My subscribers are always invited to submit questions. The last time I answered Emma’s question about an animal career (Yes, yes–I see another question from you!) but today it is time to answer Erik.
Erik wrote, What makes you want to help animals? As for me, I was brought up that way and I have always enjoyed going on nature walks. I really want to know.
Soon you’ll find my story up on this blog–but you’ll be interested to learn that my first word was “fish.”
Really, it was.
Everyone now believes that was the first indication of my future destiny–as an animal person. (If you read What Animals Can Teach Us About Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons from Wild and Tame Creatures you will find a lot of my story inside.)
If I had to answer your question, it isn’t like I had a choice–to say I was driven was an understatement–animals and the ocean were my passions. I studied and worked seriously to help animals–starting with marine mammals.
Once my affinity for the psychology of critters was apparent, my path altered to that of training and behavior.
However, over the years I have done a lot of different things on the side trails that took me into many different animal careers and even into marketing, public relations, and management in the process.
Growing up we were fortunate to live a few steps from the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean and the fields across from our home are now a wildlife sanctuary. Back then wildlife and ocean life were always around us.
I also knew all of the domestic animals within the community, too. The interesting thing is that I really didn’t get into domestic animal work until I moved into the mountains of Southern California. (My degrees and certifications are focused on exotic animal training and management, breeding and conservation of endangered species, and also animal behavior, care, and handling.)
Today I live near the wilderness across the street from a lake and wildlife area and I am moving my career focus into educating and writing more and more–it reaches a wider audience and makes a bigger impact.
So, back to your question–what makes me want to help animals?
Ultimately the answer is because I seem to understand and have an affinity with animals. (Many people tease me and complain that they cannot differentiate between my animal and human friends when I talk.)
Anyway, that affinity and understanding motivates me to improve the lives of animals.
Most people love animals but seem to lack that affinity–they want to develop a better understanding of critters and learn how to have a better relationship with them…my job is to help facilitate that.
My longstanding belief is that if you get people to see the individuality of each animal they meet–and then empower them so that they can understand and communicate better with those animals–they will care and be motivated to help them also.
I hope that answers your question Erik. Thanks for writing in.
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