Monday, February 20, 2006

An Odd Couple

There is nothing like a Monday that is a holiday for some -- President's Day -- but not for others, namely me. While folks I know got the day off I was at work slaving away. *sigh* There is nothing that can be done about it except to cheer myself up by reading a wonderful children's book called Owen and Mzee. Who are Owen and Mzee? Owen is a baby hippo, and Mzee, a 130 year old Aldabra Tortoise and here is a photo of them relaxing together: In 2004 Owen lost his family when the tsunami hit the coast of Kenya. He was stranded on a coral reef and rescued with the help of a lot of caring humans. Owen could not be returned to the wild because he had lost his pod and other hippo pods do not take kindly to strangers. So he was taken to the sanctuary of Haller Park where he became attached to a curmudgeonly tortoise named Mzee. Mzee was reluctant but Owen was insistent and they became friends. The book is wonderful and heartwarming. Best of all there is not a bit of anthropomorphic moralizing about getting along. The story even says that no one knows why Owen and Mzee became friends, offers a few plausible scientific suggestions, but follows those up with a "but we just don't know for sure." If you read the book and can't get enough, the caretaker has a blog.