Local women writes a book about her real-life times as a zoo keeper

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    SUSSEX-Lori Space Day, a third-generation member of the family that owns Space Farms Zoo and Museum has written a book about her experiences, "The Zookeeper's Daughter." Growing up at the Space family farm has given a lifetime of unique stories of individual animals and many animal related adventures. Her unusual lifestyle has enabled her to work with numerous different species, from lions, tigers and bears to otters, ‘possums and squirrels. Her book is the story of the life of a working zookeeper: What do you do during a buffalo stampede? How do you handle a ‘loaded' skunk? Can a fisher climb trees? What do you feed a newborn lion cub? Where do zoos get their animals from? Who operates on an African lion with a bad tooth? These questions are all answered in "The Zookeeper's Daughter". Descriptions of medical procedures performed by Dr. Ted Spinks and staff, of the Animal Hospital of Sussex County, give the reader examples of the complicated medical care involved in working with exotic and native animals in captivity. Stories of daily animal care, medical procedures and infant care are can be funny, informational, and sad; animals escape, or get sick and die. Day also writes about the activity behind the scenes activities at the zoo. "Writing this book has taken me six years in the off season", she said. "I was inspired by my Dad (Fred T. Space, owner of the zoo and museum complex). So many of his early adventures in zookeeping have been reduced to one liners over time." Day started writing her animal memoirs for her daughter, Jackie. A visitor to the zoo told her, "Your life is fascinating, you should write it down." That introduced her to the idea of writing a book. "The Zookeeper's Daughter" is not a children's book, it is geared for young adults and animal enthusiasts. Day's early years were spent alongside her family learning native and exotic animal husbandry first hand. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Nazareth College of Rochester, N.Y. , managed a pet shop and returned to work in the family business. A multi-specie pediatric specialist, she is the Zoo Mama. Day has been writing articles for Space Farms for the last ten years, and is frequently published in zoo trade magazines. She has also written for The Sussex County 4-H program, Wantage Township and the New Jersey State Fair/ The Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. Attending the Working Writer's Workshops, sponsored by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council, gave her the information and encouragement needed to pursue publishing her book. "The Zookeeper's Daughter" is three-hundred and fifty seven pages covering the time from Lori's first animal escapade in 1956 to the close of 2003. Book signings have been scheduled at Sparta Books, in Sparta, on Nov. 20, The Byram Book Center, in Byram on Dec. 4 and the Book Shelf, on Spring Street in Newton, on Dec. 5. Books may also be purchased at the Space Farms Gift Shop until Oct. 31 when the zoo closes for the season. The book's retail price is $24.95. It is published by Publish America, a company specializing in first time authors. The book can also be ordered from bookstores, from publishamerica.com and from Barnes and Noble stores or bn.com .