My father used to vex me while I was growing up. He would challenge my natural, 'practical' pessimism with the option to be 'optimistic'.
It was always 'Carla is the glass of water halfway FULL or halfway EMPTY?' LOL.
It was a good lesson.
He also said that a sign of EDUCATION is the ability for one to hold an intelligent conversation with someone who doesn't share your views, while still leaving room for mutual appreciation and respect--not trying to convince the other to see it 'as you do'.
Last night I had the fantastic opportunity to go to a program at the San Diego Zoo.
It was an update to the donors about a community outreach program called The San Diego Zoo Express.
Some of you may be against all zoos.
Some of you will close your ears because the concept of a zoo is not acceptable to you. Your hearts and your consciousness will 'shut off' because 'zoos are bad'.
If this is the case I will caution you--your Consciousness is in dire need to move beyond this duality-based thinking--it's all 'black or white', I 'believe it or I don't'--and stretch to the energies of Enlightened Consciousness--'there are no mistakes only lessons'.
In the Higher Realms we acknowledge there are 'good choices' and 'not so good choices' but on the whole, it is Creator's duty to 'judge' and we openly acknowledge that 'everyone is doing the best they can as a soul with what has been given in their situation.'
The good things about the zoo are outreach to the public, supporting the love of animals, and conservation. I believe if it wasn't for the Safari Park many more rhinos would be extinct. I think there is perhaps another deer type species who lives there freely but is close to extinction in the wild.
The not so good things are that the animals are enclosed and dependent on humans for everything. Although the enclosures are being updated as much as possible, for example, the new elephant exhibit is much larger than the one we used to see growing up--this is still not even close to what is in the wild.
So, what IS the 'Zoo Express'?
It's an outreach that is a special form of healing. It is like Therapy Dogs on Steroids! Actual zoo creatures are brought with volunteers to local Children's Hospitals and Long-Term Care facilities.
The people involved with this program shared two important stories:
- a pre-teen cancer patient was very grumpy, totally bald from chemo, and never smiled. He grabbed the biggest stuffed animal snake (all kids get their choice of stuffed animal) they had. The animal trainer quipped under her voice--with this you will be able to scare lots of nurses! Then he REALLY smiled big, and later was seen chasing nurses up and down the hall with it, to everyone's delight--for the nurses knew he was depressed and withdrawn because of his illness.
- an ICU visit was planned, which is rare. In the bed was a twenty-year old woman, who because of disease had her growth stunted severely. She was the size of a child. She was unable to see, hear, and communicated like Helen Keller. She had never seen a dog in her life, and the nurses wanted her to see the one brought by the zookeepers. The girl slowly touched the dog all over, every inch, taking the experience in. When she finished, she threw her arms around the dog's neck and hugged it very tight! The explained it is the most wonderful creature she has ever met in all her life, and she never wanted to let it go! All of the nurses and zoo staff were in tears over this amazing encounter, a gesture of love to a grown woman who had spent her whole youth so isolated because of her illness she could never meet an animal until now...
The seniors look forward to the visits, and say in their comments on the visit, 'honestly this is the highlight of my entire year, thank you for visiting us'.
The zoo trainer explained to us how everyone benefits from this program--including the hospital staff, who are just as eager to meet the animals as the patients and residents. She commented on after seeing illness day in and day out in their work, the caregivers naturally flock to the 'Zoo Ambassadors' too.
They bring porcupines, baby anteaters, monkeys, birds, and most often, a howling/singing dog, and also the companion animal of the cheetah--a one hundred fifty pound enormous white dog I think might be a Colorado Pyrenees.
We were allowed to meet these two dogs after the program.
They were very high vibration, loving creatures. Anthony was in heaven! He likes big dogs, and this one was one of the biggest he's ever seen. The dog seemed to enjoy meeting Anthony too. We spent a long time after the program talking with the trainer.
This is why I support the zoo.
It started with a student discount pass while I was in medical school. Unlimited admission for a year to both parks for twenty dollars.
I used to study near the waterfalls by the gorilla exhibit.
I have been gradually increasing my level of support over the years.
In my fellowship I actually was permitted to go with our UCSD team to help give anesthesia to Bai Yun, the panda at the zoo. It was the most wonderful day of my career! (the two facilities help one another. In particular, the imaging equipment is shared by the hospital for zoo 'patients'--but surgeries are done on the zoo premises in their own operating room. The safari park has a state of the art medical facility there too.
Animals may or may not 'need' humans.
But humans need animals and nature to thrive.
And no matter what you feel or believe about zoos in general, wouldn't you agree that seeing a porcupine while you are fighting cancer in the children's hospital, lifts your spirits, brings you joy, and helps you to forget the pain and suffering?
This program brings nurturing, warmth, love and compassion to those who cannot physically 'get' to the zoo....and it makes all the difference in the world...to know the people at the zoo care enough to make the effort to share the only thing they have to share...their amazing animals!
Healing, is so far-reaching, in so many ways.
I have an anesthesiologist friend, and mother of four, who organizes seasonal events for her inpatients--a team comes and gives a shampoo and blow dry to people who are in the hospital for a long time. It helps people feel and look their best while they are fighting illness. It also lets them know people care about them enough to visit and spend time with them in this way.
It's not just the shampoo.
It's the hearts that go with it.
So...open your hearts...always hope for the best...and ask Creator to do the judging instead of you the next time the urge hits to judge something. You'll be glad you did!
Aloha and Mahalos,
Carla and Ross
P.S. A message from Ross--Carla has a very early start and must take Anthony to his father to drop him off to school. She has to be at work before the school opens. He will speak 'longer' on the next one. He thanks you for your patience with him. He wants me to talk about my new bracelets in the next one too. I made many, many, and am going to be putting them on Etsy. He waves goodbye.