My 18-year-old son, Zachary, loves animals. He participated in a fundraiser to support cheetahs. He by far raised the most money for this event sponsored by Chris and Martin Kratt of the PBS television series Wild Kratts. The set goal for the fundraiser was to walk 2 miles, Zachary wanted to do more. He added an extra mile onto his daily 1 mile for 20 days and raised over $1,800 to help save the cheetahs of North America. He was so proud and happy. The cheetah is his favorite animal.
I wanted to bring more animal experiences into Zach’s life and for a year I worked on the opportunity for Zach to work at a somewhat local zoo. The owner was hesitant, but when I told him my son’s story and the joy that it would bring along with a sense of purpose for my son, he agreed.
Zach has been volunteering once a week for a few months now and has developed special relationship with the animals and zookeepers. The best part about volunteering at the Monterey Zoo is that Zach gets to say hello to all the animals and check to see if they are doing well.
One time he alerted a zookeeper of a bloody paw on the cougar and another time he pointed out that one of the North American tortoises was just about to dig deep enough under the fence to escape. Zachary also cleans the signs and points out spiderwebs to be removed.