I remember the day when I realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I haven't regretted that decision once since that day.
Lucky for you, I blogged about that decision, and you can read about it here.
It's strange, the things that influence us. All it took for me was a picture. A few measly pictures of a baby giraffe that had to be hand-fed. I remember looking at those pictures and wishing more than anything that I could have been that man, being able to interact with that animal in such an intimate way.
The other day Kagan and I were talking (actually we've had this conversation a few times, but this was the time I really realized how I felt about it), and we were discussing the preferences of children. For example, my nephew, Max, *loves* trains, tractors, trucks--just about anything with a motor. Kagan asked me why I think it is that he loves those things. I thought about it, and I couldn't really tell. Perhaps it was because my sister and her husband, knowing that he was a boy, figured that he would probably like those things, and introduced him to them early in life. However, here's another example that kind of debunks that theory: Kagan's brother has two daughters. One is 4 and the other is 2. The 4 year-old loves princesses, the color pink, mostly anything girly. Also dogs and horses (judging by the fact that 85% of the time, she's pretending to be one of the two of those). The 2 year-old, however, loves barns and babies (like baby dolls). Somewhat similar to the older child, but in some ways, very different. What is it that makes the younger child not like the same things as her sister? Why did she choose barns? If we had followed my previous theory, then you could assume that she would have been influenced greatly by the presence of princesses and girly things brought into her life by her older sister. Yet she seems to show no interest in them (granted, she's 2, and she may learn to like them when she's older, but still).
And it was then that I realized: why is it that I love animals? Why is it that I've loved animals since the first time I ever saw one? I didn't live on a farm until I was about 11, and the extent of my pets growing up before that was limited to dogs, hamsters, fish, and a few reptiles that either lived in the backyard or were temporarily captured from the backyard. But I can clearly remember starting school, and only wanting to read the books about animals, getting so excited about learning about animals (I even remember that we learned about animal diversity in the 6th grade), etc. It's because we each are blessed to have a unique spirit (I guess technically our unique spirits are blessed with a body, but that's beside the point), which is different from any other spirit that ever has or will be. Why is it that Kagan likes film so much? Is it because only ever watched TV as a child? Surely the answer is no; it's because he has certain talents and desires given to him by our Heavenly Father, and film is what fulfills those to the greatest extent.
And animals happen to be where that passion lies in me. I recently applied for an internship at Hogle Zoo for this summer, and I'm really hoping that I'll get it. Sadly, because Kagan works here, I can't really go anywhere else to do an internship at a zoo, unless I decide that I want to live X miles away from my husband for 4 months (not likely). So, keep your fingers crossed. I don't even really know what the odds are that I'll get it, so I'm kinda in the dark until I find out.
If you need more evidence of my love for animals, visit my "Happiness Blog" here. It started out of pictures (and quotes) that made me happy or made me laugh, and now it's almost completely pictures of animals (ok, and Harry Potter references, but I can't help that Harry Potter is the most amazing thing since...animals). I love it. :)