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Creature Feature

It took a village to make Zoe mobile

Zoe is a spunky three-year old French bulldog. At home, her paralyzed back legs were no problem as she scooted over carpet. Top-heavy by nature, she bulked up by pulling herself with her shoulders.     But on vacation at Stay Pet Resort in Hanover, she was grounded on slippery concrete. She wanted to play with the other dogs but was stuck watching the action from the sidelines. Until she got fixed up with a new set of wheels.

Training makes a happier fellow

Optimus Prime was a playful, high-energy puppy when Sergeant Gregory ‘GJ’ Tomas Jr. received orders deploying him to Afghanistan for a second tour with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

Guess who’s the top dog?

When you stop by Will & Veronica’s produce stand in Owings, you’ll likely be greeted by Onyx and Gizmo. Onyx is a five-year-old, 115-pound male German shepherd/husky mix. Gizmo is a 10-year-old, three-and-a-half-pound male Chihuahua.     A few friendly sniffs hello and they’ll be on their way again, hard at work chasing bees and flies, herding pigs, napping in the sunshine or hitching a ride on the golf cart.

Scott Sylte stands firm for his service dog

As the sun dips into the Bay at the Calvert County marina where he lives, 59-year-old Scott Sylte stares into the Chesapeake. He likes an angry sea. With salt-and-pepper beard and a skipper’s cap, he more closely resembles a sea captain than the human rights champion he is.     He doesn’t like the word activist — but it fits him.

What shall Maryland Therapeutic Riding call this blue-eyed filly?

The stork visited Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville on April 30. A blue-eyed pinto mini filly — the smallest and youngest member of the farm’s herd — needs a name. The birth was a surprise; her mother Beauty was plump when purchased, but vets and staff alike believed all she needed was a diet.     Maryland Therapeutic Riding uses the healing and therapeutic power of horses to improve the balance, strength, muscle tone, self-image, self-confidence and quality of life for people with special needs.

From Tasmanian devil to Teddy bear

You never know what temperament a dog may bring with him. I was so in love with Teddy, a Pomeranian-Papillon mix, that I figured I could deal with any little problems that came with this five-and-a-half-year-old rescue from death row at a pound in Baltimore.     He didn’t like children, I was told. He was touchy about being touched on his rear quarter, and he didn’t like raised voices.     No problem. We were just two old retirees, the ideal couple for this dog.

Cinema worth barking about

Great Spangled Fritillary

     Fritillary butterflies may be the original social butterfly. Dozens appear in June when butterfly weed dazzles into bloom, affably sharing landing space and lunch with tiger swallowtails and clusters of bumblebees.

Our flowering gardens are butterfly way-stations

     The butterflies nectaring around your garden took wing from the caterpillars nibbling there a few weeks back.     Fewer black swallowtails are flashing their wings in my garden. Many summers, all the leaves are eaten down to the stalk by the hungry white, black and yellow-stripped caterpillars that pupate black swallowtails. This summer, I’ve seen only one such caterpillar.     But I have hopes for other caterpillars, other butterflies.

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Three seasons of the year bugs are pesky. But summer has fun bugs as well as pests.     I have a strong dislike of bugs, especially stinkbugs, verging on fear. Those little stinkers freak me out with their buzzing around hitting anything in their path. They and their evil eight-legged or beetle-y friends rule my house, and many other peoples’ too, when they come in from the cold.