Thoughts on Petra’s Birthday?

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

She turned 10 on May 30, 2020. A milestone. Petra is a pedigreed pup, a Black Russian, born of a litter of 9 in rural (very) Lumberton, Mississippi. We drove down there to select from 5 females that the Sire (male)’s owner had for sale, and I chose Petra, partly for she so closely conformed to the American Kennel Club Standard for Black Russians.

Though she was the smallest of those 5 happy go lucky pups, she’s now a healthy 98 pounds, so being the smallest no longer matters. She’s often just like a 3-year old, and that’s much for such a large dog. She sure is what I was also looking for (after those years in Brooklyn when criminals began coming in homes on our street, at night, through windows), for if someone did do that now, all they’d see would be a set of BIG white teeth, and I suppose they’d cautiously back out the same way they came in. I am a man, and that’s how we think, TBTold.

Most folks stay away when I walk her, something about the made in Germany collar she sports. In those 10 years, she’s never once used her teeth, never. Early on I called Elena in Lumberton and asked her about why dogs in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park (who many times charge her from as far as 300 feet away, but never never assault her) never physically bully her. Elena said many reasons, and that Black Russians experience such.

We try to brush her often, and on walks, I am pleased to have been told 400 times that she’s a “Beautiful dog!”

She good at the groomer and just as well behaved at the Vet.

I was always a loner as a kid, sure I played all the sports, and I was better than average, but the yet undeveloped lots in Brooklyn, back then, beckoned me, and none, not one of my many friends had zero interest in that. Today, working trails, I am almost 99.96% of the time alone. I grew up alone and usually carried cold steel, and Petra so fits into my life, the guy who gardens native for butterflies, came up hard (and broke) and loves sheer beauty, whether it habitat, butterflies, insects, snakes, herons, flowers, blue sky, arroyos, Ardea herodias, Hop tree, reptiles, and all that esthetes see and love.

Petra is at my side, concerned, loving and for this kid (poor) who went by subway from Brooklyn to Madison Square Garden to see the annual Westminster Kennel Club show (I managed the bus ‘n subway fare and the admission charge), having a fine Black Russian, now, here in Georgia, is a dream come true. Really


A Gold-Bordered Hairstreak Butterfly!

Gold-bordered Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at The Wall, Mission, TX

My extensive research indicates that only one out of 180,000 Americans have ever even seen this one, the Gold-Bordered Hairstreak. For Brazilians, the French, Rumanians and Thais, the numbers decline precipitiously. The same is true for Sri Lankans, Guatemalans and North Koreans, that is the viewer numbers plunge to near one in 8.5 million.

I was thinking about this, as I recalled how men and women sped to the “Wall” entrance Retama Village, in Mission, Texas, when the text blast went out, super rare Gold-Bordered at “The Wall.” Folks expert in the butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley actually jumped in their cars to insure that they got a look at this Mexican native, in the United States.

What is it that made me fly to Texas to see new and rare insects at the National Butterfly Center near the border wall? What drives retired doctors, physicists, CPA’s, RN’s, teachers and officers in blue to dash over to catch a glimpse of a rare butterfly.

That most are esthetes, does that explain it? Yes? No?