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A reflection of ourselves

In the Light

Here’s a philosophy for you: Learn something every day.

The people I hang around with know I have a disdain for social media. I still believe talking face-to-face is the best way to communicate. You can judge people’s reactions, the looks on their faces, the temperament in their voices, subtle changes in body language.

You can see smiles when you talk with someone face-to-face. And frowns.

But I learned something new yesterday, Dec. 4, 2017, through (of all things) Facebook.

True caring. True heart.

The outpouring of concern, well wishes, and fund raising efforts after a fire burned the main entrance and barn at Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue Monday was … Heart breaking.

I learned a lot about our community, about our people.

I learned about our compassion. I learned that people who say they are friends, really are just that … True friends.

While we at The Courier News sat back in a kind of stunned silence, we also knew we had a story to work on — not one that any of us wanted to do. I consider James Cox a friend. I consider the mission of Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue an important part of the make up of our community.

Because, for lack of better words, Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue is a mission of kindness and that reflects on us as a community.

James Cox’s kindness, care, dedication, and responsibility to the rescued animals under his charge reflects on our community.

For the last couple of years I’ve had the honor of doing a walk and talk with James at Little Ponderosa whenever we do our annual “progress” edition.

It’s one of the highlights of my year.

And not so much because I get to see James, though that is always a pleasure, but because I get to see James interact with the animals he has rescued.

And that, friends, is what makes his mission so special.

It’s his interaction, his eye for detail when an animal rushes to a fence to greet him — and make no mistake, they do — and his knowledge of what every single animal on his 35-acre slice of heaven is dealing with. Are they sick? Having problems with their diet? Adjusting smoothly to calm surroundings?

And he knows where every animal has come from. What kind of “home” they previously lived in. He knows their backstories. He can even tell you the animal’s favorite things (food, toys, where to be scratched, etc.,).

It’s hard to describe affection, trust, admiration.

At least it is with words.

Here’s an example: I’m standing with James next to the kangaroo pen. I’m holding feed. James is holding out his hand. James is the first one two kangaroos bound for. Then they take me feed. And go back to James. I’m the sideshow, the guy with some feed. James is The Man.

And it’s the same with every animal at Little Ponderosa.

I know. Sometimes it seems like our world is spinning out of control, that we are at the mercy of forces beyond our control.

But if you have ever visited Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue you know the world slows down a bit inside that compound.

The world makes a little more sense.

It’s a little more at peace.

So, do what you can, but we need to keep this 35-acre slice of heaven intact. It’s not just for the animals or for James Cox or the opportunity to let children see animals they may never have a chance to see anywhere else.

It’s for our community.