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Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten Sophia

Sophia (Rescue Kitten) turns 1. Flashbacks.

Presenting Sophia–our Rescue Kitten from Port McNeill area on northern Vancouver Island.

Photos posted of Sophia which won my heart.

After speaking with the family who had located Sophia, her mother, and her sisters and brothers; we drove the 350 km distance north west up island to adopt this little waif. The kittens had been rescued from the woods of rural Port McNeill, where sadly they had been dumped!

Reflecting back now, we really knew such a minimal amount about Sophia’s background and the initial weeks after her birth. Sophia won my heart immediately and I wanted to protect her! We named her after Sofia (Sophia) Loren. This tiny kitten was so attractive and had markings similar to eye liner near her eyes reminding me of this beautiful Italian actress who wore a trademark of ample eye liner.

Travel was challenging because Sophia was very anxious and meowed pitifully. Once we arrived at her new home she explored, burrowed under things and eventually fell asleep.

Sophia shortly after we adopted her. Aged approximately 2 months.

The first few months were a transition for Sophia and us! We saw several different vets as Sophia had quite severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from her short life experiences prior to us. We sure wished we had more information to assist her transition and help her feel less anxious.

Sophia’s first few months!

Sophia was prescribed daily anti anxiety medication as well as using a Feliway Diffuser to assist keeping her more calm. Sophia was extremely dependent on me and would get very fearful if I departed from her sight.

Sophia during the first few months

Luckily, I had recently retired so I could focus my attention on Sophia’s emotional development. She was slowly expanding her circle of adults she trusted, but was still angrily scratching and meowing to escape outdoors. More vet consultations determined that Sophia was NOT intended to be solely an indoor cat. She was spayed early at 4 months, with the goal that by 4 1/2 months she could be introduced to the outdoors.

Her first taste of freedom was sweet!

Sophia’s first introduction to the outdoor world

I was worried that Sophia might run away, but she did not! She raced around the yard in ecstasy leaping, smelling, racing up trees, and experiencing her new freedom!

From 4 1/2 months of age, Sophia officially became an indoor/outdoor cat. During rainy, windy weather she tends to stay indoors more. During late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn, Sophia spends more time outdoors. We reside in an area with lots of forest, and our immediate neighbors love Sophia!

Sophia likes to be around us and “help”. October

Sophia checks in with us multiple times a day and usually comes when she is called. Initially she was fearful of other cats and animals, but her curiosity generally wins out. Sophia loves to watch Mark work and is always very curious and helpful!

Sophia is super curious and loves to “help” Mark.

She is also learning to trust more people and her affectionate side is developing. Sophia clearly trusts and adores my son Alexander.

Sophia and Alexander have a special bond.

Sophia’s curiosity is endless and her antics keep us entertained ! After 6-7 months of age her anxiety started reducing and we were able to slowly withdraw all medical supports. She continues to be fearful of more than about 5-6 people at a time, loud noises, and unknown or unfamiliar things. We love her and she is definitely a much loved member of our household. Even her excessive scratching is ever so slowly decreasing!

Sophia and Mark watching the snow…

Sophia was truly fascinated by snow and had a fabulous time tunneling and high stepping through it on our deck and in the yard. But she was also quick to run back inside to get warm and dry!

Sophia’s first snow encounter!

This video highlights the second half of Sophia’s first year with us!

Sophia aged 6 months to 1 year!

Happy 1st Birthday Sophia! You have come a long, long way baby!

The next blog posts will focus on hiking and kayaking adventures around mid Vancouver Island. Stay safe and keep smiling my friends.

Categories
Adventure Canada Cats Exploring Outdoors Exploring Vancouver Island Nature Pacific Ocean Vancouver Island

Beaches, Blossoms, Being with Family

Despite Covid health regulations and restrictions enforcing citizens to remain in their health regions of British Columbia, Canada; the beauty of Spring blossoms, sunshine, and diverse nature opportunities from hiking to beach walking around beautiful Vancouver Island brought daily smiles and optimism.

Vibrant May blossoms around our home

Our neighborhood is surrounded by an abundance of huge evergreen trees particularly Cedar and Douglas Fir interspersed with Arbutus and a smattering of other varieties including: Spruce, Pine, and Dogwood. The trees vary in height, but many stand 60–120 feet tall! Bird songs and calls are constant entertainment and wild deer and rabbits visit regularly.

We adore nature and embrace the beauty and sounds around us. But…As the trees increase in stature, our views decrease. So…When we hear chainsaws and see Tree Falling companies arriving to remove an unsafe tree, the people in the neighborhood come out to witness the event!

Removal of an unsafe tree in our neighbors yard.

Even the neighborhood deer family came to check out the event!

A doe arrived to check out the action!

Spring fever and sunny days gave me incentive to stain the fence in the backyard! As our new roof and gutters are slate/granite colored, I decided to stain the back corner fence to match. As always, Sophia assisted and was by my side to encourage me.

From natural to stained. The phases of staining the corner back fence!

When the sun is shining, our choice is to spend as much time as possible outdoors during lockdown. When the weather shifts to rainy, gusty days…this time is a gift for working indoors organizing, sorting photos and revisiting memorabilia. May I present 3 generations of Alex? My beloved dad, Alex, passed away in 2007. As a globetrotter, he reminisced of his trips and informed me that when in Scotland he was called “Sandy”. My only son, Alexander, also follows the name tradition.

The importance of family!

More rainy days brought more blogging and reminiscing. Many years ago….my son and I won a zodiac whale watching adventure out of Tofino. It was stormy and a bit rough travelling by zodiac. We got totally drenched! The highlights were Humpbacks and Grey whales sleeping and some sea lions playing in the surf.

Memories from the past…Zodiac Whale Watching in Tofino. Playing guitars in PG.

It was fun…but we are spoiled coming from northern Vancouver Island where Orca pods, Seals, Sea Lions, Pacific white sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise, and Humpback whales roam on a regular basis.

Dedicated to my family….Here is a short video showing some flashbacks from the 1950’s onward.

Family flashbacks!

Birds are plentiful around our home, but the Juncos are particularly bold and don’t seem to mind the rainy days.

“Wet” coast birds in the rain. Especially Juncos.

In mid May 2020, during lockdown, my 87 year old mom (in excruciating pain) was transported by ambulance from her home to the hospital in isolated Port Hardy. Although I was not permitted to be with her due to Covid lockdown, it was discovered that she was passing several large kidney stones!

After several days, they transferred mom via ambulance from Port Hardy to the Campbell River Hospital 230 km south for further tests and to see a specialist. It was on the parking lot outside the hospital that we were finally permitted to see one another. This was a very emotional and stressful reality of Covid lockdown. In spite of mom’s suffering and fear, it is evident by her smile that having family support means the world.

Mom at the hospital in Campbell River

I was not permitted to see my mom for hours after I first arrived north in Campbell River from Nanaimo 155 km south. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and I walked along the Campbell River shoreline trying to gather a more peaceful, calm perspective.

Campbell River shoreline

After the hospital allowed a quick outdoor visit with mom, I was sent away again and asked to remain in the Campbell River area. The Campbell River Estuary is a favorite location of ours to go for an easy walk, or kayak paddle around the estuary and into the ocean.

Campbell River Estuary…Crazy cloud formations!

The weather was changing as storm cloud formations and lighting portrayed stunning art in the sky.

Seals playing despite the storm.

The seals entertained between float plane landings while I waited for an update from the hospital. The sunset at the Estuary was sublime.

Geese, Seals, and Kayaks exploring the Campbell River Estuary during the storm!

At 7:30 p.m. I received a call that mom (dressed in her pajamas and robe) was being discharged from the hospital. The ambulance was gone and there were no buses north to Port Hardy until the following day! That meant that my 87 year old physically challenged mom was released on her own, without support, 230 km from her home during Covid lockdown!

Thankfully, I was able to pick mom up and drive her back to her home in Port Hardy. Keep in mind, this was a 230 km road trip, during the dark of night, through lengthy sections of isolation without any (or extremely limited) cell coverage, little possibility of any gas stations open en route, no medical support if the kidney stones flared again, my mom is 87 years old–and it is Covid lockdown! Mom was quite stressed and I was not impressed that this could truly be a plausible option!???

Mom and I back home in Port Hardy.

It was a stressful 230 km trip during the dark of night and we were incredibly grateful to arrive safely in Port Hardy. Mom is now a huge advocate of drinking lots of water and taking apple cider pills! We are both Kidney Stones’ survivors and do not wish this pain on anybody!!

The next blog post will explore the nature and beautiful beaches around Port Hardy, heading south down Vancouver Island through Campbell River, and around Parksville and Nanaimo.

Sophia turns 1 year old!

In addition on May 28th our beautiful rescue kitten, Sophia, will turn 1 year old! Keep Optimistic and Safe. The world is opening up again soon…

Categories
Beavers Canada Canadian Animals Cats Elk Kayaking Nature Vancouver Island

Beavers, Bears, Beautiful British Columbia!

This blog post is a collage of life events and activities, and Canadian Flora and Fauna, during April (Springtime). From kayaking and wildlife (Beavers, Bears, Elk) to Spring flowers and blossoms on our beautiful Vancouver Island. To round it out, there are a few antics from our 11 month old kitten Sophia and a few Covid Sanity Strategies.

2 week quarantine time for my husband after returning home from working in Ontario.

April 2020 commenced with my husband quarantined in our cabana and the backyard for the first 2 weeks. He had flown home to Nanaimo, B.C. from Toronto, Ontario. It was a peculiar life experience to be physically separated and distanced during the quarantine juration and wear masks and gloves while I delivered and removed food, etc. But….We were successful and healthy, and now have new stories to share about Covid Adaptations.

Meanwhile, Sophia (our 11 month old rescue kitten) and I snuggled and awaited the end of Mark’s two week quarantine.

Sophia our rescue kitten aged 11 months…has learned to snuggle.

Sophia still suffers from anxiety and likes to tunnel or hide under mats, pillows, or blankets to feel more secure when she is frightened. However, she now realizes she gets attention from this behavior and often makes the hiding into a game. I call this one her “turtle” game.

Sophia’s turtle hiding game.

Sometimes, she is just plan curious! She likes to explore anything new from all angles!

Sophia exploring a new collapsible step.

Finally, Mark’s quarantine period concluded, and it was time to venture out together and ‘safely’ explore our “Covid lockdown health region” on Vancouver Island.

Mark and Sandy outside together–April 2020

My son, Alexander, is an Engineer working in Victoria. Due to Covid rules and restrictions, the construction completion of his new apartment was delayed. We assisted (from 2m) by renting a UHaul and bringing his belongings down to Victoria when he finally obtained the keys–April 15th–which also happened to be his birthday!

Alexander’s new digs in Victoria

Spring is a stunning time of the year embracing new growth and reemergence of wildlife after winter hibernation. It is also pollen season. Locate your nearest local honey producer and consume lots of local honey to increase your pollen resistance! It works!

The Crocuses, Daffodils, Tulips, Primroses, Snowdrops, and Heather are some of the early flowers to come into bloom here. The Dogwood, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Cherry and Apple trees, and a multitude of species are popping blossoms sharing an abundance of delectable hues and scents.

April flowers and blossoms galore!

Spring is also a wonderful time to observe and possibly encounter some of the beautiful wildlife on Vancouver Island. The Columbia Black-tailed deer are the deer species located on our island. The life cycle of a Blacktail is 9-10 years in the wild, but only 3-6 years for bucks as they are the target of hunters each fall.

Due to increased Forestry clear-cuts and growing urban areas, these deer are now common in many residential areas. We observe a family visiting our yard to graze nearly every day, so deer resistance plant species, like Forest Flame bushes, Rhododendrons, Heather, and Daffodils are good plants for your gardens.

Out of approximately 3,200 Roosevelt Elk in the Province of British Columbia, roughly 3,000 Roosevelt Elk reside on Vancouver Island. They are quite massive animals and often seen in herds. Approximately 20 elk tags are given out each hunting season. Beyond that, our beautiful creatures are respected and revered. The toll free number if you witness any illegal activity effecting our wildlife is 1-877-952-7277.

Roosevelt Elk herds are majestic creatures.

Black bears are also spotted around the island, especially when they are eating spring shoots or scavenging on rocky beaches to fatten up after their light hibernation period. Estimates indicate there are about 7,000 black bears on Vancouver Island. In the spring sows over aged 5 years are usually seen with 1-4 cubs. Three or four cubs are quite rare, twins are the most common.

Black bears looking for food in Spring time

Watch for bear scat when you are out hiking and be Bear Aware. I have attached a link titled Safety Guide to Bears. https://vancouverisland.com/about/facts-and-information/safety-guide-to-bears/

Although Grizzly Bears were unheard of on Vancouver Island a few decades ago, there have been a few sightings in recent years. It is suspected that some Grizzlies were successful swimming across from the mainland by island hopping en route. There are many talented professional wildlife photographers on Vancouver Island and tours to view our beautiful wildlife are available. Remember, if you see any illegal hunting please phone the toll free line to protect our wildlife from poachers!

The third Canadian animal I am sharing this post is our national symbol of Canada–the Beaver! The Beaver is the symbol on our 5 cent coin and was once nearly eradicated during the Fur Trade era. They are making a come back and although these photos were taken by a friend in northern B.C. (notice the snow), we have Beavers thriving here too usually hiding out in small lakes or marshy ponds. Watch for the chewed tree trunks, piles of small fallen trees, lodges and dams.

The Canadian Beaver…Famous for its amazing flat tail. These photos were from northern B.C.

Our rescue kitten was discovered in the woods too…but her habitat and survival is slightly different from the elk, bears, and beavers!

It’s a tough life for Sophia! lol

The final topic in this blog about April, is Covid Survival Strategies:

  1. Appreciating your neighborhood. Working in your yard. Observing nature and being grateful for what you have. We were so grateful that the Fire Department efficiently and effectively put out the chimney fire for our neighbors.
Fire Department was quick to solve this problem across the street.

2) Dr. Bonnie Henry establishing Covid Safety rules and protocols for the province of British Columbia to help us flatten the curve and keep safer.

Covid physical distancing, rules and protocols. April 2020

3) Learning New Skills and Adapting to Change. After much coercion from my husband, I started cutting his hair! We found that meditation and yoga each morning really helped bring a calmer, healthier perspective to each new day.

Adapting to change during Covid.

4) Using extra lockdown time to sort, organize and downsize or share. We saved money taking the last of our belongings out of our rented storage locker and seriously analyzed whether we really needed these belongings. We discovered some treasures we had forgotten about, some items ready for recycling or garbage, and I gave away boxes of free educational resources to new upcoming teachers.

Getting outdoors to kayak around Nanaimo area.

5) Our final Covid Strategy is get outdoors and experience nature while exercising! Often, this can be walking, hiking, riding your bike, or playing; but in this post I will feature going kayaking in the Pacific Ocean!

Here is a short video of some highlights from 2 consecutive days of kayaking around the gorgeous Pacific ocean surrounding Vancouver Island. We did not see whales or sea lions on these excursions, but seals and river otters are quite common companions.

Video of kayaking around Nanaimo

Thank you for joining my journey throughout the month of April. The next blog post will include more trips and adventures exploring hiking trails, beaches, and natural beauty around Vancouver Island during May. Also, Sophia turns 1 year old!

Keep Safe. The world continues to brighten each week.

Categories
Art Canada Caring for Humanity Cats Harbour City Newcomers Club Life during Covid 19 Nature Springtime Vancouver Island

Conquering Covid Carefully! Feeling Optimistic :-)

As Covid 19 vaccines become more accessible globally, and magic totals for ‘herd’ immunity become more of a reality than a dream; there is a new optimism about interacting with loved ones after a lengthy hug drought of over 15 months!

Hopeful for a Canada/Thailand reunion soon!

I selected a photo of Sophia (our rescue kitten) looking anxiously through the door and wondering what is happening, to introduce this blog post as it seems an accurate portrayal of Covid life during lockdowns.

What’s going on?

Sophia is extremely expressive and her antics generate laughs and discussions which truly brightened our days during lockdown periods.

The many moods of Sophia (aged 10 months)

In Canada, we are carefully observing the new freedoms we see exhibited via media in Australia, the United States and U.K. We are not there yet. In British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to be our amazing leader throughout this pandemic. My husband and I gratefully received our first Moderna ‘jab’ on April 28th, 2021 and are currently awaiting the notification that it is our time to receive the second dose.

Last week, with huge excitement and relief, we commenced stage 1 of a 4 stage Restart plan in B.C. with hopeful anticipation that we will experience a new “norm” and freedom by September, 2021.

Step 1 of the BC Restart Directive. May 25th 2021

The Covid 19 Pandemic has shaken the world and changed all sense of what we experience as “normal”. This blog post is driven by a grateful optimism towards the future, while remembering life and adaptations we faced in March 2020 when our lives suddenly changed…. Covid 19 arrived!

Mid March 2020. The first Covid 19 lockdown!

Prior to the March Lockdown….

My husband accepted a job as part of a team working in Hamilton, Ontario for a few months departing from Nanaimo in mid February 2020. I joined the Harbour City Newcomers Club in Nanaimo excited to meet new people and explore activities in this new location. My son, Alexander, had recently moved back home to Canada after working at Western Digital in Bangkok, Thailand for the past 6 years. He was hired just prior to Covid as a Manufacturing Engineer at StarFish Medical Consultants in Victoria, B.C.

In Early March 2020 Sophia enjoyed the many facets of being a kitten–from sleeping anywhere and everywhere, to discovering her world. She was particularly fond of munching fresh grass every morning before exploring outdoors.

Sophia’s life as a 10 month old kitten

As a member of the Harbour City Newcomers Club (HCNC), I was enjoying meeting new people, attending art workshops, and being creative using new paint techniques.

HCNC Paint workshops

In mid March 2020 we even participated in an Artisan tour checking out nearby galleries including a glass blowing studio. We car pooled together in vehicles and nobody wore masks! The following day, new lock down rules were implemented in B.C. It was the end of carpools, group meetings and indoor activities. This was the official beginning of masks and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

HCNC Art tour mid March 2020

Who would have anticipated that this hair appointment would be the last one I would have for nearly a year and this would possibly be the last time I would see my hairdresser without both of us wearing protective face masks?

Last hair appointment before covid! No masks!

In mid March 2020 the world as we knew it drastically changed! The unprecedented Covid 19 Pandemic arrived and people started to horde toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, masks, gloves, and canned food. Suddenly, there was a frenzy of uncertainty!

Covid Coping Strategies:

Thankfully, we live in a single detached home with a large yard near to lots of hiking trails and ocean access. Nature and Spring beauty bring peace and inner grounding during this unsettled and scary time.

Spring beauty around Nanaimo

Another of my favorite locations is Buttertubs Marsh. There is always a plethora of bird songs and diverse species to observe. If you are lucky, you might see turtles or Great Blue Herons.

Buttertubs marsh

My dad passed away in 2007. His favorite bird was the Great Blue Heron and it is always a thrill and comfort when they grace my day. This Heron at Buttertubs was very close to the trail.

Great Blue Heron

While I was active exploring nature and outdoor trails on Vancouver Island, my husband in Ontario visited Niagara Falls. Due to Covid lockdown… the highly popular tourist location was nearly devoid of visitors in late March 2020. What a strange and unusual experience!

Stunning Niagara Falls Late March 2020 during Covid lockdown

By late March 2020 we were starting to adapt to this initial Covid 19 lockdown. Sophia taught me to chill, reflect and sleep a lot. Puzzles and books were becoming a popular option to aid the passing of time spent alone. Stores were crazy places to avoid whenever possible. Masks were not mandated yet, but long lines and empty shelves were troubling realities. Schools and most businesses were closed during the first lockdown. There were constant disturbing news updates about areas hardest hit by Covid 19. North America seemed to fair pretty well initially, but that was to change as the Global Pandemic progressed.

Adapting to Covid 19 lockdown in late March 2020

While we embraced early signs of Spring on Vancouver Island, other areas of B.C. and Canada were still in the midst of late Winter.

Late March on Vancouver Island. The Moose photo was taken up in Burns Lake, B.C.

Daily walks and hikes outdoors were a welcome release. There are so many wooded areas, trails, lakes, rivers, and marshes to explore around Vancouver Island.

Nature walks minutes from my house in Nanaimo–March 23rd 2020

More nearby early signs of Spring to help a person feel grounded and grateful.

March 24th exploration near our home in Nanaimo

When the schools and playgrounds closed and people were confined to their homes, the hearts and messages of hope became more plentiful around our community.

Hearts in the windows and on rocks, and messages of Hope and Optimism. March 25th

As March drew to an end, it was clear that my husband’s job in Hamilton, Ontario would be terminating soon due to lockdown occurring in Ontario. Mark’s flight home to B.C. was booked for the first week of April. We were anxiously awaiting his arrival home.

Sophia was waiting too….

Suddenly, domestic and international flights were all getting cancelled due to the Pandemic. Mark needed to get home IMMEDIATELY before all the provincial borders were closed between British Columbia and Ontario!

Mark travelled home from Hamilton, Ontario (near Toronto) to Vancouver Island, B.C.

So after hours on hold with reservation centers, my husband managed to obtain a seat on an earlier flight departing the following day. Airport safety and protocols were pretty sketchy and the flight was completely full on March 31st 2020. Safety protocols certainly intensified prior to vaccines, as pandemic specialists learned more about this new Covid 19 virus.

My husband’s experience travelling from Toronto to Nanaimo during Covid lockdown on March 31st 2020.

There was no physical spacing in the airports or on the planes, so Mark wore a face mask and we mutually agreed he would go into voluntary quarantine for 2 weeks after he returned home. After our 2 week self imposed quarantine, we were both healthy and ready to tackle lockdown and Covid 19 life as a team together.

Healthy and ready to tackle this Pandemic as a team together! April 2020.

The future is optimistic and exciting, but let’s not forget the confines and struggles of this Covid 19 journey as we move forward and Carefully Conquer Covid.

The next blog posts will include more Nature, Canadian Animals, Exploration around Vancouver Island, Covid Wellness Strategies, Antics by Sophia, and Gardening. Stay safe and Keep on Smiling.

Categories
Canada Canadian Animals Cats North Island Wildlife Recovery Center Pets Vancouver Island Wolf

Sophia Meets a Wolf. Vancouver Island Fun

Sophia is our adventurous Rescue Kitten. Her litter was discovered in the forest and veterinarians estimate she is about 8 months of age. This post reflects our adventures on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada and our kitten’s reaction to seeing the magnificent wolf which our family was donating to an Educational and Recovery Wildlife Facility near us.

These photos reflect a legacy of learning from our local wildlife. No animals were hunted… all died through accidental or natural causes and were lovingly part of my father’s museum collection.

My dad, Alex Prestwich, passed away in 2007 after a lengthy battle with a major stroke, blindness, and cancer. He adored and deeply respected the wildlife on Vancouver Island and treasured each living animal.

Dad even had a raven that frequently hung out on top of a massive press inside his machine shop. Black bears, deer, and the odd cougar also came by to visit when he worked late at night.

Dad was passionate about learning and inspired so many children with his constant curiosity towards life. It was these traits that eventually spear headed decades’ long development of a wildlife taxidermy collection to inspire and educate others.

Loving memories of my dad Thomas Alexander Prestwich

No animals or birds were killed or hunted. All animals died through accidental or natural causes, then were assessed by the conservation officer, prior to their release to my dad. All taxidermy was completed on Vancouver Island and dad would only allow the animals to be portrayed in natural and respectful poses.

Cougars and Wolf

When dad passed away, we knew the Canadian wildlife collection needed to find the perfect home where people would continue to love and respect the animals and environmental education would continue to be emphasized.

After substantial searching, we knew we discovered the perfect new location when we arrived at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center in Errington.

In addition to the educational areas filled with taxidermy and media presentations; the extensive grounds were a collage of native flora gardens, ponds, and areas where black bear cubs, eagles, and injured or abandoned wildlife could heal and survive.

This non-profit organization is mainly run by volunteers who all love and care about nature and our amazing wildlife. Robin and his wife are passionate leaders who have made such a positive difference in our world. Dad would have adored touring or volunteering at this amazing facility.

The organization is on social media.

On our initial trip to NIWRC we presented the entire collection (for Educational Purposes) except dad’s favorite animal, which was the Wolf.

It is painful to say good-bye to special items when you loose a loved one. But it was time to let go and share this magnificent and rare animal with the world.

Sophia knew something was up and crept hesitantly downstairs to investigate. Her tail fur totally puffed up when she spotted the wolf waiting to be transported to the NIWRC. Curiosity won and she hesitantly approached the wolf.

Sophia meets the Wolf

Ironically, the coloration of the two mammals was so similar. However, within minutes she raced back upstairs then watched from the safety of the door as the wolf was carefully transported into the truck.

Here is a short video of Sophia and the Wolf as we donate this magnificent animal to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center.

The legacy and future of this magnificent Wolf. May it inspire curiosity, respect, and understanding.

Although much of our family lives in varying areas of Canada, we had 3 generations represented when we donated the Wolf to its new owners/educators. Thankfully this occurred just prior to covid restrictions, so masks were unnecessary for this event.

3 generations of our Prestwich family with Robin (owner) at the drop off location.

My 88 year old Mom, (Patti) was so thrilled to see the family collection on display as Robin (owner) gave us a grand tour of the grounds and educational facilities. My son, Alexander, represented the young adult generation. I represented the middle of the trio.

Thanks for the Beautiful sign at North island wildlife recovery center.

If you are touring through Vancouver Island and enjoy wildlife recovery and learning about Canadian wildlife, this is a amazing facility to explore. Bus loads of curious school children frequented here prior to covid lockdown and will return again soon I am sure!

When we returned home, Sophia made sure we knew it was her turn for attention once again.

Our Sophia letting us know it’s her turn for attention again!

Keep safe and optimistic 😉. The next posts will be adventures around Vancouver Island and skiing at Mt Washington!

Categories
Canada Caring for Humanity Cats Knitting Rescue kitten Vancouver Island

Blankets 4 Canada. How to help from your home.

I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities, freedom, and standard of life we experience living in Canada.

However, people’s journeys in life vary and not all are as fortunate as I am. There are so many ways to be kind and support others. This global pandemic reaffirms the importance of being kind, calm, respectful and understanding towards humanity.

While respecting social distancing, you can join an organization like “Blankets for Canada” where volunteers purchase their own wool and knit or crochet squares to create blankets which are anonymously donated throughout your community.

Creating my first “Blanket for Canada”

There are rules about the types of wool, colours, weight of yarn, size of squares, etc. You may select to just create squares and drop them off at a local pick up location, or create squares and sew them together prior to dropping off a completed blanket. A member from the not-for-profit registered organization checks the blankets, attaches a label, and drops off blankets at multiple locations including: Women’s Safe Shelters, Men’s Shelters, Salvation Army hostels, or city homeless street people.

https://blankets4canada.ca/ This is the Blankets for Canada link if you are interested.

Upon reading about this organization in a community newspaper, I joined the Nanaimo chapter as one of a team of members knitting or crocheting squares to improve the quality of life for struggling community members. Winters are cold and wet here. In addition to giving warmth, our goal is to offer love and hope.

So the knitting vigil began. Sophia (8 month rescue kitten) watched beside me sometimes playing with the wool or sitting on the blanket so I couldn’t knit!

Sophia watching the action!

While working on each square I contemplated the person who might receive this gift. I hoped they knew they were loved, important, and cared about. The squares accumulated and as I neared the goal of 48, I made the decision to also sew them together and complete the entire blanket myself!

So….Off I went to visit one of the head organizers for the Nanaimo branch of Blankets for Canada and received a lesson in organizing squares effectively and techniques to sew them together. My mentor was extremely helpful and encouraging.

Here is a short video of the Blankets for Canada process

The process to create a “Blanket for Canada”

It took an additional couple of weeks to organize the patterns and sew all 48 squares together…with Sophia’s assistance (of course).

When the blanket was completed I added a personal message. A couple of my friends had previously spent time at a Safe House while dealing with domestic violence. I requested the blanket be given to somebody at a Women’s Safe House and heard it was delivered to Haven House. I have no idea who received it, but I hope she feels loved and cared about.

The first 25 squares are knitted for blanket number 2. It will be ready for delivery when covid safety protocols open up again later this year.

If you have spare time during Covid lockdown, this is one idea of a project which could offer hope and love to another individual. Keep safe and optimistic my friends.

Northern Vancouver Island, Mt. Washington skiing, and Sophia assists with house renovations are the next blog posts coming soon.

Categories
Animals Canada Cats Rescue kitten Vancouver Island Winter Snow

Sophia’s Introduction to Snow! (Rescue Kitten)

Flashback to our first snow fall on Vancouver Island this season. This blog post is dedicated to our rescue kitten, Sophia, as she experiences snow for the first time.

Sophia’s first snow season!

Although initially dubious and slightly hesitant to immerse her paws and body in the cold white substance, she quickly embraced the experience tunneling through the snow and even playing with little snowballs. Here’s a short video of her very first reaction to snow!

Sophia’s very first reactions to snow.

During the next few days, the snow continued building slowly. Unlike the majority of areas in Canada, on Vancouver Island our durations of snow are short lived. When the powdery snow arrives, we embrace the beautiful winter wonderland knowing that usually within a few days it will melt and disappear.

January on Vancouver Island — We usually have snow for part of the month.

Sophia had mixed reactions during the snowfall time. She was very curious often watching the snow fall from the doorway, but she also increased her burrowing activity hiding in bags and strange locations.

Rescue kitten anxiety still flares at times

Sophia was fascinated by the falling snowflakes.

Sophia watching the snow

The snow decided to grace us with its presence for a few days as the centimeters increased steadily on our sundeck and around our neighborhood. We parked our vehicles at the top of our little hill as snowplows are rarely required here and cul de sacs are the last to be cleared when a snowfall does occur.

January snowfall in Nanaimo

The moon was full and the winter wonderland was quite magical so we decided to venture out for a walk around our neighborhood in Nanaimo, mid Vancouver Island.

Winter wonderland!

Snow continued falling throughout the night and the following morning Sophia ventured out to explore the sundeck. Her confidence towards this unknown substance had grown and she was now jumping, pouncing, tunneling, and playing with the snow. Her reactions and playful antics brought such wonder and happiness to us all.

So darn cute!

We thoroughly enjoyed our week or so of snow in January and Sophia became very adept at maneuvering through it without snowshoes or skis. Here is a short video of some highlights from her explorations in our yard on Vancouver Island, B.C.

Sophia becomes a snow loving kitten!

As quickly as it arrived, the weather warmed up and the snow melted making way for our next new adventures.

Future blog posts will include: Blankets for Canada, wolves at North Island Wildlife Recovery Center, Sophia helps with house renovations, and Harbour City Newcomers Club adventures. Keep safe and keep optimistic my friends.

Categories
Adventure Cats Exploring Outdoors Nature Travel Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island Paradise! Nature hikes in January!

Time to welcome in a new year! (I’m a bit behind!) Do you enjoy hiking through lush rainforests, or walking adjacent to the ocean where kayaks explore and seals and shorebirds are common? This is our paradise living on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia is a unique island paradise off the west coast of Canada. The “Island” is 460 kilometres (290 miles) in length, 80+ kilometres (50+ miles) in width at the widest point, and 32,134 km2 (12,407 square miles) in area.

Vancouver Island is roughly the same size as Belgium (30,688 km²)or Taiwan (36,193 km²), and much bigger than Israel (20,770 km²), Kuwait (17,818km²) and Jamaica (10,991 km²).

January hike to Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo

Most of our forest areas are rainforest; however, our coastal climate is much more temperate than most of the rest of Canada. This blog post represents some of the beautiful outdoor locations around our home in Nanaimo. Keep in mind, all these adventures occurred during January–Winter in Canada.

Winter time enthusiasts—Kayakers and a person paddling on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard).

My husband and I love hiking, kayaking, exploring nature, skiing, and so forth. My son does not always share our adventurous ways. Sophia (our rescue kitten) has mixed feelings about outdoor adventures. She is incredibly curious, but likes the comforts of home too. Sophia loves to burrow and sometimes surprises us by hiding under blankets, rugs, cloth, coats, pillows, etc.

Sophia (rescue kitten) aged 7 months

Another January day, another opportunity to explore beaches and beautiful decorated clouds adorning the blue skies.

January beach walk

Nature offers beauty everywhere and there is lots of physical space to explore…

There are dozens and dozens of trails to hike and explore around our home. This short video represents a hike through one of our rainforest trails in winter. You will see a vast array of flora (plant life) from Arbutus to moss and lichen wrapped nurse trees growing fungus between ferns.

Cottle Lake Trail at Linley Valley

Try to use your imagination to hear and see all the bird species who make their homes in our rain forests.

More blog posts of nature and wildlife on Vancouver Island will be coming, but the next post will be “Sophia’s introduction to Snow!”.

Until then….Stay Safe and Keep on Smiling.

Categories
Before Covid 19 Canada Canadian Animals Cats Family Vancouver Island

Memories–Life before Covid 19. Canadian Nature and Family.

Reflections of December 2019. Our life was so free and hugs were plentiful. Family and friends could gather and interact without masks or 2 meter distancing. This blog post is dedicated to memories of that time and optimistic hope and appreciation for our future …

Our Rescue kitten Sophia learning to trust and love— especially Alexander’s touch.

My son Alexander, and our rescue kitten Sophia, truly bonded while my husband and I were relaxing and exploring around Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I’m so thankful that Alexander decided to return home to Canada prior to the global pandemic after living/working in Bangkok for 6 years as a senior Design Engineer at Western Digital. There is something magical about mother/son reunion hugs!

My son and I (modelling his birthday gift from Thailand).

I am retired after spending 35 years educating students. My husband, Mark, is semi retired. Yet, we are always busy learning and exploring new ideas or commencing new projects. One of our most time consuming projects is home renovation!

Our newly updated kitchen and living area space is such an improvement on the previous version. Although my talented husband completed the majority of the renovations, it was lovely to sit back and have our backsplash completed by a tiling specialist just before Christmas!

Installing kitchen backsplash tiles!

Next…. we removed the protective plastic off the stainless steel appliances! It’s tougher than it looks lol

Exposing the stainless steel

While kitchen renovations kept us occupied indoors, what was happening outdoors near our home?

The Canadian animals on Vancouver Island are busy in the autumn and early winter. Black tailed deer are regular visitors around our yards consuming lots of leaves and plant life while their coats thicken in preparation for upcoming colder temperatures and snow.

Black tailed fawn with winter coat

We have reached a truce with the deer…The backyard is off limits and “deer fenced” to protect our flowers, vegetables, and shrubs. The front yard is open ‘game’ to our nibbly, cute visitors. Does and fawns regularly visit, but bucks are less common in the residential areas. Sophia is fascinated by the deer and often watches or sometimes approaches the fawns as they feed.

Deer and raccoons are common here. Beavers, elk, and black bears are viewed occasionally if you are lucky. But when the cougars come out of the forests and roam freely, we are fascinated–yet greatly concerned.

Cougar with 3 kits on Vancouver Island–December 2019

Cougar attacks on people are rare, but can occur if nature’s balance is upset, or a cougar is sick or starving. This cougar (with 3 kits) was photographed by a friend in a nearby community in December.

How does our rescue kitten, Sophia, react to all the action inside and outdoors? With definite mixed emotion….

I’ll just be cute and allow Alexander to stroke me…

That’s enough! Time to climb some trees and chase some deer!

Next, it’s time to string popcorn, decorate the tree together while listening to festive music and drinking eggnog, and enjoy the festivities leading up to Christmas.

December events

Time to enjoy family (mom is arriving soon) and good friends. Our art isn’t up yet on the walls, but we are so excited to socialize with those we care deeply about.

We’re ready!

How lovely it was to socialize with friends we haven’t been able to visit now for nearly 1 1/2 years. How grateful we will feel when once again we can share meals together in our homes.

Even Sophia approves!

This blog post was a mixture of memories and events from December 2019. The next post will be memories and fun from the last festive season before the global pandemic. Stay tuned. It’s coming soon!

Categories
Adventure Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten

Sophia’s Freedom (4-6 months)

Based on estimates from several veterinarians, Sophia’s probable birth was late May. We adopted this little rescue kitten when she was approximately 7 weeks of age after she was discovered in the woods near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island. Sophia’s markings are quite unique and gorgeous. Her cat coloring is classified as a blue diluted Tortie with white.

Little Sophia. Aged 4 months.

Sophia continues to suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and can be aggressive and anxious; but she is learning to trust and adapt to our family and neighborhood.

Her snuggles are becoming more frequent and she truly melts our hearts. One moment she is fascinated watching water drip through a drain, the next she is burrowing and hiding.

But whether Sophia is curious or timid, playful or resting, aggressive or calm; she is always amusing and unpredictable.

Sophia’s happy place is definitely outside exploring the yard and climbing trees. So with her recent freedom (at aged 4 1/2 months) to explore the outdoors, came the responsibility of wearing a collar and a bell! She was not impressed!

We started with a safety quick-release collar with no bell. After several attempts, she eventually decided to leave it on and not rip it off anymore. Next, we introduced a safety quick-release collar with a bell attached. It took persistence, and eventually she gave in to wearing that collar too.

Sophia exploring the bushes and trees in our yard.

Sophia has long, incredibly sharp claws (trust me!) and a light muscular body. She leaps up fence panels and literally nearly flies through the air at times. She seems quite fearless outside in nature.

Look carefully at the trunk of the Hemlock tree… Sophia is camouflaged in her position to the left of the tallest silver ladder. She zipped up the tree with her legs spread-eagled apart at an incredible speed. At approximately 5 metres from the ground, her pace slowed and she stopped holding on to the tree trunk. Then she proceeded in reversing by backing down (spread eagled) until about 2 metres from the ground, turned her body around still attached to the tree, then jumped down head first to land on the ground. She has clearly done this before, or has incredible survival instincts!

Sophia is always curious and wanting to be included when we work in the yard.

Whenever we work around the yard, Sophia thinks it is playtime and she happily races around the yard and climbs trees near us. She seems to have a playful sense of humour. She loves to hide, then leap out and tag me on the leg (no claws)or hide in a tree and tap me on the head if I am gardening below her. She is also getting quite interactive with my husband and adult son.

Sophia helping out with kitchen renovations!

Sophia is always curious and her trust has grown to the level where she now investigates whatever we are involved with. Sometimes we end up with extra little white paw prints in unexpected areas!

All this activity can be quite exhausting for a 5-6 month old kitten. She is such an expressive, cute little sleeper!

My adult son, Alexander, returned home to Canada after living/working in Bangkok, Thailand for 6 years. Thankfully, he arrived home just prior to the Covid pandemic! Sophia’s circle now extends to my husband and I, Alexander, my mother, and the neighborhood deer.

Our home and street in Nanaimo

Having my son home opened up the freedom for my husband and I to escape south to Mexico! Little did we know this would be our final International trip for an unknown duration due to the Covid 19 global pandemic. Playa del Carmen, Mexico here we come!!!

Mexico here we come! (Prior to Covid!)

Categories
Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten

The Arrival of Sophia (Rescue Kitten)

During a period of time when our home was undergoing substantial renovations/updates, I saw online photos of a tiny kitten recently rescued from the forest up around Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island. My heart swelled with maternal love. I knew I needed to adopt this tiny creature.

After phone calls and a hasty drive 4 hours north, we adopted this tiny waif on the spot. We named her Sophia as we were quite taken by her beauty and the “eyeliner” look around one eye. People commented….She is so beautiful and sweet.

It did not take long for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to show its colours. She was terrified of overhead revolving fans…most men…and multiple things she encountered.

Her personality would change instantly from an intense need to be around me (I guess I became the surrogate mom) to racing around biting and destroying things. Challenging, was a mild prognosis. But I loved her from the moment we met. I have abundant love and patience and I believed she was worth the effort. Besides, she was so darn cute and had a tail like a monkey!

The drive back down Vancouver Island from Port Hardy to Nanaimo was a prediction of what lay ahead! She meowed endlessly in panic trying to hide until finally she fell asleep tucked into a blanket on my lap. It was a long, slow 390 km trip home! Thankfully, she was toilet trained!

Once Sophia arrived home, she explored everywhere! In spite of her tiny size, she was strong and coordinated. She raced up and down the stairs, jumping up and climbing up, on anything she could find. But at regular intervals she checked in, and was immediately anxious if I was out of her eye range. One of Sophia’s favorite tricks, if I wasn’t giving her enough attention, was to sit on top of my laptop screen until she managed to close the lid then look up at me.

Sophia continued to be extremely worried, anxious, and aggressive at times. In addition to consistency, and lots of time and love; 3 different veterinarians agreed she needed to use a Feliway pheromone diffuser, Zylkene medication, and calming chews to assist her ability to cope and calm down.

We tried them all. Some helped for awhile. (After she was spayed and started spending time outside and inside, we were able to reduce to only using the pheromone diffuser.)

All 3 vets agreed upon Sophia’s probable birthdate. Their best guess was that Sophia was about 7 weeks of age when we “adopted” her. Sophia’s markings are classified as a blue dilute Tortie with white. She is a domestic short haired cat. While a kitten, Sophia was non stop active until she crashed, then she fell asleep in the funniest positions!

Sophia is always curious and has an insatiable appetite for exploring and experiencing new things. We were quite stunned one evening as we watched a documentary about Africa, when Sophia jumped up and watched the entire show from a front row seat! She was not frightened of the animals or sounds. She even moved her body as the animals moved on the screen.

After a couple of months together, Sophia continues to be curious and her trust of humans is evolving–even letting me cuddle her periodically. Her coat is becoming lush and the rest of her body is catching up to her incredibly long tail! She loves napping beside me with her front paws over my leg and playing peek a boo from inside any type of bag.

Sophia’s instinctive desire to be outside increased as she aged past 3 months. She sat at the window meowing to go outside and she was becoming more aggressive trying to escape outside. I had been advised by several vets to get her spayed early and allow her outside access.

So….Each day I put Sophia in the travel carrier and we went to different areas of the yard. While I worked in the garden she would be beside me in the travel carrier. I spoke to her and introduced different things from around the yard into her box. She loved chewing grass and playing with pinecones, small apples, etc. Initially our visits only lasted about 5-10 minutes before she got restless and noisy. Eventually, she grew to enjoy her outdoor time and most daily visits lasted about 30-45 minutes.

As soon as she was 4 months old, Sophia had her surgery. We waited the advised time after surgery and exactly 2 weeks later Sophia (aged 4 1/2 months) experienced freedom!

I must confess I was quite worried that as soon as she was given outdoor freedom, she would run away. But her reaction was pure bliss! I carried her out into the yard in her travel carrier as I had done so many times in the previous month. But today, instead of opening the door after returning inside….I opened it by her favorite location near the sunny retaining wall.

Her reaction was priceless! First she peeked her head outside the carrier. Next she exited the carrier and stood beside me. She was there looking around for a minute or so…and then she raced! With her tail fluffed out and head high she raced as fast as possible all around the yard. She leaped through the air.

She ascended our 120 foot tall Helmlock trees to about 5 metres up, faster than any logger I’ve ever watched in Logging Contests! I thought… Oh no! How will we get her down? Then, she independently backed down to about 2 metres above the ground, turned and jumped to the ground. She was ecstatic! I thought she would leap up the fence and depart.

Sophia stayed within the confines of our large yard–at least for today. Most importantly, she kept checking in with us and returned home for dinner. We all slept soundly that night. At 4 1/2 months of age our rescue kitten is now officially an indoor/outdoor kitty.