Ah, yes. I remember it well.
That was a time in my life, BC (Before Child) when I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for our local Zoo.
My proudest achievement there was my appointment as Chairman for our Zoo's Animal Adoption Program, a new fund-raising venture.
Er, "Program" would infer that I had a slew of staff to supervise, but in reality there was one part-time secretary and myself. Regardless, the two of us brought nearly $ 40,000 in donations for the Zoo in a few short weeks.
We had been given the monumental task of creating all the promotional material, advertising, collecting donations, researching facts and developing and mailing donor packages. The majority of which I did from home. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it was a once in a lifetime experience as well.
Because I also did the artwork for information sheets, bumper stickers and decals in the package donors received, I was privy to "backstage" tours of exhibits.
I had the run of the Zoo and made some wonderful new friends... animals and people alike.
I even got to help out at "Feeding Time".
I learned a lot about all the different species, from Prairie Dogs to Siberian Tigers. For an animal lover like me, it was a dream come true. I was honored to be a part of the Zoo family.
Why am I taking this stroll down memory lane today?
Because it is a very sad time for Winnipeg. A VIP* from the Zoo passed on a few days ago at the tender age of 42.
Okay, maybe not so tender... for a polar bear.
We are mourning the loss of one incredible Winnipegger.
Debby the Polar Bear was a city celebrity and a world record holder. Yes, she was officially sanctioned by Guiness as the oldest polar bear in captivity. Probably in the world. Ever.
Debby was the bear I, like most Winnipeg children, watched in wonder as she swam, played, posed for our cameras and bore six cubs since 1966.
Rest in Peace Debby. You will be missed.
And our Zoo will never be quite the same ever again.
* Very Important Polar bear
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