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African Wild Dog Petition
Andrew Kellogg
Member, Volunteer
28 Years at the zoo

My family has a long history of enjoying zoos all around the country but especially the Houston Zoo. My siblings and I all attended Camp Zoofari for years. The first year my brother and I attended we learned about the African Wild Dog from one of the teachers, Michele Pajak. We were surprised to learn that they were endangered and wondered why we had never seen them in a zoo. We also had the opportunity to meet the director of the zoo, Rick Barongi, at camp that week and upon learning more about the African Wild Dog we asked him if the zoo would ever get them. He said he didn’t think people were that interested in seeing them so we decided to create a petition, put together information about the dogs and share it with others in hopes of showing the zoo that people were interested in the Wild Dogs. I’m sure that our petition was not the deciding factor in the zoo moving forward with getting the AWD’s but for two young boys it was fun to feel like we made a difference. That summer we traveled and visited a lot of zoos, some of which had AWD’s, and talked to people about the Wild Dogs everywhere we went. We put a display in a local veterinarians office and found any opportunity we could to share what we had learned about African Wild Dogs. After some time we had several thousand signatures and had the opportunity to share our petition with Rick. Sometime after that we found out that the zoo was in the process of acquiring some African Wild Dogs. We were honored to be asked to be a part of a team that discussed, researched and helped develop ideas for their exhibit and we were very excited to see 3 Male African Wild Dogs join the Houston Zoo family in fall of 2007. The keepers and staff at the Houston Zoo always made us feel welcome and we enjoyed learning as much as we could about animals and zoo life. We continued to attend Zoo Camp and meet more staff and learn about more animals, I became a Teen Zoo Crew Member when I was old enough and had a younger sister who also attended camp when she was old enough. My brother is now in Medical School but loved his days and experiences at the Houston Zoo, he lives in Oklahoma City and is a member of OKC zoo and still visits the Houston Zoo as often as he can. My sister is interested in Animal Sciences and hopes to do some sort of work with animals when she is older. I still volunteer at the Houston Zoo as often as I can and many of the keepers and staff that we have met over the years have become good friends. We have really enjoyed watching the zoo evolve over the years and treasure our many great zoo memories.

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