I have always known that the love of animals was strong in our home, however this past weekend, my children proved that love runs far deeper than just for our family pets.
After visiting the Free To Be Me Animal Sanctuary last week for a story, I fell in love with this little farm, the animals that call it home and everything it stood for.
As a result, I returned this past weekend with my family, my sister and my nephew.
Having told my daughter about this little piece of heaven a few days before our visit, all we talked about for the next three days was when were we going to go visit the Gradys - and by Gradys she meant geese.
Quick side note on the Gradys, when my daughter was born, the Welcome Wagon sent us home with a care package and in that package was a book about a baby goose named Grady.
She loves this book and we read it many times over throughout the week, hence why she now calls geese Grady.
Although I did tell her, many times, that there were a number of other animals at this farm, she continued to obsess about Grady - that was until we stepped out of the car Saturday afternoon and she was greeted by April the baby alpaca.
Running towards us in a slow trot, I though to myself, oh no here we go, the kids are all going to freak out because she is so much bigger than the animals they are use to.
But boy was I wrong.
As April ran over and nudged her soft nose at each of the kids in a effort to say hello, the giggles that erupted were contagious and soon we were all laughing and I knew it was going to be an amazing afternoon.
We moved into the pasture and were greeted by the donkeys and goats.
Instead of running behind us to hide or flinching in fear, all three kids were excited and in awe of the fact they could pet, play and walk among these animals they had before only seen on TV.
It is quite the experience to be led by your child as they explain everything you are seeing.
As we approached Eddie the ostrich, I was sure this is where the kids would become intimidated.
Louanne Shropshire, owner of the farm, told us that most of the kids who visited the farm were intimidated by this giant bird, so not to be surprised if ours were as well.
However, again to my surprise, all three ran up to the gate and were thrilled and excited to be so close to this beautiful creature.
When asked if they wanted to get closer to pet Eddie, my daughter was trying to push open the gate before Louanne had a chance to unhinge it.
Walking in cautiously, my daughter told me, "don't be scared mommy, she's not scary. She is awesome," and then proceeded to egg on her cousin to come in and see and touch the ostrich, too.
As the afternoon went on and we visited the horses, big and small, pigs, again, big and small, sheep, lamas, alpacas, chickens, ducks, and even had the chance to ride a donkey, my daughter and son continued to lead the way.
They amazed me with the care and respect they showed the animals and fearless leadership they took as we moved about the farm.
What I loved most about the afternoon was that during our visit, my daughter was aware of the relationships around her, noting that the pigs and sheep shared a home, that Molly the pig liked to hang out with the donkeys and ponies and that Jackson the dog and Eddie the ostrich where best friends, just like she and her cousin.
The entire afternoon was an experience unlike any other.
Yes we have visited zoos and pet goats from behind a fence, but getting up close and personal, having April rest her head on children's shoulders as we walked about and having them feel comfortable enough to want to approach each of the different animals, is something they - or at least my daughter - will take with them for quite sometime.
As we headed back into town following our afternoon on the farm, everyone was buzzing about what they liked best.
I liked April, my husband the dog, my son loved Eddie and most of the birds.
And my daughter, well although she was thrilled to have gotten to visit the Gradys, she said Rosie, the not so little pig was her new favourite animal on the farm.
Lyndsay McCready can be reached at 306-691-1263 or follow her on Twitter @Newsielou