this is 9 months old

A rare snake-related post by me-

I have had Vision, a dwarf BCI and my youngest snake, for roughly 9 months now. He will be a year old in July, so by snake standards he is still very much a baby. In the past 9 months, he’s gone from, for lack of better words, a bitey defensive asshole to a relatively passive and trusting creature who simply has Rules ™ on how, where, and when he can be touched. I used the same method to produce these results as I do with all of my reptiles, including my young snake of a notoriously aggressive and defensive species (Amazon Tree Boas) and have frequently been asked how I manage to get these animals that instinctively bite first and ask questions never to allow handling and pictures without drawing blood.

On my dog blog I’ve mentioned the concept of body autonomy a few times in relation to training dogs, and how it crosses over into husbandry in other species. In these posts I’ve detailed how I tame the larger birds at my job, how I teach my snakes not to bite me when I take them out, how I can successfully convince a thrashing dog to accept grooming without a fuss, how I teach cats to not turn into screaming demons for nail trims, and more. I also cover this in many of my dog training lectures at work as my students teach their dogs to allow grooming, nail trims, and medically related handling to prevent injuries and incidents when interacting with these animals. All of this relates back to body autonomy, and how we as humans have consistently ignored other species’ instinctive need to be autonomous.

I am no master animal trainer and do not play one on TV. I train pet dogs and service dogs and have begun to venture into competition, at one point I specialized in rehabbing aggressive and reactive dogs. I have trained various common pet animals in occasionally unconventional ways to do things that make life easier for the both of us, but I don’t claim to be anything special, because what I’m doing is not all that special. It is, however, uncommon for people to make these considerations with their pets and then they call in someone like me to fix a problem that didn’t need to start in the first place.

An example being: frequently on this website and others, the solution for convincing a biting snake not to bite you is to hold it still until it stops biting you. The snake will learn that biting you does not produce the desired result (you letting the snake go or putting it back in its cage) and thus will eventually stop biting you when you pick it up.

In the dog training world, we call this flooding and learned helplessness. It “works” because it produces what we wanted it to. The snake no longer bites when you pick it up. But it failed to address the root of the problem, and frequently if regular handling is not maintained the snake will return to biting you every time you touch it. The snake had learned that there was nothing it could do in order to make you stop doing what it didn’t like, and so had learned that it was helpless against the much larger human. The snake in this situation still doesn’t really want to be handled, it is merely tolerating it because it sees no other option.

While snakes have a much more primitive brain than dogs and thus a much more limited scope of emotions, aggression and violence are always expensive measures to use and thus are frequently considered last resort measures to make an unpleasant situation stop. They are costly in body resources- they take large amounts of energy, stress, and time to resolve, and wounds obtained from violence can become deadly with infection or severity. As a result, a bite should always indicate that whatever you are doing is so unpleasant to the animal you’re doing it to that they’re willing to risk their life in order to make you stop. The common pet snake knows it cannot win against an animal as large as a human. It is hoping you have not come to the same realization, and will not call its bluff.

This creates a problem. Like with dogs, backing off from a situation that is required after a bite will teach the snake that all they have to do to get you to leave them alone is to bite you. If I need to trim my dog’s nails, give him a bath, brush him, or have him examined by a vet, sure I could put him in a muzzle and force him to do it anyway, but it is counter-intuitive to teach him that all he has to do is bite me in order to get out of doing those things he may consider unpleasant. I need to be able to handle my snakes. This is not negotiable, just like the above things I do with my dogs are not negotiable. If I cannot handle them, I cannot check them for injury, disease, or distress. Backing off because my snake, or dog, has threatened to bite me is thus not a viable option. I must be able to complete the task, and the animal in question must let me.

Dogs, by comparison, are relatively easy to convince in this problem. I need to be able to do my dog’s nails. If I give him amazing treats on a good reward schedule, shower him with praise, listen to his body language to give him a chance to calm down and destress before pressing on, and remove my own negative emotions from the equation, he will learn to let me do his nails and even offer the position required for the task within a relatively short amount of time. He does not have to like having his nails done, but I can convince him to like he benefits he gets out of it. Cats and birds and small mammal pets like ferrets, rabbits, and rodents may be slower, but follow much the same way.

I can’t give a snake a treat. That’s not really how snake digestive systems work. I can’t give them a toy. I can’t give them praise. The subtleties of snake body language are much harder to read due to a lack of eyelids, ears, and limbs. Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, all of these are social creatures that practice social bonding and feel an emotion similar to love (in the dog’s case, actually do feel love). Snakes are not social creatures and their brain is not capable of producing the chemicals involved in the emotion we call love. I cannot convince a snake to love me or to like being handled. That is not something their biology is able to do. Does that mean I have to rely on flooding and learned helplessness in order to get them to let me handle them?

I keep stressy species. While all reptiles are more than capable of stressing themselves to death, my current list of exotic pets includes a special needs ball python with a severe neurological condition, a brazilian rainbow boa specifically purchased from someone who breeds minimally stressy snakes because he got tired of the species’ reputation for being bitey assholes, and a dwarf bci locality (read: like a subspecies, but not different enough to get their own scientific name) known for being defensive bitey assholes. Previously, I had a special needs corn snake that was a defensive bitey asshole, an amazon tree boa that was remarkably handleable despite the species’ reputation for being aggressive and defensive bitey angry assholes, and a few foster ball pythons that came from neglect situations and had never been handled before leading to them being defensive bitey assholes. Stress is common in situations where aggression or violence is utilized, even if it is being utilized by the animal and not the human. If the stress from moving can kill my beloved ATB Hydra, why would I intentionally expose him to situations where he would feel required to use violence again and again until he learned that that was not a way out of the situation?

I did not flood my snakes. I hold them. They do not bite me. It has been a long time since any of them have even struck at me, and the majority of the bites and strikes I have received have been from when I was learning the snake in front of me or from me intentionally ignoring their body language and handling them a way I knew they didn’t like for whatever reason. Snakes do not bite without cause. Whether you, a human, can see that cause or not, snakes do not bite because they are vindictive or mean. As said, their brains are far too primitive to feel such complex emotions. Even wild snakes do not bite without provocation- whether you intentionally provoked them or not does not matter, simply whether they felt provoked enough to need to defend themselves possibly with their lives.

Vision came to me unsure of my intentions and of whether I could be considered safe. He certainly didn’t believe I should be picking him up. At two months old, the world is a scary place to a baby snake where nearly everything is bigger than you and nearly everything wants to kill or eat you. I do not blame him for doubting the warm giant cooing over him with grabby hands. To him, I’m sure I am some baffling mixture of hawk, bear, and wild canine. All of these things readily kill and eat snakes, all of these things may be persuaded to not kill and eat this particular snake if he bites them.

Instead of picking him up and allowing him to spend precious resources stressing himself to the point of repeatedly biting me- which hurts, by the way, so I don’t really want to be bitten any more than I need to be- I allowed him to show me things about him. I let him show me what he does when he’s nervous, when he doesn’t want to be bothered. I let him show me what he does when he’s curious and feels like investigating what’s in front of him. I let him show me how he does and does not like to be touched. Like many snakes, he seems to enjoy being scratched lightly under the chin. Like many snakes, he doesn’t seem to appreciate being tickled on the stomach. He prefers to create a “foot” about 2/3 down his body and use it as an anchored perch when exploring my hands. He does not want his tail to be touched. When he is nervous or unsure of potential danger, he will retract and coil himself into a loose ball. If pressed before he recovers, he will “expand” the “ball” quickly and vocalize. If he continues to be pressured, he will threaten to bite and will begin to try. If he is allowed to relax, he will recreate his “foot” and resume quietly investigating his surroundings.

Today, I took the lid off of his enclosure and lifted him out without a fuss. While this is not a first- we accomplished this task about 4 weeks in- only in the past few weeks has he not immediately retracted into his loose ball and required me to wait a few minutes for him to relax before touching him. Instead, he immediately made his “foot” and began to investigate, leaned against my finger as I scratched his chin, and maintained his confidence throughout the time I handled him. Sure, I could possibly get a similar result through the first method of flooding and teaching him that he is helpless against me, but I don’t need to. I can get a confident content snake that is not only tolerating my handling but also showing curiosity and intelligence without forcing him to accept my hands as things he has to deal with in his life.

The people espousing these methods always ask me how I managed to take such nice, interesting pictures of Hydra without bleeding- or joke about how much blood they think I lost inbetween shots- and are always surprised when I tell them that I don’t get bit because I understand a snake’s need for autonomy and allow the snake to tell me their “rules” for being touched and then follow those rules or understand if I break them I will get bit. As a result, I don’t break their rules unless I have to, and thus I don’t get bit unless I have to. This allows me to handle and investigate my snakes, look in their mouths, check their vents and between their scales, touch their heads, and rescue them from fluke accidents such as Quetzal’s injury with his decor without the snake taking their frustrations out on me. It also allows me to take some pretty pictures of them outside or on props without worrying how I will retrieve them without being bitten when I’m done. 

Chrissy Teigen Slept Through Casey Affleck’s Oscars Speech
Chrissy Teigen caught some shut eye during the Oscars. (Credit: ABC)

Chrissy Teigen clearly needed some rest during the 2017 Academy Awards. While Casey Affleck was accepting his Best Actor award for Manchester by the Sea, the model was spotted in the background snoozing on her husband John Legend’s shoulder.

We feel you Chrissy, the show was kind of dull (editor’s note: lol jk). She also has a beautiful 9-month-old daughter at home, so you can’t really blame her for needing to catch a little shut-eye.

More from Yahoo Celebrity:

Guess the Breed(s)

Sivien is 9 months old, 21" at the withers, and roughly 25lbs. He is friendly with all people and dogs, but he’s very gentle and polite and expects others to show him the same courtesy. He loves snuggles, giving kisses, eating food of all kinds, and being chased by other dogs.

If you actually know what Sivien is, and are not guessing, please don’t give away the answer!
Do You Need A Hug?

Note: my 9 month old dog passed away and I needed this… I might end up deleting it, I’m not sure.. .c

Originally posted by heartfularry


“Do you need a hug?”

That question has been asked multiple times today, in light of recent events. You had a friend, a loyal companion, a trustworthy dog that never left your side. She was young and full of life; sadly, it ended much too soon. You tried to cry but you couldn’t, only left with an empty feeling in your chest that you couldn’t shake. You missed hearing her bark and the sight of her wagging tail was etched into your mind for good.

The world felt different-it felt strange and unbalanced; your entire being was thrown off, leaving you with a gaping hole in your chest that only your precious dog could fill. You stayed with her until her last breath, keeping your eyes on hers-whispering to her how much she changed your life during the short time she was here, and how much you love her.

Clint offered you a spot in his backyard; a peaceful place she could rest and you could return to as needed. You declined at first, but came to realize that New York was no place for such a full-of-life dog your precious baby had been. She always loved visiting Clint’s home, after all.

You stood in silence as you watched your friends slide her stiff body in a black bag, their silent tears falling onto the material. Your bottom lip quivered as tears returned into your eyes, but never once fell. They stung, but it was no match for the stinging you felt resonate deep within your bones. 

Her death was so sudden and Bruce tried so hard to help her. But it wasn’t how it was supposed to end. You cursed yourself for not doing more to help her, but you simply couldn’t. You were no match for death; it takes everyone. Everyone you’ve ever loved, and everyone you will love in time.

“Do you need a hug?” You heard a soft voice whisper by your side. You slowly turned your head away from the teams disappearing bodies as they left your room to get into the elevator. Wanda looked at you with a look of sorrow and an unsaid apology. You gently shook your head and swallowed dryly. You couldn’t remember the last time you had anything to drink, let alone sleep or food.

“Let me know if you need anything.” She said, running her hand up and down your back, soothing you in any way she thought she could. You nodded to her and she left, leaving you to stand in the middle of your room, alone, your eyes moving back towards the pool of still warm blood on your floor. The others were making their way to the jet and you soon made your way there, joining them.

The black bag was off to the side, your eyes glued to it, hoping to see it move up and down-the sign of life seeping back into your girls body. But nothing happened, no matter how strongly you willed it to. Nothing happened.

“Do you need a hug?” You heard Natasha ask, only just a few minutes after Sam and Steve asked you on separate occasions. You tried to speak, but your mouth only opened for a split second, closing soon after. She took your silence as a ‘no’ and left a lingering kiss on your head. Her body moved towards the middle of the jet, joining the others in hushed whispers.

As you exited the jet, having landed near Clint’s country home, you lingered behind everyone else. You felt drained and you were in no rush to lay your dog to rest in the ground. Your eyes scanned the beauty of Clint’s yard. If she were here right now, her tongue would be flapping in the wind, her paws carrying her across the large yard, happiness radiating from her.

You finally reached the others and they all turned to you, giving you wholehearted smiles. Bruce, Tony, and Sam were digging the hole, the rich red colored dirt being tossed aside into a pile with shovels. The motionless bag lay near the fence, right underneath the tree she always rested under after running herself crazy in the heat of the burning sun.

Laura brought out a tray of cups filled with her homemade lemonade for the team, her eyes landing on you lastly. She gently offered you a cup but you kindly declined with the raise of your hand. Laura nodded and set the tray down, sticking her hands in her back pockets.

“We enjoyed having her here. Especially the kids.” She said with a small smile. The wind blew just a bit, strands of her hair whistling about her face. Her hand raised to move them away and she sighed. “I’m really sorry, Y/N.” Laura whispered, reaching her hand to rub your arm.

You smiled at her and licked your dry lips, turning your eyes back to the almost deep hole. Everyone stood around, nursing their lemonade and thinking about their favorite memories with your dog. They all loved her, and she loved all of them. 

Time passed and she was finally buried, a wooden stake with her name carved into it was stuck in the ground near where her head lay beneath. The team slowly spread out, leaving you alone with her. Though one particular person stayed behind, off to the side, wanting to be here for you in case you needed them.

His blue eyes remained on the back of your head, his eyes watering as he heard a sob finally break through your parted mouth. He slowly approached you and he swore he could physically feel his heart break as you fell to your knees, your hands grasping at the green grass. 

You cried hard and you didn’t care. You missed your dog and you needed her. Bucky sat beside you on his knees, leaving his hand mere inches from your back. “Y/N…” He whispered softly, not wanting to startle you. All you could do was cry and shake your head, praying she would miraculously come back to life and lick the salty liquid from your cheeks like she had done many times before. 

You choked on your sobs and your chest heaved up and down. As you caught your breath and wiped at your cheeks, you took a deep breath. “Bucky?” Your voice cracked as you turned to look at him. His blue eyes were threatening to spill his own tears and he waited for you to speak again. 

“I need a hug.” You whimpered out, another strong sob racking through your body. Bucky instantly pulled you into his chest, his large arms holding you tightly against him. Your hands gripped onto him, your knuckles nearly white from the intense pressure. Bucky rocked you back and forth, whispering sweet nothings in your ear as you cried out into his chest.

You lost track of time as the sun began to set and the temperature dropped just a tad. Bucky had his arms wrapped around your waist as you rested your back against his chest, your laughs mingling together as you talked about your sweet dog and the many moments you two shared with her. 

“Remember when she got into Sam’s room and took his running shoes?” Bucky asked, a breathy chuckle vibrating against your back. You let out a laugh and threw your head back against Bucky’s shoulder. “He was so mad! He couldn’t run for two days until Steve brought back a brand new pair.” Your laughter died down and you sighed with a small still on your face. 

“She was amazing.” Bucky sighed, his arms tightening around you. You nodded in agreement and sniffled. “Thank you, Bucky.” You said softly, turning in his hold to look up at him. He smiled down at you and brought his hand up to wipe at your tear stained cheeks. 

“Anytime, Doll. Anytime.”

Note: this helped me, a lot. please, hug your pets and treat them well. .c

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2

26-year-old David Lee Gavitt and his wife, Angela, lived in Ionia, Michigan, with their two daughters, 3-year-old Katrina and 11-month-old Tracy. On the night of 9 March, 1985, David and Angela retreated for bed after watching television. David had lit some candles as they watched television and forgot to blow them out when they went to the bedroom. This would be an accident he would live to regret for the rest of his life. A couple of hours after the young couple went to bed, they were awoken by their dog scratching at the bedroom door. When David opened it to see what he wanted, he was aghast to see that the living room was up in flames. As Angela rushed to awaken the girls, David smashed open a back window so that the family could escape. Once the window was smashed, David attempted to reach the girls but by now, the fire was raging. He was unable to force his way to their bedroom. As he called out to Angela, he heard no reply.

Neighbours who see the the flames called the fire department while David kept attempting to re-enter the house. Unfortunately, it was much too late for Angela, Katrina and Tracy. As if losing his wife and children wasn’t enough, investigators announced that they believed that the fire was started intentionally and David was the main suspect. Following his discharge from the hospital, he was charged with their murders. Investigators at the trial had contended that the fire was started with a flammable liquid due to the fact that there was so-called “pour patterns” on the floor, indicating something had been poured. Despite the fact that several witnesses saw David relentlessly attempt to rescue his family combined with the fact that there was no motivation, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1986.

It wouldn’t be until 2010 that the case got a second look. After learning about the inconsistencies within the case, the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School decided they would re-investigate. Several experts were called in to examine the evidence found within the home. They discovered that a flashover had occurred, as opposed to a liquid being used to ignite the fire. A flashover is a rare phenomenon in which a fire explodes and completely takes over a room, engulfing it in fire almost immediately.

In June of 2012, David’s charges were dismissed and he as released from prison. He later filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for his wrongful conviction. This lawsuit was dismissed.

Can We Give The Scotsman's Wife A Round Of Applause

Based on the sheer amount of daughters the Scotsman has, two scenarios could’ve happened. Either his wife gave birth to a child every 9 months until they grew old, or she gave birth to octuplets or even greater. Judging by the similarities in appearance I would say the latter. If that is the case, props to her for handling childbirth like a boss!

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