I have always been a great lover of animals. From an early age I remember watching nature shows with my dad and can still tell the difference between an albatross and a seagull thanks to David Attenborough.
In primary school I completed elaborate and illustrated projects on animals that were four times as long as they needed to be just because I was so interested in the topic.
I begged for a dog as a child, but my parents liked a nice garden with birds so all I could have was a guinea pig, a budgerigar or a pet rock.
I choose to have a budgie called Kiki who flew away soon after when my mother made me clean the cage outside.
Then there was Skye who was my favourite and actually lasted a long time until we left him when we went to Sydney one weekend and he was found dead upon our return.
Next there was Benji who actually turned out to be a girl and was very cuddly as a consequence. She looked hot one day so we watered her down using the sprinkler but accidentally left it on her all day and she caught a cold and died.
The last one, Kokopetal, almost lost his head during an argument with my dad. When I ran into my room my dad said not to slam my door so of course I did and my budgie was on top of the door and the door caught his neck. He survived for a week longer but his neck was so damaged that he could not eat. So that was the end of my pet ownership.
I have always loved dolphins and have seen pods of them many times from boats. I also had a Sea World experience on the Gold Coast where I got to swim, touch and play with a dolphin and it was great. This year I finally got to swim with wild dolphins in Hawaii which was fantastic.
Having a love of dogs, I have always loved wolves and huskies. A few years ago I had the opportunity to play and run with the Malusky husky dog sled team in the Hunter Valley. They are beautiful hard working dogs and I would really love to see them in the snow on the Iditarod trail in the USA.
Working with Labradors and retrievers at Guide Dogs has cured me a little of my rose coloured glasses around dog ownership. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are cute, loyal and the most lovely bundles of unconditional love. But they can also be stubborn, demanding, constantly test your boundaries and limit travel possibilities.