Open Doors

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli


The kids and I went to a place in Southern Indiana this weekend that is known as an “exotic animal petting zoo.”

Deep, deep, deep in the country, at a private residence on a steep hill, surrounded by woods, we explored.

Baby pigs, an alpaca, a huge turkey, some sheep and goats, some wallabies, a few ponies, some baby bunnies, a baby wolf, a skunk, some prairie dogs, butterflies, baby “jaguar” kittens, a fox, a few dogs, some chickens and roosters, a macaw, and more.

It.  Was.  Surreal.  

And the kids loved it.  Loved it so much.  We got to take a Tupperware container filled with carrots and lettuce and celery with us and go into every area and feed and touch the animals.  The turkey tried to kill us, Marlowe was sure.  It kept making this weird deep throated growl every time we got near.  The pony nibbled on her hair.  The wallaby nibbled on my boot. The bunnies and kittens scratched at the kids as they picked them up. The alpaca tried to eat all of our food. The skunk ignored us completely.  The wolf licked my face. The fox bit Dylan (that’s when we decided to leave). My car almost fell off a hill.

It was one of those experiences where you say “What is happening right now???”


Out of the ordinary.

Wild and wonderful.

They’d go back in a second. Even with the mean old fox and killer turkey and the big bad car-swallowing hill.

Life has so many doors, just waiting to be opened. And explored.

We don’t open enough of them, I think.  Because they are exotic.  Out of the ordinary.

Open the doors.  Open them.

Because it may be out of the ordinary.  But it might also be wild and wonderful.

How many people can say they’ve been licked by a wolf?   I can!! And don’t we want that? Don’t we want to suck all the delicious juice out of life while we can, when we can, when we open the door?

So maybe it’s not a wolf, for you. But it’s something, I bet. What is your “wolf”? And don’t worry if the fox bites you along the way…  it’s still worth it in the end.  

What door will you open today?


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.