Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Once Upon a Time...

There was a little girl named Lauren who wanted to be a veterinarian. Even when she was in first grade and people asked her what she "wanted to be when she grew up," she always had an answer. She rarely met an animal she didn't like, or that didn't like her. She was the first one to try to catch a grasshopper, the most likely to pick up a lizard from the flower beds, and the bravest one when it come to the creepy crawly creatures like slugs and worms.

Her daddy introduced her to the members of the animal kingdom even before she could call them by name. Whenever he found a harmless little snake out on the dairy, he'd catch it and bring it into the house to show her.

Living on a dairy meant she learned a lot about animals. Sometimes she helped Daddy feed the calves. Other times she just liked playing in the front yard with her kitties, "Giggles" and "Yo-Yo."

When the little girl was a bit older, Daddy showed her how to take care of bigger animals. He taught her and her sister how to ride "Buster" the horse. At first it was scary being up so high, but "Buster" was so calm and gentle that she didn't have to be afraid. Before long, she could ride him all by herself without Daddy pulling the lead rope.

Most of Lauren's friends had pets like dogs, cats or even turtles and hamsters. Lauren's family had a few dogs over the years, but mostly they were just strays that showed up on the dairy. One of her favorites was "Fred," who had very tiny, short legs. He was really good at jumping though! Fred mostly stayed outside, but sometimes when Mom wasn't home, Dad would let Fred come in the house for a little while.

One summer, Lauren's Daddy set up a big pen next to the house where they could keep lots of different animals. They got 5 ducks, 2 Chinese Silky hens, a billy goat and a nanny goat. The billy goat was sort of mean and liked to chase after people who tried to pet him. The nanny goat was very little--so little that she still needed a bottle every day.

Since Lauren wanted to be a veterinarian, feeding the baby goat was her job. She got up early in the mornings to microwave some milk, then climb into the pen to give it to the nanny goat. Nanny goat grew up fast, and soon she was going to have babies of her own!

Lauren loved taking care of her animals. She would sit in the pen with them even when it was raining, just to make sure they weren't scared. When Daddy was out of town, she helped feed the horses.

She even had a little rabbit for awhile named "Jet." His favorite thing to do was wiggle out of his hutch and dart back and forth across the lawn. One night he got loose and burrowed away forever.

Lauren would have made a fantastic veterinarian. She even started college planning to attend vet school at UC Davis after she earned her bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, Lauren started having more problems with cystic fibrosis as she got older. Her allergies became more of a problem, and being around animals was making her so sick that she had to think of something else to do "when she grew up."

Because she loved science, Lauren stayed in school and became an environmental scientist. This way she's still involved in taking care of ecosystems and animals, even if it's indirectly. She would love to have lots of pets like she used to, but she can't. Instead, she has an aquarium of tropical fish, and a house rabbit.

The moral of the story is this:

There is more than one way to keep doing the things you love, even if you have limitations. You just have to look for an alternative route.

A great post, Lauren. Thanks for sharing your life with us. I know that you have been having some rough spots in the road, but your attitude and your trust in our great God shine through.
hey, cool photos. You are photogenic, kid!

I absolutely love animals myself. Nature in general. Can't get enough of it and watch the Animal Planet and Discovery and National Geographic channels whenever there's no baseball on (smile). I love sharing this with my daughter. She's great with bugs and rodents and anything that moves, really...

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