Huntley’s very own zookeeper

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Huntley’s very own zookeeper

Geraci and 3 of her 17 pets (E. Kindl).

Geraci and 3 of her 17 pets (E. Kindl).

Geraci and 3 of her 17 pets (E. Kindl).

Geraci and 3 of her 17 pets (E. Kindl).

Emily Kindl

Every day she checks on her pets. She makes sure they have food and water, and plenty of love and care. But unlike other families, she owns more than just a couple dogs.

Two dogs, four cats, one fish, three bunnies, six rats, and one mouse. That is a grand total of 17 pets, ladies and gentlemen. One might as well call her Griffin from the movie “Zookeeper.”

Junior Serena Geraci loves her pets to death. She worries that she sounds like a “crazy person,” but her animals are more important.

Right now, the 17 animals she has are the most she has ever owned; and she has owned a total of about 45 in her entire life. There was never a time in her life when she did not have animals in her house.

“It feels like you’re living in a zoo,” Geraci said. “And who doesn’t like going to the zoo? I’ve got so many animals around me and it’s the best thing ever.”

She has also owned hermit crabs, frogs, toads, and hamsters, and wants a guinea pig. This variety of animals she has cared for and loved is a lot of upkeep, and takes a lot of hard work.

When she cleans up after them, she has to dedicate an entire day to do so. Because of her homework, job, and overall busy schedule of her life, she has to put off cleaning. Sometimes the work piles up, but in the end, it is all worth it.

Geraci loves all of her animals so much, but her favorites are bunnies and cats because they are the most playful and fun to play with, and have the most freedom and places to roam.

The closest relationship that she has with her pets is with her cat named Kensey. Kensey is the tortoiseshell breed, with the colors black, orange, and tan beautifully distributed all over her.

“It’s funny because I actually didn’t want her when we adopted her,” Geraci said.

But that changed within an instant. Now Kensey is always in Geraci’s room, and she follows her everywhere. She even sleeps with her at night.

Geraci's bunny Hazel, and two rats Pumpkin and Muffin (E. Kindl).

Geraci’s bunny Hazel, and two rats Pumpkin and Muffin (E. Kindl).

Kensey has always been there for Geraci. When her grandmother passed away in 2012 from pancreatic cancer, she had a hard time coping with that because they were very close. Her loving cat knew how upset she was, so she stayed with Geraci every time she cried − no matter how long.

“She’s not just my cat,” Geraci said. “She’s kind of like a best friend, just a furry one!”

She knows that anytime she is sad, or when something bad has happened that she can always go to her animals. Time spent with them is a stress-reliever for her, and her spirits are always lifted by simply being with them.

Having so many pets now and throughout her lifetime has contributed majorly to her personality and character. It helps her interact with and grow friendships with kids, and also made her softer and more sensitive.

“They’ve have been a part of my entire life, and I wouldn’t be who I am without my animals because they’ve been around as long as I can remember,” Geraci said.

Geraci loves being able to take in animals and give them homes. She knows what she is doing is a good thing, even after they pass away. They are the greatest things in her life.

As a career, she wants to open her own rescue for any kind of animal. Her experience with animals, and her passion and love for interacting with them will be her drive when she runs the rescue.

When she tells people how many animals she has, she feels like she looks weird and crazy to most of them, especially when she mentions she has rats. However, when her friends meet her rats, their minds change.

Her pets are loved by many others, and people admire what her family has done for so many animals. Geraci’s household is probably the only family in Huntley, that does not live on a farm, who owns this many animals.

Geraci encourages others, especially those that dislike or are indifferent towards animals, to make animals feel loved during their lifetime − especially by adopting them. She said to either come to her house or go to an animal shelter to see how loving and caring animals are.

She does not know where she would be without animals in her life, and she hopes people get to feel the same way.

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