Monday, December 31, 2012

Silvia's first fosters

Here is the true story of Silvia's first foster kittens.
Sorry it's kinda a long story, there was so much I wanted to tell. But I don't think I made it too long, or boring. Frankly, Merlin and Twix had lots of little quirks and great points, and we had a lot of fun with them. Between that, and the fact that I didn't get to tell some true and hilarious stories about them, I feel like I almost didn't write enough. If you're interested in hearing about some of their pranks, just comment asking for a story. I'm full of 'em, and I promise not to bore you too much.
The point of this article is to show how wonderful it is when people foster. How much it does for the animal(s) and the foster(s).
There will be more foster stories to come. After all, we didn't stop at our first fostering.

We were driving back to our house in Tucson, Arizona. We had just come back to Arizona after a trip.
I have been asking for a pet for years now, and brought up the subject again. That's when my dad had the great idea of fostering. We all really wanted a cat. So maybe we could foster one.
I pointed out that in most cases I knew, you had to foster the animal until it got adopted. And since we travel a lot, that wasn't an option.
Not always, said my mom. She knew someone who fostered kittens for a Humane Society, and she only had to keep them until they were strong enough to go back to the shelter.
I got online and found the Humane Society of Arizona(HSSA). And yes, you could foster for them! It also said that foster homes could refuse to take on a foster at any time, and it would not reflect on their foster status.

Later that week, we printed out the foster form, filled it out, went to the Humane Society, and handed it in.
We later got an E-Mail saying that a foster care class was scheduled, and we had to take the class before fostering.
Since Mom and I were to be the "main caretakers", it was us two who were to take the class. When we went to the class they explained the basics of keeping puppies and kittens, like how to keep very young ones warm. They said that it was best for the animals, kittens especially, to come into fostering with their mother, so they could pick up on the normal attributes of their kind. However, sadly, most animals that ended up in foster homes were orphans that weren't able to survive in a shelter.
We were given a fostering manual during the class, and we were told two additional things before the class ended. One was that we would receive E-Mails notifying us of animals needing fosters. We had to reply by phone call if we wanted to take them in.
The other was that if we were overlooked and didn't get any fosters, tell them. The staff would put our names on a certain board, so that we would be some of the first to get fosters.

A little while later, we received several E-Mails about kittens in need of foster.
There was a 7 kitten litter that needed Sub-Q fluids and antibiotics. We decided that would be too much for a first time. Another was a single kitten that was very weak. Maybe we could take that one.
We replied to the E-Mail, and were told that, sadly, the kitten had died, having been too weak survive. However, they said, they did have a pair, brothers, that were underage and needed socialization. We jumped on it.
(Note: Most animals that we take in as fosters are the ones needing socialization. We've found that giving a ton of love and care to cats is what we do best.)

The next day, Mom and I went to pick up our future fosters. Dad had to go run errands, and would probably be home the same time as us. When we got to the Humane Society, we were told the whole sad story as we were led over to the building in which our future fosters were kept.
There is a thing around here called Brush and Bulky. Brush and Bulky is basically something where people leave their yard scraps and old furniture out by the curb, and a truck comes by and picks it up.
Just before a certain pile was about to be thrown in the truck, mewling was heard, and inside the pile of twigs and scraps they found two 6 week old kittens, presumably brothers. These were our foster kittens.
They did not have names yet, so we could name them ourselves. They needed to be kept in our home until they were of age(8 Weeks) and weight to go back to the shelter.
When they brought in the carrier, I gasped and melted before the incredible cuteness that is two kittens, looking at you with kitten blue eyes. 
They were huddled in the back, a little scared.
When our escort, Stephanie, stuck her hand in, they hissed.
After all they were through, could you blame them?
"They're a little hissy." she said cheerfully, drawing back her hand.
"Hissy is good." breathed Mom, half talking to the kittens, half talking to Stephanie.
Stephanie and I. Merlin and Twix were in the carrier.
"It means you're aware." 
Our eyes were glued to those kittens, and the most we could say was "Oh my gosh, they're so cute!".
A photographer for the shelter wanted some pictures of us holding the kittens. That picture ended up on HSSA Facebook page later.
We carefully carried our new fosters, who were huddled in the back of the carrier, to the car and drove home. While we drove, Mom and I discussed names. One was fluffy and an Orange Tabby. The other was Black, and had shorter hair. Both had grayish/blue eyes, but the Black One's were more stormy. Since the sky was the same color at the time, we considered naming him something like Storm. Mom wanted to name the tabby Arthur, and maybe the black one Merlin. We agreed to ask Dad his opinions before deciding. 
When we got home, we set up the tub with towels and a litter box, and food and water. We put their carrier in the tub, door open, and let them be.

Twix(right) and Merlin(left) eating together.
For most of the first day, all they did was hiss. The tabby swatted a little at Mom, but we were fairly certain that they would settle in. It soon became obvious that the twosome were very close, sleeping together and sharing food well(although the black one sometimes pushed his brother away).
That night, we took them out on the couch while we were watching TV, putting them carefully in our laps. After a few minutes they settled in, and we had a very enjoyable night sharing the kittens, who would occasionally change laps.

The next few weeks, we established a routine.
The kittens we decided to name Merlin(the black one), and Twix(the tabby).
Every morning, Twix and Merlin got wet food, we played with them in the afternoon, they were free fed dry food all day, and then got a dinner of wet food. At night, we would take them onto our laps and watch a movie. The kittens would climb all over us with little claws, play fighting with each other. After the movie was over, we would play with them ourselves. Eventually, the kittens grew big enough to jump off the couch. We took shower curtain rods, wedged them between the walls in the hallway, draped a curtain over it, and stuck the curtain to the floor with slate. In the kitten's minds, this was another wall, and it prevented them from going out into the hallway(at least, it did until they figured it out).
We noticed two things about our little foster kittens. One was that Merlin was quite the jumper, pretty athletic, while Twix was kind of a pushover sometimes, and found it hard to jump high. Thus, Merlin was the first to manage to get out of the tub. Mom wanted to change his name to Houdini, since he was an escape artist, but Dad and I said it was too late to change their names.
The second thing we realized was that they clung to whoever was holding them like burrs. Cling they did, with those little but sharp claws that got through nearly every shirt. And it really hurt when they climbed up onto ours necks. We learned the hard way that many kittens do this. Luckily, Merlin and Twix stopped clinging quite so much when they began to trust us more. Until then, however, we had to hold them with their claws facing out.
Merlin and Twix were our Yin and Yang kittens. Merlin hardly ever groomed himself. Twix was fastidious. Merlin was more adventurous. Twix often wanted to nap.
They also complimented each other. Twix would be roused by Merlin sometimes. Twix would groom Merlin.

Finally, one day we brought our kittens to the shelter to get their shots, and received surprising news.
On the prowl.

Stephanie, weighing them, them told us that Twix and Merlin were "of weight".
This stunned us, for while we had been tracking their weight, we hadn't realized that at four pounds and eight weeks they were ready to go back.
Stephanie told us that we could keep them for another few days, if we wanted.

"Well, would we be lessening their chances of getting adopted? I mean, would they be up for adoption those few days?" asked Mom.
No. They were scheduled to be fixed in a few days, and then they would be up for adoption at the Furbaby Feista, an event HSSA was doing for three days, in which mixed breeds would be free, no adoption fee, and purebreds would be half-off.
In that case, said Mom, we would keep them. Better they were in our home for those few days instead of a cage.

Blue feather toy..oohh..
Their eyes began to lose that kitten blue, and turned green.
A few days later, a somewhat sad farewell was said, and Mom and I took our little kitties back to the shelter. They had really grown, and the shelter staff oohed and ahhed over their glossy pelts. We talked for a bit, and found out that they would most likely be at the main shelter for the Furbaby Feista, which was going on at different locations. Since Mom and I were volunteering at said Feista, we signed up to be at the shelter on Friday, the first day of the event.

After Merlin and Twix were gone, I found myself instinctively doing things I had to do while the kittens were in our home, like closing the bathroom door before inquisitive kittens followed me out.

When Friday came, we left around 3:00, being on the second shift.
We found out from Gina, the Volunteer Coordinator, what we were to do, which was hang out in the cat room and help people who wanted to know about the cats. If we didn't know something, direct them to someone who does.
I looked, but couldn't find our kittens.
We found someone we recognized, and asked about Merlin and Twix.
It turned out that a dry patch on Merlin's leg had to be inspected before they could be put on the adoption line. We had noticed the dry patch before, and figured it was from a scrape he may have gotten in the Brush and Bulky pile. The shelter's Veterinarians thought it might be something more serious, and had to check.
Finally, we were told with a big smile that the dry patch on Merlin's leg wasn't anything to worry about, and they were cleared and ready to go.
I soon found Merlin and Twix in their spot in the cat room, and felt like crying. Twix was eating and looking tired, while Merlin was occasionally showing off for the people that came over. It seemed that no one was interested in adopting both, and everyone seemed to lose interest with them after having a kitten cling to them and shiver(well, they were in a scary, loud place) for a while.
I wandered around a bit, telling people about Twix and Merlin's good points, checking out the ferrets(both of the ferrets got adopted by a man who had one, and wanted company for it), and checking on the dogs. Almost every dog's kennel card said "Adopted" or "I'm being considered for adoption". That was good. But no one seemed to want our kittens.
I came back to the cat room and got the best surprise ever.
Mom and one of the foster staff were talking to a girl, a little younger than me, and her mother. They have decided to adopt Merlin and Twix!
It was explained that when the mother and daughter came in looking for a pair of kittens, it was an instant match. The foster volunteer quickly said that it would be best if Merlin and Twix were adopted together, and that was that.
I sat outside the cat room with the adoptive family, telling them all about Merlin and Twix, and answering questions that they had, like Twix and Merlin's diet.
The daughter even has the same name as me. Her mother insisted that could not be a coincidence, and I agreed.
The girl could hardly sit still for all her excitement, and I was having trouble too. I'm still so glad that our little kittens got adopted.
"Well, it seems like you've done a great job fostering them." the mother said.
I think we did.

Shelter Virus hits lots of cats, by Silvia Phenora

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona(HSSA) was hit with a cat virus know as Calicivirus recently. It causes Upper Respitory Infection, and can be very hard to spot. Many cats who are infected act perfectly normal. There is no specific treatment, and it spreads extremely easily. Some of the virus can be killed by bleach solution, but that is about as far as treatment can go. It survives for a long time.

Some of the cats at HSSA were euthanized, and all others with the virus were put in quarantine.
For about a month, no cats were allowed to go to foster homes, and HSSA could not accept cats from the outside, such as those being surrendered.

Now, certain cats are being allowed to be put into foster homes, but many cats are still in quarantine.

Yesterday, my parents and I went to see the quarantined cats. Volunteers are allowed to pet the cats, keep them company, take them out of their kennels, etc. in an attempt to lift the cats' spirits. Most of the cats, despite having Calicivirus, are active.

When we arrived inside the building where the cats are being kept, we were shown to a table where Latex gloves and disposable gowns were, as well as towels and a bleach solution in a spray bottle. We were instructed the following: Put on a disposable gown and gloves before handling any cats. In between cats, throw away your gloves in the trash bin provided, and wipe down your gown using the bleach solution and the towels. Should your gown become torn, either by being caught on a cats claws or something else, change it as you do you gloves.

You may sit down with a cat if you have a towel in your lap.

They had a sign hanging nearby with numbers on it. The numbers showed which cat kennels had cats that needed extra attention. None of the cats were known to bite, but some swat.
Some of the cats in quarantine, in their carriers and kennels.

The cats inside were either in typical cat kennels, or dog carriers, and many meowed at us as we walked by, and stuck their paws out of their cages, at each other and at us. Aw.

I picked out the cat in kennel 1, while Mom and Dad went for the cats whose numbers were on the sign. The cat whom I handled later on turned out to have one eye. The weird thing is, I didn't even realize I was handling a one-eyed cat until Mom said "Oh! That cat has only one eye."

 It took a few cats, but we eventually realized that we were not picking up the cats we thought we were("Is this cat 48, or is that number referring to the cat above it, not below?") After we realized how the system actually worked, we got it right, and lots of cats got handled. Thanks to the fact that other people there were handling the cats too, all the quarantined cats got attention, which we were told never happened before. Every single cat. (Give or take a kitten or two. It's hard to tell, with so many cats there.)

One of the cats I handled. A big cat, plush, and quite the lover. Didn't want me to leave,  and frankly, I didn't want to leave her.
Such a good kitty. Wanted rubs, rubs, rubs. Oh, and did I mention rubs? Purr..purr..purr..purr.

Mom, handling a kitten.
The three of us, ready to pick up cats.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saving the Guinea Worm: What is the "right" thing?

Some of you may have heard of it. The Guinea Worm. Likely, you haven't heard BOTH sides of the argument. Caring Environmentalists VS those who make a point when saying they think the Guinea Worm should not live.
The Guinea Worm is a long, well, worm. An endangered species. And we have no idea what it would do to the environment if we killed it off.
On the other hand, the Guinea Worm is also a parasite. Humans drink contaminated water with Guinea Worm larvae in it, and the Guinea Worm finds its host. (That is what most think. The truth is explained later in this article.) Extracting the Guinea Worm is a painful, and rather gross procedure that can take several weeks. Because of this, many people who have an influence over the populace say that we should exterminate the Guinea Worm.
But there is more you should hear before choosing who's side you're on. The Guinea Worm is also blamed for being the main cause of "Guinea Worm Disease", which is what being inhabited by the Guinea Worm is called. In reality, the Guinea Worm is not targeting humans to survive. Rather, in the water that is contaminated by the Guinea Worm, "water fleas" eat the larvae, and pass it to humans when people drink them.
Guinea Worm disease is also thought to cause a host of other factors, but some scientists think that the Guinea Worm is not responsible for those, and many other factors about people's environment are more likely culprits.
The Guinea Worm can be easily avoided, by cleaning water thoroughly, but that may be hard for people living near the Guinea Worm to do so.
The Guinea Worm is a living thing, just like us, and can't help it if its way of surviving is by taking a host. Please consider carefully whether or not you truly want the Guinea Worm to become extinct. Who knows how much damage we are doing? And if you decide to join the causes helping the Guinea Worm, act quickly. There are likely only about a hundred worms left by now. Donate to causes helping the Guinea Worm, spread awareness, help out.

More information on the Guinea Worm and the Guinea Worm Disease can be found at the following links:

I strongly encourage you to find out all that you can about the Guinea Worm and other endangered species, so you can really decide who you're with.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Wonder of Earth and Sky

Nature. Wilderness. The wild. The great outdoors. No matter what you call it, it's beautiful. And it's outside.
We often underestimate the beauty, power, and amazingness of Nature. It's awesome. And natural beauty can be found in your backyard, found in a bird flying through the city, anywhere. We often close our minds and hearts to this.
Beauty is everywhere, if we would just look for it. National Parks are good examples. They show that people and nature can be in the same place, together, and not be entirely competing. Just step outside sometime and enjoy it.
I admit that I'm guilty of staying on the computer instead of playing outside. But I never stop appreciating nature.
By polluting we mar that beauty. And that we definitely should not. People often ask, what's in it for us if we stop polluting, wating electricity, and wasting water? The truth is, Earth sustains us. If we continue to pollute, waste, and destroy, we will ALL suffer the concequences. Dirty air makes us sick. Lack of water is bad for obvious reasons. Electricity is not endless. This destruction is caused by us.
But we do more than that. We ruin amazing veiws.
You may be thinking now; I thought this was an article on Nature's beauty. Why am I reading about pollution?
The truth is: It all comes down to the same thing. We cause the ruin of so much. Please protect our Earth mother, and all those veiws that make you say "Wow.".

Note: We do NOT own the pictures in this article.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shelter Animals And How To Help Them, by Silvia Phenora

You've probably been to an Animal Shelter sometime in your life. Passed by all those longing faces, begging you to let them out, let them lick your hands, or maybe purr and cuddle.
Maybe you asked the staff to let one out with you, just for a short time. But chances are, you put them back.
There are many animals at shelters. Not just dogs and cats. I volunteer at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona(HSSA). I mainly work with the cats, and our family fosters kittens(more on fostering later).
A while ago HSSA had a three-day event called the Furbaby Fiesta. All mixed-breeds were free(no adoption fee), and all purebreds were half-off.
My mother and I worked with the cats, telling people about them and handing them adoption applications if nessesary. Nearby, in a separate room, the "pocket pets" were kept. And that brings me to my point.
Shelters aren't just about cats and dogs. They save any kind of pet, reptiles, rodents, birds, cats, dogs, etc.
Below: Rufus, a rat that was at HSSA.

I even got to witness the adoption of Snowball and Fiver, two Ferrets. (See below pic)

Below: Snowball and Fiver

So anyway, about fostering... It really touches animals lives. Yes, it can be hard to let them go at the end of the foster period. But without being in a foster home, these animals wouldn't have lived. Many of the animals that end up in foster homes are too scared to be adoptable, are too young to survive in the shelter(some kittens we had for three days came to a veterinarian just minutes old, with the umbilicle cord still attached), or have to recover from wounds. If you can't adopt, consider fostering.

About rescuing an animal: At kill shelters, sometimes an animal will be listed as a "rescue". This means that animal, for whatever reason, has less "time" left at the shelter than other animals.
If you can adopt a rescue animal, all the better. But it helps all the animals in the shelter if you adopt any. By doing do, you make more room in the shelter for others.
My uncle and aunt foster dogs, and rescue them too. They often have two rescued dogs at a time, three if fostering.

About volunteering: Volunteering is a great thing to do. You can help out by walking dogs, handling cats,  
cleaning kennels, advocating for animals during events, and more. By volunteering, you can help immensely. You don't have to stay all day cleaning the shelter or anything. All it takes to touch a life is just sit down for a while with a lazy rat in your lap, throw a ball for that high-energy dog that hates being cooped up, stuff like that.
Shea volunteers at Homeward Bound(previously known as Addison County Humane Society).
Note: Each shelter has an age limit on certain things. For example, if you want to directly handle animals at HSSA, you have to be 15. Please respect such rules.

About donations: With most shelters, all funds come from donations and the money from adoption fees. That is why it can be expensive to adopt. The shelter depends on that money.
Some shelters lower the adoption fee on certain animals(such as those with a cold), to increase their chances of getting adopted. Other shelters(such as HSSA) do events where animals have lowered adoption fees.
If you can't foster, adopt, or volunteer, at least donate. Every penny counts.

And now, here is a picture of a wonderful pet that got adopted, Fred.

Below: Fred the Cockatoo

Monday, October 29, 2012

8 Animal Myths Compared To The Truth, by Silvia Phenora

Myth: Pigs are dirty.
Truth: Pigs are actually very clean. They roll in mud not only to cool off, but to get rid of bugs and such. In fact, pigs may be cleaner than we are, because they don't sweat! The term "sweating like a pig" is quite a misnomer.

Myth: The smaller the brain, the dumber.
Truth: This is quite a stupid(no pun intended) rumor. Plenty of animals with smaller brains are quite smart. Take a parrot for example. A parrot can learn to speak English, turn on the TV, escape their cage, and more.
You may be thinking, "Then why can't animals run a blender, or read a book?". Well, think of animals as toddlers. By both a toddler's and an animal's thinking, many things humans do are strange, and hard to understand. Through process of learning, both toddlers and animals can figure out how to do things. They aren't dumb. They just were never taught.

Myth: Animals can't talk unless they are taught.
Truth: Animals speak. Just not in English. They can communicate much better than us.

Myth: Bear Bells protect you from bears.
Truth: Bear Bells have been found in bear poop. No joke. They do NOT help at all.

Myth: Rattle Snakes always shake their rattle before striking.
Truth: They usually do, but not always. It is best to leave a rattler alone, whether it is shaking it's rattle or not.

Myth(or superstion really): Bats tangle themselves in people hair, and won't let go until it thunders.
Truth: Three things.
1. Bats do not deliberately tangle themselves in people's hair. It would be even worse for the bat than for you.
2. Why would thunder scare off a bat?
3. Where are you hearing these things?

Myth: Coyotes travel in packs.
Truth: That applies to WOLVES. Confusing them is more common than you may think. Bottom line: Coyotes are solitary creatures. Some Wolves are too, but Coyotes basically never travel in packs.

Myth: Bats are blind.
Truth: Bats do not see as well as some critters, but bats do have eyes, and they use them too.
To make up for their bad eyesight use Echolocation. In using Echolocation, bats emit sound waves from their mouth(like screaming in a special way). Using their ears(which are excellent), bets then listen to how the sound waves bounce back at them. In this way, the can pinpoint prey, obstacles, and other objects.
So bats aren't blind. They are just shortsighted.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bee's big problem by Shea Montgomery

Most people are afraid of bees ( this may not apply to you).  What people don't realize ( again this may not apply to you) is that honey bees are more or less harmless. Yes, they have a stinger and all that but they most likely aren't going to use it on you unless you've as good as killed them( stepping on them sitting on them etc) or threaten their hive.  Why is that? Because there is only one sting per bee. Once the bee has stung it dies.  So no bee is going to sting you for no reason( however hornets are a different story). Got it? Good.
Without honey bees we wouldn`t have 1/3 of the foods we like to eat ( apples, almonds, broccoli, cucumbers, pumkins etc).  Unfortunatly the bees are disapearing at an alarming rate. Over 1/3 of the colonies have already died. Scientists are not quite sure what is causing the bees to disapear. It could be parasites, pesticides, the possibilities are vast.  But losing food isn't the only problem we have here. Bees are living things too and we can't just let them die. Please help the situation by either donating to an organization trying to figure out what's happining to them, or help raise awareness among your friends and family. The bees need you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beauty products and their ugly secrets by Shea Montgomery

Every year thousands of animals are killed due to absolutely evil tests done by beauty product companies, to make sure their makeup is safe for humans to use. Most of the tests are deadly and others cripple the animals for life, tests such as rubbing mascara or eyeshadow in the animals eyes are common acts of abuse committed by these companies. They would perform a test causing the animal to be in great pain, record there injuries and fianlly kill them The thing is there are plenty of alternative ways to find out if their makeup is safe for humans that don't include abusing innocent animals, such as testing on skin cells or not using toxic ingredients altogether. If you're shopping for beauty products please make sure it's a company that does not use unnecessary acts of cruelty to make its products.  The is nothing to gain by testing on animals so why do it?  To all those make up companies out there that test on animals I bet you could get a lot more people to buy your products if you could say that you don`t abuse animals.  Makeup in my opinion is one of those optional things so just remember that inner beauty comes first.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Swap Smart. Swap To Save. By Silvia Phenora

Nearly all of us are guilty of it. We see a new thing-a-ma-bob and we buy it. This is commonly known as impulse buying.
Here is a way to cut down on your impulse buying, and therefore cut down on your negative impact on the planet.
Say you walk into the store. You see a thing in sale. You think "Oh, it's on sale. Maybe I will buy it.". You consider if you need it, and realize it is not something you need. Still, you're feeling that pull. You want that thing. It doesn't cost much. But before you plonk it in your basket, cart, or bag, think again. This is going to encourage suppliers to make more products, because you are buying them. Every time something is on the market, a score of how many people have bought the product is kept. If the score reaches a "reasonable" amount, it is decided that more of that product will be made. By buying something at the Supermarket, you are helping ensure that mass-producing will continue. One way to help is to buy from local businesses, which helps the Economy. But we have an additional idea.
Step 1. Check the price of the product you want, but don't need.
Step 2. Put the product back.
Step 3. Find a product you need, will donate to charity(like a blanket), or would benefit the environment(or multiples of the above), that is the same or almost the same price as the original item. An alternate Step 3 is to just keep your money.
Step 4. Buy the product you need, will donate, or will help the environment. Then do the appropriate action(such as donating it). If you used the alternate Step 3, donate the saved money to charity, or put the money in the bank to be spent on something you really need.
Tada! You just helped out the environment and maybe a charity!

Note 1. : To be even more Eco-Friendly, bring cloth bags instead of using plastic ones at checkout. Most grocery stores have such reusable bags for sale at checkout.

Note 2. : Shea's What We Waste tips mentioned the swap 'n' save. Quote, 'If you don't need it don't buy it( all those stupid plastic thingies add up)' End of quote.
Please read Shea's tips and our other articles for more info on being Earth-friendly!

Rescue Dog Duke Saves Baby Harper's Life

When infant baby Harper stopped breathing, her parents were unaware, and would have gone to sleep if not for their dog, Duke, whom they had rescued years ago.
Duke started shaking violently on the bed. Realizing that this was not normal behavior, Harper's parents investigated, and found the non-breathing Harper. Her father called 911, and the ambulance arrived. Harper is now doing well, and her survival is thanks to Duke.
Harper's mother Jenna Brousseau said "He's the perfect dog, he was meant, meant to be ours, he was meant to be hers."

The moral? Even in ways you may not have expected, if you rescue an animal, they will return the favor.

What we waste, by Shea Montgumery


People are very wasteful creatures( you probably already knew that) so in order to heal this world we need to change that ( yep I'm still just stating the obvious).  Below are some steps you can take to make your daily life less wasteful:

  1. Try not to use really hot water if you can avoid it because it takes a lot of oil and energy to heat the water.
  2. If you have a fireplace block it up in the winter because a lot of  the heat leaves your house through the chimney ( that wastes energy and raises your heating bill).
  3. Recycle.
  4. If you don't need it don't buy it( all those stupid plastic thingies add up).
  5. Don't throw away good clothes once you've outgrown them. Give them to your little sister or donate them.
  6. Put a brick in your toilet tank, because the water will always fill to a certain point and if you put a brick inside it will raise the water level, making less water flow into the tank, wasting less water.( don't worry it won't break your toilet)
  7. Buy energy efficient appliances(for obvious reasons).
  8. Don't use what you don't need. Examples: when you wash dishes use as little dish soap as possible, useing less shampoo when you wash your hair or just being carful not to waist too much paper.
  9. buy food with less packaging.  Try to avoide getting food at fast food restaurants, for one most of them are not good for you,  and there ends up being more plastic wrappings left over then the food itself. Example:if you got pancakes at a fast food place the food you would have would be: the pancakes, the butter, the surup, the potatoes, the ketchup and a drink. For waste you would have : the bag everything came in, the plastic box from the pancakes, the container from the butter, the container from the surup, the box from the potatoes, the packet from the ketchup, the cup and lid from the drink, the plastic silverware and the bag they came in, the straw and its wrapper and the napkins that you used.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Watch your step. Pollution crossing. By Silvia Phenora

At one point my family and I camped at Padre Island National Seashore. With a beach home to Kemps Ridley, the smallest and most endangered Sea Turtle in the world, it seemed a nice place to go. It was, with good scenery, a loooong beach, and a nice campground. 
While staying there, I found a hatched Sea Turtle egg(we gave it to the Ranger exhibit) and we learned interesting facts. Like, did you know that there is a coral that lives there that looks just like electrical wire? The coral come in pink and yellow, is long and thin, and appears to be a copper wire with a coating. In fact, the Park Rangers warned us before we went to the beach to pick up trash not to pick up coral instead! A way to tell if it's coral or wire is to take a good look at the side. Do you see little pores? If so, that's coral you found.

(Above: Wire....? Nope, coral.)

We also learned of Man-O-War, a creature that appears to be a Jellyfish. WRONG!
It is actually four different animals working together. However, the Man-O-War still has a nasty sting.
And so, knowledgable about coral, and knowing to avoid the Man-O-War who lived there, we set off to the beach to pick up trash. We had heard that the beach was full of trash, because of people throwing it off of ships, but nothing could have prepared us for the sight of it.
Trash....EVERYWHERE. All you could see on the sand other than the occasional Man-O-War or coral was trash.
We got out our bags and got to work. And we worked for about an hour, still picking up trash.
Occasionally, we found a piece of coral, a plastic bottle cap, a baby's pacifier, a trash bag, even dangerious used needles. But the saddest things were the plastic bottles.
It had been explained to us earlier that floating plastic bottles were often mistaken for Jellyfish by the Kemps Ridley and bitten by the hungry creatures, as Jellyfish are part of their diet. Thus, they ingested plastic, which you can probably imagine is not good for their digestive system. We were told that if we saw a diamond-shaped mark in the bottle, it meant that a Kemps Ridley had bitten it with their sharp beaks.

(Above: Sea Turtle bite marks in a plastic container)

Finally, we stopped for our picnic, and surveyed our work.
We had cleared about a mile in a whole hour.
That experience really opened our eyes to how much a seemingly little action of throwing something off a ship can do.
Please recycle, and protect our beaches.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Pokémon of Afisia, a Pokémon story, by Silvia Phenora

One of my Pokémon stories. Yes, I am a Pokémon fan. Please enjoy these stories I wrote myself. No one may copy this story without my express written permission.

Chapter one: Home?

Bubble could smell flowers. And hear the wisp of trees. It was a forest, she was certain. And-did she remember it? Was it-could it be-? No, she couldn't remember. Maybe, from long ago. Or was it yesterday? Of one thing she WAS certain: she was safe.

Chapter two: The Meeting

What? What did he say? Was it a he? Wait....what?
"Come on lazy bones! Wake up!"
Oooogg... "Uh?" "What?"
"I SAID wake up! The Meeting is about to start!" Yes, it was a he.
Bubble squinted at the Pokemon in front of her. It was a Squirtle. "Who are you?" she asked, scrambling to her feet.
"Wha? Don't you recognize me-oh! I'm sorry, I thought you were someone I knew. I'm Squirtleto!", Squirtleto said, immediately cheerful again. "You can tell me who you are on the way to the meeting!".
Hmm. Did she recognize this Meeting? Yes, there was something a recollection of....? It slipped out of her grasp. What was the Meeting? "Come on!" called Squirtleto cheerfully as he ran. She would have to find out later.

Chapter three: Fire, Grass, Water, Flying

The clearing was large. It was filled with all types of Poke'mon. "Over here Bubble!" Squirtleto beckoned.
She had told him her name on the way, but had refrained from mentioning her apparent Memory loss.  It was funny. This body didn't feel like hers. She looked down at her Bulbasaur body. It looked like any other Bulbasaur to her, but on the way Squirtleto had said she looked..... Different from the rest of them.
Bubble sat with him. All the Poke'mon were focused on the center of the clearing, where a Beedrill stood.
"Let the Meeting begin", he called, in an indescribeable voice.
On his left stood a Pigeot. On his right, a Scizor.
We gather here today to Honor the Legendary Poke'mon, but especially Virizion and Celebi, Poke'mon of the Forest.
I have no news no share with you, but Chief Pigeot and Soul Scizor may."
An interesting title, thought Bubble.
She liked it.
The Scizor stepped forward.
"I wish to inform you the Scyther Swarm have decided the rules of this year's Poke'mon Games", he announced.
"You must take it up with them if you wish to Participate. I have no further news." He bowed and and stepped back.
The Pigeot stepped forward.
The Pigeot Flock has claimed flying rights to Asilia. The Staraptor Clan have agreed to this."
"Remember how that claim almost shattered the Peace?" Squirtleto murmured to Bubble.
She jerked back, then tried to cover it up. Squirtleto obviously thought she lived here, as did the others.
Pigeot dipped his head and stepped back.
"This meeting is at an end. Please pay your respects and share all prayers at the Altar." Scizor nodded respectfully at the rectangle of stone just behind the clearing. The nod was an odd gesture for a Scizor.
As the Poke'mon moved to pay their Respects, Bubble thought hard about what she had heard.
"Come on, let us go when we are done." whispered Squirtleto.
They walked to the Altar.

Chapter 4: Placement

"Hey Bubble", started Squirtleto.
They where at a pool in between a Swampy area and a Spring where Squirtleto lived. As they walked from the meeting place they had passed by the place where Squirtleto had found Bubble. She had pondered how she got there, but Memory-wise she had met only a wall of fuzzy, Memory-less blackness that she couldn't make sense of. She only knew that she couldn't remember...WHAT? And THAT didn't help much.
"I was thinking" said Squirtleto.
"that, well, maybe you could live here with me. We seem to be getting along fine."
 Bubble nodded. Yes, she liked that idea. Should she tell him?
"So...would you like that? Bubble?" Squirtleto looked uncertain.
"Ye-yes", said Bubble hesitantly.
"Yay!" He looked positively delighted.
Happy at his elation, Bubble turned to go sleep in a large crack in some rocks, where Squirtleto said they would sleep together.
"Wait, Bubble",
She turned back toward him.
"I think we'll be great partners. Poke'mon haven't been very nice to each other lately, and I like that we get along." Squirtleto ducked his head shyly.
Yes. Partners. Maybe she and Squirtleto could be a good team. Perhaps he could help her.
"Good night  Bubble."
"Good night", she whispered.

I'm sorry Chapter 4 got romantic. I didn't mean it to be, it was bad wording on my part. I will stick away from the love comments in the rest if the story.

Chapter 5: Ridgail sstsily
(No, that is not a typo.)

Bubble stared. She couldn't help herself. In the mossy forest, she had seen many beautiful beings, nothing as amazing as this. Everything was wonderful. There were Poke'mon who were flying, Poke'mon that were walking, Poke'mon everywhere, and the sceniery, breathtaking, colorful fruits hanging from Tropius necks, the wings of Yanma glinting.. The Scyther were lining up for something, apparently practicing for the Poke'mon games... She still wanted to know what they were.
"Pretty nice, huh?"
Squirtleto's voice made her jump.
'Yeah... But pretty does not even begin to describe it..."
Bubble was more talkative now.
"Come, let's say hello."
"Uh, okay."
What if they mentioned not seeing her before? She had tried to tell him..... But had not found the strength.
"Move it!", a Scyther growled.
"Oh, sorry", she apologized.
"Sorry doesn't CUT it!"
"Sckuintr." Soul Scizor appeared, a warning in his voice. He pronounced the name Schoon-ter.
Sckuintr hissed under his breath, as well as a Scyther could hiss.
He barged ahead, knocking another Scyther over.
"That is enough! You have gone far enough Sckuintr!"
Soul Scizor looked furious now.
"You are constantly misbehaving, a disgrace to the Swarm! I herby banish you to unknown lands!"
Sckuintr did not attack or show dismay. He left, his wings fluttering.
Bubble watched until she could not see him any more.
"That seems a little harsh," muttered Bubble to Squirtleto, keeping an eye on Soul Scizor.
"Why didn't he just warn him, or not let him compete in the games?"
Squirtleto glanced at Soul Scizor, then looked back behind himself at Chief Pigeot, who was looking at them slightly suspiciously.
"It's Chief Pigeot you have to watch out for. His hearing is better than you may think."
They moved themselves out of the way.
"So?" Bubble prompted.
Squirtleto sighed and gazed out.
"Long ago, a treaty was signed. A treaty that proposed eternal Peace. We call it Ridgail sstsily. If you ever need to know about it, talk to Chief Pigeot. He is practically a fan of it."
He continued.
"This Treaty was designed to make sure that no Poke'mon were ever slaughtered in battle again. We aren't really supposed to talk about this, because apparently something really bad happened before the Treaty was signed.
Sckuintr was a constant preacher of the Peace and that treaty. And one day, that changed. We all felt it. Something happened. Something that changed Sckuintr. Ever since, he has been mean. Soul Scizor's main job is to banish people who are offenders of the Peace. He had to banish Sckuintr by law.
We all saw it coming, but no one wanted to say so."
He looked curiously at Bubble.
"Why didn't you know this? You seem like a newcomer."
Bubble took a deep, shaky breath. It was time.
"Because I am. I mean I might be, I don't know." She said all in one breath.

Chapter 6: Confession

"What?" Squirtleto stared at her askance.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I meant to tell you, I just couldn't find the words." said Bubble miserably, struggling to keep her voice down.
"But, Bubble," Squirtleto shook his head.
"that was foolish. I wouldn't have minded."
"But you don't understand. I have no Memory. I try to remember things from my past, but I don't even know where I lived."
Squirtleto stared at her, beginning to get the picture.
"So, you mean.... That when I found you, you didn't know anything?"
Bubble nodded. Would he still be her friend?
"Bubble, I-I- understand why you were silent about it, I think, but still.... I don't know what to make of this.
"Neither do I", she said, still miserable.
"I can't remember, and do you know how annoying that is?!"
At this her voice rose to a wail, and the other Poke'mon began to look curiously at them.
"Come on, Bubble,", Squirtleto said quietly.
"let's go home."
She sniffed and nodded, and they walked in silence back to Squirtleto's home.
It was getting dark now, and Bubble went inside, Squirtleto following her.
"I'm sorry Bubble." He said after they had lain there for some time.
"I didn't mean to freak out. I just don't understand. I still want to be your friend."
Bubble said nothing, staring at the rock.
After what seemed like forever, she fell into sleep without knowing it.

Chapter 7: A Visitor

A tinkle. A soft, yet beautiful sound, and so clear.
What was it?
Not quite conscious of her surroundings, Bubble went toward the noise.
A Poke'mon stood there. Without really seeing, she knew it was a Liepard.
"Welcome", the Liepard purred. "I have brought you here to explain. You must save us."
How? Bubble wondered.
And who are you?
"I am your.... teacher. I suppose you can call me teacher. A teacher of Dreams.
Your destiny is to help us. You will know who we are when the time is right.
And perhaps you shall get your Memory back."
My-my Memory?
Now, you are going to wake up. When you do, do try to remember this."

And Bubble woke with a start.

Chapter 8: Send someone!

"I had a strange dream last night." Bubble began.
"She said something about my-my... Memory loss. And something else too. If I can only remember it!"
Darn, she had been hoping not to breach the Memory subject.
Squirtleto paused and looked at her, hard.
"If I could help Bubble, I would. But I'm still trying to figure out how you could have lost your Memory.
Maybe if I---?"
He broke off.
Bubble waited patiently until she could stand it no longer.
Squirtleto shook his head.
"I think I remember Beedrill saying something about Liepards. Once. He said they lived far away, with strange Poke'mon that we had not seen before. I think we should ask him."
Bubble nodded. So her dream did mean something!

Later, Buble and Squirtleto had found Beedrill. He was at the Meeting place, which was odd, since it was not time for a Meeting, and Soul Scizor and Chief Pigeot were with him.
This gave Bubble and Squirtleto pause, Squirtleto fervently asking forgiveness from Celebii for eavesdropping on the caretakers of the Forest. Bubble considered telling him to be quiet, then decided if Celebii was watching over them, all the better.
"No! We cannot!" said Beedrill firmly.
There was that voice again, thought Bubble. It was..... Whiny? No. Thin? Maybe. Screechy? Not quite. At least normally. Now it was bordering on screechy.
"We must! I know as well as you what happened, but we have to send someone."
That was Soul Scizor.
Chief Pigeot cleared his throat.
"I think Soul Sczor is right. Your word is law, Beedrill, but you must listen to what we tell you."
"But who to send?"
Soul Scizor looked nervously around.
"I don't know, but it's not safe to talk here much longer."
Chief Pigeot and Beedrill both nodded.
Bubble and Squirtleto ran for home and didn't look back.

Chapter 9: The chosen are the choosers, but the choosers are not the chosen

The next morning a Meeting had been called.
A Yanma flew up to Squirtleto, exclaiming that he had to come quick, this Meeting was urgent.
And so he called Bubble, and they went to the Meeting place.
The Meeting looked the same as before, exept that there was a buzz of tension in the air. Of course, that could have been the Bug Types, thought Bubble.
Beedrill paced nervously around, while Chief Pigot tried to stay cool, but kept stamping his feet. There was a look of worry on Soul Scizor's face.
Chief Pigeot shot a look at Beedrill.
 "We are gathered here today," began Beedrill.
"because of a very A quest to the far reaches of the world."
The Poke'mon murmured amongst themselves.
"Quiet, please. Now, this quest of sorts would have some Poke'mon, preferably two to four, travel to the far reaches."
"The far reaches of what?" called a Poke'mon.
"The world." replied Beedrill.
"The Poke'mon would have to go on foot, for the place is hard to find by air, and be very strong. This is a dangerous mission."
Some Poke'mon shook their heads uneasily, and stepped back.
Others, after considering, walked forward.
Most didn't move or talk.
Bubble looked at Squirtleto, and he looked at her. They each knew what the other was thinking. And they knew that they were thinking the same thing. This had to do with Bubble's dream, it had to.
They nodded at each other, a barely discernable nod.
And together, they walked up. They passed the strong-looking Poke'mon looking at them in disbelief, and stood in front of Beedrill.
"Well, well." Soul Scizor looked-and sounded-suprised.
"Squirtleto....unexpected. And you." he looked at Bubble.
"I believe you were there at the Scyther practices yesterday. Interesting, I don't think I had seen you before that."
Bubble couldn't speak. She didn't trust herself to.
Beedrill coughed. He sounded uncomfortable.
"I don't think-that is-hmmm. These two," he let the last two words hang in the air,
"may not be erm, experienced enough to embark upon this dangerous mission."
Chief Pigeot looked at them with a predator's stare. Bubble tried not to look scared or flinch.
"I believe they are worthy." he announced.
"They look strong, and determined. That alone will get them through this, if they kkeep their faith in themselves and others."
Beedrill still shifted uncomfortably as Soul Scizor looked at him. He knew what that look from Soul Scizor meant. It meant: they walked forward despite not knowing what they were in for, and still are. Make the right decision.
"All right, I suppose if, well, since, they have joined forces and are willing, then they shall go."
The Poke'mon cheered, even though some of them had wanted to go instead. They knew better than to argue with any of the three Poke'mon.
"Tommorow," said Soul Scizor.
"You will get your briefing on what you must do." finished Beedrill.
But I know some of what I must do, thought Bubble.
I must save them. Whoever they are.

Chapter 10: Ayan The Wurmple

Bubble woke the next morning amazed at how fresh she felt. This was it. They were going on a mission, and finally, perhaps her Memory would come back. Up until now, she hadn't allowed herself to think of that possibility, for fear that Liepard was not real. She thought maybe her dream was just wishful thinking.
But now it was certain! Squirtleto and herself......were going on a quest!
"Are you ready?" asked Squirtleto.
She saw his eyes were shining, with barely suppressed excitement, and knew he was feeling the same as herself.
They walked on over to the meeting place, enjoying the sunshine and the smell of flowers.
"Finally." Soul Scizor boomed.
"You must be on your way as soon as possible."
Squirtleto bowed his head, though whether in respect, or trying to hide his barely contained excitement, Bubbe could not tell.
Beedrill spoke,
"You must travel past the mountains, and over lake. Whether you swim, go around, or find a different route, it is up to you, but you must remember that timing is of the utmost importance, next to your own safety. After you reach the edge of the land known to us, you must continue on your own. We cannot accompany you, so we cannot help you. And you may not take any others with you. Is this all clear?"
Squirtleto and Bubble nodded.
"Good." said Beedrill.
"Also, it would burden your journey to bring provisions. We have heard nothing of poisonous plants in the far area, so it is assumable that you will be able to find food.
And most of all, be friendly to whoever you meet on this dangerous journey. We must find out what is going on."
"Beedrill," asked Squirtleto tentatively,
"what is our mission, exactly?"
Bubble hadn't thought about it much, due to all adrenaline rushing through her, but she realized Squirtleto was right. They had no idea what to do.
Worry gnawed at her. What if they just wandered around until they had to go back home, with nothing?
"Well," started Beedrill, seeming weary.
"it has come to our attention-never mind how-that Poke'mon are in trouble. Not just here, but all over the world. You must find out what is going on. Once you have, come back. Do NOT try to handle this on your own. You got it?"
Bubbke and Squirtleto nodded obediently, but Bubble's belly was clenching in anger. So they trusted her and Squirtleto to go on a dangerous journey, but they couldn't help??
Bubble glanced at Squirtleto, and saw her own frustration reflected in his face.
"But", began Squirtleto, seeming to struggle to keep his voice neutral.
"what if we have to help? We can't leave Poke'mon in need. How do you know we should only find out what's going in, but not take action? Were you sent a prophecy? Any of you?" Squirtleto turned, facing each of the Preachers of the Peace in turn.
Beedrill seemed to struggle to remain composed.
"That is none of your business. It should not concern you. Your only job is to go find out how it is."
Bubble saw Chief Pigeot look at Beedrill. He looked...concerned? Worried? Chief Pigeot opens his beak as if to say something, then closed it again with a clack.
The snappy noise seemed to startle Beedrill, and he took a pace back. Soul Scizor stepped forward, seeming to deliberately not look at Beedrill as he did so.
"It is time for the goodbye gifts." he said.
Soul Scizor turned slightly to the side, and took a small parcel from the ground. He offered to Bubble, placing it at her feet. Somehow, Bubble knew, this was a part of a great, formal Ceremony.
Soul Scizor proclaimed,
"This is a great honor. Normally, this would be followed by a solem opening of the gifts, and a dance, but for the sake of time we must have you open these on the road."
Chief Pigeot and Beedrill placed their gifts to Bubble and Squirtleto upon the ground near Squirtleto and Bubble's feet.
"You must go now." said Beedrill. He sounded as if this was something he had long anticipated.
Bubble and Squirtleto nodded, dipping their heads to the Preachers of the Peace. And they then picked up their gifts.


Ayan was a Wurmple. And a very good one. He was a bit on the smallish side, but that couldn't really be helped, and he was very funny and friendly, so most Poke'mon liked him just fine. Auan was a bit of a chatterbox, but not a gossiper. And so, when Ayan saw his good old friend Squirtleto, he crawled over to see what was the matter.
"Hey Ayan," Squirtleto greeted him.
"Whatcha up to?"
Ayan looked a bit critically at his friend. Squirtleto was making an effort to have a happy face, he could see that.
"Oh, fine, fine." said Ayan.
"I could ask you the same thing though."
"Ah. Yeah." Squirtleto made a grimacing smile.
"Well, you know..the usual thing." he locked eyes with Ayan. The little Wurmple knew what was going on with Squirtleto now. Bubble looked from one to the other. She could not tell what had passed between the two of them, but it wasn't good.
"Soo..." began Ayan, trying to change the subject.
"Where are you off to? And who is this?"
"Oh, this is Bubble." said Squirtleto earnestly.
"She is coming on the quest with me. You know, we have to go see what is going on."
"Oh, yes, I heard about that! I wasn't at the meeting, I'm sorry, I couldn't come fast enough."
Ayan looked down at his little legs. They could go fast, he knew, but the message about the abruptly called meeting had come a little late.
"Mmhmm." Squirtleto nodded. He looked at the sky.
"Well, we should be off. It's nearing noon."
"Good Luck!" called Ayan.
"You too!" they shouted in return.
And so, in high spirits, Squirtleto and Bubble walked in the direction Squirtleto had told Bubble was fastest.
Ayan watched them go until they were dots, his mind whirling. This was crazy, just a crazy thought. But one that might actually work. He had always wanted to go on an adventure, after all.

  Chapter 11: Grey Gifts

"So, you want to open those gifts yet?" Squirtleto finally asked.
He and Bubble had been trudging along for a while. The bird Poke'mon were singing, and the day seemed a nice one, especially for traveling. The sky was fairly clear, the Sun bright.
A good day, except for one fact. Bubble and Squirtleto were walking to an known place for an unknown time, and an awkward silence was between them. So two facts, really.
"Bubble? You seem kinda out of there."
Bubble sighed and glanced at Squirtleto. She kept walking.
"I think we should soon, but after we walk a little more." Bubble knew Squirtleto would pick up on her thoughts.
He looked like he really didn't want to talk about it.
He kept silent a little longer, and Bubble pushed.
“What was that with Ayan?” she gave him another look as she asked.
“I really don’t want to talk about it.” He sighed.
“You seemed upset.”
“Not now, please.”
Bubble tried to find a way to convince him to tell her, but eventually she had to concede it was easier and nicer to respect his privacy.
After walking for a bit, the trees began to get..darker. The lush green slowly went away and was replaced by dark green-leaved trees that looked poisonous. Bubble noticed a tree that was different from the other and pointed it out to Squirtleto.
“Those are Chestnuts on that.” he said, staring slightly hungrily at it.
Bubble’s stomach rumbled slightly and she realized she had not eaten for quite a while, but by unspoken agreement they didn’t dare take one of the delicious Chestnuts. Something was wrong.
As they trudged on, Bubble noticed the beam of light up ahead, just as Squirtleto said “There. We are almost to the lake.” But he said it quietly, like they weren’t alone in the forest. Bubble felt it too. A presence.
A Heracross appeared in front of them, and Bubble frowned, wondering how he had jumped in front of them without noticing. Perhaps it was just the shadows hiding him until they were closer.
“Hi. Excuse me, but are we almost to the lake?” Squirtleto asked politely.
The Heracross’s antennae twitched nervously, and it turned to the tree beside them. There were a large group of Mankey there, and Bubble and Squirtleto jumped slightly.
“This isn’t good.” Squirtleto said softly to Bubble.
One of the Mankey hissed and made itself taller, like it had heard and was preparing for a fight.
“You are trespassers. Stop, do not go farther. Or you will have to deal with US.” One of them on the left said.
“Please, we are traveling-”
“Shush!” cried one of them, in the front.
In a foreign, strongly accented dialect so harsh Bubble could barely understand it, the Mankey said,
“Here, we do not allow trespassers.” It surveyed them for a moment.
“Go after them.”
“Whaa?! Run!” Bubble wasn’t sure if she had yelled that or Squirtleto, but then she was running.
“Mankey are very easy to upset!” Panted Squirtleto in her ear.
“Don’t talk!” she panted back.
For the first time, Bubble wished her body was made to run, like Squirtleto’s, rather than hop or leap.
They ran for what seemed like hours but was only minutes, and came to a tree in the middle of the path.
We’re going the wrong way! Bubbles realized in dismay.
They’ve chased us back nearly a mile!
She glanced back. Squirtleto was lagging farther behind..
She looked forward again and saw red on top of the lowest tree branch.
Wurmple registered in her mind before it beckoned her, then she ran and leaped for the branch.
She missed, her brain going faster than her body. She thought she would have to  hit the ground and immediately scramble up the trunk, but there was no need. The Wurmple’s tail wrapped around her arm and helped haul her up as she scrambled to grab the branch. Once up, she turned to watch Squirtleto, and without her noticing the Wurmple quietly scrunched higher, into the darker part of the leaves.
The Mankey were right at Squirtleto’s heels, and as he neared the tree a realization flashed in her.
“Oh, Arceus, they can climb!” She shrieked.
Higher up and out of sight, Ayan the Wurmple softly cursed himself for making this grave error.
Squirtleto hesitated for a split second, and darted to his right. The Mankey began to close in, and he swerved left to a bush and jumped in. There was a lot of rustling as the Mankey followed him, and Bubble held her breath. There was some more rustling and some squirming sounds and Squirtleto burst out again, and the Mankey followed him in a chase around the trunk of the tree that would have looked comical in a different situation. After two runs around it, Squirtleto jumped up and scrambled up the tree like mad.
The Mankey came up fast and cornered them, surrounding them. Bubble and Squirtleto backed up until they nearly slid backwards off the branch, and Bubble got an idea.
“Squirtleto.” she whispered to get his attention.
“I have an idea. We’ll swing.”
“Shh! We’ll swing on the vines hanging off the branches.”
Squirtleto looked at her in horror.
“But we can’t! I’m scared of heights, and can’t hold onto them!”
Looking at her feet, Bubble knew he was right. She couldn’t hang on, her feet weren’t made for climbing at all.
“We’ll have to try, it’s our only hope!” She hoped she sounded brave.
“If worst comes to worst, we’ll run through the trees. We’ll probably be caught, but we must try, Squirtleto!”
He looked at her, and, putting on a brave face, nodded.
“It’s our only chance.” he agreed.
One of the more impatiant Mankey snarled and leaped, and Squirtleto ducked into his shell and shot water out of the holes. It hit and the Mankey went flying.
“It was instinct!” cried a horrified Squirtleto, who had never had the need to fight.
Bubbele was cut off by Squirtleto.
They turned and jumped to the tree next to the one they were in, aiming a little higher than the vine hanging from it. Bubble and Squirtleto grasped the vine as they hit it and swung to the next, heading for the lake. Bubble could do it!
The Mankey screamed and went after them.
“Duck!” Yelled Squirtleto and Bubble did, narrowly avoiding a branch, but how narrow she did not know, she only went ahead.
Thump went the ominous sound and feel of a Mankey landing on the branch behind them, and the tree itself seemed to fear it.
Bubble abandoned her vine tactic and hit the branch in front, Squirtleto following.
They crashed through the trees, half the time unable to see or think. Squirtleto cried out as something crashed through the leaves next to him, and two seconds later Bubble collided with him as she jumped from the sight of a Spinarak clicking its mouth at her in its web.
They went on, and a Pachirisu squealed and leaped over them as they ran towards it, and a moment later it joined them in their frenzied run after seeing the furious Mankey horde.
They were going to be caught, there was no denying it. The lake was in sight, frustratingly so, but the Mankey were nearly upon them and Bubble thought she could feel their hot breath. The noise was deafening, but one sound managed to pierce through. A screech. A blur dove towards them and swooped under, and before they knew it Squirtleto and Bubble were on its back. A Wingull.
He hovered for a moment to allow the Pachirisu to clasp onto his tail, and then they were off to the sky.
She thought the Wingull said something, but whatever it was she didn’t catch it.
The Mankey’s anger now was unbearable to the ears, and Bubble buried her head in the Wingull’s feathers to stop the noise from reaching her. It didn’t work.

Later, they were at the lake’s beach and on the sand, and Bubble fainted for a moment, from exhaustion and fright.

Chapter 12
The Ayan Decision

Bubble raised her head from the sand, and saw Squirtleto. For a moment, she had a flashback to the day he found her, and then the memory was gone. But she couldn’t shake the distinct feeling that she had remembered something from before that.
“Ah, you’re awake.” said the Wingull, preening his feathers.
“Good!” squeaked the Pachirisu, bounding over to her.
“Squirtleto just woke up and was explaining what happened.”
Bubble looked at her partner in mild curiousity. So he had passed out as well. She remembered him saying he was scared of heights.
“So, anyway, we accidentally angered the Mankey, who knows why, and they chased us and we ran.” Squirtleto continued.
The Wingull looked up.
“So you are on a quest of sorts?”
Bubble flinched. They weren’t supposed to tell anyone that! But they were supposed to find out what was going on..maybe the other Pokemon could help.
The Pachirisu turned around in a twirl, leaving tracks on the sand that looked like..well, a fight or dancing, some kind of scuffling had taken place.
“You can just call me Pachirisu, by the way.”
She bent slightly and drew a map in the sand.
“You are here. We came from over there, and now you’ve got to get to...around here, I suppose?”
Squirtleto peered at the map.
“That does seem to be the only easy route away from the lake.”
“Oh, no, it’s not easy.” Pachirisu and the Wingull spoke at the same time.
“Don’t you realize?” Asked Pachirisu.
“You’ll be exploring new lands! New, exciting sights to see! But also danger, plenty of it.”
“How do you know?” Asked Squirtleto.
“Ah, well you see, other Pokemon have tried to get there. But all failed.” The Wingull said. He seemed to shrug.
“We don’t know what happened to them.”
“Or if they’re OK.” Said Pachirisu softly.
If they’re ok..
“AH!” Bubble cried out. Squirtleto looked at her as if she were crazy.
“Ayan! We don’t know if he’s OK!”
Squirtleto looked horrified. Wingull glanced up.
“He’s a friend.” Bubble and Squirtleto blurted out.
“We accidentally left him behind, after he helped me up the tree..”
“AYAN was there?!” Squirtleto cried.
“We have to go back for him!”
“No.” Wingull spoke up.
“If you left a Pokemon there...I will convince my friends to help search for him. They have sharp eyes and are caring. You continue on your mission, and we will help him.”
Squirtleto didn’t look completely reassured.
“But what if he’s not OK? What then?” He asked.
“He lives where?”
“In the forest next to Asilia. In a different part from where the Mankey live.” Squirtleto answered.
“I know that area. We can bring him back there, if he is injured.” Wingull assured him.
“But we won’t know how he is..” Squirtleto murmured. Bubble wasn’t even sure if he meant for Wingull to hear.
“We have to focus on the mission.” She said, surprising herself.
“We can’t turn back, not now.”
“Wingull,” She addressed him.
“Please..take care of Ayan.”
Wingull nodded.
“We will. Oh. And my name is Jakie.”
“Hey, what about me?” Pachirisu spoke up excitedly.
“I can’t come on the mission, can I?”
Squirtleto reluctantly shook his head.
 “But I can help out! I know a place you can rest tonight.” Pachirisu said brightly.
“But it’s not yet dark.” Squirtleto glanced up.
“I was hoping we could travel more. And eat.” He added as his stomach rumbled.
Bubble’s belly felt cramped, too, but she wasn’t going to mention it.
“It’s a fair hike from here, and there are Apple trees around the area.” Pachirisu said.
“Then it’s settled, I guess.” Said Squirtleto with a glance towards Bubble.
She nodded, considering telling him that he was the leader of the expedition. But she didn’t. Maybe, he wanted to take the journey as partners, not leader and follower.

Ayan panted as he ran through the forest. Or rather, he trotted, but this was max speed for a Wurmple.. The screeches the Mankey let loose as they pursued him were worryingly close, but Ayan was an expert at using tree cover, blending in with th bright red Berrys as he inched his way through tangled bushes and vines attached to the trees. 
He'd been forced to break from his cover when they smelled him, and was now running for his life.
Finally breaking the tree cover into warm sunlight, Ayan allowed himself to slow to a stop. He controlled his breathing, looked every way to check his direction, and started off again, this time at a diagonal angle, towards where he suspected Squirtleto and Bubble would have gone. Hopefully, the Mankey would give up their pursuit, or go the wrong way before realizing his change of direction.   
Ayan's stomach rumbled and he realized he hadn't eaten since that morning. It was late afternoon by now.   
Maybe he could find some Apples around here.


Chapter 13 coming soon.