Animal House

January 4, 2010
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When I was growing up, my house was like a zoo. Cats, birds, fish, salamanders, and frogs chirped, meowed, and swam freely. To me, this was never a burden, because I truly love animals. In fact, still today, my life revolves around animals, from the way I eat to the clubs and groups I join. I am a vegetarian and serve as the president of my high school’s animal rights club, Ignatians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Whenever I find spare time, I do what I can to be with and to help the animals I love.
In particular, I really like to spend time around horses. I always favored horses because they are the most relatable animals and for the last nine years, I have taken riding lessons and cared for horses. Horses have very unique personalities, with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Some are more difficult to deal with, but some are sweet and caring. When I first started riding I was terribly afraid of horses because of their size and I approached them with fear. However, as I got older my fear completely went away. I learned that building a relationship with a horse takes a long time. They do not trust people quickly, and it takes time for horses to get a feel for a person. Dealing with horses, specifically has taught me to be kind and patient and I have taken this knowledge and applied it to my human relationships as well.
Because I love animals so much, unlike many teenage Chicagoans, my Saturdays take me away from the city to the suburbs. There, I spend time at the barn which offers me an escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago and a chance to relax with my horse, Sir Dave. When I first began riding I was one of the youngest people at the barn, and I found it hard to make friends with the other riders. However, when I started to train with Sir Dave, I started talking to the other riders about training techniques. Soon, we would share funny stories about our horses. This common subject allowed us all to become very close, and even our horses became friends. Because of the time I have spent around horses, I learned how to earn the trust and respect of people and animals alike, which sometimes proves to be difficult. Each new person I meet is different, but in every case I have to earn their trust and respect, show them kindness, and try to be a friend.
I am a city girl through and through, but animals have been and will always be a part of my life. Without animals, my life would feel emptier. When I am having a bad day, I can always count on my pets to sit on my lap and purr, chirp a happy song, or nuzzle my shoulder. My experience with animals and pets has been rewarding because of the affection they show, and it also taught me about the things that are important in human relationships. I have found that giving a person time to learn to trust you is very important. Just like with animals, people have to get a feel for one’s character. When I show people kindness, no matter difficult they may be they always find a way to return that kindness. I feel lucky to have always been surrounded by wonderful animals that have shown me more kindness then I could have ever known and I try to carry that kindness through to my daily interactions with people.





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