Friskie & Gil

Gil Savery and his companion, Friskie.

Recently I wrote about snakes here in our land and worldwide. Today, my mind turns to other wildlife, sometimes seen in our city’s streets, lawns and gardens. Nebraska has more than 90 mammals, some of which wander into urban areas. Here in our Capital City deer, raccoons, foxes and other four-legged wildlife have been seen.

Friskie, also mobile with four canine legs, has not yet joined me. She’ll probably show up when she realizes our subject is not about insects, birds or fish.

In addition to those already mentioned, Nebraska is home to buffalo, antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, wolves, prairie dogs, opossums, rats, mice, muskrats, beavers, bobcats and amphibians such as turtles and frogs.

Domestic animals, of wide variety, include horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and perhaps others unknown to me. Horses range from draft to saddle. Don’t we all like ponies that include Shetlands and other breeds?

Hoofs, cloven and uncloven, are found on critters that don’t have paws and claws. Horns adorn goats and some cattle breeds. Texas longhorns lead them all in spectacular ways.

Elsewhere in our world we have elephants, giraffes, rhinos and crocodiles, but here these are seen only in zoos. None is native to Nebraska.

Tails are interesting appendages. They vary in size, form and general makeup. Think of mice and horses. Horses and ponies have mains along their necklines.

Cows of different breeds provide beef our palates enjoy. Cows and goats give us nutritious milk and cream. Humans have created ice cream in many flavors.

Bulls and rats have invaded our language in ways not printable here. Better usage includes words like pony-up, lamb-like or gentle as a lamb.

My parents encouraged me to have many animals when I was a kid. The photo of me and my pet lamb was taken by my Dad about 90 years ago with his Kodak camera. It must have been taken on a Sunday, since I was wearing a tie. Animals, wild or domestic, are gifts, when chosen wisely, to feed humans and provide companionship. Friskie has now joined me and approves of what I have just written.

She is one of the domesticated animals that give us so much to be grateful for all our lives. If you live where you can have pets of any kind, you are fortunate. Or you may have memories of the good old days when you shared your life with a much-loved animal with all four legs.

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