Written by Carol Braden of Florida
Before starting our home chimney fires, we now know to check the damper. We have had crows fall in and get out through the fireplace, leaving us thinking that our home had been burglarized.
This time, our son Boston looked and there were large eyes looking back. He put on his dad’s Kevlar gloves and pulled out a scared and dangerous Barred Owl.
After a photo review, they headed for the front door. The owl went to the first tree and watched us. Then he flew around the home, checking out “that” chimney. He is safe and free to roam again. (MORE PHOTOS)
Winter Tips to Protect Animals:
Here are just a few quick suggestions for helping animals this winter. Please feel free to add your own in the comments section below.
1. CHIMNEYS: Always inspect your chimney before lighting a fire and consider adding a chimney cap/screen for extra protection.
2. CAR ENGINES: It’s a good to keep in mind that animals will crawl up onto a car engine for warmth. If you’re not comfortable popping the hood each time to look, you may want to try honking the horn once or twice and then wait at least 45 seconds before starting the car, giving any animal a chance to vacate the car.
3. WALKWAYS: Carefully wash and dry your pet’s paws with warm water if they’ve been walking on roads and sidewalks treated with salt. Never apply ice melt and other toxic chemicals to walkways. There are pet friendly alternatives such as this one.
4. FERAL CAT WARMTH: If you have homeless cats in your neighborhood, consider giving them a safe winter shelter. There are a variety of models you can easily put together yourself without any special tools. Always use lots and lots of straw to help the cat stay warm and dry and try to locate the house in a quiet place that won’t be submerged in the snow. If you make a habit of offering a bowl of food and water every morning, the cats will naturally fall into a routine and it makes it much easier if you’re able to find a low/cost or free spay/neuter clinic to have them sterilized. Have a look at these great ideas for all weather cat shelters.
5. HAVE THE COURAGE TO HELP: If there’s a chained dog in your area that will be spending this winter in the bitter cold, please consider kindly approaching the owner with an offer to help. There are many models of heated dog house pads that run on very little electricity. And if you need expert help, visit the Dogs Deserve Better website.
6. A LITTLE HELP FOR WILDLIFE: If you enjoy helping wildlife through winter, consider offering an array of bird seed, cracked corn and fresh water which is crucial in preventing dehydration. Some people also tie hay bales a few feet up on tree trunks to help deer.