Two Shells and Some Fur

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The clicking sound of her water bottle never bothers me much while I work on the computer. I enjoy the company. Meika Minyanou, or Moe, is a four and a half year old, spunky, little fur ball of a ferret. She resides in a triple floored wire cage with a hanging ball that has a few tears from her restless younger years. This lovely complex stands all of about two feet from my work desk, and I am often found pitching research paper topics or possible solutions for chemistry sets at her. Granted, I tend to get a muted response, however, her moral support suffices.

I adopted Moe from a ferret rescue at nine months old. It did not take me long to learn (as a result of multiple scratches) when to cut her nails, the pain was dulled by my affection for her. Keeping her as a new member of the family has been no easy task. I have a schedule for when to bathe her, clean out her cage, replace her litter pan, wash her blanket, take her to the vet, trim her nails, clean her ears and replace her bedding. Despite the juggling caring for her and my school work, and job as a computer maintenance person for African embassies during the summer in addition to my year round work as a graphic designer, the amount of work does not deter my drive to take care of something I love. I feel the same way about everything I throw myself into including coaching flag football, tutoring, and being an assistant crew chief of the drama club's lighting crew. While the responsibility is great, putting my all into all of each activity in order to fulfill my duties is extremely important to me. Whenever I take on any job, I ensure it is done well.

I especially recall the one time she fell ill. My heart broke. She wouldn't climb up the walls of her cage when someone passed, she wouldn't start her little "Dance of Joy" when let loose, and her food bowl went untouched for hours. Day after day, I could be found scrubbing down her cage and viciously mauling every fly, mosquito, or ant that dared sneak its way into my house and near her cage. The extra work did not bother me at all because I knew it would pay off when she would finally get up and chase after her little green ball.

My affection for my exotic fur ball doesn't end there, as I also have two red-eared slider, Sheldon and Squirtle that were not planned adoptions. While walking down Canal street in Chinatown, a man holding them in a small aquarium was running up and down the street, the water sloshing around and the two of them helpless to steady themselves. It both angered and saddened me to see them treated so carelessly. The next time he passed, I stopped him and promptly handed over a twenty for the pair. I knew they were better off as an impromptu purchase with a forever home guarantee than suffering injuries due to careless ignorance. When presented with the opportunity to make something better, I make the effort to do so. Much like the turtle's adoption, my flag football coaching position came from going to one practice, seeing the disorder, and knowing I could make the team better organized and well disciplined.

Moe, Squirtle, and Sheldon remain as my pride and joy. I am as anxious and uneasy as any new parent when any of them are sick, and equally as elated when they show signs of progress, such as when Sheldon started eating bigger pellets and Moe was successfully litter box trained. As ecstatic as I am talking about my pets, I am equally excited about the endless possibilities found in scientific research. The more I learn in chemistry classes, the most I want to be in the field learning about and developing research projects that may pair up unlikely things, such as two turtles and a ferret, that work well together under the umbrella of a grand idea.

Over the course of my high school years, the difficulty in my classes have increased but that has not at all deterred my drive in learning the most I can about any subject, from African Studies to Chemistry, and finding real world applications for the knowledge. Just as I would with my ferret, before I feed her a new brand of food, I do my research and find out what is in it, where it is made, and how often she should be fed. With any project that comes my way, I find out as much as possible in order to understand the topic, allowing me the ability to have discussions without having to reference index cards or sounding like a text book.





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