Say, “hey”

by Leila

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My youngest daughter was a cheerleader in High School, I should have an adorable picture of her here…, she was actually incredibly good at it. Her dad and myself would cringe during games as she was the ‘thrown’ being the 4’11” less than 100 lbs. in the group. We would watch with jaws dropped as she did dance moves on the football field, realizing her talent did not come from me (she’s an awesome dancer). Our Laura, she’s great at whatever she sets her mind to, I look very forward to seeing where her great gifts lead her in life. Cheering to… Whatever she grasps onto to she gives 200% and shines, just as she did with cheering!

What I took away from her years of cheering, other than great mom pride was, “say hey.” It seems when you cheer, along with dance or whatever public performances you need to learn how to smile. We all grew up being told to say, “cheese.” Think about it really though, look in a mirror, does that bring your desired smile? Well if not, say, “hey” it works! I learned it years ago when Laura was in High School and that being the dawn of the Facebook era, it’s brought me through hundreds if not thousands of selfies and photo ops.

At The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens today, I ended up with a different/new assignment. I tend to spend my mornings greeting buses filled with beautiful kiddos, that I did do. My afternoons I work a ‘cart’ interpreting information to guests, in hopes of teaching them a thing or two that they didn’t know before they visited us. This afternoon there was a last minute sick call and I was asked to assist with the Giraffe Feeding.

I was delighted, excited, intimidated yet quite happy with this new challenge. I’m always up for a new experience. I encouraged adults and children alike as I handed them their carrots, “don’t be afraid, they are docile gentle animals.” Knowing full well, I personally have no fear of giraffes.

Truth is my son Wil collected giraffes and had a African/Giraffe themed bedroom through High School years. Because of Wil I’ve always admired their unique beauty. The other truth is, as I’ve taken friends and family to the zoo, I always urged them to feed the giraffes. How can you pass up an up close and personal animal encounter. Creation at it’s finest, closest and real. It’s always very special. Yet as for me, I’d never fed the giraffes.
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Getting through the afternoon and thousands of carrots later, things slowed down and visitors dissipated… The kind ladies I was working with found out I had never actually fed a giraffe encouraged me that I should have the experience in which I was selling. Therefore I gave it a try.
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It was a very good and lucky day for us because not only “daddy” who always shows to dine, but “mama & baby” came down as well. It was one of those WOW moments that we always hope for for our guests at the zoo. I tentatively faced each of the creatures of this fantastic family and fed them carrots, with the baby being through the fence since he’s a short little guy, only 12 feet or so. Their purple tongues gracefully grabbed each little orange stick out of my hand and I was thrilled, not being able to get enough of that cute baby (that happens to look just like Sophie the giraffe that Siah and Vivi had as the cutest baby toy).
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I was such a pro by now, my comrades and I agreed that this was good enough for a new FB profile pic. So the pros at this have a trick, it’s what we have all the guest do, you feed the long necked guys backwards to get a great shot of them and yourself. Great idea and all, but when you do that, you really can’t see what’s coming. And said giraffe, they can, it’s a carrot and they see it and they want it, so they snatch it. Bam. I’d yet to feel the sensation of the giraffe tongue at this point, even though I had described it to guests, I was not quite ready for my photo op when he got me and this is a true blue classic shot of a wild animal encounter sensation and fear. I couldn’t help but crack up when I saw it.
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Therefore the need to know when to say, “hey” for our photo opportunities. These are so much better don’t you think? But as we are all wanting it to kept real on FB . Yes 99.9% of my photos, I am saying, “hey”, today I got caught looking what I normally look like!
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A couple Giraffe facts:
If a giraffe is 18 feet tall, his tongue is 18 inches long, if they are 12 feet tall, 12 inches long and so on…

Giraffes tongues are purplish black and that is an adaptation to protect them from the sun because they are always out eating leaves and such (carrots at TLD).

A baby giraffe is six feet tall when it is born and our baby here turns one year old this Saturday!

Warmly & God Bless,
~ Leila the not so brave

I love how he sticks by his mama.

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