Dana Byerly's

Digital Junk Drawer

Intro to the Home Zoo

Now that I’ve got the site set up, all those little notes and ideas I had don’t seem that interesting. Uh oh! I’ll chalk it up to needing to get in the flow and start with something easy… pet pictures.

Our Home Zoo has had many members through the years. We’re currently at three, our highest attendance record was eight. Perhaps that’s a story for another day. Here’s a little bit about each of the current inhabitants.


A black and white tuxedo cat naps on a box among paintings, plants and piles in a work room.
Sprinkles, the most recent addition, in The Lady’s studio.

Our neighborhood is known for feral cats, or outdoor cats as we like to call them. The Lady, the other human resident of our apartment, tends a small colony close by that we affectionately call The Eating Club. Schlomo, her most beloved Clubber, is in the painting behind Sprinkles pictured above.

Both of our cats are locally sourced. A few years ago Sprinkles started making the rounds as a young starveling trying to integrate herself in the various local colonies. She didn’t have any luck, or rather her luck was that she was friendly enough to pick up. As she had done before with Sprinkles predecessor, The Lady put her in a carrier and brought her home. We don’t know where she came from, but she didn’t have a chip and now she’s ours.

Sprinkles is a constant source of amusement, and for the most part she gets along with her cat sister Lucy, pictured together here. They have a very catty relationship comprised mostly of tumbling, rabbit kicking, head locks, and chasing each other. Her relationship with Frieda, our resident canine, is completely the opposite.


A small black and tan Chihuahua sits in tall grass in a park by a river.
Frieda sitting patiently for treats in the park.

Frieda, our sweet little Chihuahua mix, joined us just a few weeks before Sprinkles. Both of them joined after the death of a previous Home Zoo member.

The first part of Frieda’s life was spent as a street dog in Tijuana, Mexico. Her street snacking skills are second to none. She also unabashedly assumes that every stranger is willing to share their food with her. Fortunately most people find it endearing rather than annoying. She’s also quite leash reactive towards dogs on the street. She’s made a lot of progress both in her ability to walk on the leash and her reactivity.

Frieda actually loves other dogs. When we met her she was running around off leash with a bunch of other little dogs having a great time. She was fostered in a pack and even had a snuggle buddy. She has a lovely relationship with Sprinkles, but I still feel like she’d enjoy a dog meet and greet every once and a while.

It’s hard to make dog friends on walks with her reactivity (“No really, she loves dogs!”), but we’re hopeful. Especially since she’s improved so much and is easily redirected with treats. One unintended and hilarious consequence is that she’ll sit about twenty steps or so for a treat. She’s also a Dog of Dev!


A white cat with a tabby cap and spots sits on the lap of the person taking the picture. She looks intently into the camera.
Lucy is the esteemed senior member of the household.

Lucy was born in the backyard that spans the entire block behind our building. It was about this time five years ago that we started to see her and her two sisters emerge with the rest of the resident colony. Our neighbor who lives in the basement unit is a pretty good cat socializer, and tried to socialize Lucy and her sisters. The sisters weren’t interested but Lucy warmed up to her. In the fall of that year we decided to take Lucy in before it got cold. The colony with her sisters had to be relocated not long after Lucy joined us, so we were grateful to give her a home.

She’s almost singularly focused on her Meow-mmy (me), although she does enjoy attacking her sister Sprinkles and trolling Frieda by laying between her and the food bowl. Lucy spent the first few years almost entirely in my work room and only recently has branched out to the living room and other parts of the apartment. We’re so proud!

And there you have the current composition of the Home Zoo. I have no doubt they will all feature prominently around here. I would most certainly crawl in an actual junk drawer and never come out if it were not for them!

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