Pet of the Day

February 28, 2000

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Takara, the Pet of the Day
Name: Takara
Age: Nine years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Orca
Home: Sea World, San Diego, California, USA
   Takara is so special to me because I have known her since she was born. She follows me around, and can say my name (Julie). She is very sweet and loving.

    Her mother Kasatka does not like people... she is not affectionate. However Kasatka [Tikker's mom] took to me. She is very watchful over me, as is Takara. I don't work there, but I have been going for over 20 years. I get special time alone with the two of them, at the show pool. I am a cancer patient, and get private time with them. Kasatka is part of my treatment for cancer - she relaxes me.

    Takara follows me. We play. She loves Simba and loves bubbles. She loves to look at any pictures. If the area is being opened for a show and people crowd me, Kasatka comes to the glass immediately as does Takara, and soaks the people to back them off from me. I have never gotten wet. Kasatka always soaks people and she never stops at the glass. But for me she does. No one can figure out why. It's a relationship she and I have built based on 100% trust of each other.

    I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Takara is very protective of my walking cane if I leave it in an area. She swims next to me as I walk, always watching my feet. If I slow down or stop, she returns to my side and waits.

    Everything Kasatka or Takara does with me is done without signals. It's just three friends enjoying one another. The San Diego Tribune asked me once, "Do I see orcas, or what do I see when I look at them?" I replied "I see my best friend and grandkid." LOL To me they are just Kasatka and Takara, my family.

    Every Halloween [my favorite day] Takara gets a pumpkin I carve. I do spider webs, cats, Bogart etc. She loves them. She gets really low by the pumpkin and watches me light it. Her eyes get really big, like a [true] child.

    I am truly blessed to have them in my life. I went to Iceland. Kasatka was caught there in the 1970s. Sea World no longer catches in the wild. I went to the area Kasatka was caught. I brought back pictures, water and rocks - I wanted Takara to know her heritage.

    Some trainers think Kasatka knows I'm ill, that I too had my family taken at an early age (I am adopted). In that sense, Kasatka and I have the same pains, heartaches and lack of trust in humans. In effect, Kasatka's and my tragedies have bound us. In return Kasatka has given me Takara. And 100% trust that I will take care of her child. I am truly humbled. They are my pride and joy.

    For people interested, There are a number of orcas in Sea World San Diego. Corky, Keito {Takara's 1/2 brother}, Splash, Sumar, Ulises and Keet, as well as Kasatka and Takara. All orcas are viewable at all times.

    Click here to listen to Takara!

    For more wonderful photo's, visit Julie's Whale page.


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