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Losing my mascot

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For two months, I had company while writing. My computer screen had been split between my current manuscript and a livestream of my beloved mascot. Now, I am back to being a solitary author.

Mascot? Yes. Instead of staring into space during a blank moment, I was entertained by her antics. When I needed a mental break, she was there with her partner and staff to brighten the moment. Instead of being alone, I had her steadfast presence at all hours of the day and night. Now, she is gone. No, she did not pass away physically. Her livestream is gone and it is a time of mourning, nonetheless.

April, the famous giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York was my mascot.

Someone had posted her story and a link on Facebook. I checked it out and became hooked. In a world filled with bad news, it was refreshing to have her elegant and calming presence. There was joy in watching her pregnancy progress and culminate in the birth of an adorable and spunky little boy.

For someone who has never had children, rooting for a pregnant giraffe may seem a bit strange. It wasn’t. April brought joy and hope to a damaged world. After all, I was one of millions who were voyeurs into her life.

I learned a great deal about giraffes and how they are an endangered species in the wild. About 25% of giraffe babies born in the wild do not survive, as giraffes are prey to predators (including humans). Captive births offer hope to increase their population so that their species will not be lost for future generations.

Yes, April with her hay showers, pacing and naps offered hope. She was tame, had a crazy mate in the much-younger Ollie and a bouncing baby boy. Their interactions and the love between this giraffe family and the parks’ staff was heartwarming. How many keepers hug and kiss their animals? How many wild animals let them? There was true love between Jordan Patch, the Park’s owner and staff: Alyssa, Corey and Dr. Tim. April brought out the love. Maybe that’s why, as a romance author, I was attracted to April and adopted her as my mascot.

I will miss her face (especially the carrot and romaine treats) sharing my screen time. However, as Jordan said, April’s story is to be continued. There will be other opportunities to connect with her. I, for one, have reservations to visit April and her team in New York this August. I get to experience the love in person.

If this isn’t “happily ever after,” what is?

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