Proof That Animals Have Souls

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

-Anatole France

Interesting fact: Elephants grieve just like humans do. They cry, bury their dead, and become depressed.

 
Illinois, 1996. A three year old boy fell 18 feet into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo. A female gorilla named Binti Jua carried the boy to where zoo personnel could retrieve him, all while her own child rode on her back. 

   
Interesting fact: Walruses adopt orphans whose families are killed by predators. 

 
New Zealand, 2004. Lifeguards who were on a training swim are surrounded by a pod of dolphins, while a Great White Shark was approaching. The dolphins started swimming chaotically, confusing the shark, and saving the swimmers from a potential threat. 

   
Interesting fact: Parrots name their children. Each parrot has a chirp or a squawk that is their name. Parrots also mate for life. 

 
Ethiopia, 2005. A 12 year old girl was abducted by three men. All seemed lost, but then a group of lions appeared. The lions chased the kidnappers away, saving the girl’s life. 

 
Animals can be bashful, and they can be happy. Just like us.  

    
    
 

Mother of Hedgehogs

Have you ever gone to the store with something particular in mind but end up with something completely different than what you thought you were out to get? Well, that happened to me today. Kind of.

I wanted a pet rat. I have had rats before, and they were probably my favorite pet I’ve had. So I decided to go out to Petsmart to see what I might be able to find. However, I was surprised to learn that my local Petsmart hasn’t sold rats in over a year. That didn’t stop me from grabbing the essentials: a cage, some bedding, food and water bowls. When I was checking out I asked the nice young lady where I might find a socialized rat, and she told me to check out Pets Supply Plus, and so off I went to continue my rodent driven journey.

When I arrived at Pets Supply Plus, I helped a great family who were on a similar mission, finding a socialized pet mouse. I was looking at the cages and was disappointed not to see any rats – but something else caught my eye. A hedgehog.

I always had a love for weird pets, and hedgehogs were always a weird pet I liked. However, this was my first time seeing one. I just couldn’t help myself – I went up to the girl I saw earlier when helping the other family and asked if I could see her. I got to hold her and instantly fell in love. A few transactions later, she was going home with me.

  Holding her for the first time after getting home

So far she’s been shy, and now she’s resting. I decided to name her Penelope. Penelope was skittish when I first brought her out – she was curled up tight and I had to swaddle her to avoid being stuck too much with her quills. 
  Sleepy, but starting to stretch out

Finally, after a few minutes, she started stretching out. I decided to bring Bella, my cat, in to introduce the two. Penelope was so curled up that Bella didn’t even notice she was another living animal. But once Penelope realized Bella was in the room, I was surprised who was most interested in who.

  Penelope stretching to see Bella

In fact, Penelope kept getting down to run after Bella, trying to check out her new sister.

So far, this has been my unexpected day with Penelope. There are sure to be more stories with her to come. Thanks for reading!

Also if you are interested in caring for this kind of animal, please read this: http://hedgehogcare.org

SeaWorld Rescue

Over the course of Spring Break, I got to do a lot of fun things. I went on my second or third vacation alone, making sure to plan a multitude of activities to do in Orlando, FL. Why Orlando? Because I know that to be my future home. I study animal behavior and love working with them. After an internship here and there, I plan to move to the tourist city to pursue a career as a trainer with the recently controversial SeaWorld. 

I had an amazing adventure there. I spent three days visiting the Universal theme parks and seeing what they had to offer. It is almost tempting to just spend a few months working at the park as an entertainer, so tempting I just may do it. It was fun to ride the rides, but it was also just so much fun to see the shows offered. I saw an array of characters: The Simpsons, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and even dinosaurs. The highlight for myself of the characters I saw were, of course, The Blues Brothers. Obviously these were just actors, but it was exciting nonetheless. 

  The Bluesmobile. As a little girl growing up, and partially today as well, I had a huge crush on Elwood Blues. Tall, skinny, awkward, and at the same time suave. I’ve loved blues music ever since I was little, after seeing the Blues Brothers movie. 

 RAWHIDE! Raptor Encounter at Islands of Adventure
But the best part of my trip wasn’t about the rides. It was about the animals. The main reason I was in Florida, was to work with one of the most well known parks in the world. SeaWorld. I got to work with the rescue team and help with the different species at the park.

Now, before I talk about my time there, I want to address the elephant in the room. Some of you may think that SeaWorld is cruel and abusive thanks to a documentary called Blackfish. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Blackfish relies on lies and stretched truths. I cannot provide much proof other than saying I’ve seen how the park operates, and I know how much care goes into their animals. Please be respectful.

Now that’s out of the way, it was the best way I’ve spent spring break. I got to work with the rescue animals and feed the orphans that the park was rehabilitating. I also got to work with a few of the animals there, and found my two favorite animals there. A 16 year old beluga whale cow named Whisper from the Chicago Shedd Aquarium, and an older (unknown age) male harbor seal named Bumstead. 

 Myself and the 16 year old beluga cow, Whisper

  
  Myself and Bumstead, who owns the cameraI assisted with educational groups, going back and teaching them and giving them hands on experience with the harbor seas, belugas, and even our female walrus, Kaboodle.

These animals were happy and healthy, and I’m so lucky to have gotten the chance to work with them. They are taken good care of.

This might be a jumbled post – it is my first after all. I just wanted to share a bit about my experiences during spring break to see how this works, and hopefully write better pieces in the future. Thanks for reading!