When I was 9 years old, my mother worked at a zoo. She let me feed the lion cub. I was alone with him in his cage when his affectionate play turned rough. I folded myself into a ball as he jumped on me, scratching and biting my shoulders. Like a large puppy, he became overwhelmed by his own excitement. Lucky for me, Mom came back and got me out of there! But those few moments made me understand the power and temperment of the wild. I was filled with awe and respect.