Anyway, I started out busting my ass at the "Domestic Center" where we kept and cared for various barnyard creatures including: llamas and guanacos, an 800 pound Shetland highland cow, several sheep, chickens, goats, and ponies. I worked there every weekend for just about a year, shoveling various substances and man-handling the escape-artist goats.
The Domestic Center was pretty cool, though. The llamas were my favorite, very intelligent and sensitive creatures. The goats loved escaping their enclosure and frequently wandered the zoo grounds as they pleased, and visitors were very keen to say things like "Hey, is that goat supposed to be out?" Sir, there is no goat standing there by the cotton candy vendor. You are halucinating, and are probably experiencing some sort of psychotic breakdown. I have contacted the proper authorities, please try to relax as they restrain and sedate you.
|It's all in your mind man. Here comes the thorazine...|
Every Saturday morning before the zoo opened, the other volunteers, employees, and I would stage these crazy wrestling matches in the hay loft. I rarely participated for lack of any wrestling ability whatsoever, but I was always up there watching and heckling.
Eventually I worked my way through just about every section of the zoo: the reptile house, the rainforest wing, the commissary, the savannah exhibit, even the small veterinary hospital on the zoo grounds.
I seemed to have a way with animals, which ever part of the zoo I worked in. I managed to "make friends" with some animals, like Suzie the golden eagle who let me hand feed her a rat every day. Please, go crouch with your face inches away from a golden eagle and try not to poop yourself as you watch it rip a large rat to pieces in seconds. She seemed to trust me enough to let me pet her aftewards...craziness. Nice bird though.
I was, on the other hand, attacked by dozens of creatures as well:
- the baboons loathed me, and the dominant male once even went so far as to hurl a tree stump at me with full force.
- I was charged by a cuban crocodile, saving myself at the last minute by using a chair as a shield against the beast.
- I learned the hard way that the leopard does not want his nose scratched, and I still have a small scar on my hand from where he was able to claw me through his enclosure.
- something called a boat-billed heron bit me really hard on the hand, and then pooped liquid bird poop all over my shoes.
- owls attacked me on a regular basis for some reason; big owls, little owls, captive owls, wild owls - it didn't matter. They all hated me.
- all of the chickens hated me as well and attacked me on sight, clinging to my pants with their little chicken talons as I ran screaming from the chicken coop
- an army of tiny little monkeys insisted on throwing their food at me.
- a seperate army of little monkeys liked to slap me in the face. No, really.
Until one day when I was called into the zoo director's office.
He accused me of being the ring leader of the illegal wrestling matches being held in the Domestic Center barn. Apparently, people were betting on the matches, and moderate sums of cash were being exchanged.
I had very little actual involvement in the wrestling matches aside from just being there. In the end I was asked to turn in my zoo keeper badge and any equipment I had at home. I didn't even try to defend myself I was so heartbroken. I loved that zoo. I still go whenever I'm home, to curse out the evil baboons and stroll the grounds I came to know as my second home.