Monday, 27 June 2016

A heart-stealing seal - Testament to caring "EMO" animal people

Why is he here.  Washed up on KZN beach.  An Antarctic Fur seal.  Welcome Arcto



Part of my job – how lucky am I – is to work with our animal care teams to assist stranded animals.  The job with Arcto has been to teach him to eat fish from our hands, so we can fatten him up and release him when he is healthy.  To get this right, we need to be totally aware of our actions in relation with him, and his reactions in relation to us.  When we approach him he may feel threatened, for example.  So we use this information to tell him what we wish from him.  On our approach, every time he is calm, we leave the space, so increasing his motivation to be calm.  Using this simple method of noting what motivates him, the rehab team, have successfully taught him to eat from us. 


I would just like to say, once again, how fortunate I feel to do what I do.  And to be supported by a team that is so sensitive and intent to do what needs doing for the right reason.  For example, observation skills had to be on super alert so that we could teach him to eat for more than one person.


The first handover was from a right-handed person to a left-handed person.  We had to be finely tuned to his responses to ensure that the second person was providing him with the same information as the first.  This not only required the keen observation skills of the people involved, but also the people watching. 


Coming in early and working overtime – part of the package.  Actually, this is easy.  Because people are so keen to make progress for this beautiful seal.  Who is affectionately know as Bear.


So, this is a high five, to this team. But not only to team seal.  To so many who dedicate their lives to caring for animals. 


Animal Care is work that requires, heart and feeling.  Without that – the necessary work will not be achieved. 

This work requires keen observation skills – and these are keen when there is heart – because people look and see more when they are motivated by feeling.

It is work that requires commitment, sometimes in the face of fear – fear of failure, fear of getting hurt by big physical wild animals, fear of doing the wrong thing – but this commitment is made possible when we care.

It is work that takes free time away from families, and personal lives – but it is done because there is the necessary love.

It is work that requires humility – with humility we can make decisions for the animal, rather than for ourselves – this is because of that unconditional love.


So look back at this list – and see that I work with amazing people because they care.  They are in relationship with sentient beings, doing what they do for the good or our planet.  So much love. 


Often these people are criticised for being emotional – and this criticism is a good measure of the fact that we have the right people doing the job. 


I acknowledge all of you – not only this team, but every animal care person on the planet – Thank you for caring!



Saturday, 25 June 2016

Prayer for pleasantries and action

I believe I work as a conservationist.  I work with captive animals.



How does that work?


Because I feel so strongly that human beings – for the most part – and probably unwittingly - do not take responsibility for their actions.  I have been in a position where I have employed people in this industry.  I never took anyone who believed that animals should be in captivity.  I have always taken people who have a conscience.  People who are passionate about individual animal care with a vision to shifting our public’s perception – not to shut down our facilities, but to inspire folk to do what needs doing to take care of our planet.  So that the wild can still exist.


And now we seem to be running out of time.


And sadly, it seems that the arguments are becoming about who is right and who is wrong, rather than – focussing on what needs doing.


On behalf of all the people who work with the incredible animals in our facilities.  Animals who are ambassadors for their species – I implore – beg – plead …


Let’s stop pointing fingers

Let’s get an aerial view of what is going on

And make wise decisions

Decisions that will positively affect our personal lives – and the lives of future generations – of all species.


Let’s look at what we can individually do

And do it

Simple actions like growing our own veggies and not using plastic

Picking up litter and lovingly encouraging others to care


Then let’s campaign with wisdom

Put our energies and efforts into what can be achieved that will have maximum benefit for the whole.


We are not individuals on this planet

We are a mass – let’s not outgrow our host – our world – our planet

To the detriment of everything.


It is not too late.

Friday, 24 June 2016

so friggin' lucky

Yes yes.  I received an accolade for what I have done in my career.  Much gratitude for the award.  I did not do a speech of thanks.  And don't want this to be that cheesy speech.

So, with that fear in the open, I do want to say something really important.

I feel humbled, and unworthy.  I have so many people in my life who are enthusiastic about what we do.  Spirited in their passion.  Inspirational in their humility.  And more than likely much more worthy than I am of receiving an award. 

The opportunity to be acknowledged may not exist for them.  For whatever reason.  However I know and respect and honour my community.

I cannot name one or two as this would simply leave out a host of others. 

People who were with me during my career sometimes just for a moment knew more than I did, and fought harder than I did for what they believed. 

Then there those who were with me for longer, and moved on to do amazing things in this very industry.  And in other industries.  Things I would never have dreamed up.  Things that are so exciting, worthwhile and in the best interests of our world. 

Those who have retired.  Wow.  Beat the drum till the finish line with magnanimous energy.

And there are the golden oldies.  The folk who are still around.  Hammering old battles to death, finding and flowing with new inspiration.

There are also some mentors and bosses who have allowed, guided and scolded - all with good purpose.

And the enemies of my doggedness.  The people who said no.  The people who think I am crazy.  You too inspire something.

Family.  Whew.  Feel so blessed.  Over and over.  My family. 

So yes.  It is all about the animals.  They do come first.  They are my community and family too.  They are the reason I feel and do what I do.  So grateful to them. 

With that said -  without souls around me to walk with me, fight with me, sing with me, laugh with me, work with me, love with me and inspire with me - nothing is possible.  Life is not a one man show.  This is a party of experience, and nobody is to be left out.  Celebrate all that we do. 

Suffice is to say.  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Fly free angel princess

Sasha. A dream come true. A puppy till a dignified elderly lady.  She is off to meet friends of ours. Cleopatra the pig is waiting for her. And there will be others to join her flock. Which she will lead. Because that is who she is. They may even have been waiting for her. Any space has improved energy when she is there. It has always been so.

 We let her go this morning.  Away from her pain. Went for a short walk with her earlier. Off the lead in the bush. I am so grateful for the empathetic bond we share. Where I could just motion and she would look up to see where the path would lead us. It has been the joy that has created so many memories.  Hours and hours of walks and runs. In the bush. On the road. On the beach. 

Meditating with her keeping my feet warm. Sliding in next to me at night. Waiting at the gate for my return with that welcome only she can give. Long road trips. Just the two of us. Teaching her to swim in the sea. Sandy car rides home after. She dog-reared a couple of kittens.  They always loved her. She even helped me hand-rear a few birds.

I trust her with my life. Look forward to our reunion. So much love. The outline above cannot begin to describe our friendship. I have been blessed.

Bless you Sasha.
Thank you princess.
The gap you have left will be honoured with all the love possible.
I miss you. Always will.