One of the reasons Glen and I are dairy farmers is because we love animals. I mean really love animals.
How big is this love? My 4-H show cow is living out the rest of her life on pasture. At 13.5 years old, she's no longer milking, but I'm not willing to sell her. She means too much to me.
Last year when we were on vacation, one of Glen's favorite cows got sick and had to be sold before we returned. When the call came to tell us what happened to Lollie, Glen couldn't hold back his tears.
So it warms my heart to see our children developing their own love for members of the animal kingdom.
My favorite black rooster was Skippy's latest chicken-attack victim. Dan saw the rooster lying on the ground and started crying. It was the first time he expressed sorrow over the death of an animal.
On a brighter note, we finally took the kids to the zoo to see all of the animals Dan professes to love. (Thanks for the tickets, Midwest Dairy!) Unfortunately, the zoo didn't have a giraffe, and we heard about it for quite some time. But there were lots of other amazing animals.
What surprised me most about the trip was Monika's interest in the animals. She giggled and squealed non-stop while we were stopped in front of the prairie dog display. (I know what you're thinking. Prairie dogs? But their antics were quite entertaining.)
Both Dan and Monika were fascinated with the coral reef aquarium. So was Glen.
My favorite animals at the zoo were the grizzly bears. Because there was a blond one named Sadie. I told Dan, "Now you know why Mommy growls sometimes!"
It was also really cool to watch the zookeepers while they tried to bottle feed a camel calf. I imagine we were the only visitors that day who could truly understand the challenge of the task. (If I had been thinking, I would have shot video of the feeding.)
We didn't go to the zoo's farm exhibit. (Our kids see those animals every day.) Posing for a picture in front of the Land O'Lakes Elevator is as close as we got. But I think we'll check it out next year, just to appease my curiosity.
Until then we'll enjoy life here at our own little zoo.