Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm not Steve Irwin

I've said the above quote at least a dozen times, especially after catching all those snakes this summer. The last time I said it was at dinner with friends on Saturday night. I was explaining how, if a dog is really aggressive and dangerous, I'll give it a sedative. If it still wants to bite my face off, I tell the people, I'm sorry that I can't treat their dog. I'm not Steve Irwin.

I have been filled with sadness ever since Anthony told me this morning, "Steve Irwin died." Of course I was surprised it was from a stingray, but not surprised it was in his line of work. He always took risks.

I bled a lot. I got hit across the face. We couldn't film for seven days. I got hit, whacked, underwater, across the face. I finished the shot, got into the boat and blood started coming out.
Steve Irwin

Anyone who works with animals can't help but identify with Steve. He came to prominence just as I was starting my veterinary career. I loved his enthusiasm and pure love for the beauty of the animals he worked with, but he was so over the top, so oblivious to how campy he looked to the rest of us who didn't grow up on a wildlife farm. You could play a drinking game on how many times he said, "Crikey!"

Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing.
Steve Irwin

I often watched his show feeling sorry for his slightly mousey American wife. She obviously loved him and was content to stand (often literally) in his shadow. But I pitied her when he had her scaling rock cliffs after him, when she was so petrified she couldn't move forward or backward, or when she was pregnant and couldn't scuba dive with him, and sat gazing nervously at the waters surface while he swam with sharks. And then there was the time he dangled her infant son over his beloved crocs while he was feeding them...

So fear helps me from making mistakes, but I make lot of mistakes.

Steve Irwin

Now I feel sorry for Terri and their children. They have to go on without him now. I'm sure they will all continue to live their lives around animals, even the dangerous ones, living in the shadow of his life, and his death.

I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it
Steve Irwin

I hope his life will teach people to respect nature, and emphasize the importance of preserving these creatures in their natural habitat. He did die doing what he loved.

I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.
Steve Irwin

So, my tactic with conservation of apex predators is to get people excited and take them to where they live.
Steve Irwin


Daddy said...

I too am sad today hearing the news of Steve's death. He was a bit too much with his over-enthusiasm but, there was no question he loved what he was doing- dealing with animals.

Nice piece Jenn, thanks.

Leigh-Ann said...

I found this nice interview with Steve and Terri:

I was surprised that Terri was somewhat of a daredevil too, and had experience with large mammal wildlife rehab before she met Steve. The interview is pretty funny -- she didn't seem too concerned about the "baby with crocodile" incident.


I, too, was shocked to hear of his death. I always thought of him as "super-human" and beyond being killed, which of course is ridiculous. Still, I think this turn of events has shocked lots of people.

Jenn, I loved your post.


paula said...

Really lovely post Jenn. I too feel so sad for his wife and family. XX

Emily said...

Nice way to sum it up. I was shocked to hear the news, and my heart goes out to his young family.

Anonymous said...

Here's the complete link:

Leah said...

When I woke up and got on the computer (eyes still blurry) I read the headlines and I thought..oh it must be another movie coming out. Then I went and turned on the TV and realized it was true. I just sat there and I just couldn't believe it. My first thought was of his two young kids and Terri. I am glad it was fast and at least he went doing what he loved doing.

Library Lady said...

I read a quote from someone who knew him well and said that he alsway knew that if Irwin got killed by an animal, it would be at sea because he wasn't as knowledgable about marine life as he was about land life.

I don't feel much for him. He reminds me of someone I knew (a vet's assistant actually)who felt more for her dogs than she did for her child. She'd had a bad childhood and just didn't seem to trust human love.

I'm sure he wasn't quite that extreme. But anyone who names his daughter after his favorite croc and dangles his infant over a croc pen seems to identify more with the animals than his children. And it's the kids and his wife that I really feel sorrow for.

A.Norma said...

...We loved him too,Jenn. that's a nice piece you wrote for him. xx