Pet of the Day

October 01, 1999

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Yahoo, the Pet of the Day
Name: Yahoo
Age: One and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Home: Illinois, USA
   This is Yahoo, a black-tailed prairie dog, who lives with us in Illinois. He's one and a half years old and loves to be the center of attention. When learning about the biodiversity of the prairie ecosystems, Yahoo visits my 6th grade science classes as an example of a keystone species. He enjoys his trips to school and is always rewarded with praise, petting, and a few extra treats from the kids.

    This little rodent is potty-trained and will return to his four-story prairie dog condo when needed. He remains in his cage when alone in the house, but enjoys the freedom of the downstairs when we are home. Unlike other prairie dogs, Yahoo rarely chews on carpet or furniture. He uses only the objects provided for him in his cage. When out of his cage, his main objective is to follow his people in search of treats & attention. Bedtime is his favorite time of the day. Yahoo has earned the privilege to sleep in the master bed. Now how many rodents can boast that?

    Yahoo's claim to fame is, of course, his Yahoo. Each day after I come from work, we sing our duet: "If you're happy & you know it say: Yahoo..." Yahoo has learned to sing his line after my initial yahoo. Even after the most stressful day, Yahoo manages to bring a smile to my face.

    After a year of being an "only child," we decided to get Yahoo some company. He now has a little brother, Yip, and a sister, named Squeak. Yahoo stands guard and watches over his little family. During the day when alone in the house, the little ones snuggle up in their bed (a "dog" bowl) with their blankies (old T-shirts) into one huge prairie dog ball. However, as soon as I return from work, Yip, Yahoo, and Squeak herald my entrance with their calls and await their free-time. The three play together and get into all kinds of mischief (i.e.- stealing items from the laundry & bringing them into their "bed").

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