Beavers are very interesting animals.

On our recent Victoria Day weekend road trip, we stopped for a break at the information centre in Golden, BC.  While my husband took the boys in to use the bathroom, I took the dog for a quick walk and potty break.
Query: why do I use the term “potty break” for a dog?  Answer regrettably unknown.
It should be noted that my husband is something of a soft touch.  It should also be noted that my children are currently obsessed with Canadian wild animals.  Mark, on seeing a photo of a big horned sheep, exclaimed “That’s my favourite horned mammal!”  So it should not be surprising that when I allowed the three of them to go unsupervised into an information centre which sells a wide variety of stuffed Canadian wild animals, the boys ended up with new toys in their possession.
Jake chose a moose:
That’s the new moose, named Moosie, in the front row centre.
Guess what Mark chose?

No, not the bald eagle.  No, not the wolf.  Not the
Vancouver Olympic mascots nor the tigers.

Here’s a close-up.

It’s a beaver!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Beavers ARE fascinating animals, what with the dam building and beaver lodges and being the national animal of our fine country, but every time Mark informs me that he “loves beavers so much!” and that “beavers are so cool, aren’t they, Mom?” or that he is going to snuggle with his beaver, I die a little on the inside.  And by die, I mean die laughing.  Yesterday was his class’ library day, and he enthusiastically checked out a very informative non-fiction book all about beavers
I admire his teacher for keeping a straight face as he spews out his interesting beaver facts, or draws endless pictures of beavers, or expresses his passion for beavers.
It’s all about animals around here.  Mark, with his Grade One knowledge of endangered species, has been passing along his wealth of information to his brother, and let me just say this: it has not been especially well-received.  When Mark lovingly shared the Africa chapter from his new kid’s National Geographic Wild Animals Atlas with Jake, things went awry fairly quickly.  Minutes later, Jake was sobbing hysterically.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that Jake’s distress was stemming from the sad knowledge that hippos are endangered animals, hippos being his number-one favourite animal, to the extent that he believes that Foggy, the Calgary Zoo hippo, has a special bond with him and only him. 
“Foggy wiggled his ears at me!  He honked at me!”

We also celebrate Foggy’s birthday, which is only two days after Jake’s own.  Foggy is turning 46 this year, making him almost exactly 40 years older than Jake.  Foggy is much loved and on hearing that hippos are endangered, Jake immediately concluded that Foggy himself is knock knock knocking on heaven’s door, which he may be considering that he is one of the oldest hippos in North America.  As he sobbed about Foggy’s eventual demise and the fleeting nature of life in general, Mark added more fuel to the fire.  “Stop crying, Jake!  Tons of animals are endangered!  You know how you love elephants so much?  They’re totally endangered!  People kill them for their tusks!  They die!”  Jake: “ELEPHANTS TOOOOO?  NOOOOOOO!”
I find this kind of thing very trying.  While I am all for environmental awareness, I am not in favour of such transfers of information right before bedtime, which is when this display of brotherly love occurred.  Fortunately I was able to assure Jake that hippos in zoos live much longer than those in the wild – which is true – and that Foggy would probably live for many more years – which may or may not be true.  In any case, I sense a zoo trip in our very near future.


  1. We need to get our boys together. Eli is currently obsessed with animals. On the preschool field trip, the poor environmental center tour guide could barely get a word in edgewise.

  2. I admire you for posting about the beaver with a straight face!

  3. Hopefully he won’t compliment any of the “beavers” and say “nice pelt”. Don’t ya just love having boys?

  4. I don’t believe you DID post it with a straight face. Have I ever told you about my friend who was the Beaver leader? She’s tell people she was going to be a Beaver leader then say “why aren’t you laughing? Come ON, that’s funny!” Also, sorry for laughing at Jake’s pain.

  5. HA! The next word verification is poodood! POODOOD! I need to go to bed.

  6. I would have a hard time keeping a straight face if one of my kids was running around saying they love beavers. Yes, I’m immature like that.

  7. Whatever is going to happen when Foggy goes the way of all good hippos? This will be a tragedy for sure.

  8. Sorry to hear about the sick kids in your house too! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    I’ve been catching up on your posts, and you are hilarious girl friend! I’ll be back!

  9. I see a very traumatic period when Foggy passes on to the great animal reserve in the sky.

  10. During my latest volunteer trip with my third grade daughter’s class, we sat in the Africa exhibit building at the zoo, as we were supposed to observe/journal/draw our specified animal, the giraffe.
    However, Foggy and his mate got a little frisky and we (about 30 third graders, and everyone else who happened to pass through the building) got to watch hippo porn. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES of hippo porn. Which was duly journaled and drawn by many of these third graders.
    One young boy was so obviously distressed by the fact that he had no idea what was going on, but was concerned that one hippo may be hurting the other. So I felt compelled to explain the birds and the bees to someone else’s child. I hope his mom didn’t mind. But he relaxed a lot when he understood it better.
    Hippos are huge. Like at least 2 feet long huge. Especially when you can see every thrust, and it’s all happening maybe five feet away from you.
    There were videos made that day, and pictures taken. What a way to learn the facts of life.

  11. *insert perverted joke here* and *insert a Dad’s high five here*
    That is very canadian of him 😉

  12. It’s terribly unfortunate that beavers have taken on a whole life of their own. LOL!

    (by the way, I giggled when reading “Foggy honked at me”…. that just cracked me up for some reasons.)

    stopping by from Canadian Charisma – I’d follow if I could but GFC widgets are not showing in lots of places right now and I can’t see yours either. I’ll be back though! 🙂

    ~ Raylene @ It’s OK to be WEIRD!

  13. Heather – HIPPO PORN! Eeek! I’d love to see the journal entries after that. Not to mention 45 minutes and 2 feet long – that’s frightening!

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