the circle of life.

That is a dramatic blog title, I know.

But I am having a bit of a dramatic, life-shake-up type moment here!

One week from today is my last day in the Children’s Zoo. 

It’s not all sad because I am so, so lucky to be starting a new job in the Carnivore Unit! On my refrigerator right now, I have a brand new Keeper/Carnivore name tag just waiting for me to start. 

When I began volunteering at the Zoo in 2002, I was beyond delighted to receive my first, official (though volunteer) Zoo name tag. It made me feel, well, legit. I would have never even dared to dream that eleven years later I would get to wear one saying Keeper/Carnivore below my name, but wow, that is actually going to happen. 

I am truly excited to be working with some of my favorite species and embarking on a new Zoo adventure. 

But it wouldn’t be a life changer if it weren’t a little bittersweet, no?

Joni Mitchell said it right. You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone. In these last days at the Children’s Zoo I can’t help but look around and see all of the beautiful creatures I’ve had the pleasure of caring for in the last few years. 

And you know what? I didn’t realize how much I’d fallen in love. 

There’s Petals and Blossom, the wooly sheep that always want their butts scratched. And Miller the short-tailed opossum who wraps his tiny tail around my finger. I will miss seeing the show rats hop back into their nest and Bear the kinkajou lap up some honey. Joe the armadillo will always hold a special place in my heart and who can forget the charms of Freeman and Andrus, the odd couple alpacas? 

Most of all, there is Gilbert the macaw, my best buddy and Hannah the sweet Zoo dog who I hate to leave, even at the end of a normal work day. 

And, of course, my girl, Bubbles, who has brought me so much joy this past year through sharing her story and by just being her sassy, awesome self. 

I love all of the Children’s Zoo animals in some way and though I know I will learn to love the carnivores I will be caring for, I can’t help but feel a bit sad to say goodbye to everyone. 

I guess it’s just the circle of life for a zookeeper. 

A little bit bitter and a little bit sweet. 

They say the only constant is change, right?

So, onward we go to the next adventure!