“I never thought I would do that in my LIFE!” he said with the biggest grin I’ve seen all week. His name is Gordon and he was speaking of having touched a large boa constrictor at his care facility Friday.

The Chahinkapa Zoo was on a Warli Art mission with the North Dakota Council on the Arts, this time in Ellendale, North Dakota. So Tom and I headed out early morning with a llama, camel, owl, and Tess, the boa. Sharing animal stories with seniors is a fun day all on its own and when you combine that with 40 fourth and fifth graders it is absolutely wonderful! The excitement of the kids seemed to be enjoyed by all and to see the enthusiasm in a child’s face is only made more dear by coupling with the sheer delight of an elder.

What is that magic that ties lives together? It is the stories and experiences. Period. Children are eager to talk and never a lack of sharing with them, (much to the chagrin of their parents sometimes). But, it is the adults that sometimes need a little nudging to tell us a favorite story or memory.

However, when you add an animal to the mix it is the catalyst fostering pure magic. Pretty soon tales are told, questions asked, and much laughter when an unexpected animal event takes place. The respect I saw from the adults and children for each other and our animals was beautiful which also speaks accolades to care facility staff, volunteers, and the school teachers and parents of these visiting students.

The thanks and appreciations were many and we are eager to visit our friends at Prince of Peace Care Center again.

We were told by residents and staff that we were the best part in their long winter. Funny, as we feel the same about them.

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