My early days with animals

I wanted to share how my passion began with animals

MaryBeth VanderMeulen

6/19/20211 min read

In my writing career, I always wanted to write about animals because it is one of my passions. I have been lucky enough to be involved with them in many ways.

My husband and I created a business where we made critter habitats, rustic items like bat and butterfly houses, bird homes, etc. I did a lot of research to find out what they would use and their habitats.

I worked as a volunteer at the Stanley Park Zoo where we did tours for school children based on what they were studying in their grade levels. I was also a 'Zoo-to-You' coordinator where we took animals to visit shut-ins. We also had many opportunities to learn about all the animals in the zoo and to help in crisis situations where ducks and other small animals had to be caught and cleaned up from oil spills.

One specialized period we went to a hospital for severely disabled children and over a period of 6 weeks, we visited twice weekly with snakes to help them develop communication skills. Many could not speak or show any form of communication and we were able to reach them with our reptiles so they found a way to respond. It was the beginning of new abilities for many.

I always had many animals growing up and later, was able to have even more. They taught me a lot. Later I wanted to be able to illustrate them so I took many courses and now use these photos and illustrations to further demonstrate the highlights of my bedtime stories for kids. I hope to give little children the bug I had to know more about living creatures. I also hope they learn we all have a place in this world and creatures belong there too. They deserve our respect.