Monday, February 27, 2012

Footprints On My Heart

13 month-old Casey bear's paw tracks 
For all of you parents out there (two-legged or four-legged), you know how bittersweet it is when your little ones start growing up.  Well, it is no different for me.  I love to see my babies grow and develop, but there is always that part of me that wants them little and sweet forever.  My goal is to keep them always sweet , but it is certainly out of my hands when it comes to their growth!  As I posted last month, my "little" Casey bear had his first birthday and we made sure we celebrated with him!  However, that one-year-old bear is now officially 175 lbs!!  He has all of his big teeth in and when he stands on two feet, his head reaches my shoulders!  My little bear isn't so little anymore....and he's only going to keep on growing for the next two years.  Just the other day, Casey was enjoying some fresh snow, (meaning he was running around like a wrecking ball and doing somersaults) and he just so happened to leave a front paw print and a back paw print right next to each other.  So like the proud mom I am, I snapped a couple pictures of his tracks.  I left my foot print & hand print next to them to give you an example of how big he's getting.  (Keep in mind, I am 5'4" and wear a size 8 shoe, but for the snow, they are bulky snow boots.)  Those tracks are going to be quite larger next winter.

Next up are my almost 8 month-old mountain lion cubs, Kali and Khia.  They lost their spots months ago and look like mini adult mountain lions!  (They have not been weighed recently, but I will do that soon.)  Khia, the runt of their litter, is significantly smaller than her sister, but still growing like a weed.  Kali, however, is quite the young lady!  When standing on her back feet, she is now stretching up to my chest!  Kali is definitely developing quicker than Khia, and has already lost her four canines.  I am so happy that I was able to recover two of them for my baby book!  (Picture below....and joking about the baby book, of course.)  While they are teething I encourage them to chew on more productive things than me, like dog raw hides.  Her big teeth are coming in rapidly and look gorgeous!  Khia is right behind her though, as her big teeth are just starting to break through the gum line.
Kali's bottom canines

Well, the babies will continue to grow and develop into the regal and majestic animals that we all respect and appreciate.  I look forward to their adult lives and to be a big part of that is truly an honor and a blessing.  I never forget that I am one lucky girl who these animals allow to be around them every day.  For those who do not know, this is the only career I have ever wanted and I would not trade it for the world.  My job is truly a labor of love and it is unbelievably easy to wake up everyday and first thing I get to do is kiss a bear on the nose.         

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