Years ago, when Shane and Lemony were dating and then in the early years of their marriage, until Lemony became pregnant with Nathaniel, the two of them worked on a team of swimmers in Monterey, attached to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Sausalito Mammal Center, who rescued sick and beach sea mammals. Those that could be saved locally were delivered to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Typically, these were the smaller animals who were lightly wounded or simply sick, such as sea otters. The more seriously ill mammals were taken all the way to Sausalito, a drive of nearly three hours.
From the time he received his license at age 16, Shane was the driver of choice for the trips to Sausalito even though technically he should have been 21 before being given this responsibility. Nearly always, he would stop in Salts at our house, which was near the beginning of the trek up Route 101 to San Francisco. I would always make him a meal, and while he was eating, I would be be treated to an up close and personal meeting with the rescued animal in the back of the transport truck. I have met at touching distance (although I knew better than to touch) walruses, sea lions, seals, and a host of other interesting animals that one never sees at such close range. After delivering his special charge, Shane would nearly always follow up on the animal's progress until it was released back into the open sea.
Unfortunately, Lemony was not allowed to do sea rescue while pregnant. She did go back to it for a short while when Nathaniel grew a little older, but after the birth of Nikolina, for whom there are no qualified babysitters, the days of animal rescue were in the past. From that point on, Shane and Lemony spent a few days a month nearly every month at the Aquarium with Nathaniel and Nikolina, who love the animals. They are all members of the Aquarium and can come and go whenever they wish.
That is about to come to an end, however. Shane has just been transferred (by request for financial reasons) to Sacramento. Lemony, kids, and Shane will be here only one more month. Talking to Lemony today, she related a list of the many things that must be accomplished before they can leave town (things like packing, weeding out possessions, getting medical and school records -- and visiting the Aquarium). I sensed that the Aquarium is going to be near the top of the list of things that they will miss.
I hope that they will find an inland way of helping God's other critters. There is certainly a different world of animals awaiting young Nathaniel and Nikolina in our amazing world that differs so immensely from place to place. Right now, they are feeling a sense of loss; perhaps soon they will feel a sense of gain.