There is definitely a change under way in our beautiful Antelope Valley. The days are growing longer and warmer, there are fewer chilly nights, and the drab grays and browns of winter are quickly being replaced by brightly colored blossoms and verdant swaths of green spreading over the surrounding hills.
There’s an excitement in the air brought on by the approach of spring, and residents are beginning to get outside, make plans and travel about. Since most of us who live in this scenic valley appreciate all the benefits that nature and the outdoors offer, it’s easier for us to appreciate and understand the great beauty and diversity of the natural world surrounding us.
The same goes for the favorite animals in our lives, be they four-legged creatures of the canine variety, furry felines that make the purr-fect pet, or those of a more exotic, wild nature, like hawks, llamas and wolves. In consideration of all creatures, great and small, and the joy they bring to their human keepers, we decided to make them our focus in this month’s issue of LIFESTYLE.
As part of this theme, the results of our annual Pet Photo Contest are highlighted in this April edition. The winners were selected from numerous entries submitted in the six categories of Best Action Shot, Best Buddies, Best Costume/Dressed, Best Pet/Owner Look-alike, Best Pet Smooch, and Funniest Pet.
In addition, staff writer Julie Drake, in her story “Well-trained pack of ‘original canines’” with accompanying photos by staff photographer Christina Ramos, visits the Shadowland Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to educate the public about wolves. Furthermore, reporter Alisha Semchuck talks with llama lover Cindy Nelson, who has 19 of the camel-like mammals.
And reporter Andrew Clark, in “On the hunt with Diana” with photographs by staff photojournalist Ruby Varela, discusses master falconer Jim Schaefer, owner and trainer of Diana, a Harris’s hawk that is named after the Roman goddess of the hunt.
And while we didn’t experience any snowfall this year, that lack of powder does not stop Nichole Royer from enjoying the sport of mushing with her Alaskan malamutes, an activity also called dryland mushing or urban sledding.
And opinion editor Aaron Campbell offers a unique and entertaining take, as only he can, on the best pet movies by species categories. Among the picks are “Old Yeller” (1957), “Born Free” (1966), and in a tie for Best Pig Pet Movie, “Babe” (1995) and “Charlotte’s Web,” both the 1973 animated version and the 2006 live-action film.
But animals are not the only focus of this issue of LIFESTYLE. Also featured are other interesting stories, including the second part of a two-part series by LIFESTYLE contributor Norma Gurba about pioneer Chinese immigrants in the Antelope Valley. Our other regular columns are featured as well, including Good Kids, Horse Tales, A Taste for Wine, and Arts, so please join us.