Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All About the Love

My son and I were treated to an amazing behind the scenes tour with zookeepers! We were SO excited.  The tour lasted 90 minutes and we got to meet the Lion, Hippo and Cheetah Zookeepers AND we got to go to their dens below the zoo level.  Oh my gosh!  It was the best tour ever! Did you know raising cute adorable Doodle Puppies and taking care of Doodle Doggie is so similar to the zookeepers' schedule of things to do?  I think the zookeepers liked talking to my son and I as much as we loved talking to them!  We talked about how training a puppy to sit is so much easier because we can actually touch the puppy but when they train the lions to sit, they have to reward the lion for even thinking about maybe sitting.  It is a much longer process but the lions and the hippos and the cheetahs really LOVE pleasing their zookeepers just like doggies really love pleasing us.  We talked and talked about raising animals and giving them love and socialization and treats.  It was so cool to talk to other lovers of animals who dedicate their whole lives to their passion.  It is all about the love!

My son and I both were so excited when they began unlocking the gates.  We both have almost the exact same picture of this sign.  I think we were both barely able to stand still!

Lions LOVE treats for a job well done!

Instead of just looking at the lions, my son explored everything.  He was super interested in the entire animal husbandry aspect.  He loved the white board of notes.

These were the lion behaviors the trainers were working on. We got to see one lion learn a new behavior. She learned to give a paw.  That was pretty exciting! 
Then it was off to the Cheetahs!

While I was listening to the cheetahs purring, my son was looking at all the white board notes full of Cheetah care instructions.  He liked how organized everything was.

And while he was busy taking pictures of the sink.....

I was telling Tiree "Up!"  And she did...with purring of course!

My son and I had smiles on our faces the entire tour!
Last stop - The Hippos!

The amount of work they have put into training their hippos is astounding!  The hippos can sit and lie down and get on the scale and so many other things it is amazing.

This is the hippos very favorite treat in the entire world....Powerade!!!  
She gets a spritz of powerade as a reward for doing her learned behaviors.
She then melts with happiness and closes her eyes and rests her head on the post as if to say, "I am the happiest hippo in the world."
These are Hippo toys. My son wants to get some for our Doodle Doggies!

My son and the zookeeper are basically best friends now.  I think he could have stayed all day!  
Me too!

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