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Spending Christmas with the Critters

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Volunteering | Mammals

Thursday, December 31, 2009


Even though the Aquarium of the Pacific was closed on Christmas Day there was a small cadre of husbandry folks spending part of their holiday taking care of the animals. For this volunteer it was a small way of giving back to the critters that have given him so much joy over the years.

On Christmas morning I gathered the Aquarium’s harbor seals around me to give them their holiday meal. Troy, Shelby and Ellie scurried quickly to me as I called out their names, just like little kids rushing to see what Santa had left them for Christmas. It was a cute scene with the four of us off in a corner of the exhibit. Me handing out their herring and capelin and they being so well behaved around me as if they were making sure they stayed on Santa’s “Nice” list. I gave them each a pat on the head for being so good.

The sea otters also seemed to be in a holiday mood as they were being very playful. I made a few snowballs out of their ice patch which I then tossed to a couple of the otters who had their paws out ready to catch them. They looked like little furry basketball players getting ready to catch a ball for a lay up. “Toss it to me, I’m open!” Its one of the little enrichment activities I like to share with the otters.

The highlight of my Christmas with the Critters was a trip through memory lane with Miller the sea lion. The Big Guy and I have been through a lot in the decade-plus that we’ve been working with each other at the Aquarium. We’ve done hundreds of presentations together attempting to entertain and educate the many visitors to the seal and sea lion exhibit. Hopefully we succeeded most of the time. On this Christmas Day with no presentation schedule to adhere to we had the time to take a leisurely walk around the exhibit spending some quality guy time together, working some of his old behaviors from his show biz days in the 90s. This was kind of special to me as we’re both a little older and slower than when we first met but we’re both still hanging in there trying to do the best that we can. Wonderful memories with this sea lion.

Here’s hoping that the New Year brings more fond memories.

Happy New Years to All!

Spending Christmas with the Critters
Giving the harbor seals their Christmas meal.  | Pam Ryono
Spending Christmas with the Critters
Brook the sea otter and I posing for a Holiday shot.  | Pam Ryono

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sammy redden

Monday, January 04, 2010 04:45 AM

i saw a young man named David Bader on CBS news show and wondered if he was my nephew.  Tell him the words Kack and Adiline. If he knows who I am talking about, he will remember his aunt Margo. Please respond to this e-mai   Thanks

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Patrice Lapointe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 05:53 PM

I really think you guys have a great job! I would spend christmas at the aquarium any time ;)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010 02:02 PM

Thank God there are still people that love our sea creatures enough to give so much time and effort.. i would love to do the same sometime if you ever need anyone to help email me i cant think of any more wonderful way to spend christmas day or any other day come to that…
Best of luck to you all ...x

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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