My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CO: The Critters!

Welcome to post #4 in a series featuring some of the sights and sounds from a recent vacation in Fort Collins and Boulder, CO!

I don't mind telling you that this is my favorite of the Colorado posts and I have a feeling it'll be a favorite for several of you, too! :-)

Fort Collins and Boulder are both very dog-friendly towns (according to one local business owner we met, Boulder has more dogs than children!), so you see people walking, jogging and biking with their dogs everywhere. There are numerous dog parks, dog-friendly hotels, and restaurants that welcome dogs (at their outdoor tables), and dogs are even allowed in several stores, while some of the stores are for the dogs! Like the wonderful Farfel's Farm in Boulder and Wagz in Fort Collins. Of course we bought goodies in both of them to bring home to our good girls! :-)

Here is the "barking lot" in front of Wagz (with full water dishes, of course), where this nice gentleman and his darling puppy were kind enough to pose for a photo...

All around Old Town there are tons of restaurants, most with patios or sidewalk cafe eating areas where the dogs can hang out with their people. As you can see, in some establishments there is a cloth barrier between the dining people and the dogs, but as you can also see, there are ways around that!...

Oh so hopeful. Oh so patient. Oh so hungry!

And oh so victorious! :-)
It's always nice to see patience rewarded.

Why waste time looking plaintively up at your people
when you can just shove your head in to where the food is?

Clearly getting fed more than enough at home,
there's no need to grovel in public for a handout.

And lest you think Fort Collins has only gone to the dogs, rest assured that cats are coddled and spoiled too. May I present Oreo, the Armstrong Cat, who usually lounges about in the lobby but also loves to ride the elevator for fun. One early morning she rode it up to the third floor where we were staying, and meowed outside our door till I opened it...

She tried her best to come in, but she's not allowed in the non-pet friendly rooms in case guests are allergic, so I couldn't let her in. I had to block her path with the empty box of Back to Nature Cranberry Pecan Granola cookies (which are dangerously delicious, btw) just long enough to get this photo, and then I had to go out into the hallway with her and rub her belly until she was satisfied that I'd paid her sufficient homage...

Ironic to use a cookie box to thwart a cat named Oreo!

And then there was the wildlife. You just knew there'd be wildlife, didn't you? :-)

On the beautiful but very hot day we spent in Boulder, we enjoyed a restful interlude on a shady bench and watched this sweet little bird sip water from a boulder fountain at Chautauqua Park...

This Fort Collins squirrel had managed to scrounge a Snickers wrapper (shame on the litterbug responsible!) and was industriously licking every nanoparticle of candy bar from it. Well, they do claim to be "packed with peanuts!"...

And one warm, late evening spent walking off our dinner around Old Town, right there in busy Fort Collins, we got the unsettling feeling we were being watched...

Can you identify our nocturnal observer?

Maybe this will help...

Undaunted by the traffic going by and unperturbed by our presence or that of a few other people walking or biking past, our foxy friend went about her busy nighttime business. She acted quite at home there, and was adept at crossing the quieter residential road (avoiding the busier street) while cars were absent. Still, I worry for her! But it was quite a thrill to see her, even if we could just barely see her! :-)


  1. I love "the barking lot" in that first photo! lol Your posts are going to make me start thinking about moving to CO again.... I wish the winters weren't so horrible! It is so vegan, dog, bike and eco friendly there. 'le sigh'

    I love the pups sitting outside with their humans. That bulldog is one "fluffy" pooch!

    The fact that The Armstrong has a resident kitty in the lobby makes me want to stay there that much more. That's so cool! I would have been so tempted to bring her in our room. :)

    Foxes are so gorgeous. We'll see them around here every so often. I loved this post! <3

  2. Molly ~ We found the Barking Lot quite amusing! :-)

    I really think you should give Fort Collins a look. I wouldn't describe their winters as horrible... they're shorter and milder than ours, with a LOT of sunshine and less snow. And winter in a dry climate is a whole different animal than one in a damp climate like you experience there. Too bad you can't visit Ft. Collins in winter! Bet you'd be pleasantly surprised!

    "Winston Churchill" (all bulldogs remind me of him!) is "fluffy" indeed. Must be a tourist, since the Fort Collins dogs all appear to be a pretty active lot! ;-)

    I was very tempted to let Oreo in, but decided that wasn't a good idea. But I would have had she been standing out in the rain, or were starved for attention. Which she decidedly wasn't and isn't! :-)

    How fun that you see foxes there! I always get excited to see one around our place! I agree that they are gorgeous!

    And I'm so glad you loved this post, Molly! You were definitely one of my readers I figured would enjoy this one best (of course, there are still a few to go, but I'm standing by my prediction that this will end up as your favorite!) :-)

  3. The Barking! I love the shots of the doggies getting treats from behind the screen! Well, I love all the shots...that white bull dog (?) is precious.

    How cute is Oreo too? Riding the elevators for fun...too cute, that's how.

    Squirrels with Snickers and fox eyes...fantastic! Love it Laurie, love it!

  4. Rose ~ And I love your comment! It really made me smile. I thought you'd especially enjoy this post, so I'm glad you did!

    I know, Oreo riding the elevator for fun (the desk clerk told us that when we told her about Oreo's early morning visit to our room and wondered how she got up there!)

    The critters of Fort Collins are certainly a photogenic bunch, and I had a lot of fun meeting them, taking their photos and putting this post together. I'm so glad you had fun looking at it! :-)

    veganelder ~ Thanks! I know how much you love photos of animal people (and the animal people themselves, of course!) :-) And as always, you're very welcome!

  5. Boulder and Fort Collins sure do welcome pets. I wonder if they have off leash trails for dogs? Most cities and towns are so uptight if a dog is off leash -- stories abound that are manufactured by ignorant folks.Good post -- barbara

  6. I would be arrested for dog-napping that bulldog. He is too cute :)

  7. Barbara ~ They really do. And yes, there are off-leash trails in/around both places:
    Fort Collins

    It's definitely nice to have off-leash hiking trails for dogs who are well-behaved, non-aggressive and won't chase wildlife. Willow is very well behaved off-leash, but our other two I wouldn't trust out in public. Tess can have a real attitude toward some other dogs, and Josie's never met a bunny she didn't want to chase - and she can move amazingly fast on three legs! Except when she's called to come, then she's slow as molasses in January (flowing uphill!) :-)

    Georgia ~ I got a couple of photos of him, here's the other one. I love his haughty expression!

  8. Thanks for the second photo! I really can't resist bulldogs, I just think they are adorable.

  9. Another great post. In case I didn't say it earlier, I like that you did it by subject matter rather than chronological. That was a nice change.

    My very favorite photos were the fox. I loved the three part viewing with only the eyes first and then a pretty clear shot at the end. Did you have to change your camera settings for that or did he just accomodate by coming towards the light?

    I loved the irony of blocking Oreo with cookies!

  10. Jo ~ Thanks for mentioning that, because I like how these are turning out too, and it's been fun to work on them this way. I didn't have a particular plan for the posts, but when we got home and I downloaded all my photos and noticed that I had several definite themes going, I thought that would be a fun way to share them.

    I knew the fox photos wouldn't turn out very well, but I was so excited to get the chance to blog about seeing her! The second and third photos of the fox are identical, except I did nothing to the second one but did an "auto-fix" on the third, which brightened it up so you can see her more clearly. We were in such a dark area (I only noticed the fox at first because she was silhouetted against some distant streetlights!), and my flash just couldn't reach her. But I'm glad I got the photos I did, and that I didn't delete the one of just her glowing eyes! I love that pic appearing first. :-)

    We have a cookies thing going on in our comments lately. LOL That empty cookie box shouldn't have been enough to block her, but an empty cookie box must have supernatural powers when used on a cat who's named for a cookie. ;-) And dang, were those cookies ever good! Their Chocolate Chunk are my favorites, I dare not buy them anymore because I lose ALL self-control. (Kind of like with those Nature's Path chocolate cookies, remember those?! They stopped making them, which is probably a good thing! Those were dangerously good too.)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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