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I spent all week thinking about what my "A" blog could be. Annoying, academic, A.L.S, Anna, Awkward, Aspire, Awesome. In the end I asked my co-worker, let's call her Buzz ( she is addicted to caffeine!). She looked at me like I was an idiot. I thought I must have my shirt inside out or something in my teeth. Nope, to her, who had not been thinking on this for days, the answer was obvious...
I am an animal lover. I know, a lot of people are, but my love for animals is returned
One of my greatest opportunities ever, was a chance to volunteer at Chestatee Wildlife Preserve. My husband (then boyfriend) and I went on a cute date there. At that time a severe drought in Georgia had caused a water shortage. Nerd and I went to the local store and bought as much water as we could and took it back to them. We were talking to the owner and he mentioned that everyone there volunteered. I knew I had found my place. 2 weeks later I was in a Chestatee Volunteer t-shirt being told I was about to help a fellow volunteer, R, feed the lions, tigers and cougars. Adrenaline rush! I gladly dug in up to my elbows into raw chicken and special vitamins. It smelt awful,but the instant love for those cats numbs you to all the gross poop and smells you encounter. I was feeding three lion juveniles and in that moment I knew my life changed.
|Me with Utah the wolf.|
The next couple years, the fellow volunteers became my family. I needed my weekends with them. It was comic relief. We laughed, got frustrated and worked along side of one another every weekend. I trusted these people with my life. Literally. I worked with bears, lemurs, lions, alligators and birds. I have walked a bear, wolf and tiger on leash. I nursed leopard babies. I got over my fear of snakes and actually found a love for them. I prepared elaborate food spreads for monkeys and made a bond with a ringtail lemur that can not be broken. I also spent some time with some rescue chimps that taught me to look past aggresive behavior, be patient and the reward is great. One of those chimps still remembers me when I go back. Even after 3 years. I have met some of the most amazing people through the Preserve. We worked with children with cancer, that taught me to embrace everyday, as I taught them to love animals as you would a fellow human. More importantly I gained a family. One that I love as if we were blood related. They taught me a ton, listened when I needed to vent or cry, and knew when I needed to spend some times with some of my favorite furry buddies with no interruptions. I miss them all so much.
Sadly, the preserve got put on the back burner because of my show horses. I have made several attempts to go back, but things just never go right. I get injured, money gets tight. It never fails. I hope that one day soon things go right so I can get my butt back up there. That is if they will have me. In the mean time I am helping any animal I can, when ever they cross my path.