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It’s one interesting thing after another
LIFE AT JANE’S animal kingdom is an ongoing saga, full of good writing material. Of course, that’s not why Jane and Dane have a mini, luxury hotel, for wildlife, but it sure makes for great reading.

VIOLA - There is always something to write about when you live among animals. Just the other morning, I was busy pecking on the keyboard–a serene half-smile on my face, when I heard hacking.

Hmmm, strange noise. Tap. Tap. Tap. Stop. Hmmm, which cat is hacking? Tap. Tap. 

Click, click, click. Hmmm, sounds like high heels clicking over my new floor. Tap. Click. Hack. Hack.

I rolled back my chair, stood up, and moved toward the kitchen. 

“Oh, gosh. Oh, gawd. Oh, no.”

Luna and Peepers, my two Nigerian pygmy goats, had their heads buried deep in the dog bone basket.

I did a quick scan for Louisa, the always hungry Kunekune pig. Thankfully, she hadn’t found the open door—yet. I grabbed a banana.

“Come on, sweet-peas. Come get this banana...outdoors!”

Luna and Peepers pulled their heads out of the basket, lips smacking on tasty dog treats, and stared at me. Their horns clacked together as they shoved their heads back in the basket. 

“Oh, no, No, NO! Get out of the basket.” I grabbed the basket and set it on the counter, out of reach. The goats headed toward the living room, away from the front door.

I heard Louisa grunting her way up the porch stairs. “Oh, damn. Oh, gawd, Oh, no, no, no!” I ran to the front door and slammed it shut.

I peeled the banana and held it in front of Peeper’s and Luna’s tiny goat noses, enticing them to follow me, as I kept up an early morning banter that would make coffee taste sweet.

I opened the door, and—no, no, no—Louisa is there! I slammed the door closed. Once Louisa was off the porch, the goats followed me out the door, the banana leading the way. Why aren’t mornings easier?

These three amigos were supposed to have a “road breakfast,” cleaning up the apples under the crabapple tree, a treat. The morning was perfect in my book—cool and the bugs all gone. Back inside the house, still in my pj’s, I left the door open and went to my computer to start working on a story.

Now I see the big mistake I made.




After work the next day, I cleaned the house to get ready for a house sitter. Dane showed up around 8:30 p.m. and we decided to take the dogs for a walk in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

A light fog was rolling in but the wind was blowing, giving us for the first time that day some relief from the humidity. Leaves blew off the trees, creating a surreal scene in the glow of our headlamps. Dane reached for my hand and I said, “Oh, we need to do this more often. It’s so peaceful. What a lovely time for a walk.” He squeezed my hand, both of us lost in our own thoughts, appreciating the romantic scene.

“Yip yip yip! Bow wow bow wow! Yip! Bark bark bark!”

“Oh no, something is not right. I can see Finnegan and Ruben’s eyes there in the field.”

Dane handed me Tete’s leash (gorgeous evening or not, she was on a leash because we didn’t want to take the chance of her running after a deer or a rabbit). I could see shadows of Ruben and Finn both barking. I heard Dane’s stern, deep voice: “Finnegan, Ruben, COME!” 

The sweet smell of skunk wafted past me. And then the not-so-sweet burnt smell of skunk hit me full on. Dane’s headlamp was heading back toward me, Ruben and Finn following behind. Both dogs had been sprayed. They dropped on the damp grass and rolled like two kids practicing their fire drills. 

“I guess there is a reason we don’t walk as much late at night,” Dane said. 

Back in the car, Tete got to sit upfront with us, the other two reeking in the back, and we drove home with all four windows wide open. 

Tete was thrilled to join us in the bed without Ruben and Finn, who were exiled to their new lavender doghouse for the night.

The next morning, before the sitter arrived, I put both pups in the tub and bathed them with a mix of baking soda, peroxide, and dish soap, followed by their favorite oatmeal shampoo.

Tete gloated as she watched from the safety of the bathroom doorway.