Many of the animals that we love and care for here at the Nature Center were once brought here as unwanted pets. Their stories vary considerably, but they all have a common thread – they really needed a new home. Sometimes it is a simple case of: “I never thought it would live this long and my son is going off to college” or, “The kids have lost interest and my husband is stuck doing all the work”. Other times a conscientious caregiver just becomes unable to continue providing for a beloved pet, and responsibly seeks out the best new home they can find. On occasions (thankfully rare), animals get dropped off with out a call or even a note. No matter what the circumstances, we do our best to find or give them a good home. Having a pet can be a huge responsibility and requires lots of time and love. Obviously, a horse will require more effort and resources than a goldfish, but both will rely on you just the same. Having a pet is commitment that is easier to make when a person truly understands what it actually takes to care for whatever animal they choose. A large jungle bird that needs its own room in the house, eats $100 worth of macadamia nuts a week, and could live to be 60 years old might not be the best choice for most prospective pet owners, despite the flashy plumage.
The joys of having animal companions can be amazing but those joys don’t come without hard work and daily devotion. If your kids are dying for a pet, but you just don’t have room in your life for yet another responsibility, don’t worry- that’s just one of the reasons the Nature Center animals are here. Kids can get exposed to the many joys of animals, (but you won’t have to go to the pet store every week to buy crickets!).
See you on the trails…Marc Gussen, Naturalist