Life Changing Experiences

Describe an experience or experiences that have changed the direction of your life.

Helpless, the fuzzy, fat caterpillar floated in the creek near our house, wriggling bravely in a vain attempt to swim to shore. I took a stick, knelt down and extended it towards him. The caterpillar latched onto it eagerly, then hesitated a moment, as if to catch his breath before scurrying up the stick toward my hand. I scooped him up and stroked his soft, furry back, feeling a special bond with this creature I had rescued. At the age of four, I marveled at my newfound power - I could actually save a life.

Suddenly, I became a backyard EMT, searching for creatures in distress. To my parents' dismay, I brought home a series of injured birds, chipmunks and other victims of our cat's hunting sprees. Shoeboxes became hospital rooms for small, incapacitated animals, and a reading lamp became an incubator for eggs from an abandoned bird's nest. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nintendo no longer captivated me. My life had new meaning and purpose.

After exhausting neighborhood rescue opportunities (and my parents' patience), I discovered that animal shelters provided a whole new outlet for my missionary zeal. I spent many satisfying weekends handing out treats, filling water dishes and walking homeless dogs.

In middle...

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