My family and I were able to travel some this summer for the first time in a LONG while, as I’m sure is the case for many of you. While on our adventures, I encountered many dragons in their natural habitats, and I’ll fill you in on those over the next few posts (or newsletters for subscribers). Meanwhile, here’s a sample.
On the home front, as you may know, I practice as a small animal veterinarian. I’ve been doing this for almost twenty years, and let me tell you, the past three years have been WILD. I’m busier than I have ever been in my career. And it’s not just me; my colleagues industry-wide are in the same position (some colleagues are subscribers — hi! I see you! And hang in there!). For those of you who know a veterinarian, any veterinarian, send chocolate, a stiff drink, and hugs their way. They need it.
Outside of the clinic, my family and I are gradually working (in our “spare” time — ha!) toward building an off-grid home in a canyon in Idaho. So far we have a footbridge across the creek, a camp trailer that we gutted and rebuilt, and a camp kitchen/dining area that our friends call Party Central. We hope to have a vehicle bridge built across the creek by sometime this coming spring; fingers crossed!
Those who follow the Dragon Doc on social media might recognize some photos of our bit of land, since I leverage them heavily for dragon photo ops. Here are some recent views (sans dragons).
As for the subject of this post, well… wildlife abounds in our canyon. We see and hear plenty of songbirds and raptors; early this summer we spied a nest with three fluffy baby Red Tailed Hawks; deer are everywhere; and there are loads — I mean LOADS — of wild turkeys. And guess what predator *loves* to prey on deer and turkeys? That’s right, a really big kitty.
Meet Princess Furball. She’s become a regular commuter past our trail camera as she heads down the canyon to hunt overnight, then back up the canyon to wherever she hangs out during the day (we don’t know where!). We suspect she’s Princess rather than Prince because she’s not very big, at least by cougar standards. She appears to be mature, but stands only about two feet (60cm) tall at the shoulder, and her tracks are about 3.5 inches (9cm) across. These photos are all from our trail camera, as our few in-person encounters have been fleeting and… ahem… a little spooky.
While locking eyes with an apex predator is indeed spine-chilling, I should clarify that mountain lions dislike humans and generally do all they can to avoid us. Conflicts, including mountain lion attacks, are very rare. I’m sure Princess Furball has had multiple opportunities to turn us into a meal — though not a great one, since humans are too gristly — but she’s done her best to pass by without bothering us in any way.
In fact, more and more mountain lions are getting pushed out of their territories, or forced to live in uncomfortably close proximity to humans, due to habitat loss. They could use our help. Consider donating to the Mountain Lion Foundation to help Princess Furball and her relatives do their cougar things in peace.
As for books — after all, that’s why we’re all here, right? — if you haven’t yet downloaded The Dragon Doc Tales, a Novelette: Squeaky Hatchling, go for it! Squeaky Hatchling is great fun, a quick read, and the perfect introduction to The Dragon Doc Tales. It’s a must read! Subscribers may download the Squeaky Hatchling ebook for FREE. Sign up using the link below, and you will receive a Bookfunnel download link by email.
My long-anticipated full-length novel, The Dragon Doc Tales, Book 1: Wings and Wounds, is COMING SOON. How soon? As soon as I wrap up some minor revisions and finish ebook formatting. I’ll keep you posted!
Wings and Wounds will be available FIRST as an ebook through Kindle Unlimited… but only for a limited time! (See what I did there?) At some point, the ebook will be distributed through other means besides Amazon. AND, the paperback version of this cozy, modern fantasy will be available after the ebook is published. So if ebooks aren’t your thing, don’t despair. The tangible paper version is coming soon as well.
Until next time, watch out for dragons… and oversized kitty cats.
And as always, thank you for reading my tales.
Dr. S.K. Burkman