In Loving Memory to My Dear Friend|
I had the great honor and pleasure of personally knowing Steve & Terri Irwin. They were an inspiration to me in everything I did & still do concerning animals & conservation of wildlife. He is dearly missed.
In a small southern Missouri town, this mid-western girl grew up on farms & ranches. Animals were as much an essential part of my life as was breathing.
In 1997, I wrote a letter to the Australia Zoo & the Irwin’s. I was overwhelmed with the evidence of passion Steve & Terri displayed on their TV show, “The Crocodile Hunter.” Finally, someone else had the same animal “disease” I had been labeled with since childhood and also wanted everyone to share in it with them! I was a fan, an animal groupie, a devoted watcher of the show… and eventually their friend.
When I received the phone call from Steve Irwin saying he personally had read my letter and was honored to know me, I nearly fainted. He spoke of our having similar upbringings both being raised by animal loving parents and around all species of animals, not just the domestic variety. I was in love with this man.
I had been living on an animal rescue & reserve for over 10 years and shared my life with critters ranging from the normal domestic cats & dogs to, ‘Big Bird” my ostrich with a club foot, “Sara” my man-hating, bile spitting Llama, and “Lucy” a incubator hatched, king-sized bed living baby goose. All aspects of wildlife around & in between also co-habited with us on what we named, Enchanted Emporium Wildlife Reserve.
I could ramble on & on about my heartfelt feelings for the Irwin’s. I watched Bindi grow up from a baby girl being balanced on a crocodiles back to the incredible intelligent and caring animal conservationist she is today now hosting her own TV show in her father’s footsteps.
There will be many imitators, many wanna-be duplicators, and many silly attempts to come across as the truly caring animal lover that Steve was… but they all pale in comparison.
While filming an undersea documentary for Animal Planet on the Batt Reef, off North Queensland, Australia, Steve Irwin died in a freak accident when a sting-ray stung him in the chest. Irwin was snorkelling in shallow water above the ray, itself some 8 feet long and a yard across, when the animal unexpectedly reared its spine and struck Irwin near the heart. Irwin had enough time to pull the barb from his chest, but died immediately thereafter. Stings from this animal are rarely fatal unless they puncture the heart or stomach.