A Paean to Pets 
& Wildlife

Not long ago, I overheard a neighbor saying on the phone, “Where I live, the word ‘nightlife’ usually refers to the critters that knock over the trash can around three in the morning.”

While that probably sells our local entertainment options a bit short, it’s true that we’re long on things that go bump in the night. In the summer, masked backyard bandits intermittently disturb my slumbers. I have tried many strategies designed to keep the raccoons out of my strawberries, but because they’re clever, determined and have opposable thumbs, I have been unable to oppose them for long.

Still, the fact that we live surrounded by creatures both great and small fills me with delight.

This issue of Roaring Fork Lifestyle celebrates animals wild and tame. In these pages, the eloquent Genevieve Villamizar sings the praises of fly-fishing and explores the mystique of mules. Caitlin Causey writes about the Schneegas Wildlife Foundation, which rehabilitates injured or orphaned creatures ranging from antelopes and foxes to otters and pumas. Jeffrey Barbee, who grew up in Glenwood Springs, tells how his organization, Alliance Earth, is documenting the discovery of new species on Mount Mabu in Mozambique.

In this issue, you will share the fond memories of Lynn Kirchner, who gave several retired racehorses a home in Carbondale.

Pushing this animal theme to a laughable limit, there’s even a story about the remodeling of a vintage “Scotty” brand trailer. John Watkins and Dennis Bracegirdle plan to donate a portion of the refurbished Scotty’s sale price to Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE), an organization for which Watkins frequently volunteers.

We’re pleased not only to sing the paeans of pets and wildlife in these pages, but also to tip our hats to those who care for them—both pros and amateurs who rise to the occasion.

My friend Jim Hawkins would be one of the latter. Jim saved a bear that had gotten a plastic cheeseball jug stuck over its head. The bear was going bump in the day, because it couldn’t see well—and it couldn’t eat or drink at all. Jim lassoed the bear, tied it to a tree and called wildlife authorities. After sedating the bear, they freed the jug-headed beast from the container. (This is no shaggy dog story; you can read it in the Post Independent or on the front page of the July 23 Washington Post!) With characteristic modesty, Jim said that the whole adventure was the best thing he’s ever done to publicize his inn, the Four Mile Creek B & B.

Yep. I bet his guests will be talking about that escapade for donkey’s years.