We came across this fine looking muskrat along the water way at Wellesley Office Park on William Street.
- New licenses are available each year from Jan. 1-March 31
- Licenses must be renewed annually from Jan. 1-March 31 to avoid a fine
- Each dog requires a separate application.
Send questions or comments to DogLicensing@WellesleyMA.gov.
The Natick Conservation Commission held a public meeting this week to address ways the town might deal with beaver activities causing residents grief. Among these is a dam alongside the Hunnewell Town Forest that has resulted in a popular trail getting flooded out and affected water levels and the ecosystem in a couple of ponds adjacent to homes.
During the discussion, which included weighing options for breaching dams and removing beavers, Wellesley came up numerous times. That’s because there’s a big and persistent dam in Little Jennings Pond, which along with Jennings Pond, shares water with Morses Pond in Wellesley.
Pretty sure the Natick residents and officials were only joking, but there were a handful of references to Wellesley’s association with these beavers.
One resident quipped, regarding the cost of dredging the Natick ponds to allow for beaver deceivers to be installed: “We can simply determine that the beavers are coming from Wellesley and ask them to pay for the cost.”
Surprisingly, no mention of Babson beavers (the college mascot).
In discussing possible beaver removal, Commission members lamented that if you remove them from one place they will just migrate from another spot in Natick—or Wellesley! “Blame Wellesley, why not?” members chimed in. A reference was made to the beavers having “a whole different economic status” and possibly taking their Range Rovers back to Wellesley.
Or make that “Wellllllessssley,” as one resident pronounced it, eyebrows raised.
Meanwhile, “damn” Wellesley…spell-check will get you every time.
Pippi the Black Lab and author of picture book Tails with Gig isn’t a slacker. She just has a short attention span for drudge work, especially when she knows she can count on her human friend, Gig Babson, to manage administrative tasks. Sure enough, the day before Pippi was scheduled to make a very important author’s appearance at Wellesley Books, it was Gig who was putting together doggy treat bags to gift to Pippi’s fans.
“I don’t mind,” Gig said. “Tomorrow we’re going to set up a table outside the store, sign books, give away dog treats. It’s going to be fun.”
When the big day came, crowds of people and pets lined up outside Wellesley Books to buy Pippi’s book and meet the star author, along with Gig (who provides dictation for Pippi in the book, and on Pippi’s blog); and Kathy Macdonald, the book’s illustrator.
Tails with Gig, follows Pippi’s escapades during the pandemic as she grows from a puppy to a young dog. There are food adventures, of course—tuna fish somehow goes missing (tasty, but Pippi would like to try out the packed-in-oil variety next time). Shoes are chewed. Messes are made. Important household items go missing. Just another day in the life of a young dog trying hard to be a very good girl, without losing her natural vivacity or lust for life (or for Moose, her boyfriend.)
Not that Pippi is letting success go to her head, but her book is currently in its third printing. The project is almost entirely a local affair. Watson Printing on Cedar Street handled the publication of the story. “They did a great job,” Kathy said. “The paper look and feel was essential, and when we got it back, the book looked really nice.”
An initial printing of 50 copies sold out almost immediately. Wellesley Books snapped up 10 to sell on consignment in the store. The rest were purchased by family, friends, and those who closely watch literary trends. After the first batch of books was gone, Pippi suggested they think bigger. Gig and Kathy agreed and put in an order for 200 more. Then another 200. “Welcome to the world of self-publishing,” Kathy laughed.
Pippi is currently trying to earn her Canine Good Citizen Certificate from the American Kennel Club. It’s a goal that so far has remained out of reach, much to Pippi’s mystification. “After you read my book, will you help me understand why I don’t yet have that Certificate?” she asks in her official promotional brochure.
Proceeds from Tails with Gig are donated to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. If such generosity doesn’t get Pippi her coveted Canine Good Citizen Certificate, well then, that piece of paper is simply not worth chewing to bits. Pippi darling, you are such a good girl.
About Katherine L. Babson, Jr.
An avid hiker and life-long dog owner, “Gig” finds her life full of adventure with her pandemic puppy, Pippi, by her side. A retired attorney, a former Wellesley Select Board member and Town Moderator, Gig has served in Wellesley town government for over 50 years.
Gig is a graduate of Wellesley High School and received her AB from Vassar College, her MBA from Babson College, her JD from Boston College Law School, and an Honorary Doctor of Law from Babson College. Pippi’s adventures are chronicled on Facebook at @KatherineBabson.
About Katherine K. Macdonald
Outdoors woman, animal lover, and artist, Kathy enjoyed illustrating Pippi’s mischief. Kathy received her BA from Central Connecticut College, with a major in English and a minor in art. She received her MBA from Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. She is primarily an oil painter and recently exhibited at PAAM in Provincetown, MA.
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In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals, some of Wellesley’s finest pets received a blessing at churches in town this past weekend.
Rev. Judy Swahnberg of the Hills Church wrote to us that “St. Francis would be pleased at this Holy Chaos. Here are some happy and blessed good boys and girls and their humans.”
At St. Andrew’s, according to Beth Hinchliffe, “It was a fun, heartwarming, and touching celebration of the pets who enrich our lives.”
Thanks to Beth for enriching our lives by sharing these photos:
A fisher cat knew what it was doing by roaming around Wellesley resident and photographer Beth Shedd’s yard. Shedd can make anybody look their best on camera, as you can see in this 11 seconds of glory for “Freddy” that she posted on social media this week (and allowed us to share).
This video is right up there with 2018’s “Otter vs. Eel” seen in Wellesley.
Fisher cats, or more accurately “fishers,” are known for being “elusive”—that’s the word everyone seems to use when describing this member of the weasel family. The only one I’ve seen in the wild skittered across Pond Road in Wellesley at dawn a few years back while I was running. Pretty sure I picked up my pace when I saw it.
Shedd said “this was our first up close and personal, but we’ve seen them under shrubs in the perimeter of our garden years ago.”
Wellesley Animal Control Officer Jenny Smith says the only one she’s seen in town since starting her job in early 2021 was unfortunately hit by a car. “Other than that it has only been reported to me once, a resident hearing one in their neighborhood,” Smith said.
Fun facts from Smith about the animals are that “they remain active year round and do not hibernate. Their preferred habitat is mixed forest with heavy canopy cover, as they tend to avoid traveling in large open areas. They commonly use hollow logs, stonewalls, tree cavities, and brush piles to rest. Fishers are omnivorous. Their primary foods include small rodents, squirrels, rabbits, birds, eggs, fruit, porcupines, and carrion… Although they are proficient climbers, most of their hunting takes place on the ground.”
Lisa Moore, the environmental education, outreach, and compliance coordinator for Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission, calls them “one of the most misunderstood animals around here.”
She’s learned about them while working for Mass Audubon for the last 10 years, plus has spotted them in her yard on occasion. One of her fun facts is that fishers can climb down a tree headfirst.
“Often called a Fisher Cat, which is a misnomer,” Moore says. “They belong to the weasel family, and are not a cat and don’t fish. This small mammal ranges in size from 4-16 lbs, with females being smaller than males. Males tend to be about three feet long and females about two feet long, in both sexes the tail makes up a third of the body length.”
While I’ve bought into the idea that screaming fishers are among the critters that keep me awake at night, Moore says fishers screaming is a misconception. “Fishers will hiss, growl, and make a chuckle sound, but they do not scream. The grey fox also can climb trees and the female call during mating sounds like a child or woman screaming,” she says.
Mass Audubon says fishers were reintroduced in New England in the 1950s to control porcupines.
Moore says “I do not know if they rebounded or were reintroduced to manage the porcupine population that exploded as the fisher declined. Porcupine can decimate the understory of a forest and kill trees by collaring them, eating the bark and under bark off a tree around the entire trunk killing the tree. Fishers are one of the few animals that will actively hunt and eat porcupine. Really shows the importance of a balanced food chain or food web.”
The state’s MassWildlife agency encourages you not to “let fishers intimidate you: Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten fishers with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose.”
We’re not sure if that latter approach is an allowed use under the town’s outside water restrictions…
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