I Was Raised In A Zoo!


"Ken is gone!  Arthur, go ask the neighbors if he's in their yard."  I moved slowly because I knew there was no real urgency.  Ken had gotten out before and wasn't going to be very far away.  He was our tortoise.  Yes, I grew up with two tortoises that, we, the kids of the zoo, named after our precious parents, Ken and Carol!  

Because of their love for animals, well, really I should say because of the love my parents and my sister had for anything God made that breathes; my childhood was filled with many living creatures.  Cats and dogs of every kind, rats, and lizards.  We had a spider monkey named Harriet who would greet you at the front door and take your hat when you came for a visit!

We had a bird that I'll never forget, named Georgie.  Maybe she had been attacked by a cat, or maybe she was abandoned by her mother and couldn't make it on her own.  My sister found her and brought her home.  When I looked inside the shoebox she appeared to be dead. No movement.  No strength.  No hope.  The richness of this memory, to me, is the love, the care, and the dignity offered to this broken creature, by the hands of my dad and my sister.  

I asked a lot of questions.  My dad, who, at one time in his life wanted to be a Veterinarian, explained:  In the room, a window was opened slightly so Georgie could feel the wind.  Lights were turned down low because she didn't feel good right now.  Inside her little box, a warm towel and quite a bit of cotton.  The towel for comfort and the cotton for protection from herself.  "Even hurt birds don't like being caged or held."

My father's hands were big, strong and deeply caring.  He picked up Georgie, careful to hold her wings close to her body; and would feed her as many times a day as she could take food from the eye-dropper.  My sister would give her water, refresh her shoe-box and talk to her with words of love and life.  You know, the words we all need to hear at times.  Little-by-little, an eye-dropper at a time, Georgie was healed and made well.

One normal morning, my dad announced, "Today's the day!"  After breakfast, we all went out to our backyard. (Watch your step out here!  There are holes everywhere, dug by you-know-who!  Ken and Carol!)  My sister was given the joy of opening Georgie's box.  We all wanted one more look at her.  We had watched the miraculous transformation and felt like she was a part of our family.  We all secretly hoped that she would decide to stay!  Within one second of her little ceiling being lifted, Georgie flew to the sky and out of sight!  We shouted!  We laughed! We cried a bit.  At that very moment, we heard the slightest mew of a cat that looked half-dead, that had somehow made its way to our house!  "Oh, my!"  my mother said.  My dad said, "Arthur, go get the box from the garage.  I know just what to do." 

I'm so glad that God found me.  How about you?  "When he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ (Luke 15:6 NKJV)

Oh, and yes, I found Ken.  He had burrowed his way through a good portion of our neighbor's backyard.   I put him in our wagon, brought him home and reunited him with Carol to see another day.