner ducks -- they stand upright like bowling pins.

They talked constantly -- quack quack quack quack quack...  And they were devoted to their girl, Ari Duckass.

One of them was among the six birds murdered in the barn chaos of June 2011.  The survivor is resigned to a life among chickens.  His quacking is less frequent, but he is safe.

And here she is, the object of their affections, Ari Duckass!  Ari came with another duckling in the summer of 2009.  Sadly, Dick-the-Duck met a mysterious untimely end that summer.  For days, Ari sat sadly in the corner of the coop.  But eventually she rallied and returned to her chickens, becoming a real leader in the flock.  Then she had The Wacky Quackers to serenade her as she lolled around the pool!

Ari's untimely death was the first in a string of bird murders in June 2011.

"The Boys" take a bit of a back seat around here.  Typical cats, they are independent creatures, so I don't often catch their antics.  I adopted the full set of three back when Buster was still around, so I think they were born around 1997.  Left to right, you see Bodhi (who died in 2008), Luke and Abe.