Tuesday, 18 August 2009

No Wonder You Are Red Listed

Bet and I were snuggled up in bed (Mark was working last night) when our sweet dreams were intruded upon by a barking dogs. It wasn't, to steal and misuse a phrase from Cesar Millan, a 'Red Zone' bark that would have gotten me out of bed before I was really awake. I listened for a minute and decided that it was really a situation I needed to follow up on.
I grabbed the flashlight that sits next to the back door, slipped on the shoes that sit outside the door for this very sort of situation and headed out into the night. The commotion came from the pens, specifically it was Olena, Tramp and Nahanni SCREAMING at something that was lurking in on the edge of the yard or in the woods just beyond.
I looked around for my killer guard dog, who was no where to be seen. I called for her a few times but nothing. Great she is off partying and leaving me to deal with rabid moose or an enraged bear.
I took a deep breath and rounded the corner of Nahanni's pen. Sure enough, there the beast was - flinging itself against the chain link to Tramp's pen.

It was a toad. Yup, a toad. And it was indeed flinging repeatedly trying to get up on the railway tie that borders Tramp's kennel. Tramp was attempting to assist him by grabbing him through the chain link. How kind.
I watched for a minute and came to the conclusion that the toad must be suicidal. After all, there was no other outcome then death should he succeed in his effort to get into the kennel (which I didn't really think was possible, but I've seen stranger things happen).

I debated attempting to rescue the guy, but past experience in steering toads to safety has not been successful, and besides it was 2am. If he was really just looking for help and someone to listen to his problems, he picked the wrong person and the wrong time of the morning.
I shut off the flashlight, watched the night sky for a minute, called for Cricket a few more times, and then headed back to bed.

The yard barked for a few more minutes, then all went completely quiet. I figured either the toad had been put out of his misery or had wandered off into the woods in search of a sympathetic coyote or moose (Good luck with that).

This morning I walked up to Tramp's kennel. There was no sign of Mr. Toad.

I did alittle search on the Internet this afternoon about toads in Alberta and found this - Canadian Toad

Apparently the 'Canadian Toad' is a 'Red List' species. Well, no wonder I figured, they obviously aren't too bright. But then I got thinking, maybe because he was a 'red list' species he couldn't find a date. Lord knows that is stressful. And we are having a drought, so maybe he was depressed about not being able to find a snazzy little pond or swamp to call his own. Or maybe since the fly and mosquito population is down this year he was hungry and looking for handouts.

I got to feeling alittle bad about my callus disregard for Mr. Toad's situation.
I think if he comes back tonight I'll be more compassionate - well, that is if he shows up after 5am. I've been yawning all day and waking me up before 5 am he well may be moving from the 'red list' to the endangered list.


PS. Cricket was back in the yard this morning to greet Mark when he got home for work. She vehemently denied being away from her post during the night. The lying furball!!


Helen Thorgalsen said...

Since Cricket thinks her post consists of land beyond ear shot I am sure she thinks she was doing her job! And I am sure she was telling Mark with a mouth full of car cookies too :-))

Joyce L said...

I'm sure she will tell you that guarding her huskies from toads is NOT in her job description!

Anniegirl said...

Karen...you always leave me laughing and learning. I really think you should write a book!

D.K. Wall said...

Cricket was defending the OTHER side of the yard from an invasion of bears and moose while you were dealing with the toad. Sincerely. You don't think she was off being useless, do you?

ElizabethMC said...

The thing that had me concerned, was the fact that the toad could have been eaten, and what kind of effects that would have on Tramp or whoever ate him/her. I get very nervous when I see or hear of frogs or toads around dogs. Dogs are like young kids. Everything they find goes in their mouth and does not come back in the most pleasant way! And in this case I see bouts of frothing at the mouth.
As far as Crickets' job, maybe Bet had told her what happened with the close bear encounter and wanted nothing to do with whatever creature may have awakened you. Maybe she felt this was a job you were better suited for.

Karen Ramstead said...


I would not do anything to put my dogs in danger and if I felt that that toad posed any threat to any of the dogs, I would have stayed up and taken care of the situation.
I hope that all the blog followers realize that.

I have had experience with these toads in the dog yard before and know that they pose no real threat to the dogs.
In addition the toad was large enough that unless he had time, energy and preserverance, he was never getting through the chain link.

Tramp is fine, the rest of the dogs are fine....I have no idea how the toad is.


German Shepherd Mom said...

The toads in my back yard (I'm in North Carolina, by the way) also seem to be suicidal. Not only do they deliberately hop towards my German shepherds, but they also actually try to get in the house through the dog door. Of course, I don't know what would be more dangerous for the toads if they ever make it inside - the dogs, the cats, or me....

Jenny Glen said...

I love the start of this blog: "Bet and I were snuggled in BED" I just have to laugh to think of her sleeping in the bed with you and then looking out the window to see the dogs on their chains like she used to be. I wonder what she thinks she did right to land in your home!