Have you seen what’s under the kitchen table? What! You can’t see him? He’s right there! I mean sure he’s camouflaged to try and stay hidden away, but still HE’S RIGHT THERE! Can you see him now?
This is how it feels sometimes being a zoo and wanting to interact with other zoos in a social way. Because of the great secret we all share, sometimes we have reservations about doing simple stuff together that any other group of people on the planet who share a common interest would not even think twice about.
So what do I mean, you might ask? Let me give you a few scenarios I know of. I will speak about these things in the first person just to make it easier to picture or put yourself into the situation.
Looking for housemate, must like dogs.
I live alone, well to any non-zoo that is, my home is actually shared with the most amazing and wonderful animal around. but don’t tell him that, he’ll want even more of my bed and he’s already pushing me almost on the floor some nights. So I have a deep and cough intimate cough relationship with the fine beast who rule the kingdom within these walls. Let us call him “George.”
Now let’s suppose I have a spare room in my house and I would really like to rent that out to someone to bring in some desperately needed money right about now. If I just advertise the room on my favourite online site about a special interest or fandom that I’m really into on the internet, who knows what kind of person might end up on my door step. Yes we have that one interest in common online, but they still are a question mark as to how they will handle my sexuality. What might their values be? Can I know how they will treat George when I’m not there? Can I trust them not to slip him a bit of food not good for his species when I’m not looking? And of course the really big one: “I don’t want to have to hide my relationship with my precious four legged friend within my own home!”
So I think to myself, you know if I could just rent the room to another zoo then most of my worries wouldn’t be so bad, and if they had an animal of their own that might help them have a safe place to be themselves too. George could even get a playmate to hang out with and play games with. I mean clearly there could be some complications if George’s new friend was an attractive member of his own species that every so often smelt really really nice. But there are ways around such things and if the respective humans help each animal out during such time frustrations could be minimised.
But getting back to the humans in this scenario, finding a zoo to come into the house would mean that things could be far more relaxed around the place. Not having to worry about what might happen if the other human accidentally walked in during some loving snoo snoo type of activity, where George was leaving no ambiguity as to what he and I were up to at that precise second. But even when just watching TV, if George wanted to snuggle on the couch using me as a pillow, if some gentle scritching between my faithful companion’s ears lead to a head tilting back and a tongue to emerge. If it is a zoo in the chair beside me, I might get a “Get a room you two” as I leaned down to meet the swiping tongue of my beloved. But if they were just some normy off the street, what would they make of such a display? Would they run from the room pack their things and race for the front door? Would they tell me that kissing an animal was disgusting? Or would they say nothing but tell everyone at their work the next day?
Your home should be a relaxing and peaceful place, where you can be yourself without worrying what others might think. So if you could find another zoo to share the house and split the bills, that might help with the mundane stuff while also maintaining your freedom, but how on earth do you go about finding this mythical creature of a person? This person who is looking for somewhere to live in your area, is at least accepting of zoosexuality if not a zoo themselves, and who is prepared to take the risk that your offer of accomodation isn’t some sly honey trap to suck zoos in… Only to find their room that you are offering has bars on the windows and doors.
Can you make out the outline of that elephant yet? Well forget you saw him, you need the money so you rented the room to someone from the local paper and now you have to live on eggshells when at home, living for those nights your house mate goes out to the pub with their mates, but at least you can afford to keep the roof over George and your heads.
Animals for sale or free to a loving home.
On occasion things happen, when we may find ourselves unable to keep an animal in our lives. To many, the idea of giving up that special 4 legger is just so ridonculous as to not even compute! But what if your hand is forced and you have no choice but to part with them for their own good, even if it breaks your heart to do so?
You could take them to a shelter or return them to the breeder you got them from, but that maybe a very uncertain future for your loved one. The breeder might be a reasonable outcome if they are picky as to who their animals go to and will find them another good home, which of course is no good if you are hoping to be able to get them back again, assuming you can one day get past the thing that forced you to give them up in the first place. Shelters or pounds on the other hand are more often than not a place of absolute last resort. As it can in the worst case lead to your precious companion being put down, if a new home can’t be found in a specific time frame, given how over burdened the entire system is.
So in such dire situations if we had someway to ensure they go to a new home with someone who will love them and treat them very well, such as going to another loving zoo, that could bring you some comfort in knowing they were going to be alright. But how do you find this loving person to give your companion the life they deserve and need. If you have the time you can make a pretty good attempt at finding the right person through advertisements or the like online or in the local paper, vetting applicants for suitability. But chances are if you’re being forced to give them to someone else, time is also not on your side.
Then there is the sex request issue. For some reason, ;) if an animal has had sex with a human, they often think well maybe if that person isn’t around anymore this new person might like to get frisky instead. When I was forced to give up physical intimacy with my male alpaca because I developed a serious allergy to his semen, he started none to subtly approaching every other human that visited the farm to see if they might help him out instead. So if your companion’s new human isn’t a zoo, your companion may need to become abstinent which of course is doable, but can be very frustrating to give up something that feels so good. But it’s that or risk a visit to the vet to have factory fitted equipment removed. Which voids the warranty for a fully functional body.
So what about trying to find someone on a zoo site?
Well no that is generally not allowed by zoo sites for a very good reason, even a reasonably liberal site like Zooville prohibits the advertising of animals to good homes. Because even though there is a good number of loving zoos there, there is another demographic who it would be far less than ideal to have your precious animal go to live with, where their well being may be less of a concern for the other twenty three and a half hours a day.
Which of course is a sad state of affairs, but without some way to verify what a person values and what their ethics are in relation to animals, it is clearly better to try to protect the animals by not allowing what could become an underground trade in non-humans. Which I will be so bold as to say that no one reading this would ever like to see happen.
Helping other zoos out with their projects that may or may not be zoo related.
I like to think that as zoos we have above normal levels of empathy and a desire to help each other out when the need arises. That is all well and good in online spaces, but that is only a tiny part of most of our lives. A good amount of our problems that need help are based in the real world and thus require real world solutions. But that involves person A gasp seeing or meeting person B in the flesh. Does anyone have an XXXXXXXXL collar and lead I need to take our little elephant out for a walk and to relieve himself somewhere other than under the kitchen table.
So for many of us we are very concerned that meeting another zoo could result in our pachyderm doing his business on the flowers in our front yard. So that greatly impedes our willingness to help out another zoo in real life. compared to helping any other acquaintance in another online community which we may be a part of.
Let me give you an example: let’s say I’m a Video producer and I need to make an ad for a non profit organisation. I have a budget of $0, I’m giving my own time for free, but I need some large and giant breed dogs to bring the video to life. Now as a zoo I know two things: 1) the percentage of us that have larger dogs is above average since for many of us, we like tab A to fit in slot B without any problems or discomfort for either party. And 2) George is the centre of my universe and most other zoos would feel similarly about their companions. So working on the theory that I would love George to appear in a video that hopefully might go viral, he could get to be a super star without anyone ever knowing of his amazing snoo snoo powers behind closed doors. So wouldn’t it be nice if other people’s dogs could also participate to both benefit the production, the organisation the video is being made for, and could also let other zoos show off and brag about their dog being in an ad on the internet, that who knows how many people might see. But to organize this in this way, I would need to find local zoos who both have suitable dogs and are willing to participate. And it’s not like there is a phone book of zoos in my area to know who to contact.
Even though this isn’t a zoo production just because one zoo is letting other zoos know about it and asking for anyone interested in participating with their dog; suddenly in walks our little grey friend, trumpeting his arrival before taking fright at the sound he just made and backing under the table to hide. It’s all about the scales of trust and fear. Trust must be earned and that takes time. And fear helps keep us safe from those that might seek to hurt us by making us cautious and nervous about exposing our real selves. But of course in cases like this example, spending 6 months getting to know everyone is not practical. Because it needs to happen now to meet the deadline for the ad campaign. So even when there is a ready supply of dogs just right for the project, it can never happen because of our little grey friend’s mere presence in the room; even though he is hiding under the table and his existence need never be mentioned on the day of the filming for the ad.
If only there was a way to verify someone as being safe to engage with, so trust could be built more quickly and you didn’t need to worry so much about what this other person might be secretly planning to do to you, to destroy your life. I mean there are a few people in our community that are just so well known that their name is listed in the dictionary as safe to trust, but for most of us it just doesn’t work that way.
The retirement conundrum.
It happens to us all. At some point we realise we aren’t getting any younger. We start to think toward the future. But for some of us there is even more at stake, such as finding someone who will take over and run that animal business you’ve spent many years building up with your blood, sweat and tears; it is in short your life’s work; and that’s not to mention the 4 legged people that may be at the heart of the business and for whom you take joy in seeing everyday. Thus the idea of handing the reigns over to just anyone is unthinkable. You need someone who will do things the way that you have always done things. That is always putting the animal’s needs first. Even if that means getting out of bed at 3am on a stormy night, to tend to what ever needs to be done. That’s just what you do. You need someone who shares your deep love and compassionate care for the animals involved, in other words you need another zoo to take over the mantle. But where do you find such a person.
Clearly if you’re asking someone to change their life and come work and learn from you, to gain the skills required to one day take over the operation, you need to be open about some personal things such as a rough location, the sort of business involved, what they need to be doing as part of the job, any perks of the job etc. standard sort of stuff. Putting such information out there openly in zoo places isn’t without risk. Bless you my little sneezing elephant, do you need a tissue or 20 for that nose of yours. For you see my dear reader it may surprise you to know, that some of us that have animal businesses, are known rather well in the industries we work in. And putting the pieces together from any information we put in zoo places may not require the skills of a rocket scientist. Which is why we seek the skills of a red rocket scientist instead, or that individual who can do the job with a large amount of flare.
If you’re reading this and thinking “I’d love to get such an opportunity, but it’s all who you know, and I’m just a young zoo, and haven’t been in the community long enough to know anyone.” Well I’m here to tell you, I know of a few in our community who are in this position right now, of looking for someone eager to take up the opportunity. So just keep your eyes open to spot that gift horse galloping past your nose. The problem is, finding the right person who is willing to be taught the right way to do things seems to be far harder to find than you may think. I could say things like youth is wasted on the young, but the simple fact is most younger zoos don’t realise such a golden ticket when it’s put on the table. And by the time they are old enough to have gained adequate life experience, to know the value of such an opportunity, they are generally in far less of a position to just go for it, because by then they have responsibilities and ties that make such a career move far less feasible.
But again if there was a place where person A and person B could find each other safely at just the right time for both of them, wonderful life changing outcomes could ensue. Can I get some fruits and grasses in the kitchen for this little guy? No, not peanuts! They are too high in protein for a herbivores diet, in the amount a pachyderm would need to eat to fill up that ample sized tummy.
Finding friends to do human things with, could be made easier if you could simply know where your other online friends live in relation to yourself.
For a good number of zoos we relate better to animals than humans, but there are times when doing something with a human would just make things easier or better. Such as going out to the movies, apart from service animals, those that walk on more than two legs generally aren’t overly welcomed in such places. And as much as George might like to go and watch something on the big screen, he’s not so good at talking endlessly about that part you really loved, you know, with the guy that did that thing, that made you laugh so hard your eyes watered.
We won’t even contemplate the chaos that could be had at a bowling alley if a 36kg sable GSD started racing around the alleys sliding all over the place on the slippery floor, trying to catch all those balls zooming around everywhere. I mean sure you could try explaining the balls won’t actually fit in his mouth before you walk in the front door to the place, but like that’s going to stop him trying.
This is why many of us choose other recreational activities like hiking and camping etc. places where there’s no guy at the door saying no dogs allowed. But I know not all zoos are outdoorsy types, so for you lot having that human around to take such uncouth places that aren’t dog friendly can be handy.
It can also be a blessing if you have another human to call on to look after George, if something should happen to you and you end up very sick, or are for some reason unable to attend to his needs. Humans you can trust and depend upon are valuable things indeed. But in such situations, those that understand why the huge dog won’t leave your bed side and who won’t try to shoo him out the door every 5 seconds are even better.
Housemates, but for horses. Horsemates.
So I’ve got a spare 10 acres in the front east paddock, I’ve leased land and done agistment of animals in the past, but I’ve also been burnt in the past where I end up taking more care of the animals than the person who is supposed to be responsible for them. If I’m being paid to look after an animal that is one thing, but being forced into doing so because the animals need it or they would suffer, simply because their human never turns up to do anything with them, well that’s a whole other story.
So wouldn’t it be nice if I could find another zoo needing somewhere nice, safe and secure to park their larger animals whom I know would take care of them properly and I wouldn’t need to stress about extra responsibility or someone else’s animals getting enough attention. Such an arrangement could be beneficial for all involved.
Let’s take a horse for example, there’s an old saying the only way to get rich if you have a horse in your life is to be super rich before you met the horse. They are not cheap animals to have around in our modern times. So it might be the case that someone has the land and would like to have a horse, but can’t afford it, because with interest rate rises just paying the mortgage for the land means you can’t afford to put anything of your own upon said land. Now let’s suppose someone else has a horse, but don’t feel where they are currently being stabled that they can be intimate or even just spend quality time with them, for fear suspicions might be raised about the true nature between horse and human. Thus finding a non-judgemental place to house the wondrous and loveable 4 legged money pit would be ideal. Then perhaps, teaming up these two parties could solve the problem and they could both enjoy having an equine in their lives. And I know where half of you readers’ minds are going at this point, you bunch of deviants, so let’s take a brief second to address that: As would be the case with bringing someone into your home in scenario 1; a discussion stating boundaries and what is and isn’t acceptable with any appropriate ground rules would need to be had upfront, to avoid any misunderstandings or problems down the track particularly if the animal was to be given the autonomy to make decisions and requests of the other human. All three of you need to be comfortable with the arrangement and feel that respect is being given to all involved, or this seeming utopian arrangement shouldn’t even be contemplated.
What’s the answer?
So we really need a place we can be open with people to be able to draw other humans from to fill these normal everyday uses and needs for other humans in our lives, yet never need to worry they are going to be a bomb waiting to explode in our face; if they discover our little elephant hiding under the table. So is such a place really possible or just a deluded dream of somebody who just hasn’t been doxed yet? I would like to believe that such a place could exist, but the complications of setting it up so everyone is kept safe are astronomical.
First you would need to somehow verify that everyone is on the level and not a bad actor, that in and of itself is a mammoth task. And like a mammoth the entire project could go extinct even getting to this first critically important stage. Then you must somehow get the word out that this space exists without drawing the attention of those that might seek to sweep in and scoop up a big helping of those degenerate animal fuckers, in one fowl hit. Even if you manage to over come all that there is nothing to say the roof couldn’t be brought down from the inside, just because we share a sexuality does not by any means mean that two zoos will be good together or want anything to do with certain other members of such a place. Zoos are just a subset of the larger community after all, and it takes all sorts to make the world go round.
Could current zoo spaces be the answer then, well no probably not. Zoo Community and most other PG13 places don’t allow people trying to meet up on the site for any reason sexual or not. Zooville is just as likely to lead you to someone just wanting to try and screw George at the first opportunity you leave them alone, as it is to link you to someone who will respect you and your precious non-human companion. Social media platforms in general are like playing Russian roulette, you might be lucky or you might have your life ended.
I suppose I should offer some sage advice at this point… Scratches my head, let me see… (OUCH! I got a splinter stuck in my finger) As with most things in life there are risks with opening up to people, so it can be scary to try to make friends with other zoos. While hiding in the corner might be the safest place to be, putting yourself out there a bit can have its rewards, but go into every situation with your eyes open and trust your gut when speaking with others. If you can gather a group of zoos who you can trust around you, from the zoo places you like to hang out, things get a little easier as one of those fellow zoos might know someone else who knows this other person who is looking for somewhere to live in your area or whatever it is you are looking for at the time.
Networking can be difficult, but making offline connections as zoos is a difficult question without an easy answer. I can’t pitch you on this new zooey phone app that’s guaranteed to only let the good zoos in to send messages to each other in your local area. It doesn’t work like that. Instead, you have to put the work in, person by person, sussing out who is trustworthy, and who you should actually probably not include in your zooey rolodex. Hopefully in turn, when you’re looking for something that would benefit from knowing local zoos, other people will have found you to be a trustworthy sort, and will be willing to point helpful people who they know in your direction.
So I wish you all luck in creating a good network of zoo friends, who can help you reach all your goals and live a happy balance life, lacking for nothing just because you’re in a relationship with a non-human.
No! George your bag of food doesn’t need to be brought to the couch, you’re leaving a trail across the carpet. I know it’s time to eat. Just let me say good bye to these nice people, Ok? Well I guess at least he didn’t bring the yoghurt, and his mix meat and veggies, that would be a real mess to clean up. Take care of yourselves and your special non-human friends…. Well ok George, I guess that solves that problem if you vacuum up that trail of food. Somebody has me wrapped around his not so little paw’s claws, but little does he know he’s getting less in his bowl tonight now. :)
Article written by HugDoggy (November 2023)
Find him on ZooCommunity at https://zoocommunity.org/user-593.html
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