meerkats

Faith the Amazing Biped Dog, Looks like a Meerdog

If you love Meerkats, you'll love this "Meerdog"

Faithbook I am a big fan of Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet and rarely miss an episode. So when I saw this dog's photos, my first thought was that he looks like a Meerdog. My second thought was the more common response of "isn't this dog amazing!" Well, whether you love Meerkats or not, I think you'll love this "Meerdog" story.

This dog was born on Christmas Eve in 2002 with only 2 healthy hind legs and an inability to walk. Luckily, a teacher, Jude Stringfellow, decided she was going to take the puppy and teach him how to walk -- she named him, appropriately enough, "Faith."

Stringfellow's training methods included putting him on a surfboard and luring him to his feet with a spoon of peanut butter. Well, you have to be creative when you are breaking new ground and whatever her method, it was successful. Once Faith learned to walk, he attracted a crowd wherever he went and went on to appear on television (like Oprah!) and be featured in news stories (People magazine, no less). Jude has given up her teaching post and travels with Faith, demonstrating to the delight of everyone that physical imperfection need not prevent you from becoming a perfect being. With a little help from others, maybe we can all reach our full potential. Faith is certainly an inspiration.

Faith has a book: Faith Alone: Stories of an Amazing Dog. Watch the video below of Faith's visit to St. Louis. If you're feeling inspired, consider adopting a handicapped pet -- call your local shelter.  


Meerkats Stand Sentry In Your Garden

Meerlykat The larger than life (literally) meerkats in this statue are cast in quality designer resin and hand-painted one at a time to replicate the meerkats' fawn-hued fur and black patches on eyes, ears and paws. You just put them in the garden and, with their sentry stance pose, no roving meerkats will venture into your territory.

They are likely to turn heads of passersby but you needn't worry about feeding these meerkats their favorite foods of scorpions and such. And, unlike the meerkats of the famed Meerkat Manor, these meerkats won't be digging tunnels all over your yard. If this sounds like your kind of pet you can get this sculpture from Design Toscano for only $85. And hold the scorpions. . .
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Meerkat Manor Trivia Quiz

If you are a fan of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor you might enjoy taking this online Meerkat Manor trivia quiz, consisting of 10 multiple-choice questions. Once you submit all your answers, you see an answer sheet listing each question with the correct response, brief explanation and percentage of players who answered it correctly. The average player gets 7 correct -- and 70% is probably better than they do watching "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

A small note: the quiz has not been updated to reflect Flower's recent death. Oh, here come the tears again . . .


Meerkat Mourning: The Death of Flower

Flower I have been a devoted fan of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor since the beginning. They are so cute (except when they are crunching scorpions -- yuck!) and their personalities and daily dramas really come to life thanks to well-written scripts and the great narration of Sean Astin. Like a daytime soap opera or a primetime drama, this show tells the stories of a large, powerful family (the Whiskers), headed by a fearless leader (Flower, the matriarch), eluding enemies (snakes, birds of prey, squirrels), dealing with fierce rivals (the Commandos and the Zappas), all set in an exotic location (Africa's Kalahari desert).

It is easy to forget that these meerkat stories aren't pure fabrications and the "cast members" aren't actors. These programs are depictions of real events and animals and I was sadly reminded of that when Flower received a fatal snake bite while defending her pups in a recent episode. Because so many viewers grew to love Flower there has been an outpouring of affection, online discussions and tributes.

Reading her obituary almost had me in tears, but I smiled when I read the end "The family has asked that all donations be made in Flower's name to the Fellow Earthlings' Wildlife Center."