Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Two: Case File No. 50-102

Cat Detectives

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Where We Left Off:

We haven’t been having any chipmunks visit, but the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency is a birthing spot for field mice.

The Dirty Dozen:

I was going to save our next visit to the park for Earth Day, but the weather has been unpredictable. It’s also an important principle of yoga and witchcraft to be kind to the planet and your domestic environment. On one of the nice days while there was still no foliage in the way, I packed up Gus in the backpack and drove out. He wasn’t fond of being shoved into the backpack, but did okay for the short trip. I had brought along one kitchen size garbage bag to do some litter clean up knowing I’d never be able to get the huge pieces that are out there.

Gus in park

Right off the bat, I exited my car to find the parking lot covered in giant mounds of dog shit. Thanks, Neighbors Who Let Their Dog Run Off Leash and Shit Everywhere!

I picked up the Gus-pack and headed around the locked gate. There should be an easier path for pedestrians, but that’s not the worst part of this park. It’s a land preservation not a park technically, so it seems the county doesn’t care about it. Plus our county isn’t nearly as attentive to these things as the next county a mile away. Anyway, once I felt we were far enough in that Gus wouldn’t immediately run for the car, I let him out on his leash.

“If she had not been alone, she would never have seen the panther or felt the hope it spread into the world like rings around the splash of a rock thrown into a still lake.” Charles Frazier

Gus immediately went into investigation and exploring mode. Boy, I think back to the days of our early adventures when Gus would walk on the trails and only hide if another human or large animal came around. Now he wants to be off-trail all the time. I get it — there are way more clues to find off the trails, but come on, son! I do better on trails and I can’t pass under thorn bushes without a ton of aggravation.

Psych gif

It was only a matter of seconds before we started finding litter. I decided that it would be more efficient to walk through and then collect the trash on the way back so I wouldn’t be lugging a heavy bag in both directions. Guess how well that plan worked?


Gus’ Super Smeller® kept finding garbage and drawing him more and more away from the trail. We found party sites within minutes of entering the preservation. I realized we wouldn’t be walking far from the entrance to fill one garbage bag. Gus kept leading me to every dumped tire he found, but there was no way I was prepared to haul tires.


Gus also discovered a trail that is blocked by fallen trees. It would be nice if they were cleaned up, but meanwhile, Gus loves climbing on those so, it’s still a win for him. As a “non-park” it kind of reminds me of the type of land where a horror movie would be filmed. I kept waiting for him to find human remains, but that hasn’t happened (yet).

Gus in the park

Whoever these litterbugs are they have similar shitty taste in beer. It’s 99% Budweiser cans and red solo cups out there. Though I’ll admit I was shocked to find a large green bottle that was most likely San Pellegrino. Posh litterbugs exist.

hunting stand

Another peeve was seeing how many hunting stands are still there. They’re decrepit and not safe, but they were never taken down. When I was researching Bear Roots, I remember reading on the New Jersey DEP site that hunting stands have to be removed by a certain date. These stands have obviously been there for many years. As I try to make clear, I’m a vegetarian who supports responsible hunting practices only. It seems like there are hunters who only care about killing things and not about taking care of the land for those things to have quality ways of life and continue reproducing. You’re also not supposed to consume alcohol while hunting, yet there were beer cans found by those hunting stands. It doesn’t definitively mean that the hunters dropped those cans, but it means they could have. Since the preservation status went through, this patch of land doesn’t allow hunting anymore so those stands should be properly removed off those damaged trees.


On the way back, the weight of the bag was causing it to tear open. Gus did not want to go back. I knew carrying him in my arms was out of the question since I had to keep switching hands to lug the heavy garbage. I made us stop and returned him to the backpack, but I thought I’d try something I’d seen other cat explorers do — attach him to the inside tether and open the top hatch so he could poke his head out. Allow me to confess that this technique did not work so well. Gus still tried to jump out not realizing he was on a lead only a foot long. This forced me to keel over trying to grab him or wiggle out of the straps of the backpack, whichever I could do. I don’t even know what happened after that. I had to resort to holding him in his boneless state not well-supported by my one arm as I heaved the garbage bag along the rest of the way. We got through the narrow gape for pedestrians by shifting sideways and smushing through it.

Gus in backpack

Gus was annoyed at my declaration that our park adventure was over. I promised him more outside time once we got home since he had only been out for an hour. That’s right, one hour and I filled a garbage bag to point of not being able to lift it.

Earth Day may be over, but it’s certainly a good practice to not be an asshole who litters. You can’t complain about commercial and residential developments if you’re not going to take care of the land anyway.


Case Findings:

We have no idea who the people are that trashed this land. The Dirty Dozen is at large. I do however have a pretty good idea of who let their dog shit all over the parking lot. There is so much more garbage out there. It would take an army to clean this place up.

Status: Open

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

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