Some of us grow into adulthood needing animals, and we pursue a life that lets us share our homes with dogs, cats, parrots, etc and consider pets family.
Some of us realize soon after that, that we weren't looking for paycheck or a pet, but something a little more storied, old, and feral - a connection lost to 99% of the modern world.
And so we became the trail riders, shepherds, teamsters, hunters. We are the mushers, cowboys, farmers, and falconers. We are those drawn to partnerships in work with animals. Hard work.
We are the ones who want to sweat, run, explore, hunt, and work beside dog, horse, and hawk. We get high off the smell of used bridles, x-back harnesses, and leather jesses. We sit in duck blinds at 4 AM. We yell "Away to me" at sunsets as our dogs circle out. We move livestock across mountainsides. We explore forests and fields from saddles. We plow rows, pull sleds, seek game, and see the world through a teamwork most people only know as fairytales.
We were the weird kids who never wanted dolls, just stuffed animals. We are the teenagers who read too many novels - never doubted we too would go on long journeys with familiars by our sides, fighting demons and learning songs.
We are not cat people.
We are not wearing pawprint sweatshirts.
We do not accept that our passions are part of history, fantasy, or unrealistic in the 21st century.
We are flame keepers.