Hello!  Thank you for visiting Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat! As a self taught photographer and animal enthusiast, combining the two Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat highlights the work of S. Mason. Our first visitor was from India. Since then, from around the world, Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat, viewers have come. Welcome. Dill is always being updated, plus I am working on my first book.   
India, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Latvia, Australia, Malaysia, Ireland, Ukraine, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, France, Venezuela, Poland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Thailand, Romania, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Morocco, Sweden, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Panama, Pakistan, South Africa, Belgium, Turkey, Spain, China, Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Israel, Lithuania, Vietnam, Belarus, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, Singapore, Moldova, Mongolia, Bahamas, Norway, Taiwan, Portugal, Czech Republic, Bangladesh, Luxembourg, Estonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Guyana, Peru, Bulgaria, Burundi, Iraq, Guernsey, Macau, Austria, Guatemala, Romania,  Saudi Arabia, Fiji, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Greece, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Costa Rica, Angola, Qatar, Ecuador, Honduras, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Maldives, Aruba, Chile, Bulgaria, Algeria, Turks & Caicos Islands, El Salvador, Malta, Hungary, Jamaica, Egypt, Mauritius, Aruba, Algeria, Barbados, Nepal, Cambodia, and Cyprus.  

It breaks out heart but the website had a gimp and we lost this segment and had to do it over again, and in that loss a list of some of the countries.                                             

                     Westminster Butterfly Pavilion
We spent the afternoon at Westminster Butterfly Pavilion.  It was fun, educational, and we saw a creature we never knew existed! The experience is worth more than the ticket price plus it is a great place to take pictures.  The staff was engaging, and liberally shared their knowledge of animals.  We also experienced the release of over 1600 butterflies!  The Westminster Butterfly Pavilion also have other creatures including sea life and an insect zoo.  Check out our favorite pictures taken by S. Mason of butterflies, a specie of woodlouse we never knew existed, plus at the bottom of the page under The Big Picture is a beautiful octopus.  Yes, there was an octopus at the Westminster Butterfly Pavilion and such a beauty it is!  We had a great time!



THE ARK - On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat

Based on our experience of Our Best Day Ever At The Zoo (the link at the top of the page on the sidebar) we were inspired to give this section the name, THE ARK - On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat.                                                                                                 
Photography by S. Mason taken at Westminster Butterfly Pavilion 

             What Can Denver Zoo's Peacocks Teach Us...
 About Zoo Rules Everywhere?

No two zoos are the same.  At Denver Zoo peacocks are free roaming.  They do not have a designated habitat. Specific to their unique environment (as all zoos are) there is a rule to leave the peacocks alone.  They are not to be chased, feed, or bothered in any manner. Zoos that don't have free roaming peacocks would not have this rule. Thus Denver Zoo's peacocks can teach us every zoo have rules so specific to their unique environment until visitors need to be educated. Visitors can and should learn zoo rules by checking zoo's website, or read the rules that are stated in writing at the zoo, and there is always staff as a reference point. 
This is a red-breasted goose at the Denver Zoo.
I did a video on squares in animals and nature from my photography collection, and the above picture I took at Denver Zoo is another example of a square found in the kingdom of animals.


Photography Is My Heartbeat - "The best kind of photograph I like to take is an animal I don't have a picture of yet."

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. 
                                                                                               Ansel Adams
During Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo by moving my camera intentionally I was able to create a swirl of lights that appear as if they are swimming in the night sky. 
Not all but most of my photographs come from zoos and I have learned tips about how to take better pictures in a zoo’s special environment. As a self taught photographer I like to share some of my tips with you. 
"Frame" your pictures with words by giving them titles. 
Consider using a texture such as this lionfish whose picture I took at Denver Zoo.

Baby animals- many zoos have a special viewing of baby animals that is not intrusive to their well-being yet allows people to see them as they would not be able to do so otherwise.

The time of day-different animals are more active certain times of the day and by asking a zookeeper you can find that out.
Make sure you have some money with you for taking pictures. Currency placed next to  smaller creatures helps put their size in scale. Often an animal's environment works in the same manner.  To realize just how small this creature is, look at the grass.  This is a dik dik the smallest of all antelopes. This dik dik is fully grown.  I took this picture at Denver Zoo.

Timing is the key. Be patient when taking a photograph but be ready.
Practice with your pets because they are always around.
Get to know your camera’s setting, experiment with them.
Before you throw away a picture check to be sure within it, if cropped, a picture exist.
Make back up copies of your photography.
A backyard is a great place to look for pictures.
Use black and white for photographs.  I took this picture of a giraffe at Denver Zoo.   

Having more than one camera helps
A backyard is a great place to look for pictures.
Be ready to be fast! REAL FAST. A mandrill was opening his mouth when I was positioning my camera knowing if he opened it wide enough I would get a photograph of his impressive teeth. Quickly moving the photograph blurred but I still got the shot-taken at Denver Zoo.
Take your camera everywhere you go.
Select a topic to create a subject for a collection of photographs.
Weather conditions play a big part if an animal is more active or not, depending on the animal, such as polar bears.
A partial picture of an animal speaks for the creature such as this snake whose picture I took at Denver Zoo.

Play around with different angles.
Feeding times-are a good because animals are more excited and active.
Ask the zookeepers when animals are most active to get a better photograph.
Pay close attention to your surroundings. 
Take pictures often!                                                          
Please be sure to read a viewer's comments of sharing his photography tips!  Thank you for sharing. 


IF LIFE ITSELF HAD A HEARTBEAT IT WOULD BE THE SOUND OF WATER on Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat is all about life in water. 

                    A CREATURE WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED...
Flash was not allowed, but holding a dollar bill puts this creature's size into perspective. This is a specie of a woodlouse, those little gray bugs that roll up into a ball that are found in gardens and under rocks, but this huge creature lives strictly in water and we saw him at the Westminster Butterfly Pavilion.      

                                      Undefined Beauty 
On a recent visit to Denver Zoo while walking through Tropical Discovery, whose distinctive environment makes it, its own world, an Ark Keeper told us about some new fish Denver Zoo obtained (thank you!) including this starfish.  It is so beautiful looking at it morphs into a stare.  
              A lake and pond, the difference?
Based on what we have read per the website  Difference Between | Descriptive Analysis and Comparisons-- There is no actual universally standardized technical distinction between the lakes and ponds. The World Atlas states--An example of a larger pond is Island Pond in Derry which covers 500-acre and has a depth of 80 feet below the surface. Island Pond is far much bigger compared to Echo Lake in Conway which covers 14 acres and 11 feet deep below the surface.

So, to a greater degree lakes and ponds can be described in general terms based on the norm of their characteristics.  Generally speaking lakes are wider, larger, and deeper.  Because of this lake water have several levels of temperatures, the deepest water the coldest, and the warmest water the surface. Ponds tend to be smaller in size, thus less wide, plus swallow in depth, and have one uniformed temperate. In winter ponds tend to freeze completely whereas lakes do not. Lakes can produce waves and ponds produce, at best, ripples.  At a pond’s deepest depth aquatic plants can grow and sunlight can reach the bottom, and generally speaking those traits are not found in lakes.  

                              WHY DOES RAIN SMELL SO GOOD?

It is sweet and musky at the same time.  Earthy.  Rain is such a beautiful scent one does not simply smell it, but inhale it…deeply. One was does not turn away from the scent, it must release us.  But what gives rain that intoxicating scent of freshness?  Would you have guessed, bacterial spores, ozone and plant oils?
             How did the Dead Sea get its name?

The Dead Sea is such an odd name considering life cannot exist without water. But the Dead Sea is unusual beyond just its name such as it is not even a sea but a lake and the lowest point on the planet (almost 10,000 feet) below sea level.

The Dead Sea got its name from the lack of life, in it’s water and surrounding land, based on being one of the most hyper saline places on earth. The Dead Sea has so much salt in its water until life (as we know it that surrounds and is in other bodies of water, cannot exist.                                                 


On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat, A THOUSAND SHADES OF GREEN is a section all about nature.

                 Nature Photography From My Backyard            


There are few straight lined paths at the Denver Botanic Gardens, combined with frequent winding paths often not seeing what awaits until one follows the pathway, and so it was at a distance we saw a rooftop that beckoned us to seek it out. When we reached our mysterious destination, it had an amazing story to tell, it felt magical, and there was a reason why.  It was a beautiful enchanting solarium made of iron and glass.

The ceiling has two glass and iron chandeliers, and iron fan between them, and along the panels of the solarium walls and roof are ropes of tiny white lights. But it was more than that for there are only four more identical to it in the world, and this is the sign just outside the doors that tells its amazing story...                                                        





              Museums Are Virtual Libraries

Museums are virtual libraries. There isn't another place where so many things that truly are beyond the scope of expectations of ever witnessing in a lifetime exist. Museums are also virtual because it is not about 'looking' but rather experiencing. When the current Denver Museum of Nature and Science (located in City Park) was built it was structured around the prior museum before it.  Thus inside the museum today is the intact older DMNS museum.  The above picture was taken inside the entrance of the museum, and what is now a wall was once the exterior building of the original museum. Of the many windows, the glass was removed and replaced with art. We also appreciate that the museum has an energy, a vibe of its own, and a sense of humor. There are elves and gnomes hidden throughout the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  On the sidebar you can find out where two of them are located!    
As members of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science one of the many benefits is being the first to see new exhibitions, and given the astounding presentations where being in awe becomes the norm, Creatures Of The Light was a beautiful, inspiring exhibit leaving us awed at the vastness of just how much there is to learn about our own  environment.

There is so much to discover, to become aware of until one can almost feel like a stranger in their own world.  We maintain Denver Museum of Nature and Science is like being in a virtual library.  Creatures Of The Light not only fulfils answers to questions one did not know existed but makes one wonder, what else is there to realize when seeing a desert hairy scorpion that lives the Arizona desert. Mimicking his environment this is what he looks like, keeping in mind that is not light on him but from him...

There is a tiny plankton called dinoflagellates, about the size of a pinhead, gathering together in the millions, they actually moves with things in its environment from waves to boats, and during the dark hours of nights their presence light up the water so blue it looks electric. 

If you have not seen this exhibit, Creature Of The Light, get there, and discover the world we live in, we have yet to learn where we are.

THE ARK KEEPERS – On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat

During a visit to Denver Zoo hearing two zookeepers experiences, their conversation stayed with us all the way home, and inspired us to change the name of The Keyboard to The Ark Keepers – on Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat. We won’t use their names because not realizing then how their words impacted us we did not ask for permission but as this is being written we would like to quote just a segment of what Ark Keepers do by quoting T regarding  how profound the caretaking of animals is, “Sometimes we become their parents.” 

            Majestic.  Beautiful.  Strong. Enduring.
                           Our National Mammal.

                The gift giving of one’s spirit animal
Have you ever considered giving the gift of one’s spirit animal?   How?  There are many organizations that are devoted to the quality of animals lives that have adoption programs.  The adoption money goes towards the care of the animal.  Select an animal that is the spirit animal to the receiver.   

                                             LONDON ZOO  
At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat we extend our grief and concern to the London Zoo regarding the fire that killed animals and harmed the people in their attempts to save them. We are so sorry for your devastating loss and as Ark Keepers to animals that loss ripples beyond your borders so please know our thoughts and prayers are with you.   The following link is an update since the London Zoo fire.

                            The Unfamiliarity of Familiar Animals
 (Even the animals we know can teach us things amazing things about them.)


                                          HOUSTON ZOO
When we visited Denver Zoo and blogged about it—the link at the top of the page on the sidebar—even as lifelong zoo members from our experience we became acutely aware just how much a worthy zoo is really another form of an ark, and so it is zookeepers and supporting staff are keepers of the ark. The Houston Zoo survived the storm but that does not mean they don’t need help, and nor could the animals survive without the guardians of humans.  Lives were saved but the quality of lives need to be salvaged.  Restored.   Days pass.  Weeks.  One season into the next.  Current events fade into pale memories.  Long after the storm is gone rebuilding lives remain.  Don’t forget them.  Please.

A high-five from Dill to Jo's new family member, a Kai Phoenix Cobblestone,
a Plott/Pharaoh Hound mix.                                                                          
                                             Beautiful Words
Some words are so beautiful they give us a reason to pause, reflect, and exhale. Such words speak to the stories of our lives. For us there are four special words that are beautiful together when driving miles of snow covered tree-lined blocks, and the title of my photography--On Our Way Home.  
          The Denver Zoo -A Centennial History

Authored by Carolyn & Don Etter, commissioned by the Denver Zoological Foundation, Cover to Cover Designed, designed by Jody Chapel- Roberts Rinehart Publisher

On March 14, 2016 a copy of The Denver Zoo -A Centennial History was gifted to S. Mason from Rachel, Matt, and Connie from Denver Zoo. As we looked through the pages at the stunning photographs, reading random passages along the way, each passage a gem of accounts, we were also in awe of such a complete history of the Denver Zoo in one book. The more we read, the past becoming new knowledge, it was like being introduced to the Denver Zoo for the first time. Such irony--from the beginning the Denver Zoo seedlings were from visionaries and we suspect those visionaries would be pleasantly and proudly surprised if they could see the Denver Zoo today. Reading The Denver Zoo-A Centennial History is a rich experience. A beautiful book, a beautiful gifting, thank you Matt, Connie, and Rachel, three very special people.  

With a certificate of appreciation, Connie, Matt, and Rachel also worked in a fluid team spirit to create a very thoughtful resource book of the Denver Zoo that is very much appreciated. The copyrighted covers are a footprint of a lion, and an elephant trunk.

"Thank you" is just the threshold of our gratitude.

                The Chateau of Thoiry, Vince         

Per Wikipedia -- Located in the village of Thoiry, France The Chateau of Thoiry covers 370 acres that includes a castle that was built in the 16th century, botanical gardens, and a zoo where Vince, a rare white rhino, endangered, resided. The news of Vince’s butchery was so horrific the very digestion of such a heinous act had to be taken in small doses of reality for it was so shocking.

Poachers are monsters among us that are beyond comprehension of their deranged capabilities. They are a soulless predatory cancer against the world.

At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat in America we join the chorus with the rest of the planet to express to the zoo and France we grieve with you.

And to the staff specifically who are the caretakers of the ark, (for all zoos dedicated to animals are truly arks) our prayers and thoughts are with you today and beyond.    

                     The Cincinnati Zoo, Harambe
The Cincinnati Zoo made the right and yet hellish decision. In the emotional firestorm of Harambe's death we at Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat want to extend to the Cincinnati Zoo our respects in your time of grief and great loss.  Endangered.  Beautiful.  Magnificent. Family. Harambe. His death is a collective loss of all, and though different, to the zoo itself a loss of family.    

"As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child, and if anyone knows me, I keep a tight watch on my kids.  Accidents happen, but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today."
                                                                The mother of the toddler

The irony is stunning.  That day, one of the 'right people' was not in the 'right place' and that person is this parent being at the zoo with the attitude 'accidents happen.'

But the following words are not about her when many people feel the same way. This is about the tragedy within this tragedy--a societal mindset (some believe) that visitors can 'accidentally' enter a zoo animal's habit.  We do not believe in the mindset under these circumstances 'accidents happen.' That kind of thinking is the breeding ground to disavow common sense behavior at a zoo, subconsciously marginalize the importance of zoo rules, and weakly alibis a lack of attentive behavior. If anything such a mindset is absolutely dangerous as we have learned by the hardest way possible.

At this point one of the worst things that can happen is to accept a societal belief a visitor can accidentally get into an animal's habit. To believe that is to prematurely accept that it will happen again. Yet if rules are followed, tempered by common sense, and attentive behavior it would not nor could not occur.

Zoo policies and rules are posted on their websites.  Many zoos have notices posted throughout the grounds as reminders.  Zoo staff members are also a resource to ask.

All zoos are different and their rules apply specific--in some cases--to their unique attributes, so check if you are unsure about anything. Before visiting a zoo talk about what is expected in behavior, and for the little ones who do not understand, use the zoo visit as a teaching tool. If rules were respected and adhered to that day Harabme would be alive.

Harabme in Swahili means pull together.  Harabme is a word used in rallying cries in Kenya. The orange sunset photograph taken by S. Mason is symbolic that Harabme's days ended too soon.

                               THE ARK KEEPERS
Even as life long zoo members our experience of a private tour of Denver Zoo made us realize a worthy zoo is truly another form of an ark.  It awaken us to a wider world of what it entails to care for animals, and thus we sometimes call a zoo staff, The Ark Keepers.  
                           THE ARK KEEPERS OF FLORIDA'S ZOOS

lovin it!  On East Colfax in Denver we came across the art work of Delton Demarest in a wall mural at Nuggs Ice Cream. At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat we appreciate business owners who allow artists blank slate of a wall to share their work and in doing so  enhance their business with art, and enrich their communities in the spirit of creativity!

Thierry Bisch is a French artist who defines himself as an animal painter.  We are enchanted by his work and have some of his work in our home.

                                    THIS TIME, A TIGER

When first reading this article one of our first reactions was, another animal’s life, this time  a tiger, was the payment for another person’s disregard of zoo rules. The saving grace is the father died instead of his children who were following his lead. His wife, for her part, should be banned from the zoo for the rest of her life. At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat we are recommending a trip to a zoo, or any organization that supports animals, should begin at the facility’s website to know the rules and policies that keep people and animals safe.

      The Copenhagen Zoo Is A Premature Graveyard
No two zoos are the same. But all zoos have the common thread to embrace the quality of life for animals, to protect them, and become the ambassadors of awareness and educate people of their importance. A zoo is nothing short of a testimony of our humanity. For the brutal senseless killing of Marius the giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, this place does not deserve the title of being called a zoo. It is a monstrosity for it is a premature graveyard. To mourn Marius is to mourn all the animals in this abomination.          

                                 WHAT IS THIS ANIMAL?

There is an animal that we have heard call, a panda, a baby elephant, a pig, and something that has been engineered. It is none of those fore mentioned but it is endangered. How can it be saved when some do not know what it is?



                 The Secret Life of Strawberry
        Long ago we stopped being surprised to open our front door to see unfamiliar cats sitting on the porch. They were all groomed and often collared. When we came to the door they all meowed a ‘hello’. Even our cats look at them odd, as if to say, they were not suppose to do that. They were strangers yet company. We gave them names. They answered to them. These cats have never shown any interest in ours.  But Yoshi, our cat, goes to the door when Strawberry visits and looks into our home.  Otherwise these cats only spoke to the humans of the household.

     One time, a cat we named Jafar use to come into our home without solicitation. He liked to sit on laps while in a rocking chair and look at television. It was a little peculiar but people who love cats accept their idiosyncrasies as charm. The other day a new cat was sitting on our porch. Stepping outside to pet him (we assume male) he meowed and purred as though he had been waiting for the door to open. He spent a part of the morning visiting on our porch. He was given the name Strawberry. Why they come and who are their guardians, we have no idea. And surely their guardians have no idea what their cats are doing. We simply accept that, if only for one morning, we are the secrets in cats' secret lives. A couple of weeks later… South. Early this morning when we opened the door we saw Strawberry come into our yard and for the first time we discovered he walked from the south of our neighborhood. He walked on to the porch, and when we opened the door to pet him, Strawberry walked inside.

     Dill and Butter stood there, just shocked. Dill, who was in mid-step, when Strawberry entered and peeked into the living room, remained that way even when Strawberry went back outside and settled on the porch. Strawberry is in my videos, B&W.  We asked ourselves, "Should we tie a little note on Strawberry's collar and tell his guardians about Strawberry secret life?"  Time answered the question for us. Months later Strawberry does not come around as often, and we miss him and hope he is okay.  As Strawberry sometimes peeked in our windows, we now peek out to see if he is there.  
A Memory Is Another Form Of A Heartbeat
Even now in Cecil’s death he is more than the sum of Walter Palmer’s existence when the lion transcended into becoming a symbol of global hope and his killer is rebuked world wide. In a slow kill, slaughtered, his body mutilated, Walter Palmer claims he did not know Cecil was famous as if to say his actions would have been acceptable if it had been another lion. There are clinical terms for that kind of personality demeanor. And even now in his regret statement Palmer spoke of his ‘love’ of killing animals. Walter Palmer knew what he was doing. But all that Cecil stood for still breaths, and West Palmer’s quality of life is dead. Some of his patients are protesters. Who would want the murderous hands of this dentist touching them? Who would allow this doctor to continue earning his living through them that supports his killings? The legal cost alone, incurred by Walter Palmer, will bleed him out finically. As the governmental powers of Zimbabwe must quickly and transparently bring those associated with this heinous act to court the country itself needs to reexamine their own whoring cohort complicity when they allow any animal to be hunted--and while you are at it ban the bastard Walter Palmer from your country. Cecil--what is a memory if not another form of a heartbeat.   Even now, for the rest of us in our global grief and outrage, there is work to do. And it is amazing how much we could do by churning grief into power thus action. Louder than our loudest cries--ROAR. 
Support zoos and other organizations that enhance the quality of life for animals. World Lion Day is in August--please check out the link to this important organization on Dill's sidebar. Below is a link from Change Org petition regarding Cecil that we signed. Within the first 24 hours a quarter of a million people have signed.  Please consider signing and passing the petition to others.

    Regarding Zimbabwe's decision not to pursue legal recourse against Walter Palmer

As jarring yet numbing, and disgusting as it is to read of Zimbabwe's decision not to pursue legal recourse against Walter Palmer, it is not shocking or mildly surprising when the powers that be in Zimbabwe have their own whoring cohort complicity that allows for any animal to be hunted.  But maybe with the world wide outage of Cecil's killing, with such backing and support, Zimbabwe would do the right thing.  Instead in essence Zimbabwe's decision really is an invitation for Walter Palmer to return to their country and continue his enjoyment of killing animals. Many airlines have now banned these killed animals from their flights. With social media eyes Palmer's life will not likely never be the same. Zimbabwe's decision and Palmer's act are both a symbolic disease against humanity.    

If we do not do something to prevent it, Africa's animals, and the places in which they live, will be lost to our world, and her children, forever.  Before it is too late, we need your help to lay the foundation that will preserve this precious legacy long after we are gone.
                                                                                                 Nelson Mandela
                                                            THE BIG PICTURE
I took this picture at Westminster's Butterfly Pavilion, such a stunning sight, at the time a white octopus, and I say that because it quickly changed colors, becoming spotted with brown. I made a video and will be uploading it.