Shocking effects of Hurricane Harvey…The devastation continues…

These young rabbits appeared to be part of a herd, living in a “warren” in the well-designed spacious habitat of Zoo Ave.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

From the veranda, we spotted another fire burning on a nearby mountain.

As we continue to share more photos from our recent visit to Zoo Ave, bird and animal sanctuary, and rehabilitation center here in the Alajuela Valley, we’re reminded of all the animals being rescued from floodwaters in Texas and other states due to Hurricane Harvey.

The habitat for rehabilitating birds and animals was as natural as possible, with wide-open spaces, vegetation, and apparent cleanliness in the care of its inhabitants.

Of course, the devastation of the loss of human life supersedes all else, along with the loss of all of the worldly possessions of individuals and families across the land. But, in the mix, in the hearts and minds of many who’ve already lost so much, is the frustration and fearful pursuit of finding beloved pets, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and barnyard animals.

A parrot pair were sharing a large banana leaf.

As animal lovers well know, an animal can be as much a part of a family as its family members and, for many, their only day-to-day companions. When we’re reminded of our loving dogs over the years, we can’t even imagine the fear many are possessing at this time as they try to find their beloved pets, now that they and their family members are nearing safety.

Many enclosed areas housed several compatible birds and other creatures.

Can we envision the chaos as citizens of the ravaged areas scrambled to their safety coupled with the worry that their pets may be lost to them forever? What a comfort those pets could be at this horrible time of loss and grief, losing people they love, belongings they treasured while finding themselves homeless without sufficient funds to rebuild their lives. It all takes time and money, neither of which survivors may have at this point.

Bunnies are commonly seen in Costa Rica in the vegetation-rich environment.

Although not a good comparison and certainly under considerably different circumstances, I can recall the last few weeks we spent in Minnesota. The four-day professional estate sale found us reeling over how little value there was in our treasured personal belongings, all of which we had to let go of.

Based on the size of their habitat, most likely, they had no concept of being confined, as was the case for most of the residents of Zoo Ave, a highly rated animal rehabilitation center.

We were left with a paltry sum due to the sale of our belongings and our home during poor market conditions at the time. Tom continued working 12-hour days up until the day we left on October 31, 2012. 

Please see this link for our story during that painful process.

We had to leave the house during the sale of our belongings and stayed with dear friend Karen at her lovely home in a nearby suburb. I was swamped with Tom’s retirement party preparations and finalizing details of the many items we’d overpacked to take on our journey. 

Large birds were sitting in trees.

During the difficult last days, I came down with the flu and lost my voice. I was very sick but couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. Each night of the four-day sale, I met with the estate sale company to reprice items. Little did I know the devastation I’d feel when I’d show up seeing people walking down the road carrying “our stuff,” for which they paid but a pittance. 

We noticed hundreds of turtles of varying sizes and some ducks, all seemingly busy sunning and foraging.

It was during this period that, for the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to forfeit every “thing” that I knew and loved, let alone the upcoming process of saying goodbye to every “one” we knew and loved. And this was voluntary! There’s no comparison to the horrific sudden losses so many have suffered due to Hurricane Harvey and others.

The grounds at Zoo Ave are meticulously maintained.

Can we even imagine the loss the people of Texas and other states are feeling when every “thing” they knew and loved was ripped away from them, not by choice as in our case, but coupled with the fear of losing their lives and, in many cases, having lost people and pets they’ve loved? It’s heartbreaking.

The gift shop at Zoo Ave (Ave translates to “aviary” in Spanish)

We’ve all experienced losses in our lives. That’s all a part of the “human condition” over which we may have little control. How we respond to those losses determines the meaning, the purpose, and the quality of the remaining years of our lives. And, for all those lost souls in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we pray for their healing and recovery in times to come.

Photo from one year ago today, September 2, 2016:

When we returned to Bali for our second two-month stay after a two-month stint in Southeast Asia, we were excited to see the buffaloes walking along the beach shortly after arriving. We only paid for the villa for the two non-consecutive 60-day stays and were happy to return to the beautiful villa and location in Sumbersari, a four or five-hour harrowing drive from the airport, the only part we didn’t care for. For more details, please click here