Probably the most important trait I’ve cultivated during my time at APSU has been persistence and dedication to the task at hand – something about physical labor in 90-degree heat makes you realize how much you can shoulder. I’m not sure if I could have so gracefully handled such demanding (but personally fulfilling!) work earlier on in my life.
As for the most important thing I’ve learned while volunteering at SC-C.A.R.E.S., it’s probably an enriched sense of responsibility for animal welfare, and greater awareness the degree of specialized care that exotic animals require – for instance, the careful socialization that macaws require in order not to become wildly destructive and aggressive. I’ve also learned the importance of educating the community about exotic animals and their demanding care routines, in order to dissuade people from getting animals they might not be able to handle. This can also be translated into public education about wild animals – people need to know that cute wild animals are not very docile and don’t make very good pets!