Pet of the Day

January 4, 1999

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Dunbar, the Pet of the Day
Name: Dunbar
Age: Three and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Bison (American plains buffalo)
Home: Apple Valley, California, USA
   Dunbar is one of our three pet bison. He is a gentle, 1,600 pound pet who thinks he's a kitten. He has a well developed sense of humor, anything you put in the corral as a toy will end up on his head. When in season, I buy him those plastic lawn chairs to play with. Last year it would take him a week or two to completely render it useless. Now, he's got the lawn chair dismantling down to a science... he can do it in less than an hour! In the picture he has his plastic bucket hat on. In the afternoon and evenings when it gets cool, he'll toss this bucket around and clang it against the fence for hours.

    Dunbar lives with his main squeeze, Stormy, also three and a half. They had their first baby this year. The calf, a boy, looks like his mom but just like his dad, has a budding sense of buffalo humor in him. He's already pretty good at the lawn chair dismantling thing!

    Dunbar loves to eat out of our hand and unlike most bison, seems to enjoy the human contact. Each and every morning he's right by the fence waiting for me (and the food). With a (mostly) gentle flick of his head, he gives me a high five with his horn as I come out to feed him. He and Stormy both sense that they are truly pets and enjoy a special relationship with their people. It is quite a thrill to watch them thunder around the back yard when they get to running. Buffalo watching is extremely therapeutic! I should have done this years ago.

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