The World of Reptiles & Exotic Animals - Life at Home & On The Road
The world of reptiles and exotic animals has a life of it's own. The people who love and care for these special creatures are as unique and wonderful as the animals themselves!
At home, our facilities can vary from the extra room breeders to monster facilities with hundreds of animals. I fall into the category of Rescue facility. I have barns, buildings and "runs" for all types of animals. It's a labor of love to raise animals. Your heart has to be committed completely because you can't just get tired and quit. Their very lives depend on us. We dread opening our power bills, make friends with everyone that has veggies to sell so we can get good prices for our veggie eaters. We all have raised rodents at some point or another for feeders and man, now that's a job! Our daily lives consist of cleaning, feeding, cleaning again! Emergency repairs of heaters, A/C units, fixing water malfunctions, bathing animals, trimming nails, , helping animals shed, giving meds, tending wounds, sorting bugs and keeping their containers clean (they stink!), repairing habitats, and trying to get up to date pictures and keep a website going, keeping things posted on fb, answering emails and texts, shipping animals to adopted homes, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork....I'm always working on an expansion or run, or pen. There just isn't enough hours in a day!
As we make our living traveling the tradeshows, we become a group of people like family. Each of us face challenges of travel, finances, health and animal care. We feel like modern day gypsies as we plan, pack and make that transformation from home to "show". Our animals put up with a lot of stress as they get "packed" and displayed, handled and often times, relocated. It's a lot to take in for them and we all strive to do our best in making it a safe journey. We all work very hard to make it a pleasant and seamless experience for the consumer. I'm a rescue so my booth promotes education first and a special set of animals that need gentle handling and knowledgeable new owners. I'm fortunate to have several friends that have been breeders of snakes for many years and they periodically donate snakes to the rescue to help raise much needed funds. I strive to have a variety of beautiful, healthy animals looking for their forever homes.
Attending the tradeshows, you get to see a wide variety of animals and people. As I mentioned earlier, we are all unique in this business! I enjoy seeing how others display their offerings. It's amazing what you can do in a small space with a few tablecloths, tanks, lights and cages. I love it!
What you feel as you travel around the tables and booths is a sense of connection. We all converse before, during and after the shows and usually meet at night for a group supper and talk about the day. It's a great way to experience life. We support you as a consumer and ourselves as animal lovers, entrepreneurs and promotors of education. We come together as family at each venue. If someone needs help, it's freely given and information is exchanged so it's a great experience for everyone.
The moral of this story...follow your heart, your passions and do your best. Life is short and full of HOPE, LOVE, FAITH and HUMANITY. If you don't make your living the way we do, we appreciate your support in giving animals loving homes.
I'm just praying that our economy recovers and we go back to the good ole days when the shows were packed and full of fun. I love my life, my animals, my fellow business owners and you the consumer.