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Taking On Your Fears- With a little help from the Phoenix Herpetological Society ;)

My house is nestled in the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains and often times we get little visitors. Some times they are mice, some times they are spiders and some times they are SNAKES! I am good with mice, ok with spiders and completely freaked out by the snakes. I seriously have nightmares about them.

49 before 50 is more than me just having fun. It’s about me growing as a person and it’s with that spirit that I visited the Phoenix Herpetological Society. ( Herpetology is the fancy description of the study of reptiles). Since my family lives in Arizona, I dragged them along for moral support and kinda figured if my eight year old nieces are comfortable with snakes, then I needed to step up my game. My dad reluctantly tagged along as well – but more about him later…

Our group was greeted by Nate the serpent curator. I don’t think I have ever witnessed anyone this at ease with snakes. Nate really, truly loves snakes. He handles them with so much loving care and respect. Nate took the time to explain the behavior of the snakes so we would understand what they were doing and ultimately be less afraid. A few posts ago I shared something that my firearms instructor taught me – “we fear what we don’t understand”. I have always been terrified of snakes.

Nate had three different snakes for me to hold. He got me comfortable with a very small one before graduating to the medium type I have in my yard from time to time. I actually held this one and was genuinely ok with it. Once Nate saw I was ok with the little guys, he busted out the whopper and believe it or not, until it slithered up to my face, I was good with it wrapped around my body ;)

This was a really powerful experience for me. Nate’s demeanor made all the difference in the world with this. He was patient, calm and so wise.

PS – Now about my dad. My father still tells the story of being at Scout Camp when he was a little boy and in order to get a merit badge he had to hold a snake. He tried and tried, but could never muster up the courage to actually take the reptile in his hands. The fact that my dad actually conquered his fear is a true testament to how amazing Nate the serpent curator was with us. Also, a true testament to what a wonderful father I have! He would go to the ends of the Earth to make his kids and grandchildren happy. I am very lucky.

  • http://www.phoenixherp.com Wendy Cassidy

    Emily -
    You rock!! I think this was a great thing to do! You are an excellent example of how easy it can be to overcome you fears by being open-minded about it. I work with Nate, and he is the BEST at this kind of thing. I wish more of the public would follow in your (and your Dad’s) footsteps and get to know reptiles. They get a bad reputation based on non-factual information. The truth is they are amazing creatures that haven’t changed in billions of years. We have a lot to learn from them and education is the first step in conservation, not only of reptiles but of everything on this planet.
    Thank you again for posting this and I hope you and your family will come to visit us (and your new reptilian friends) at PHS very soon!
    Wendy Cassidy
    Marketing Director, PHS

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406153892 Rozemeire

      Emily -You rock!! I think this was a great thing to do! You are an excellent exalpme of how easy it can be to overcome you fears by being open-minded about it. I work with Nate, and he is the BEST at this kind of thing. I wish more of the public would follow in your (and your Dad’s) footsteps and get to know reptiles. They get a bad reputation based on non-factual information. The truth is they are amazing creatures that haven’t changed in billions of years. We have a lot to learn from them and education is the first step in conservation, not only of reptiles but of everything on this planet.Thank you again for posting this and I hope you and your family will come to visit us (and your new reptilian friends) at PHS very soon!Wendy CassidyMarketing Director, PHS

      • http://thetravelmom.com Emily Kaufman

        My step mom took my nieces and nephews for an afternoon with Nate. They all LOVED the experience!