Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zoo Day on her Anniversary

Starting at the beginning, I was on Facebook. I saw that ABC 7 Chicago News This Morning had a question posted on their page…

“What's your dream job? Tell us here and maybe that dream will come true!”

So I take a chance they will pick me, now I’m sure like many people out there, we all have multiple dream jobs. To own an art/craft store workshop with amazing gardens all around with my mom is one of mine. To have enough money to live comfortably is a big one (that’s more of a dream we ALL have, not so much a dream job)

And I think to myself. Well let’s be realistic. It’s a BIG news station that COULD make a dream come true for a day. BUT make it so they COULD do it. And I know EXACTLY what I’ve always dreamed about…

I tell them my dream is to work at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. I’ve loved animals all my life, and have worked in a few Animal Hospitals and love every aspect of helping and caring for animals.

Out of hundreds of people, they messaged me to give them contact information. I eagerly gave them email and phone numbers and waited…

I have to say it’s pretty cool when your caller I.D. reads ABC 7. And I spoke with D from the network. Just being my usual self, joking and laughing. I realized after a few minutes this was more of a phone interview! But I knew to just be myself and hope they like it. She said I had a good idea, and my personality was great. But they wanted more.

They were holding a table meeting about the possible jobs. So I hadn’t gotten it, but I was a good contender. She needed a bit about me, some pictures of me with animals. A story to share at this meeting.

I quickly typed out a few paragraphs, about my family. Life. Interests. Posting pictures from back when I had done the ‘Trainer for a Day’ at  Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium behind the scenes for my 30th birthday.

Heart beat Dolphin

Yeah, THIS is me. I had JUST felt her heartbeat. I was ELATED.

Touch my hand

There was TWO of us. JUST two of us together for this experience. We were IN the dolphin show. Hand signals and all.


Still hands down the best birthday gift for me EVER.





I told them about how much I had wanted to be a Zoologist, with out going into to much detail about how I did attempt school for one semester and stopped. I knew we wanted to start a family soon, and trying to start school for a big career just wasn’t going to work out.

After a few days D responded to my email with this…

This is perfect Jacki!

We’ve chosen you for our “Dream Job” segment at Brookfield Zoo.


It didn’t hit me right away. I mean it did. I called my dad right away (my parents and sister are HUGE fans of the zoo) and gave him the details. But when I was telling my best friend she’s like “Is this really hitting you?! Because your excited but not freaking out. You should be freaking out right now” I said maybe when it’s closer to the date. And more details come around… maybe I was in a excited shock?

When my caller I.D. then reads ‘Chicago Zoological Society’ my heart stops. I PRAY the kids will behave for the time I need. I ran up to my bedroom and locked the door.

The conversation was great, she asked what animals I was interested in. I said primates and big cats, and reptiles. (along with Zoologist, I had considered Herpetologist as a field at the zoo) I added in that ANY animal at the zoo would be fine with me. I love them all.

After talking with me, she said she’d like to have a staff meeting (did you read that. A STAFF meeting over ME?! I mean the people at the ZOO are holding a meeting about ME! It’s hitting me now.) to go over possible idea’s of what I could do. And she’d contact me next week on it.

That was Friday, and by the next Thursday I was obsessively checking my caller I.D. to see if I had missed her call. Finally Friday night she called back.

She said after a long meeting, they had ideas like a harness to go in with the big gorillas, but too many safety issues. OMG the fact that that was considered made me excited. Big cats are also a HUGE safety risk.

BUT this IS what they came up with… and I just want to let you know the WHOLE time she was telling me my ‘schedule of events’ tears were running down my face.

9 am – Giraffe.  I will get to clean, rake, and pick up poop. (understand I’m doing exactly WHAT they do!!) I will put hay in the racks outside, and… feed the giraffes!! SQEE!!


10 am – Penguins. Prepping fish with their special vitamins then feeding them!! OMG!!

Humbolt Penguin

10:30 am – Harbor Seals. I will be giving them some hand signals. Then giving a ultra sound as part of their husbandry program. ESTATIC!

Harbor Seal

Rhino -  Cut up food. And I kid you not, I about died when I heard her say this… they are training them to paint. So I will HOLD A CANVAS while the RHINO paints it. I mean, seriously?! I do art. THIS is the BEST.

Reptiles -  Monitors


Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos  tortoises

Poison’s Frogs feed them crickets!


Snake – I get to feed them a mouse! (she may have said what kind, I don’t remember.)

So after this list of animals, after going over my outfit, and what time to meet them it’s hit me. I called my dad freaking out, he’s very happy for me. Knowing how much I’ve always wanted to do this.

So on Friday the 20th I will be doing the one thing, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. Hoping to get a digital copy of this when it airs. So I can share it.

I know this will be an emotional day for me. Being with animals that I love, the Zoo, and being around the zookeepers themselves it will be an overwhelming day.

And what are the odds that it’s the one year anniversary of Maggie.

Angel Maggie 2011

I can’t wait to tell you all my story, hope to share the video, and fingers crossed I don’t loose my shit over Maggie and all these animals. But I’m sure that would be good for t.v., right?

JCat McGack

1 comment:

Jayme said...

So awesome, Jacki!!! I am so excited for you and I can't wait to see the video and hear all about it!!