THE ARK KEEPERS – On Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat

During a visit to Denver Zoo hearing two zookeepers experiences, their conversation stayed with us all the way home, and inspired us to change the name of The Keyboard to The Ark Keepers – on Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat. We won’t use their names because not realizing then how their words impacted us we did not ask for permission but as this is being written we would like to quote just a segment of what Ark Keepers do by quoting T regarding  how profound the caretaking of animals is, “Sometimes we become their parents.” 

Even as life long zoo members our experience of a private tour of Denver Zoo made us realize a worthy zoo is truly another form of an ark.  It awaken us to a wider world of what it entails to care for animals, and thus we sometimes call a zoo staff, The Ark Keepers.  

            Majestic.  Beautiful.  Strong. Enduring.
                           Our National Mammal.

                The gift giving of one’s spirit animal
Have you ever considered giving the gift of one’s spirit animal?   How?  There are many organizations that are devoted to the quality of animals lives that have adoption programs.  The adoption money goes towards the care of the animal.  Select an animal that is the spirit animal to the receiver.   

                            The Unfamiliarity of Familiar Animals
 (Even the animals we know can teach us things amazing things about them.)


A high-five from Dill to Jo's new family member, a Kai Phoenix Cobblestone,
a Plott/Pharaoh Hound mix.                                                                          
                                             Beautiful Words
Some words are so beautiful they give us a reason to pause, reflect, and exhale. Such words speak to the stories of our lives. For us there are four special words that are beautiful together when driving miles of snow covered tree-lined blocks, and the title of my photography--On Our Way Home.  
          The Denver Zoo -A Centennial History

Authored by Carolyn & Don Etter, commissioned by the Denver Zoological Foundation, Cover to Cover Designed, designed by Jody Chapel- Roberts Rinehart Publisher

On March 14, 2016 a copy of The Denver Zoo -A Centennial History was gifted to S. Mason from Rachel, Matt, and Connie from Denver Zoo. As we looked through the pages at the stunning photographs, reading random passages along the way, each passage a gem of accounts, we were also in awe of such a complete history of the Denver Zoo in one book. The more we read, the past becoming new knowledge, it was like being introduced to the Denver Zoo for the first time. Such irony--from the beginning the Denver Zoo seedlings were from visionaries and we suspect those visionaries would be pleasantly and proudly surprised if they could see the Denver Zoo today. Reading The Denver Zoo-A Centennial History is a rich experience. A beautiful book, a beautiful gifting, thank you Matt, Connie, and Rachel, three very special people.  

With a certificate of appreciation, Connie, Matt, and Rachel also worked in a fluid team spirit to create a very thoughtful resource book of the Denver Zoo that is very much appreciated. The copyrighted covers are a footprint of a lion, and an elephant trunk.

"Thank you" is just the threshold of our gratitude.

                The Chateau of Thoiry, Vince         

Per Wikipedia -- Located in the village of Thoiry, France The Chateau of Thoiry covers 370 acres that includes a castle that was built in the 16th century, botanical gardens, and a zoo where Vince, a rare white rhino, endangered, resided. The news of Vince’s butchery was so horrific the very digestion of such a heinous act had to be taken in small doses of reality for it was so shocking.

Poachers are monsters among us that are beyond comprehension of their deranged capabilities. They are a soulless predatory cancer against the world.

At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat in America we join the chorus with the rest of the planet to express to the zoo and France we grieve with you.

And to the staff specifically who are the caretakers of the ark, (for all zoos dedicated to animals are truly arks) our prayers and thoughts are with you today and beyond.    

                     The Cincinnati Zoo, Harambe
The Cincinnati Zoo made the right and yet hellish decision. In the emotional firestorm of Harambe's death we at Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat want to extend to the Cincinnati Zoo our respects in your time of grief and great loss.  Endangered.  Beautiful.  Magnificent. Family. Harambe. His death is a collective loss of all, and though different, to the zoo itself a loss of family.    

"As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child, and if anyone knows me, I keep a tight watch on my kids.  Accidents happen, but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today."
                                                                The mother of the toddler

The irony is stunning.  That day, one of the 'right people' was not in the 'right place' and that person is this parent being at the zoo with the attitude 'accidents happen.'

But the following words are not about her when many people feel the same way. This is about the tragedy within this tragedy--a societal mindset (some believe) that visitors can 'accidentally' enter a zoo animal's habit.  We do not believe in the mindset under these circumstances 'accidents happen.' That kind of thinking is the breeding ground to disavow common sense behavior at a zoo, subconsciously marginalize the importance of zoo rules, and weakly alibis a lack of attentive behavior. If anything such a mindset is absolutely dangerous as we have learned by the hardest way possible.

At this point one of the worst things that can happen is to accept a societal belief a visitor can accidentally get into an animal's habit. To believe that is to prematurely accept that it will happen again. Yet if rules are followed, tempered by common sense, and attentive behavior it would not nor could not occur.

Zoo policies and rules are posted on their websites.  Many zoos have notices posted throughout the grounds as reminders.  Zoo staff members are also a resource to ask.

All zoos are different and their rules apply specific--in some cases--to their unique attributes, so check if you are unsure about anything. Before visiting a zoo talk about what is expected in behavior, and for the little ones who do not understand, use the zoo visit as a teaching tool. If rules were respected and adhered to that day Harabme would be alive.

Harabme in Swahili means pull together.  Harabme is a word used in rallying cries in Kenya. The orange sunset photograph taken by S. Mason is symbolic that Harabme's days ended too soon.

                               THE ARK KEEPERS
Even as life long zoo members our experience of a private tour of Denver Zoo made us realize a worthy zoo is truly another form of an ark.  It awaken us to a wider world of what it entails to care for animals, and thus we sometimes call a zoo staff, The Ark Keepers.  
                           THE ARK KEEPERS OF FLORIDA'S ZOOS

lovin it!  On East Colfax in Denver we came across the art work of Delton Demarest in a wall mural at Nuggs Ice Cream. At Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat we appreciate business owners who allow artists blank slate of a wall to share their work and in doing so  enhance their business with art, and enrich their communities in the spirit of creativity!


      The Copenhagen Zoo Is A Premature Graveyard
No two zoos are the same. But all zoos have the common thread to embrace the quality of life for animals, to protect them, and become the ambassadors of awareness and educate people of their importance. A zoo is nothing short of a testimony of our humanity. For the brutal senseless killing of Marius the giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, this place does not deserve the title of being called a zoo. It is a monstrosity for it is a premature graveyard. To mourn Marius is to mourn all the animals in this abomination.          

                                 WHAT IS THIS ANIMAL?

There is an animal that we have heard call, a panda, a baby elephant, a pig, and something that has been engineered. It is none of those fore mentioned but it is endangered. How can it be saved when some do not know what it is?


                 The Secret Life of Strawberry
        Long ago we stopped being surprised to open our front door to see unfamiliar cats sitting on the porch. They were all groomed and often collared. When we came to the door they all meowed a ‘hello’. Even our cats look at them odd, as if to say, they were not suppose to do that. They were strangers yet company. We gave them names. They answered to them. These cats have never shown any interest in ours.  But Yoshi, our cat, goes to the door when Strawberry visits and looks into our home.  Otherwise these cats only spoke to the humans of the household.

     One time, a cat we named Jafar use to come into our home without solicitation. He liked to sit on laps while in a rocking chair and look at television. It was a little peculiar but people who love cats accept their idiosyncrasies as charm. The other day a new cat was sitting on our porch. Stepping outside to pet him (we assume male) he meowed and purred as though he had been waiting for the door to open. He spent a part of the morning visiting on our porch. He was given the name Strawberry. Why they come and who are their guardians, we have no idea. And surely their guardians have no idea what their cats are doing. We simply accept that, if only for one morning, we are the secrets in cats' secret lives. A couple of weeks later… South. Early this morning when we opened the door we saw Strawberry come into our yard and for the first time we discovered he walked from the south of our neighborhood. He walked on to the porch, and when we opened the door to pet him, Strawberry walked inside.

     Dill and Butter stood there, just shocked. Dill, who was in mid-step, when Strawberry entered and peeked into the living room, remained that way even when Strawberry went back outside and settled on the porch. Strawberry is in my videos, B&W.  We asked ourselves, "Should we tie a little note on Strawberry's collar and tell his guardians about Strawberry secret life?"  Time answered the question for us. Months later Strawberry does not come around as often, and we miss him and hope he is okay.  As Strawberry sometimes peeked in our windows, we now peek out to see if he is there.  
A Memory Is Another Form Of A Heartbeat
Even now in Cecil’s death he is more than the sum of Walter Palmer’s existence when the lion transcended into becoming a symbol of global hope and his killer is rebuked world wide. In a slow kill, slaughtered, his body mutilated, Walter Palmer claims he did not know Cecil was famous as if to say his actions would have been acceptable if it had been another lion. There are clinical terms for that kind of personality demeanor. And even now in his regret statement Palmer spoke of his ‘love’ of killing animals. Walter Palmer knew what he was doing. But all that Cecil stood for still breaths, and West Palmer’s quality of life is dead. Some of his patients are protesters. Who would want the murderous hands of this dentist touching them? Who would allow this doctor to continue earning his living through them that supports his killings? The legal cost alone, incurred by Walter Palmer, will bleed him out finically. As the governmental powers of Zimbabwe must quickly and transparently bring those associated with this heinous act to court the country itself needs to reexamine their own whoring cohort complicity when they allow any animal to be hunted--and while you are at it ban the bastard Walter Palmer from your country. Cecil--what is a memory if not another form of a heartbeat.   Even now, for the rest of us in our global grief and outrage, there is work to do. And it is amazing how much we could do by churning grief into power thus action. Louder than our loudest cries--ROAR. 
Support zoos and other organizations that enhance the quality of life for animals. World Lion Day is in August--please check out the link to this important organization on Dill's sidebar. Below is a link from Change Org petition regarding Cecil that we signed. Within the first 24 hours a quarter of a million people have signed.  Please consider signing and passing the petition to others.

    Regarding Zimbabwe's decision not to pursue legal recourse against Walter Palmer

As jarring yet numbing, and disgusting as it is to read of Zimbabwe's decision not to pursue legal recourse against Walter Palmer, it is not shocking or mildly surprising when the powers that be in Zimbabwe have their own whoring cohort complicity that allows for any animal to be hunted.  But maybe with the world wide outage of Cecil's killing, with such backing and support, Zimbabwe would do the right thing.  Instead in essence Zimbabwe's decision really is an invitation for Walter Palmer to return to their country and continue his enjoyment of killing animals. Many airlines have now banned these killed animals from their flights. With social media eyes Palmer's life will not likely never be the same. Zimbabwe's decision and Palmer's act are both a symbolic disease against humanity.    

If we do not do something to prevent it, Africa's animals, and the places in which they live, will be lost to our world, and her children, forever.  Before it is too late, we need your help to lay the foundation that will preserve this precious legacy long after we are gone.
                                                                                                 Nelson Mandela
                                                            THE BIG PICTURE

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