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Creature Feature

Disquise and foul odor protect this butterfly

    Caterpillar Survival Rule No. 1: Be disagreeable.     Eurytides Marcellus, the Zebra Swallowtail, a striking butterfly in classic black and white, is Calvert County’s official butterfly. Whether chosen for its instantly recognizable good looks, for its clever defensive tactics or both, the Zebra’s admirers must decide; details of the mascotorial appointment are lost to history.

The very thirsty Silvery Checkerspot

     After being tethered and tightly wrapped since last autumn, checkerspots in the garden are like tiki bar openers, brightly dressed and very thirsty.     I see the silvery checkerspot,  Charidryas nycteis, feeding in groups at everything: bee balm, summer phlox, Shasta daisies — blooming or not, even experimenting with the artificial woodgrain of vinyl siding on our house.

How to train your dog to do what you want

How do I teach my dog to come when called? What does your dog love? Success depends on finding a reward that’s more fun than what the dog is doing instead of coming when called.     Irresistible rewards include yummy treats, lots of praise and petting, playing with a favorite toy, belly rubs, playing a chase game or whatever suits your dog. But it’s got to be more satisfying than whatever is distracting the dog from coming back to you.

It took a village to make Zoe mobile

Zoe is a spunky three-year old French bulldog. At home, her paralyzed back legs were no problem as she scooted over carpet. Top-heavy by nature, she bulked up by pulling herself with her shoulders.     But on vacation at Stay Pet Resort in Hanover, she was grounded on slippery concrete. She wanted to play with the other dogs but was stuck watching the action from the sidelines. Until she got fixed up with a new set of wheels.

Training makes a happier fellow

Optimus Prime was a playful, high-energy puppy when Sergeant Gregory ‘GJ’ Tomas Jr. received orders deploying him to Afghanistan for a second tour with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

Guess who’s the top dog?

When you stop by Will & Veronica’s produce stand in Owings, you’ll likely be greeted by Onyx and Gizmo. Onyx is a five-year-old, 115-pound male German shepherd/husky mix. Gizmo is a 10-year-old, three-and-a-half-pound male Chihuahua.     A few friendly sniffs hello and they’ll be on their way again, hard at work chasing bees and flies, herding pigs, napping in the sunshine or hitching a ride on the golf cart.

Scott Sylte stands firm for his service dog

As the sun dips into the Bay at the Calvert County marina where he lives, 59-year-old Scott Sylte stares into the Chesapeake. He likes an angry sea. With salt-and-pepper beard and a skipper’s cap, he more closely resembles a sea captain than the human rights champion he is.     He doesn’t like the word activist — but it fits him.

What shall Maryland Therapeutic Riding call this blue-eyed filly?

The stork visited Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville on April 30. A blue-eyed pinto mini filly — the smallest and youngest member of the farm’s herd — needs a name. The birth was a surprise; her mother Beauty was plump when purchased, but vets and staff alike believed all she needed was a diet.     Maryland Therapeutic Riding uses the healing and therapeutic power of horses to improve the balance, strength, muscle tone, self-image, self-confidence and quality of life for people with special needs.

From Tasmanian devil to Teddy bear

You never know what temperament a dog may bring with him. I was so in love with Teddy, a Pomeranian-Papillon mix, that I figured I could deal with any little problems that came with this five-and-a-half-year-old rescue from death row at a pound in Baltimore.     He didn’t like children, I was told. He was touchy about being touched on his rear quarter, and he didn’t like raised voices.     No problem. We were just two old retirees, the ideal couple for this dog.

Cinema worth barking about