Tell us about your pets?
I have three dogs, three reptiles and an amphibian so I’ll try to keep it short, but you know how it is! My oldest girl, Raksha, is a half Australian Kelpie, half red heeler. She is a rescue, was fear aggressive when I first met her, but now she’s the sweetest girl! She’s all muscle underneath her fur and loves to run! I’ve had her for ten years. My second is Little Dipper, named because the spots on his tummy looked like constellations when he was a baby! He’s some mixture of chihuahua, lab and terrier. He’s got a an attitude at first but he’s actually just a marshmallow that wants all the attention! I’ve had him for a little over 6 years. Our newest furry family member is Peppervine. Pretty certain he’s half beagle half dachshund. He’s four years old but I’ve only had him for a couple of months. He’s a foster fail, he was in a rough situation so I took him in as an emergency foster, and he’s bonded with my dogs and I. I have two Ball python snakes, Calypso and Mirkwood, one is 7 years old and over 4 feet long, the other is 2 years and 3 feet long! They’re both very calm and I can carry the big one around on my shoulders for short outings when the weather is warm enough for her! I have a leopard gecko named Abraxas, who was a rescue, is about 7-9 years old. And one big Cane Toad, named Matterhorn! She’s pretty young. She always looks angry and won’t hesitate to pee on you if you hold her for a second too long!
What is the funniest or most memorable experience you’ve have with an animal?
The first time I met my dog Raksha, She was terrified of everything and everyone. Especially men and children. She would bite if you got too close. When I brought her home it took some time for her to realize she was safe. But as she settled in, got used to me, and realized she didn’t have to be afraid, her whole demeanor changed. She became sweet, loving, she knows when someone is upset and will come comfort them. The vets can pick her up and trim her nails and she won’t even growl or snap. She was able to take steps forward at her own pace. The moment that it really hit me how much she’d healed, was when, someone she had just met, was able to hug her and lean on her and she just kissed him and leaned right back. I cried watching how happy and relaxed she was. Dogs are some of the most amazing living creatures on the planet. I’m so proud of her. And I try to learn from her resilient and forgiving nature!
Why do you love working with animals?
I love animals with all of my soul. My animals are my children. And whether it’s a wild animal or a pet, I feel blessed to be around them. And I really want to do anything I can to keep the happy, healthy and safe. They deserve it. They are family.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
My dream goal would be to have a career helping animals, both domestic and wild. I’d really love to have a hand in wildlife conservation in some way. I feel very passionately about protecting the native wildlife. There are so many birds and bugs and even plants that are endangered. Our natural eco systems work so perfectly when they’re healthy. And it’s heartbreaking to see them suffer.
What do our pet friends teach us?
The list of things we can learn from our babies, is endless. But the first things that come to mind are resilience, forgiveness, unconditional love, how to be attentive to boundaries and find creative ways to communicate and make friends. How to have fun in the moment, and how to look REALLY cute so you can’t resist giving them extra attention!