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From pet psychic to sword swallower, some people have the most amazing jobs

December 9th, 2002, 02:41 PM
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When a boa constrictor got loose from its classroom cage, Danielle Daoust was called to the school to track it down.

"When I found it, it said it just wanted a break. It had used a lot of energy working with the kids," says Daoust, 53, of Global Psychics in Toronto.

The school gave it a four-month hibernation period, after which the rejuvenated snake returned to its classroom duties.

Whether it's snakes, dogs, cats, horses or birds, Daoust, a modern-day Dr. Doolittle, uses her psychic ability to talk with animals.

A former marketing manager for a computer company, Daoust and her partners started Global Psychics 10 years. The company has a team of 10 psychics across Canada who work with both people and animals.

"Horses and dogs are easy, because they love to talk. Some cats like to talk, others don't. Birds (such as parrots) have lots to say. And there's more to cows than meets the eye. They're capable of more love than people think. I've been eating a lot less meat since I started working with animals," she says.

And what do our animal friends think about us?

"They think we clutter ourselves up with too many worries," she says.


Jeff McKay, 27, and Shannon Kavanagh, 25, have turned their life-long passion for reptiles into a successful travelling show 'n' tell called The Adventures of Safari Jeff.

On stage with the Calgary-based couple are a dozen animals including: Sir Chomps-a-Lot, a five-foot alligator; Father Time, a laundry basket-sized African tortoise; Sol, a 13-foot albino Burmese python; and Baboo, a nine-foot boa constrictor.

At malls, libraries and schools across the country, the couple educate young and old alike about the special qualities of endangered animals.

"While animals in their natural environment are best, not everyone can travel across the world or to a zoo to see them. We think it's important to educate people to better understand these animals," says McKay.

Children in the audience are especially curious about how big the animals will get, what they eat, where they live and where the animals come from. (They're bred in captivity, not captured from the wild.)

"The kids are amazed the animals live with us, like a cat or dog," says Kavanagh.

Be advised: If you have a dog or a cat (or any other fur-bearing creature), do not keep reptiles. As Kavanagh kindly puts it, "they won't get along."

McKay says they select animals that can adapt to the public and live with each other. Caring for them is a lot of work; for starters, each animal must be bathed for an hour every day.

"We love the animals so much. Yet, we do question if it's right for the animals to do this. By living with them, we learn their personalities. For example, we know that Father Time likes to float in the lake," says McKay.

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