|Plus, they are dedicated to fitness.|
As a few of you may know, I am changing jobs (staying in the field, though). While I absolutely HATE moving (why haven't molecular transporters been invented/made for mainstream retail sales in places such as Target yet?), I HATE saying goodbye to animals of all species. So why on earth would I leave, you ask?
Life is complicated. By complicated I mean, I reproduced and my life went from "What PS4 games should I buy" to "What PS4 games should I buy and also save money for my kid's college?"* My human and non-human kids are the center of my life (also, cheese). But so is my career. And I was able to find a fantastic opportunity for me and my family, AND it moves me closer to my parents, AND has an awesome team and program.
|Well Spiderman, you've got more important things to do.|
So all of that amounted to a very difficult decision to leave a place I've been so in love with for the last three years.
I have grown so much as a trainer and leader, not just because of the experiences that happened while I was there, but because the team I was on has a bunch of incredible people at all levels. To say I've learned a lot from them is an understatement. I mean, I never worked with pinnipeds or penguins before I went there...they had to teach me everything. I came in as an assistant supervisor, but was a complete newbie when it came to 75% of the animals they cared for there.
I learned a lot of other lessons I thought I'd share with all of you. I've shared with each staff member (animals included) the really serious, meaningful lessons I've learned from them one-on-one. But I forgot to mention a couple, so here they are.
1. You guys constantly tested my level of intelligence. My ability to comprehend object permanence has been challenged on many occasions vis-a-vis toys stuffed under floating docks by not just by you Chopper, but allllll the others once they realized what you were doing. This most recently includes you, little Kaya. You, who on my last show, took a soccer ball and popped it under the dock I was sitting on, then came up and looked at me like, "Oh, what? The ball? What ball?"
You can tell all your dolphin friends that humans really ARE capable of abstract cognitive thought and while we can't use echolocation to see in the dark or through bodies, we invented donuts so we win.
2. Don't think I didn't notice that no matter where I am stood, you were all trying to get me soaked. There is a statistically significant relationship between the amount of times I was physically present in the main dolphin show area to when you guys would breach/splash/jump and send insane amounts of water flying directly at me. Wait, I feel a Dr. Suess stanza welling within me about this: I could move over here, I could move over there, it just didn't matter, you just didn't care.
3. Delilah, I fully admit on this public forum that you are unequivocally the Grand Empress of the entire facility.
1. To the sweetest, most unassuming seal: you turn into a holy terror when you disapprove of the following situations: transporting. You are absolutely terrified by people standing at the wrong angle to your head, and will galumph at warp speed to the nearest body of water and not eat for days. But if you so much as sense a device that could possibly be used for moving you from one habitat to the other, you instantly become possessed by a demon force and show what harbor seal jaws can really do. It reminds me of something....
|Yes, yes that's it.|
3. You have all showed me that no mammal on the planet can drool more than a seal.
1. How bad can a sea lion fart smell? I know now, thanks to you. I can confidently state that your farts are difficult for science to categorize as simply "gas", because there is a tangible yet invisible element to its chemical makeup that not only creates odor, but a sort of thick mask that slathers your face and lines the inside of human nostrils.
2. On a related note, you've taught me how to get through a show while you are simultaneously doing a front flipper walk whilst farting and launching small amounts of poo in glorious parabolic arches like some kind of sulfur fountain.
3. I've also learned that it is a privilege you bestow upon us naked apes to let us touch you when you're fuzzy, and for that I am eternally grateful.
1. To the anonymous elderly lady penguin (whose identity I am protected for fear of her finding me in my new home and teaching me a lesson): You've taught me to Never. Never. Never pick up a penguin and put your face right in their face.
2. You all create more confusion among guests than any other species of animal in the park. I never thought I'd hear so many frustrated or hopelessly confused people comment on how you all survive the Florida heat.
3. You're also possibly more popular than even the dolphins (I'd suggest keeping that fact a secret from them).
1. You've taught me that if I can dream it, I can do it! You never let anything like size, safety, or even the laws of physics stop you from destroying things. You can destroy cement. You can stuff rocks into pipes that we thought could never fit in there. You can shove our carefully-created diets right in our faces and eat your weight in insects at night, baffling us with your bizarre weight gain.
2. There is nothing more heartwarming than one of you curling up in my lap and snuggling while you make those little chirps. I'll do just about anything if you reinforce me with the otter snuggles!
1. You CAN successfully complete a day on a diet of donuts, cheese puff balls, pizza, and gummy things.
2. We look really good in Halloween costumes.
It's been a phenomenal adventure and I will miss all of you so much. You have all done such incredible things with amazingly positive attitudes and it's been an absolute privilege to be on your team. I can't wait to see what each one of you does with your career, no matter where you stay or go.
And to the animals, don't ever stop with the mind-messing stuff. You keep us humble, and that's what humans need most.
* This is a trick question. There is no way to afford PS4 games, much less any living expenses such as toilet paper and water while saving for college.