Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!

Hey world, did I leave you hanging long enough??

I got the job!!!  I started  just over a week ago and absolutely love it! It is a dream come true! Still want to know where I work? I am a wildlife coordinator for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. We have about 130+ animals at the zoo there and I get to work with them all!! My day to day consists of everything from general husbandry (aka cleaning lots and lots of poo and feeding), to safari tours, horseback trail rides, wild animal shows, dog sled rides (I need to learn how to dog sled still), and getting to hang out with some the coolest animals on this planet! And a very nice bonus to the job – the people, I am so lucky to have a really good group of co-workers. Each one of them is so much fun to work with and help make my job that much more enjoyable. I can really see some awesome friendships coming from this. There are currently only about 8 of us on staff so we stay extremely busy, but honestly it doesn’t feel like work at all.

A few of my favorite animals that I get to work with include Kiera and Icesis, the Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), Sibil, the friendly spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), Bob the badger (Taxidea taxus), and Gus the coatimundi (Nasua nasua).

JoJo the North American black bear

Hanging out with Kiera

Can you believe I actually get paid for this??

Work has kept me very busy, but by now you should know me well enough to know that’s exactly how I like things! My friend Kerri, who is an army wife to one of the guys in J’s unit, win tickets to Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away tour on the radio and invited me, then a few days later she found out that she won and a friend won a meet and greet with Carrie Underwood! I was so ecstatic that she invited me to share in this incredible experience with her. The meet and greet was very brief, we picked one item to get signed, walked in, handed the item to Carrie, posed for a picture and that was about it, but it was still awesome to get to meet her. She is so tiny, much shorter than I would have ever imagined. Hunter Hayes opened the concert to millions of screaming teenage girls. His voice is pretty incredible. Carrie’s show was absolutely amazing! The special effects were breath taking, she puts on one hell of a show. If you have an opportunity to go, I recommend it!

Carrie Underwood and I

Carrie Underwood and I

Kerri and I at the concert

Kerri and I at the concert

I went back home to my parents in Maryland Saturday night and stayed until Monday. My grandma passed away and the whole family came together for the funeral. It was a sad day, but it was so great to see all my family. I haven’t seen some of my cousins in about 10 years and it was great catching up with everyone. We had a blast with bon fires, touring the farm, and just sharing each other’s company. One of my mom’s fainting goats decided to grace everyone with the birth of triplets Sunday night.

One of the fainting goat babies

Oh an since everyone was staying at my parents’ house, the upstairs hot water pipe decided to burst causing a nice little rainstorm in the living room. Gotta love how things like that always have the best timing! But my dad and Great Uncle Al got it fixed enough to stop the rain and all was well. Hopefully we can plan an event sometime this summer to see everyone again and not wait another 10 years!

J and I also got our photos back from Maryn Shreve, an incredibly talented photographer friend of ours, from our pre-deployment shoot. If you’re interested you can see some of those photos here – http://www.marynshreveproductions.com/apps/blog/meet-jo-jay-couples-shoot They came out amazing, and I cannot wait to order prints!

One of my favorites!

One of my favorites!

Well I am going to enjoy my day off. I already sent a care package to the boys and included lots of homemade cookies for everyone to share, now I am off to fold laundry and figure out dinner. Mmm it’s lunchtime now, guess I will get to that first!

Have a great day and prepare for fun animal and work stories in the future!

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