“Hey Jake,” said Midge. “Is that a lion over there?”
Jake looked in the direction that Midge was pointing to. “ Yes,” replied Jake. “He's bigger than I thought. I never saw one up close. Lets go see him.”
“How do you know that it is a he?” asked Midge.
“See the big mane around the neck?” asked Jake. “The boy lions have that mane. The girl lions don't.”
“How do you know that?” asked Booker-T. “I didn't know that.”
“I saw it on the TV one night when my owner was watching a show about Africa,” answered Jake.
“So it is the girl lions that look more like me I guess,” said Booker-T.
“Yes,” said Jake. “Only a lot bigger than you.”
“I don't think I would like having all that hair around my neck,” said Booker-T. “Especially in the summer time. I bet that hair is hot.”
They walked over to the lion's cage and he let out with a big roar. Booker-T jumped back from the cage. “Oh my,” said Booker-T. “He is loud and scary.”
“Did I scare you?” asked the lion.
“You are really loud Mr. Lion,” said Booker-T.
“Why are you out there and I'm in here?” asked the lion. “How did you get out of your cage?”
“We don't have a cage,” said Jake. “We live in a house away from here.”
“A house?” asked the lion. “Is it nice?”
“It is really nice,” said Booker-T.
“We have nice owners who take care of and feed us every day,” said Midge. “Do you have an owner?”
“I don't know,” said the lion. “There is a man who comes around every day and gives us food to eat.”
“He don't play with you?” asked Jake.
“I think they are scared of some of us animals,” said the lion.
“Maybe they are scared because you make a really scary and loud noise,” said Booker-T. “Maybe if you don't do that so loud, they wouldn't be so scared of you.”
“I didn't think of that,” said the lion. “I will try to remember not to be so loud.”
“Good,” said Midge. “What is your name. Do you have a name?”
“Oh sure,” said the lion. “I have a name. They call me Lenny.”
“That's a nice name for a big lion,” smiled Booker-T. “My name is Booker-T and this is Midge and Jake. We are all friends.”
“You look like a cat but you are so small,” said Lenny.
“I am a house cat,” said Booker-T. “I used to be called an alley cat until my friend, Midge found me a nice home to live in. Now I am a house cat.”
“You have stripes like the big tiger does,” said Lenny. “Are your relatives the tigers?”
“I don't think so,” said Booker-T. “We are both cats but different kind of cats.
“You don't look like cats,” said Lenny to Midge and Jake.
“Midge and I are dogs,” said Jake. “And we are different kind of dogs. I am a boxer dog and Midge is a Cocker Spaniel.”
“You are friends with a cat?” asked Lenny.
“Sure,” smiled Midge. “We are friends with a bird too.”
“That's nice,” said Lenny. “Wow! A bird?”
“Yes,” said Jake. “He is a blue and white bird with little black on him. He is good bird. His name is Gabby.”
“You are talking about me again,” laughed Gabby as he flew down and landed on top of Jake's head.
“What are you doing up there?” asked Jake.
“I came to see what you guys were doing,” said Gabby as he flew up on top of the lion's cage.
“We came to see what new animals they had here,” said Midge. “What are you doing today? Where is Polly?”
“She's sitting on a couple eggs today,” smiled Gabby.
“Oh my,” said Booker-T. “You are going to be daddy Gabby again?”
“I sure am,” said Gabby.
“Is this your bird friend?” asked Lenny.
“Yes,” said Jake. “This is Gabby. Gabby meet Lenny the lion.”
“ Hi Gabby,” said Lenny. “They were just telling me they were friends with a bird. That is so cool.”
“You probably would want to eat me,” said Gabby looking down at Lenny.
“I don't eat my friends,” said Lenny.
“Hi friend!” said Gabby. “You will be my best friend. I think lions are so cool and big and strong.”
“Gabby,” laughed Jake. “It is okay. Lenny isn't going to eat you.”
“Whew,” said Gabby. “I'm so glad. I would hate to become his dinner.”
“This is a funny looking horse next to you Lenny,” said Midge. “He has lot of stripes.”
“He's not a horse,” said Lenny. “That is a zebra. His name is Marky.”
“I like his stripes,” said Booker-T. “He looks like he is wearing pajamas.”
“You like my stripes?” asked Marky. “I like your color better than black and white.”
“I like the black and white,” said Booker-T. “I think they look nice. I don't like Orange too much, but I'm stuck with orange. My mother was orange.”
“Orange is nice Booker-T,” said Jake. “Look at me. I'm brown.”
“I think we all look good just as we are,” smiled Midge. “Don't you think so too Gabby?'
“I'm happy with my color,” said Gabby. “Blue is nice.”
“What kind of animal is that big Gray one over there?” asked Midge.
“That is Vinny,” said Lenny. “He is a gorilla.”
“A gorilla?” asked Midge. “I never heard of a gorilla. He sure is big.”
“They are big and Vinny is strong too,” said Lenny.
“Vinny!” called Lenny. “Meet my new friends, Jake, Midge, Booker-T and Gabby.”
“Hi!” growled Vinny in a deep gruff voice. “Why aren't you in a cage like we are?”
“We are pets,” said Jake.
“We aren't zoo animals,” said Midge.
“What is a pet?” asked Vinny.
“You didn't tell me you were pets,” said Lenny. “What is a pet?”
“We are owned by people who take care of us in their houses,” said Booker-T.
“We aren't wild animals like you guys are,” said Jake.
“Do people come and see you in the house like they see us in the cages?” asked Lenny.
“No,” said Jake shaking his head. “I think people pay to see you guys when you are in the zoos. In this place they can come see you for free until you are moved.”
“They don't pay to see pets?” asked Vinny.
“No,” said Midge.
“So we are more important and people want to see us,” said Vinny sticking out his chest and waving his hands.
“We are great,” sang Lenny. “Yes we are. We are great.”
“I guess so,” smiled Booker-T. “We didn't think of that.”
“What is the big white animal in the corner cage?” asked Midge.
“That is Arty,” said Vinny. “He is a polar bear.”
“He is so big,” said Gabby.
“You all are so big and we are happy to meet you all,” said Jake. “Now we have to go home to our houses, but we will come back another day to see you if you are still here.”
“Bye guys,” said Lenny as the three turned to leave and Gabby took off flying above them.
They all stood there and watched as the little animals left the zoo building.