On Friday, when I arrived for my weekly volunteer shift at the Marine Mammal Care Center, I remarked, “I’ve been thinking about wild animals all week. Roy in Las Vegas, the guy with the apartment in New York, the photographer from Malibu – and the sea lion pup that nipped my glove last week!!!”
It was a sucky week for animal news. I really feel for anybody who works with animals, because even if they’re exploiting them for entertainment (Las Vegas) or downright foolish (New York, Malibu), they still care for these critters even though every animal can be dangerous. There’s a guy at the MMCC who’s been to the emergency room several times – once he came back to show us the stitches in his thumb, and regaled us with a description of how the blood spurted out when the animal let go.
Later in my shift, there were no chores to do and I fell into conversation with a woman and some teenage girls who were looking through the fence. I mentioned that we try not to talk to the animals, play with them or give them names – in fact, we’re downright mean sometimes, pushing them away with boards and yelling at them. The teenager was a bit put out on hearing this: “You can’t be nice to them?” I replied, “Well, yeah, we’re nice to them by providing what they need. Many of us here really love animals. But they don’t want our love, they want to be left alone. Best thing to do with a wild animal is stay away from it.”
God save the teenage animal-lovers from themselves!!! Because someday they may become an adult-sized human steak.