November 1, 2017

   Animal Blogging with Dill the Cat 

Hello! All photography on Animal Blogging with Dill the Cat is the work of S. Mason.

The graphic art we obtain online. We will never forget the first comment on Dill's blog came from a viewer in India. Since then Dill's demographics tell us that our international audience is growing. As viewers from new countries visit Dill, we will
include their country on the list.

Welcome, indeed.
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,  Cyprus, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Czechia, Cambodia, and United Kingdom, and Macedonia (FYROM), and Timor-Leste.

Art.  Music.  Laughter. Many good things in the world connect us.  Animals too, and perhaps especially animals. We want to believe that. To everyone, everywhere, including home, America, welcome and thank you for viewing Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat. 

Peace and health to all.  Animals and dreams never lie.  ^..^     

No One Person Can Do Everything But...
Together We Can Do Just About Anything!

At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat, we believe in supporting those who embrace, enhance, celebrate, and provide a healthy quality of life for animals.  On November 7th Denver voters can vote for better city infrastructure by supporting and voting YES for ballots 2A through 2G, and that includes 2B that will provide Denver Zoo a new hospital and address the marine mammal habitats!
(Thank you T. for letting us know and we followed up with our Denver Zoo newsletter to provide the following link back to the zoo.) For more information--
If you are new to Denver we encourage you to take the few minutes it requires to register to vote if you have not done so.
                    The Essence Of An Animal
A partial picture of an animal that conveys the complete animal is their essence. The majority of these pictures were taken at Denver Zoo. Take a look.

Engage. Enthuse. Educate. Entertain. Explore. 
Hello! At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat we believe animals help connect people to each other. So wherever you are in the world, thank you for visiting Dill.  As people from around the world come to Dill, we too read about other places in relationship to animals. So with deep compassion we turn towards France and the crime against humanity in the butchery of Vince, an endangered white rhino. Under the Keyboard section on Dill, we have added our sympathy and a link to Vince's home zoo. Please visit it. 
Did you know there are pumpkins that are really blue?  It's true!  Check out Dill's Blue page.  Creepy Crawlies, they need love too!  Maybe at a distance works better for you? Check out my Creepy Crawlies video under The Ark that includes a zebra stripe creepy crawlies and one so green an emerald would be jealous of it. I posted a few autumn sunsets and titled them Halloween Sunsets. Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat honors black cats 365 days a year.  Check out our sidebar.   
Given a brown or black bear can both have a mixture of both colors how does one tell the bears apart?  Rain...such a beautiful scent!  But why does rain smell sooooo good?  Can a fish really have lips?  There is an animal pattern found in every specie.  Can you guess what it is?  All of these questions are answered on Dill, and much more. 
We are of the belief a worthy zoo is really a different kind of university because after visiting it is almost impossible not to come away with a greater awareness, if not an education from staff and volunteers about creatures we share the earth with. At Denver Zoo, a home to thousands of endangered animals, they are often a part of the awareness/learning programs.  Presently and until October 2017 Denver Zoo has a new educational exhibit that teaches people about very different kinds of animals, those who once were--dinosaurs. Check out The Ark further down this page. 
 Under the Keyboard located at the bottom of this page we have placed a message regarding Houston Zoo.  Please be sure to check it out.  Lives have been saved. Now its time to restore the quality of them.  Also under the Keyboard we created a new topic called The Ark Keepers.  Be sure to check it out also.
Our up close encounter with okapis and a hippopotamus at Denver Zoo was such a profound, beautiful experience we came away with seeing Denver Zoo as another form of an ark. We wrote about that day and hope that you take a moment and read it - Our Best Day Ever At The Zoo--the link is on the top sidebar. It was our best day ever at the zoo but even more than that, humbly it changed our lives for the better. ENJOY!

                          The Universal Language-Music  

                                    BROWN OR BLACK? 

It is not as easy as it seems, to identify a brown or black bear by their colors when both kind of bears can be other colors including a mixture of brown and black. But we will make it easy.  Promise.  Just scroll down to The Ark.


Butters! is our senior cat who came from a shelter.  He’s grumpy and beautiful.  Butters! is not playful but likes his ears scratched.  He seldom acknowledges his name intentionally written with an exclamation, and though aloof Butters! know he is loved. Our home is nearly 100 years old and have the original radiators.  In the winter, we can find Butters! there 90% of the time, stretched out, warming his old bones.   

                                          RANDOM DAYS

Everywhere I go I take my camera and take pictures where I find them. I'd like to share some of my random day pictures with you. 

I found this harvest of beautiful, colorful pumpkins where I did not expect to see it--at Home Depot.

October 31, 2017

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.
Creepies Crawlies Need Love Too





It may seem reasonable by their names, a brown bear, a black bear one could tell them apart but not when one considers black bears can be dark brown, cinnamon, and even white; just as brown bears (commonly called grizzlies because they can have lighter colored tips on their fur) can be different shades of brown, blond, and even black. And if that is not confusing enough at the same time some black and brown bears can have a mixture of both colors. So how does one tell them apart?

Black bears tend to be smaller than brown bears. Brown bears have a hump on their shoulders where black bears do not, and black bears have bigger ears that sit straight up. But perhaps the easiest way to tell these bears apart is their claws. Black bears claws are short enough not to be visible and a brown bear claws are long enough you most likely will never forget seeing them. 

Based on our experiences Denver Zoo staff and volunteers are some of the most engaging people we have come across when visiting zoos.  Sometimes we speak of them as ambassadors for the zoo, but they are also educators that conduct programs to teach people about animals. Meet Short Stack and Echo...two of the many creatures in Denver Zoo's mission to educate people to those we share the world with.
                                    This is Short Stack, a pancake tortoise.
                                                This is Echo, a hawk.

Its almost inconceivable to visit a zoo and not come away with a more acute awareness if not an education of the animal kingdom. Denver Zoo, everyday, is a place of learning, and that is not something extra one receives during the visit--it is part of the experience itself. As we have come to learn all worthy zoos are really another form of an ark and such arks serve as an university of life, and from a recent zoo visit, life that once was...

                          DINOS AT DENVER ZOO
Not just big but life size, beautiful animatronics dinos with learning experiences about them are all over Denver Zoo! The following are just a few of them. To get a sense of their size, check out the man in the blue shirt.


                                               MY YOUTUBE
Horns and Pinocchio noses can be found on the unlikely beauties of snakes. Birds, reptiles, insects, mammals, and fish - all species - have creatures with zebra strips. Camouflaged animals blend into their environments but ironically animals almost invisible stand out. In nature and the kingdom of animals squares exist. There is an unfamiliarity with familiar animals such as lions with spots. These are some aspects of my videos. I hope you enjoy them. 
                                                ZEBRA STRIPES
Okay...we cannot scientifically prove it but we are declaring that the zebra stripe pattern is the most commonly and uncommonly found (like zebra stipe eyes) in the kingdom of animals. From my photography collection I made a video titled, Zebras, Everywhere, and there is only one zebra it in. 

October 29, 2017

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

                        Again, and again, and again...
We had a few autumn sunset evenings where the sky had the most colorful blaze in its setting. It lasted only a couple of minutes and over and over again I took pictures from my porch and titled them collectively Halloween Sunsets.

                                      A Photograph Within
Some color photography becomes a photograph within a photograph when it is
recreated in black and white.  I hope you enjoy a collection of my B&W photography made into a video.  It includes Strawberry, a neighborhood cat, that peeks in our windows and doors. You can read more about Strawberry under The Ark Keepers on Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat further down on this page. 

My Tips To Take Pictures At A Zoo

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. I’d like to share some of my tips with you. 
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, for smaller creatures, helps to put them in scale such as this tarantula.

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.

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.

Weather-weather conditions play a big part if an animal is more active or not, depending on the animal, such as polar bears.

Feeding times-are a good because animals are more excited and active.

Pay close attention to your surroundings.  Real close.  Then wait. . .  Do you see it?
Eventually he moved and I was able to take a brief moment to get the picture.

Ask the zookeepers when animals are most active to get a better photograph.
Take pictures often!
Play around with different angles.
Select a topic to create a subject for a collection of photographs.
A backyard is a great place to look for pictures.
Use black and white for photographs.
Having more than one camera helps.

Please be sure to read a viewer's comments of sharing his photography tips!  Thank you for sharing.

October 28, 2017


On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat, A THOUSAND SHADES OF GREEN is a section all about nature.
Last October we met the most amazing artist at Denver Zoo who sculptured animals from pumpkins. The following is an encore of some of his work we posted and his link to see more.


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...

October 26, 2017

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 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.


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 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. When we come across videos that speak of what Ark Keepers do, it is here where we will post them. Should you care to mention an Ark Keeper video, drop us a comment! 

                           THE ARK KEEPERS OF FLORIDA'S ZOOS

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.          

                        BOOKS BOOKMARK OUR LIVES
                                                                                                                                                        I believe people who love books can relate books to a place and time in their lives
giving books a very special irony. Books become bookmarks of our lives. We used many
resources to find the kind of books we wanted to share with our viewers including
contacting Jo at Inknbeans Press. From say one Jo helpfulShe recommended books not
published by Inknbeans Press. Jo told me she enjoyed the way I integrated vignettes in
book reviewsShe was not aware the vignettes used in introducing books was because of her. 

Flash back decades ago...When I watched Lassie on television as a child it really became a traumatic experience. I cried on every show fearful Lassie would be hurt. I rolled across the floor, tears flying, hollering about Lassie. The shows about Lassie in caves just tore me to pieces. Really, it was just a hot mess. My mother made me stop looking at Lassie.  I was reprieved, saved from myself. I never looked at another dog movie or read a book about dogs again. 

Decades later, flash forward...

I was so far removed from dog stories even as I asked Jo for recommendations it never occurred to me the possibility that she would recommend a book about a dog’s death. I did not want to explain my Lassie issues to Jo and how I simply could not read the book she suggested. But we contacted Jo. So I thanked her, and with silent reluctance (and after a few days of avoidance) I read the book, and absolutely fell in love with it. Fell. In. Love. And to express how much I loved the book I integrated my Lassie experience with the review of Zellwood: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud. After that my vignettes became a signature for Dill Reviews because Jo at Inknbeans Press reminded me just how much books bookmark our lives.
                 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