Category Archives: List-It

List-It: The Achievements of Naturalist Joy Adamson

“Since we humans have the better brain, isn’t it our responsibility to protect our fellow creatures from, oddly enough, ourselves?” – Joy Adamson

106 years ago to this day, Friederike Victoria Gessner, more famously known as Joy Adamson, was born. An author, painter, and animal activist, Joy Adamson spent the majority of her life educating the world about the importance of preserving wildlife, specifically that in Africa.

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A strong-willed woman with a passion for animals, she lived in Kenya for nearly 4 decades with her equally famous wildlife conservationist husband, George Adamson. Together, the two fought for wildlife preservation and inspired the world with their work with big game in Africa.

As we celebrate what would’ve been Joy Adamson’s 106th birthday, we look back on her greatest achievements in the natural world.

 Her Rehabilitating of Animals – What is probably the Adamson’s most notorious accomplishment, and one that would gain them world-wide recognition, was their work with rehabilitating animals back into the wild, specifically the lioness Elsa. In 1956, after her mother was shot by George Adamson in self-defense, the Adamsons took in little cub Elsa.

Joy and George then spent the next years raising Elsa, training her to become a self-relying lioness, and eventually releasing her back into the wild where she went on to have 3 cubs of her own. Through her experiences Joy stated that Elsa “became almost like my child. Because I had no children, I have spent all my emotion on her and my other animals. But I cannot make them my own.”

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Chronicling their work with Elsa and her cubs in three books (which all eventually had movies made about them), Joy Adamson inspired millions around the world and taught the importance of preserving wildlife, and keeping the animals in their natural environments.

After Elsa and her cubs, Joy Adamson went on to adopt a young cheetah named Pippa, who was previously being used as a house pet. Adamson did the same with Pippa as she had done with Elsa and trained her to survive on her own in the wild, eventually releasing Pippa as well. Joy continued studying and working with all sorts of African animals including elephants, buffaloes, colobus monkeys, and leopards.

Her Writings – What helped Joy Adamson to inspire the world about Africa and its animals was undoubtedly her writings. Throughout the years she published many books about the different animals she rehabilitated, along with books of her drawings and sketches of African wildlife and plants.

Joy Adamson’s most popular book, Born Free (which she writes about her experience with Elsa), earned her a great amount of recognition and success that because of it, she was able to focus on raising money for wildlife conservation.

Born Free, along with the two sequels Living Free and Forever Free (both which Joy continues the story of Elsa and her cubs), were all made into movies. The actors of the films, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, were so inspired by the roles they played and the real life work Joy and George Adamson did, that they eventually founded the Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom which helps support wildlife conservation.

Her Wildlife Preservation – Joy Adamson’s passion and love for animals was obvious with her activism. Setting off on an international tour in 1962, Joy preached the importance of wildlife conservation, and the damage that illegal poaching was doing to Africa and its animal inhabitants, especially in her adopted home of Kenya.

Joy also went on to create the Elsa Wild Animal Appeal, and her work with animals, especially Elsa, helped inspire many more conservation organizations. She spent her remaining years giving the proceeds she earned from her books to many preservation organizations and using it to secure the conservation of animals and wildlife.

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It’s no doubt the lengths and efforts Joy Adamson went to protect and preserve animals and their environment. Tragically, both Joy and George were murdered (separate incidents and years – Joy in 1980 by an employee, and George in 1989 by poachers), so both of their work was cut short.

However, the impact they had on animal activism still lives on today. Because of Joy Adamson and her work, writings, and contributions, the world is just a little bit more understanding of the plight wildlife must face at the hands of humans. We must continue her work, and remember her words: “Wildlife is something which man cannot construct. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Man can rebuild a pyramid, but he can’t rebuild ecology, or a giraffe.”

So, Happy Birthday, Joy. And thank you for the impact you made on the animal kingdom.

*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2016*

Doggone Beautiful!

Being beautiful is a vain trait of humans alone, especially since animals don’t worry about such trivial matters. However, being and feeling clean is something that is shared by both people and animals.

For today’s “Random Musing”, Animal Culture‘s author, Kalie Lyn, shares with us the world of pet grooming, and how it truly benefits our pets.

Working in the pet grooming industry as a bather and groomer for the past year, I have seen my fair share of bad hair days (and I’m not talking about my own, which is usually an everyday occurrence). I have worked with breeds from tiny little Yorkshire Terriers to gigantic Newfoundlands, all with different attitudes, hair types, and problems. Needless to say, I have seen it all, and it usually goes something like this.

The Heaven Sent:

This is the dog who feels like it was literally sent from heaven to give you some much-needed relief in an otherwise hectic job. Aside from short-haired dogs – such as Labs, Boxers, Beagles, etc., which are automatically heaven sent since they require little work – these are the long-haired dogs that have been well brushed at home, so much so that the comb slides right through their coat like butter. Of course, however, these lovelies come through as often as Hailey’s Comet. But you better believe that when they do, they and their parents get a huge round of applause from us groomers.

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The Regular:

These are the dogs that have the groomer on their monthly calendar. They enter in good shape, with maybe a few knots here and there, but nothing that can’t be easily brushed out without yanking on their skin. Their pet parents usually bring them in every few weeks, and brush them at least once a week at home between grooming visits. Just like a bartender, groomers know the names and personalities of all their regulars.

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The Liar:

The liar isn’t the dog, it’s the parent. “I brush Tootsie every day at home,” they’ll say. LIAR! You can spot a “Heaven Sent” the second that dog walks into the salon, but the “Liar” takes some feeling. The liar’s dog will look brushed at first glance, but once the groomer starts to feel the dog the lies start to unravel. There are no knots or tangles because they have evolved into full-blown mats. This type of matting is usually tight, thick, and to the skin, and occurs in places that the pet parent doesn’t think to brush – the legs, stomach, chest, and behind the ears, all places that are prone to matting. Usually, in cases like this, the matting is too bad to get out without hurting the dog, especially in the sensitive areas listed above. A call to the pet parent must be made letting them know that their dog will probably have to be shaved. And most likely, that pet parent will stick to their lie, stating again they brush their dog on a daily basis. The pet parents are important to groomers, as they are the ones who pay the bills, but the dog is the number one priority. When a dog is badly matted, a groomer will insist on shaving until the pet parent finally lets up and agrees. However, in some cases, a dog must go home as it came in because putting the dog through hours of intense de-matting, in sensitive areas, is painful and stressful. Eventually though, the liar usually confesses, and the clippers come out.

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It’s no joke when I say this is the dog who looks like it literally survived the apocalypse. I have seen this only a couple of times in my career, and thank god. There is no questioning the pet parent – trust me, they know – and there is no calling them. The clippers come out immediately and start shaving. In cases like this, the hair doesn’t fall off in pieces. It falls off in one giant matted clump, looking like an already knitted scarf or sweater. And, it’s no laughing matter for either the dog or the groomer. Shaving out mats that are that deep, mats that are pressed on the skin, can become very dangerous. Besides paying close attention as to not cut the skin, nicking sores that have formed from the moisture trapped in the matted fur is also something to watch out for. When seeing a dog like this, many thoughts go through your mind: Were they homeless? Are they abused? What is wrong with the people? There will never be a good explanation for a dog that has to suffer like that, with fur that is so matted they can’t walk, see out of their eyes, or use the bathroom properly. And though the dog may not be being hit or kicked, neglecting a dog to that level is still abuse.

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So, how important is grooming for your dog? Very important!

Grooming isn’t just brushing or giving a dog a hair cut, grooming also consists of flea and tick checks during the bath, cutting the nails so they aren’t overgrown, and plucking ear hair that can cause ear infections.

It also helps socialize your dog with other people and pets, and the more your dog goes the groomer, the less they will hate it. Never give the excuse, “Oh, but my dog is scared of the groomers.” No, he’s scared because you’re scared. Once a dog leaves the arms of their pet parents, they enter an environment where dogs come first. Groomers are there to love, care for, and create a relaxed experience for your beloved pooch. We are trained to work with different breeds and personalities, and know what to do to keep pets calm and happy.

Another thing to keep in mind is, just like ours, hair grows back! If your groomer tells you your dog needs to be shaved, let them. Trust me, we’re not all shave-happy. Shaving takes time, patience, and focus, but the reason we suggest it is usually because of severe matting. It benefits your dog and you.

So, take a trip to your local groomer and treat your beloved family pet to some beautifying TLC. And remember, just like you tip your own hairdresser, tip your dog’s hairdresser too!

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*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

Earth is not only home to humans, and often times we forget that. We share this planet with a slew of other creatures, including winged, four-legged, finned, and some even unknown to mankind. In order to preserve these creatures and ourselves, it’s important to protect our environment.

With the smoke that billows from our factories, our skyscrapers that replace the nature, and the fumes that escape our cars, the majority of the world’s pollution comes from us humans. With improved technology and new products being able to be created, the negative impact we are making on the environment seems to be in the back of our minds.

However, going “green” has been the new trend for a while now, and with more and more people joining in, there are ways to help reverse our negative effects.


Many of the products we buy are unable to be recycled, and if they can be they take a while to decompose. Reusing products once we are done with them, instead of just throwing them in the trash, is one way to help the environment we share with animals.

Almost everything is made out of plastic, and plastic is very hard to recycle because it takes a long time to degrade completely. On average, a regular-sized plastic bottle, for example a water bottle, takes at least 450 years to fully decompose. That one bottle will still be here when our great-great-great-great-many greats-grand kids are around!

One of the most simple ways to reuse a plastic bottle is creating a vase out of it.

Animal Culture's author, Kalie Lyn, just finished this green tea. After, she used it to showcase the daffodils from her garden!

Animal Culture’s author, Kalie Lyn, just finished this green tea. After, she used it to showcase the daffodils from her garden!

And if a plain, clear bottle isn’t working with the decor of your home, add your own touch to it with a little decoupage.

Kalie Lyn also made-over this old glass bottle with some creativity and modge podge.

Kalie Lyn also made-over this old glass bottle with some creativity and modge podge.

Paper is another material that is used quite often, and while it has a less decomposing time (anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months), products made of paper are filling our landfills. As sad as it is to say, actual books may soon become obsolete. With eReaders, the internet, and our phones, more and more people are reading screens versus the printed word.

With less people buying and reading books, books end up in the trash. However, these once-loved items could be reused and made into something else, such as a clock.

Kalie Lyn created this clock from an old Hardy Boys book she found at a garage sale.

Kalie Lyn created this clock from an old Hardy Boys book she found at a garage sale.

Or maybe use the pages of a book, or even regular old newspaper, as wrapping paper. You could also use it to decoupage that plastic bottle vase!

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There are many ways to reuse things we no longer need or want. The creative users of the internet are full of ideas, and a simple Google search such as: “Ways to reuse (plastic, paper, glass, etc.), is a great way to find inspiration. Oh, and of course there’s Pinterest!


When you can’t reuse things, recycling them is always the best bet. Recycling allows an old product to become a new one, and separates materials that can take too long to decompose and ultimately harm the environment. However, recycling just doesn’t have to mean throwing an old cereal box into a bin for the garbage men to pick up. You can do your own recycling right at home.

Most of the left-over foods and drinks we consume go directly into the garbage. However, some of those left-overs can go back into the land and fertilize Mother Nature.

Eggshells, banana peels, and used coffee grounds and tea leaves are all nutritious for the environment. They help fertilize gardens, and the acid in coffee grounds and tea leaves are perfect for plants such as tomatoes, roses, and azaleas. Using these types of unused foods as compost is a perfect way recycle them, instead of just throwing them in the trash.

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While some foods are good to use as compost, others are not. Never use meat, breads, or dairy products while these can lead to bacteria and pests. If you are unsure what to use as natural fertilizers for your garden, make sure to look it up.

Another important item to recycle is unwanted or outgrown clothing, towels, and bedding. Linens made from synthetic materials, such as polyester and vinyl, do not decompose, and simply sit in landfills forever. So, don’t throw these out!

While it is now becoming more known to buy clothing and cloth products with biodegradable material, such as ones made from organic cotton or hemp, the jean pants we wore in high school, or that itchy wool blanket, doesn’t need to be discarded of. They can be recycled.

Donating your old clothes, towels, and bedding to a thrift shop is an excellent way to recycle and pass on fashion trends. And if you want to help animals in the process, animal shelters and rescues would be more than happy to use your old shirts and sheets as rags and beds for the animals awaiting homes.

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No matter how you choose to recycle, whether it’s sorting by bins, using old food as compost, or donating linens that never decompose, just remember to do it!


Trash is everywhere. It’s in our homes, on the side of the road, and even in our backyards. Us humans create this trash not just by littering, but also by buying products that are bad for the environment.

One way to reduce the trash we create on this planet is by reducing the amount of non eco-friendly products we purchase. Take something we use on almost a daily basis: dish sponges. Not only are they dirty, but also terrible for the environment. 52,000 years – that’s how much it would take to decompose a year’s worth of dish sponges if you threw one out every week!

One way to end this insanely high degrading process is by creating your own dish “sponge”, instead of buying one. If you are crafty and know how to knit, you can make your own dish scrubbie within a day. By using biodegradable materials, such as hemp or organic cotton (as we talked about above), knitting yourself a dish scrubbie is not only better for the environment, but it also lasts longer and is more hygienic as you can put it in the washing machine to clean it.

Kalie Lyn knitted her own dish scrubbie, and it works great!

Kalie Lyn knitted her own dish scrubbie, and it works great!

If you are interested in creating your own dish scrubby, a little tip is to make every other stitch a knit and then a purl. This helps to create that ribbed effect, which will work better to get crusty food off. Cutting out a product such as a dish sponge from our grocery list, and instead creating our own, is one way we can reduce the trash on our Earth.

Another way to reduce trash is to literally pick up poop – dog poop that is. Because of the grain and meat in dog food, and the table scraps our pets sneak, their waste is not good compost.

Yes, nobody’s favorite thing involves picking up dog feces, but it is something that needs be done. Simple as that. Besides, it’s not fun stepping in dog crap, even if in some cultures they consider it good luck.

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And remember how long it takes for plastic bags to decompose? Buying biodegradable doggy poop bags double helps the environment!

Besides the ones we provided above, there are many other ways to help combat the negative impact we make on our world. We share this planet, and for the sake of us, our children, and animals, it’s important to know and practice ways to keep our planet clean and around for a long time.

And because we are all in this together, Animal Culture would love to hear from our readers about the ways YOU Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce!

*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Celebrating Our Planet


While we should be celebrating Mother Nature everyday, thanking her for everything she provides us, today is the day she is widely recognized. So, in honor of our planet, we can celebrate by going out of our way to give her some extra special TLC.

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Pick up your trash. We are all guilty of littering. Whether it’s throwing an old crumpled-up receipt on the ground, or chucking a cigarette out of the car window, all of us have littered. Today though, which honestly should be done everyday, we need to clean up our planet. Whether it’s your trash, or some random’s, say you will and take the time to pick up the waste us humans produce.

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Go veggie. Earth day is conveniently the day after US VegWeek begins, so it should be that much easier to go meat-free today. As we talked in yesterday’s “Weekly Feature”, factory farms, which produce the meat humans consume, emit the three top greenhouse gas emissions. So go vegan today, and spare a few of Mother Nature’s children while helping her in the process.

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Hug a tree. Literally. Turn off your technology, walk barefoot in the grass, and go hug a tree. With the texts, emails, and tweets that bombard us everyday, we all need to step back from our technological world for a moment, and get back in touch with nature – the real world. The best way to do that is to immerse ourselves with the outside. Whether we lay in the grass and stare at the clouds, take a hike in the woods, or tend to the plants in our garden, spending some time outside is the best way to not only celebrate Earth Day, but also relieve our own inner-stress.

So, get out there and honor our planet today – and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Show her some much needed love and care, because without her, we wouldn’t survive. Our earth has been through a lot, and the blame is on us. With our polluting cities, our careless littering, and our overall disregard for our universal home, we need to take this day and give back.

Happy Earth Day 2014.

A Place to Rest – Blog the Change for Animals

Today on Animal Culture, we are partaking in a blog challenge called Blog the Change for Animals. An opportunity to share our favorite cause for animals, this is dedicated to the people who work hard to care and help our fellow creatures.

Blog the Change

Twenty years ago, in 1994, Ana Julia Torres created a wildlife shelter for mistreated and abused animals. Located in Cali, Columbia, more than 1,000 animals spend the remainder of their lives safe and sheltered at the Refugio Villa Lorena – Villa Lorena Refuge.

Arriving to the shelter with brutal pasts, most of the animals were overworked and abused at circuses, imprisoned by drug traffickers and warlords, neglected at zoos, or kept as exotic pets in people’s homes. Lions, tigers, monkeys, camels, birds, goats, and everything in between, these creatures come malnourished, physically abused, and some, according to the refuge’s website, even raped by humans.

According to Torres, as told to First News, “We want the animals to live in peace. All their life they were shown at circuses and shows, this is a paradise where they can finally rest.”  With community programs where people can visit the shelter to see and learn about the animals and their plights, Villa Lorena Refuge is aimed toward education of the importance of animals, and creating a safe haven for mistreated animals.

Torres embracing Jupiter, a once mistreated lion who she nursed back to health. (Photo Via:

Torres embracing Jupiter, a once mistreated lion who she nursed back to health.
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A place created by humans for animals, Villa Lorena Refuge is an inspirational shelter for those of us who want to make a difference in the animal kingdom. With knowledge and love of our fellow creatures, and especially a passion to help, all humans can strive to make the world a better place. A place where we can live in harmony with all living things, and make our own safe haven.

Torres with a rescued camel. (Photo Via:

Torres with a rescued camel.
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Click to find out more about Refugio Villa Lorena, view more inspiring photos, and to see how YOU can help a worthy cause.


In the Name of Tradition

Filled with tradition, Spain is the place for festivals. But when festivals consist of cruelty, when is it time to move on?

Animal Culture is on vacation in Madrid, Spain for the next three weeks. Kalie Lyn, Animal Culture‘s author, is visiting her Spanish husband’s family, and the place she called home from 2008 to 2013.

Warm, beautiful, friendly, and a side of paella, Spain is a country with lots of heritage and tradition. From Flamenco to fútobol, Spain lives and breathes culture. However, in the name of tradition, the rights and welfare of animals are often overlooked.

Bullfighting, a blood-shed sport dating back to the 18th century in Spain, is a popular attraction for both Spaniards and tourists. Bullfighters, called Matadores de Toros, fight the bulls, piercing them with swords. The fight ends when the bull dies.

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Every January, in Manganeses de la Polvorosa (a village in the north of Spain), a festival is held in honor of St. Vincent, the town’s saint. Legend has it that a goat, owned by a priest in the village, climbed to the belfry of the church, and when the Sunday mass bell rang, the frightened goat lept from the top of the church. Fortunately, the goat was saved when he was caught with a blanket by people from below. Because of this legend, every year in January, until 2000, during the festival of St. Vincent, a goat was thrown from the roof of a church. The goal was to catch the goat with a blanket.

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Probably the most cruel tradition of all is called the Rapa das Bestas. Beginning the first Saturday of July, and ending after three days, this festival in Galicia consists of rounding up wild horses. Corralled into a brick-walled circle, spectators tackle the horses, cutting off their manes and tails and branding them.

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Tradition is important for any country and its citizens, but where does tradition cross the line of cruelty? While these festivals happen, the majority of Spaniards are against them and their practices. Most times, these festivals are isolated in smaller towns and villages where animal rights are non-existent, and animals are viewed as sources of food, work, and entertainment. However, even in large cities, such as Madrid, practices involving animals exist, such as bullfighting (side note: Bullfighting was banned in Barcelona and surrounding communities of Catalonia in 2012; hopefully Madrid is soon to follow).

Traveling to Spain and other countries that have these type of spectaculars does not mean tourists need to view them in order to absorb the country’s culture. One way to end these festival acts is to not attend them, both as a tourist and a local. These festivals are often protested by PETA and other animal rights groups, so joining the protest can also possibly help end them. Besides, Spain is rich with festivals and there are many others, which don’t feature animals, that capture the fun and culture that is Spain (view the Top Ten Festivals in Spain).

Spain is a wonderful country but just like with many places, animals are often considered second-class (sometimes not even that) citizens. Tradition is important, but animals and humans alike do not need to get hurt in the process. It is mandatory though to bring awareness to these issues, and to help stop the often cruel and inhumane practices that go along with tradition.