Hello, my name is Nathalie. I am the animal trainer/care taker for the animals here at Windy Hill Ranch. Everyday is a blessing here and also always full of surprises. Taking care of animals is a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun also. If there were one word that I could use to describe what it takes to take care of an animal, it would be patience. I think patience is the most important word to remember when making that decision to share your life with an animal. Let me take you on a journey.
Patience first appears when you make that decision to go out and get a pet. Why would you need to be patient when buying a pet? You need to make sure you are getting the right kind of pet. Make sure you are getting the right animal. Is a bird, cat, dog, horse, or pig good for you? Once you've decided what kind of animal is best for you, it's time to think what breed. For example there are many breeds of dogs and birds. Each breed has their own characteristics and personalities. You need to make sure you select the right breed that fits into your life. This is where patience becomes very important. Many people buy a pet because it was such a cute little baby and they couldn't resist those little eyes looking at them. But when that baby grows up, the owner begins to realize it may have been the wrong decision because the animal doesn't fit into his/her lifestyle. So it is important to remember your patience. Take your time when selecting that perfect pet. Read books and magazines. Pick that perfect pet and then find it. Don't forget your patience and pick the first cute pet you see. This is the main reason why we have so many animal shelters. People were not patient enough to select that perfect pet from the beginning.
Now, patience doesn't stop there. It continues when you bring this new pet home. So now you have found the perfect pet. Let's say that it is a baby. Boy, do we have a lot of work. Now you need patience in training and teaching this new baby what is right and wrong. Animals cannot speak our language and they do not understand everything we have to say. Let me tell you, my job would be a lot easier if they did! So instead we have to slowly teach them what it is that we want from them. A new baby should grow up with respect for people. It needs to be taught how to behave. You need patience for all this training. The key is to always spend time with your animal. Training comes in the simplest form. When an animal walks nicely beside you, plays gently with you, allow you to touch its feet, this is all training. You have taught the animal to respect you and to allow you to take care of it. Training requires a lot of patience. It is not always easy to communicate what you would like from an animal. But when you do, it can be the most rewarding experience.