Last week, I met up with my friend Jane at the William S. Hart park, where my friend Rachael is the Animal Keeper. I love this picture of Rachael, I think it shows how much she loves animals. She has dedicated a huge part of her life to their well-being.
And, as Jane pointed out, she also has the ability to make those of us perhaps not so comfortable with animals, or not used to being close them, feel comfortable. Jane said she didn't hesitate to hold this very old Peking duck or pet a snoozing old wild boar (see below). I often saw this at the donkey rescue, where Rachael helped people overcome their fears of snakes and tarantulas. After working with her there, I developed a fondness for snakes and lizards and I don't stomp on spiders the way I used to.
This march of the geese was so cute. They went from one enclosure to another with a larger pond without giving us a second look.
One of two wild boars Rachael raised since they were small. She told us how smart they are and how much she's come to care for them.
After not being able to buy a fly shield for Norman, the 12-year old steer, Rachael got one and fashioned it so it fits him.
Looks like both Jane and Norman are smiling here. How good it is to get an ear scratch.
This is the old boar we both petted.
Granted she was very old and sound asleep, but still, never did I think I would get a chance to actually pet a wild boar.
I met her the last time I was here and think of her often, so it was fun to see her again. She sniffed me with great attention to detail, up and down my jeans, and refused my offer of acorns. Was it dog smells that interested her so?
She instantly fell for Jane though and I think it was mutual. Let the pictures speak for themselves:
After catching up on our lives over a picnic lunch, we drove up the very steep road to the mansion and took the guided tour. Turns out there was a lot more to Mr. Hart than just the movie star part. In fact I found him to be so interesting I may look into him some more and maybe write a post about him.
Mr. Hart donated the land and mansion to the County of Los Angeles on the conditions that entrance would always be free to the public and animals must always reside there and be taken care of by the county. Right now, the animals are lucky, indeed, to have Rachael as their caretaker.
Samson to Faith: That's why she smelled so funny when she came home. Told you it couldn't be from her friend Jane!