Skyler, Deb’s Siberian husky and roadtrip buddy. (Deb Meissner photo)

Skyler, Deb’s Siberian husky and roadtrip buddy. (Deb Meissner photo)

Wildlife and pets bring the simplest form of joy to living

Animals bring me a kind of simple joy that can make my heart smile.

Okay, not all animals, as I have a huge fear of spiders, but even they are a beautiful species for many.

I’ve been watching the geese and cranes return to the valley, and enjoying the sounds for a couple of weeks now, and since we live on the river bench they like to come into the fields at night. It makes me smile to hear them, and it also reminds me to tend to my hummingbird feeders, as those little critters show up darn hungry.

We are lucky where we live to have resident deer all year to enjoy. We have moose, and soon now we will have hungry bears waking up. Living by a river brings all kinds of wildlife to enjoy and observe.

We are also careful, as they are wild animals, and even when they have babies that look all cute and cuddly and I’m tempted to step out to take a photo, I don’t, as most mommas do not take kindly to a humans around their babies. That is what telephoto lenses are for.

Over the years with my telephoto lens I have taken amazing pictures of hummingbird nests with eggs and then the babies inside, a golden eagle complete with an enormous nest and babies, owls teaching their young to fly, numerous photos of bears hanging out with their cubs, and moose with their young.

I’ve taken a ridiculous number of photos, and I have them on film, slides, print and in the cloud somewhere but mostly on my phone now.

I enjoy my dogs just as much as wildlife, in a different kind of way. They make me laugh out loud at some of the crazy things they do, and other times they do something that melts my heart.

I rescued my Siberian husky Skyler, two years ago from Iran, where she was being abused and starved, and though I wondered whether she would have trust issues with me, she hasn’t and she has been a loving friend.

She arrived in the fall before COVID hit, and I swear, if it wasn’t for her, I’d have lost my sanity. She can make me laugh even in the darkest times.

Now, we have a crazy four-month old golden retriever, Lobo, who has the attention span of a nit, the coordination of a drunken sailor and an abundance of energy.

The laughs this guy produces are side-splitting and constant. I find myself shaking my head at the sheer number of times one of us is running after him to take an item of peril out of his mouth, only to find he has another a second later.

Between the two dogs, we certainly get our exercise along with the laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Animals are simple in their ways, whether in the wild or domesticated, but that is the allure for me.

It reminds me to slow down, to watch, listen, take pictures and even record the sounds. It is beautiful, it is life and for me, it is the simplest form of joy.


Lobo, our Golden Retriever puppy, who loves his teddy. (Deb Meissner photo)

Lobo, our Golden Retriever puppy, who loves his teddy. (Deb Meissner photo)