An Exhilarating August

Today Show

They say as you get older, time flies by faster and faster. Days, hours, minutes, seconds are all flying by at such an accelerated rate, sometimes you to stop, catch your breath, and look back on those moments and memories. As of August 31st , I’m doing just that. So much has happened over the last few weeks: From appearing on national shows, interacting with animals I only dreamed of working with as a kid, to a devastating wildfire that hit close to home. Here is my recap of an ‘Exhilarating August’.

Aug Blog

I almost have just as much fun preparing and pre-promoting my Today Show appearance, as I do appearing on the show. Weeks (and sometimes months) go into a 3 minute Today Show segment projected to be seen by millions. The first step is making the official announcement in front of the same cameras where I got my start nearly 12 years ago, Idaho’s KTVB News Channel 7.

Aug Blog22

Animals took over the studio…Literally! We had three bouncing baby ruffed lemurs properly named Bindi, Bobby, and Barbie and an old friend, Mr. Magoo the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine. All animal ambassadors were brought to us by our good friends at Babby Farms, a hands-on zoological park in Caldwell, Idaho.

You can check out the segment below:

McCall

My job takes me to some pretty incredible places where I get to meet some very extraordinary people. My visit to a camp for children with Muscular Dystrophy in McCall, Idaho was incredible to say the least. To see their faces light up when they saw the animals up-close and personal is something I will never forget. My only regret was wishing I could have stayed longer. In just a few hours I had to catch a redeye bound for New York City…

Aug Blog2

Minutes after landing in New York City, I got the call from Inside Edition. A woman was attacked by a bear and they needed an expert ASAP to commentate on the unusual occurrence. I was thrilled! Bear attacks are so incredibly rare (you are 180 times more likely to die from a bee sting) and I was prepared to dispel common myths. ***That night we enjoyed Times Square and views from the Top of the Rock observatory. I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting New York City.

Aug Blog3

Finding animals for my Today Show appearances can sometimes be a challenge- to say the least. (Might I add I’m always up for a challenge!) My producer and I are always trying to find something new and interesting for viewers; case in point, the Gila Monster. Bringing a highly venomous animal into New York City is almost next to impossible, without the proper licenses and permits. Luckily, ZooAmerica located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, was happy to jump on board. You should have seen my smile meeting “Dallas” the Gila Monster in person!

Aug Blog4

There is one thing I always tell new animal handlers and staff prior to doing The Today Show: Be prepared, it happens so incredibly fast and before you know it, it’s over. Make sure to soak in every second. I still live by this rule. I also have to say, it’s an incredible feeling seeing all your hard work and time spent finally pay off, when the cameras start rolling in Studio 1A.

IMG_0295

In my line of work, everything is planned and on schedule. Daily animal routines, media bookings, and live appearances- Sometimes it’s great to do something spontaneous…Enter Pure Michigan.

Aug Blog6

The week was spent exploring the outdoors, visiting nature preserves, taking in the pristine waters, and-of-course having pizza for every meal. Fun fact: Michigan has more pizza places than anywhere else in the United States. (Jet’s is still the best.)

Aug Blog7

A trip to Michigan would not have been complete without visiting the zoo! Highlights include seeing a wolverine for the first time and an up-close encounter with a silverback.

Aug Blog9

Coming home was devastating. A wildfire that spread nearly 300,000 acres was close- 4 miles to be exact from our property and animals in the Snake River Valley region in Idaho. Thousands lost their homes, land, and animals.

Beyond blessed and grateful to report that our property and animals are all safe. Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this natural disaster. I also have to thank every firefighter for their relentless bravery and dedication.

IMG_0303

I wanted to wrap up with a smile I’d missed for weeks. So good to be home.