By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND – The local petting zoo has been busy this year with multiple family-fun events.
Cherie Carter, Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too owner wanted to bring some life lessons learned to the community.
Carter used what she had with her petting zoo and leather shop to create a safe place for children and families to retreat to this year. For the first time many things unfolded with events, programs, Unicorn parties, and a dedication ceremony to a special little girl. The community used this place to shelter under in times of great sorrow and joy. The animals provided healing to the broken who had no other place to go. Before long this little petting zoo turned into a personal journey for many volunteers and eager children.
Shelbi Cleveland has worked with Carter at the zoo for a while now. She feels as though her children have grown up in this sheltering place. Boo at the Zoo is one of the best times for the community. On Oct. 23 and 24 they held this Halloween-fun event.
“We had a really good crowd. We had lots of customers and lots of fun. We are still going very strong. We have added a couple baby goats to our zoo family. That has been bringing people to the zoo. Everything has been really steady,” she said.
Carter wants to thank everyone who has donated to the event and volunteered. She said business has been doing good at the zoo.
Count Your Blessings is coming Nov. 20 and 21 at noon. Santa Claus is coming on Dec. 10, 11, and 12 at noon. These will be the last events for the year at the zoo. Carter is putting a pause on the Life Lessons Learned Program until the following spring. She needs more volunteers for the program.
“We always have a huge turnout for Santa Claus. That is my biggest event of the year. The Unicorn Parities have been great this year. We are going to put a fence up out in the parking area for riding lessons next year. Shelbi is excellent with showing people how to handle the horses,” she said. “I have a lot of great people who come out to volunteer. I am thankful for all of them giving their time and efforts.”
Carter is focused on reminding children to be thankful for the people in their lives. She still wants to foster caring, self-confidence, kindness, compassion, and helping others into the youth. When she sees what her zoo offers the handicap or mentally ill children who come to find freedom with the animals it reminds her why she works to keep it alive.
Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too is located at 1864 Rt. 63 in Wayland. It is open Thurs. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. noon to 6 p.m. Closed Mon. to Weds. It can be reached at 585-978-5611.