So why don't you just..... get a lemur?

Calvin and Maggie Lion resting for a bit
October is the month of busy, busy, busy for the two of us. I planned an outing to the Conservator's Center   about 20 minutes outside of town on Saturday as a way to do something fun and festive for the fall season. We discovered the Conservator's Center this summer when I purchased a Groupon for one of their education tours. It was amazing. I usually hate zoos, but I like this place. Yes, the animals are in enclosures. Would their lives be better if they were never in captivity? Probably. Actually, the folks at the Conservator's Center would agree with you on that point most of the time. However, many of the animals they house are there as a "home of last resort" because they were seized by government officials or abused or not properly cared for by owners who either didn't understand the implications of having an exotic, wild animal in your home or were trying to make money at a cost to the animal. When you walk through the area, it is clear the animals aren't on display. If they don't want to come out, they don't have to. If they decide to let you see them, it is often spectacular. Seriously, one of the coolest things I have ever experienced is being in the middle of 20+ lions as they put on an "oofing" display.  If you are ever in the area, this is definitely a fun outing, both for those with children, or those who are simply fascinated by the majesty of these creatures. (Here's a link to a video of the experience... pretty cool if you ask me!)

Wic Tigger just hanging out
One of the biggest things the teacher in me loves about the Conservator's Center is the level of knowledge the tour guides have about not only the species of animals in the compound, but also the individual animals and their personalities. It is clear these animals are not pets, but they are deeply cared for by the staff at the center. During the tour, guides share facts about the individual critters: how they were acquired, their age, where they typically live, their endangered status, etc. However, they also tell personal stories about the animals, about their likes and dislikes, how the group was formed, who is better suited to solitary life, who chose his or her companions, etc. It is really fun to listen to all of the things these folks know about the animals.

One story our guide told us on yesterday's trip revolved around a Ring Tailed Lemur named Jeremiah. The Conservator's Center never meant to house primates like Lemurs. However, a couple who couldn't have children decided the next best thing would be to have a lemur. Eventually, the lemur acted like the wild animal it is and became aggressive toward one of the owners. The owners looked for a home and the Conservator's Center agreed to take him in. He now has a companion named Cookie and is very happy. But, his beginnings could have been disastrous.

Jeremiah Lemur with his companion, Cookie
When the guide said the couple who purchased Jeremiah were unable to have children, Jeremy immediately looked over at me. I'm not sure if he was afraid I might break down into tears at the thought of infertility on our tour or if he was truly concerned I might decide I, too, needed a lemur. I just smiled when he caught my eye and he gave me a little hug, one of those "we don't even need to talk about this" interactions married couples do without thinking. 

The mention of adopting an exotic animal as  "replacement" for having children brought me back to the words people use to try to comfort me as an infertile: "just adopt," "just have IVF," "just buy a house," "just relax," or "just stop trying." I've heard most of these at some point and some of them repeatedly. However, I'm wondering if the next stage will include "just get a lemur." Or, perhaps, when people tell us to do one of the "just" things they so kindly suggest, perhaps Jeremy and I should tell them we plan to "just" get a lemur. In all honesty, getting a lemur would help my infertility precisely as much as the other solutions. 
Arthur Tiger and Kira Lioness waiting for treats.

In all honesty, I never plan to get a lemur. It's a wild animal and I couldn't provide for it the life it would need. And, I don't want any primates, besides the people kind, in my house. I've been a hard sell on getting a cat or a second dog. There's no way I could commit to an exotic animal. But, the look on folks face when I tell them that is my plan for infertility failure could truly be priceless. 


  1. Excellent writing, as usual, and quite insightful!!

  2. Thank you so much for the compliment!


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