Jacki Carugati McHale is excited about poop. Giraffe poop to be specific. She will spend the begining of her Friday morning cleaning up poop at Brookfield Zoo and she could not be more thrilled.
McHale was chosen in a contest for ABC Channel 7 to make her dream job come true. Her day at her dream job will be covered live by the Channel 7 morning show on Friday.
The process began when McHale saw a call out for people to apply on Facebook. She asked to work at the zoo. When she was younger, she wanted to be a zoologist, but it did not work out that way. Instead, McHale is a stay-at-home mom. She's active in her community, most recently creating the stage curtains for the Three Rivers Arts Council summer theater camp.
On Friday, she will begin with the giraffes. She will get to visit with a number of animals, but the one she is most excited about is the rhino.
"I have never, ever been with something that big - like a rhino," she said.
But it isn't just the size of the animal that has her psyched. It's what they get to do together.
"They're training him to paint and I get to hold the canvas," she said.
Then, when it is all over, she gets to take the painting home.
This is not the first time McHale got to spend time up close and personal with animals. For her 30th birthday, McHale's husband bought her a behind-the-scenes experience at the Shedd Aquarium. But working at a zoo has always been her dream. When the zoo called her to go over her itiniery, she remembers how wonderfully overwhelming it was. The zoo asked for her input on what she might like to do, without any promises about what they could accomodate. She was fairly open to anything.
"Even those creepy locusts...I'll play with those if you want me to; I am not picky," she said.
McHale and I met for a late lunch at The Rockwell Inn on Tuesday to talk about her upcoming experience. Patch will run a story on what we thought of the food on Monday.