One of the most frequent questions I receive from customers is “How did you start? Where did your love of animals come from?”
So this is where I grew up. There is a house back there, but it’s mostly land on a busy highway, surrounded by woods and swamp. Not the most fun for a kid (just think – I couldn’t go anywhere without being driven, didn’t have friends close by, no pizza delivery, and I couldn’t play outside when deer hunting season opened). It did, however, spawn a deep appreciation of animals and nature. I could sit and feed chipmunks from my hands. I could look out my bedroom window and often see deer, wild turkeys, and raccoons. Once we even had a peacock on our roof that had escaped from a zoo several towns over. We had a pond in the back with several types of turtles, frogs, tadpoles, a muskrat. Our most abundant type of wildlife though (aside from the mosquitoes) were snakes. And my dad would bring them in the house for my sister and I to study upclose. Snakes still hold a special place in my heart but we’ll talk about that more in depth on a future post. I guess you could say I was groomed from day 1 to appreciate animals. We always had an assortment of pets and they always lived to ripe old ages. My first guinea pig is a standout for me – I begged for him when I was 6 years old and he lived 8 long and healthy years. They also still hold a special place in my heart. But this is where it all started – growing up in the country.
I currently live a very different life, in an apartment in a busy city, surrounded by people. I often hear people talk about how they never had pets, and often still don’t have pets, and this blows my mind. I can’t fathom a life without animals. Sure, my home would be cleaner, my financial status would be a little more positive, I would be able to travel, I wouldn’t keep suffering the heartbreak when one passes, but this is my life and this is what I do. Some people dedicate their life to a sport, some to religion, some to their career. I live for my dog curling up beside me with unconditional love. I live for the bond between my young daughter and her cat. I live for the exuberance of ferrets, the intelligence of birds, the beauty of fish, and the vast variety of reptiles.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul has remained unawakened.”Anatole France