It’s no surprise I’m a lover of nature and animals. This predisposition was drummed into me from tender years onward. First magazine? Ranger Rick. Favorite books? Black Beauty and All Creatures Great And Small. ┬áPets? Dogs, rabbits, hamsters, sheep, horses, cats, fish, and probably many others I’ve forgotten. Family vacations? Hiking, camping, and animal watching in national parks. Only allowed TV shows (until my teens)? Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

You see it play out here on Road to Joy, too: anyone that reads me semi-regularly knows Cowboy and Petey by name. If you browse through my top ten posts of all time, you’ll find cardinals, frozen elk, amorous frogs, and one-eyed Boston Terriers. I’ve worked on five books for May 2012 publication for the last two years, and one of them is . . . a collection of stories about animals.

It’s against that backdrop that y’all may understand why I love my home office in central Houston so much. Smack dab in the midst of all this concrete and traffic, my backyard is an animal and bird oasis. We have a three-level pond that attracts possum, squirrels, turtles, birds of every variety including red tailed hawks and pygmy hawks, and occasionally a rat, ew.

This past week, even my front yard was a menagerie. I had a baby salamander on the glass of my office window. There was a red-headed woodpecker on the tree closest to the same window, and really, those are rare sightings in our neighborhood. Then one day I looked up, and walking past my window five feet in front of me was a waddly possum, in the middle of the day. Since they’re nocturnal, this close up daytime view was pretty darn cool. I managed to catch his backsides on film.

And that’s all it took to make my week: a lizard, a noisy bird, and a fluffy rat with a big butt.



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20 Responses to Mutual of Houston’s Wild Kingdom

  1. Congrats on your May 12 Publication of short stories! YOU are living the dream!

  2. You’re a little easy to please, hmmmm? Oh, who am I kidding? Outside my window I have 7 unruly cows cavorting like crazy, entertaining me constantly; red-headed woodpeckers, bumblebees, birds, butterflies, honeybees, wasps, and one Alpha Hubby in a pear tree. Oh, no he’s not in a tree, forget that. But I love your fluffy rat with a big butt best of all!

    • Pamela says:

      LOL, I know you are converted country girl, you can’t fool me. I love our life now, but I am also looking forward to when we move out of the city to Nowheresville.

  3. Laura J says:

    My husband’s originally from Galveston, and smackdab in the fair middle of town (well, a couple of blocks behind the San Luis Resort on the Seawall) he grew up in a 1940s brick bungalow. At one point a husband and wife opossum couple decided to make the deck behind the house their home. His dad began feeding them and eventually named them “Opie” and “Annie” — if I remember the story correctly, he even managed to tame them somewhat. It’s amazing what wild critters will brave the concrete jungle sometimes.

    • Pamela says:

      I am always glad to see their resilience, but sad that they can’t just be their wild critter self. That’s a great story. Possums are funny little animals.

  4. Tracy Wilson says:

    That’s too funny- we must be about the same age because I grew up watching the SAME EXACT programs- I lived on a farm in western Maryland and was always outside, or in the woods with my Dad. I read a lot too…and my favorite entertainment is, of course, the kids- and the animals.
    I am quite envious of the pond. Pictures? I’ll have to spend a little time looking thru older blog articles.

    Have a fabulous week!

    • Pamela says:

      The pond is great except for the 6 months a year of frog mating season, which is in full swing. Last night was a cacophony of frogs, lusty and loud. :)

      You have a great week, too!


  5. Peter says:

    Couldn’t have been a better childhood if you ask me. I still enjoy animals and animal shows at my young age.

  6. Eric says:

    It really is a wonderful part of our life in Houston. Its funny that there is a perception that Houston is one huge mass of concrete and traffic, and it actually is full of life. And our little oasis in the middle of all that is really really cool.

  7. Terri Sonoda says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming publications! I’m soooo excited for you! And as for animals? I’m not fond of critters, in general, but I do love cats and dogs. Petey is my favorite bloggy critter. I love hearing about his antics. So keep ’em coming, my friend! Have a super week! HUGSSS

  8. Jennifer says:

    Your animal posts always make me smile. I’m in love with that waddling possom! :)

  9. Congrats on all of your publications :))

    Is that a rat in the photo? If so, that’s SCARYyyyy. <3

  10. Your love for animals is really great and congrats for your work on animals. Hope you will still bring in more stories on animals from the countryside. Whenever I used to visit my native place I always loved to wonder behind the animals and love to watch how they used to eat and drink. Miss that life in the city.

  11. Ally says:

    I thought the picture was of some kind of pig! Of course, then I actually read the post. We had a possum on the back fence once. You are right – overgrown rat!

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