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2013 is coming to a close, it's been an amazing year for me. I realize that a lot of my life is also the story of other people, and those are not my stories to tell - so I don't have a lot to say except I'm amazed at where my life is at, the people in it, and where it's going. :)

I hit some artistic milestones this year - I have gotten to 50 dog breeds in my yin-yang series, which was a big goal! http://foxloft.com/artwork/yinyang I have gotten a really exciting contract I'm working on for a big theatre company - I will have more information about that in the coming months as I work on those projects.

Instead of a disjointed wrap-up I will offer some photos from one of my most amazing experiences of this year (and I've had many) - meeting belugas during an animal training seminar. :)

Belugas are so awesome I can't handle it. This young male was so much fun to work with. Getting spit on with a giant mouthful of frozen water has never been so much fun!

Ty the sea lion. Fishy kisses!

I was thrilled to get the chance to attend Ken Ramirez’s week long animal training seminar at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, it was a class I’ve been wanting to attend for years. Ken is an amazing trainer and teacher, his class was engaging, informative, and inspiring. I’ve been lucky in my life to be involved in many facets of animal training, from police K-9 work, search and rescue, wildlife rehabilitation, companion parrot care and rescue, and working with my own animals. I am committed to giving them the best possible care and enrichment and, for me, this class was a part of that continuing education and effort. I also had the incredible opportunity to get in the water with beluga whales which was a really life-changing experience for me. Belugas are awesome!
I was also really happy to be able to share this experience with one of my best friends - and despite Chicago trying its best to drive us insane, we had a great time. :)

Ken Ramirez in a beluga training session.

Penguin from the outreach/education program.

Agh belugas!

I love them so much I can't handle it.

Belugas love Ken so much!

Dolphin target training

Beluga play session

Beluga Play session 2

Ok, there are a whole bunch of other videos - so I'll just share a link to my channel if you want to go watch them :)

I wish everyone a wonderful New Year's and a fantastic 2014! All my best wishes for a prosperous and wonderful year!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2014 02:56 am (UTC)
My wife and I just got back from Seaworld, and she is wondering if you know the answer to a question that she couldn't get answered there: What do penguins feel like? What's their heft like, how dense are they? If you poke them, are they squishy, or firm?

...I don't know why we have so many of these penguin questions, but we do.
Jan. 28th, 2014 11:58 pm (UTC)
Penguins are super heavy/hefty - they are like solid muscle/weight (weird for a bird but makes sense!) The layer of feathers is 'squishy' but under that they are quite a solid bulk. :) If you get the chance, a lot of aquariums offer penguin encounters where you can meet them and get the chance to touch/stroke one - they are very neat birds!
Jan. 29th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
You have NO IDEA how happy you just made Jen. :D
Jan. 3rd, 2014 07:29 am (UTC)
I don't read LJ any more.

But seriously, this is a thing? Week long animal training at the Shedd, with marine mammals?!

I should put that in my bucket list.

As it is, I'm going to be doing Backstage Adventures helping keepers care for African Painted Dogs and Gorillas this year.
Jan. 28th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Its geared towards professional trainers, but it's an amazing experience! http://www.sheddaquarium.org/adults.html

They do have encounter/behind the scenes type of programs as well - highly recommended :)
Jan. 6th, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thats all just so freaking cool. SO. FREAKING. COOL! I'm glad we got a chance to hang out this year. Was bloody brilliant and I can't wait to see you again! *hugs*
Jan. 6th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
So magical! I love belugas so much! I thought it was great when I was a kid, most people didn't even know what one was- so I did a lot of informing people of these awesome whales :)

I look forward to seeing what's in store for you next year! Happy 2014!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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