Everett is an animal lover. This isn’t something I ever tried to dispute. If Summit comes over for a sniff and a kiss, then Everett greets him with a planet sized smile. He will often laugh and talk to Summit if he is nearby. I’ve even been feeding Everett and he will turn away from the food to look down at Summit. If you look at my son’s tree trunk sized legs then you’ll realize this isn’t a boy that often skips meals. He loves to see his doggie.
I hoped he’d have a good time when we went to the petting zoo at the Canadian National Exhibition (a huge fair-like event held in Toronto). I thought maybe he’d smile at a goat and stare at the horse with amazement. If he did that, I’d be one happy daddy. It also would mean he was braver than his daddy was at his age. There is a picture of my dad holding me up next to a horse, and I’m bursting into tears and looking like my father is threatening to turn me into a hay substitute. If Everett just wasn’t traumatized by the farm animals then I’d consider it a victorious excursion.
We started with the sheep, because they seem like the proper starter animal. Plus they were the first animal we came across (okay fine, this is the only reason we started with them). I held Everett while he looked down into the pen, and he gave a small smile. He seemed interested. Then Emily told me that I should put him down by the fence and allow Everett to see them at eye level. The moment I put Everett next to the fence, a sheep stuck its head out and started to sniff Everett right in face.
Everett would have to grow a larger head to ever make a bigger smile than the one he unleashed the moment the sheep stuck out its head. The sheep then started to sniff Everett and even tried to nibble his toes, and Everett erupted into the most joyous and infectious laughter I’ve ever heard. The sheep seemed to have found a new best friend.
The laughter continued when we went over to greet the goats. Everett reached out to rub their noses and even held a horn for a few seconds. Everett had just entered a magical world where he was surrounded by several furry friends, and they all made him laugh louder than any comedian could ever hope for.
Of course, we had to go to the horse. But would Everett respond like his daddy three decades ago? Would he cry for mercy as the horse gently nibbled his toes?
Nope. He’d just make his daddy look like a coward. Thanks, Everett.
Everett continued his body shaking laughter and reached out his arms attempting to give the horse’s head a giant hug. Everett loved every single new creature he encountered. He saw them all as friends and animals to touch (and pull if he got hold of an ear). He had no fear of them.
I’d give the credit to Summit. Summit is gentle to Everett and visits him throughout the day. Everett has learned that animals are his buddies. Everett was not afraid of the petting zoo, and actually I’m pretty sure it was the happiest moment of his entire 8-month-long life.