PINETOPS – A dream that has become reality.
That’s how Bobbie Jo Abrams and her 15-year-old daughter, Hali Pavelka, described their exotic backyard petting zoo. The cast of backyard characters includes Zoe the zebra, Marty and Alfie the alpacas, Ladybug the dwarf horse, Bentley the miniature steer and Rachael Ray the miniature donkey.
“This is like a dream. This isn’t real. This is a zebra,” said Pavelka. She is in the process of training her 3-month-old zebra, Zoe. She has had experience breaking horses, and it turns out, zebras are just a horse of a different color.
“To me, she’s just a mule with stripes,” Pavelka said. She is training her to get used to the pressure of having a bit in her mouth. When Zoe gets older, Pavelka will saddle her up.
“She’ll be trained to ride just like a horse,” said Abrams.
“She has a very sweet disposition. If she’s scared she’ll usually get up and go,” said Pavelka.
When Pavelka was a little girl, she tried to order a zebra off the Internet on multiple occasions but couldn’t go through with the transaction without a credit card. Persistence paid off, as her mother found a breeder and made the trip to Louisiana to pick up Zoe.
Zoe shares her space with Bentley, her “soulmate,” as Pavelka refers to the miniature steer. Once he is full-grown, Bentley will have the build of a “bulldog,” short and stocky with horns and a hump on his back, said Pavelka.
Pavelka doesn’t lead the typical teenager’s life. She gets up long before she leaves for school to feed the animals. When she gets home, rather than spending time on the Internet or watching TV, she trains and nurtures her pets.
“I come home and I don’t get in until dark. I love being outside with them,” she said. Her goal is to become a horse and exotic veterinarian. She gets her passion for animals from her mother. Abrams did faux animal paintings and horse and pony rides for her husband Jerry’s Abrams BBQ catering parties before starting her collection of exotic animals.
“I’ve always had horses, always been an animal lover,” said Abrams. “Now I can share it and have fun with it.”
The petting zoo will add to the amusement rides, inflatables, and horse and pony rides that she and her husband offer for children at their catering parties. Abrams also invites children in daycare, school and church groups to come out to her home and learn about the exotic animals firsthand. Alpacas, for instance, did not come to the United States until 1994.
“They have three stomachs. They were born with no top teeth, only bottom teeth,” said Abrams. Alpacas cannot survive alone, as evidenced by Marty and Alfie, who are each other’s shadows.
“They will die without their companionship,” said Pavelka. She said the alpacas are the favorite pets of her 13-year-old sister Kasi, Pavelka, whose uniqueness suits her personality.
Ladybug the 20-inch dwarf horse is one of Abrams’ favorite pets.
“She’s like a dog. She rides with me in my car to get my kids from school,” said Abrams.
The next animal that Abrams would like to add to her collection of exotic pets is a teacup pig.
“They don’t get over 10 pounds,” she said.
Abrams said caring for the animals has taught her five children responsibility. While Pavelka does the bulk of the work caring for the animals, everyone pitches in. The whole family was outdoors on Tuesday evening with the animals, as passersby on N.C. Highway 111 South slowed down at the sights of the zebra and alpacas to make sure they weren’t dreaming.
Hanging out with a zebra every day may seem like a dream, but for the Abrams-Pavelka family, it’s a reality.
For an appointment to see the exotic petting zoo, give Abrams a call at 266-7974.
PINETOPS – A dream that has become reality.
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AIB judging under way
The America in Bloom (AIB) judges are in town, and Tarboro’s AIB committee rolled out the red carpet for them, beginning with Sunday supper at the home of AIB committee member Candis Owens.
“I am really excited about these judges,” Owens said “It looks like they have been selected specifically for Tarboro, because they’re both historic preservationists.”
James R. “Jim” Abraham is a professor of historic preservation at the Savannah College of Art and Design, while Ed Hooker, III is the historic architect and cultural resource manager for Fort Riley, Kan., according to the judges’ biography.
Brother, sister offer relief from the heat
Madelyn Gay, 9 left, pours lemonade in a cup that her brother Peyton Gay, 10, is holding in front of their St. Andrews Street home last Thursday. With the temperature reaching 96 degrees, the sister and brother tandem sold the refreshing liquid.
Summer Food Service Program for children kicks off
Edgecombe County Public Schools is working to make sure that no children in Edgecombe County go hungry while school is closed this summer by sponsoring the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) for children. Summer meals will be offered at Carver Elementary, Pattillo, Phillips Middle, Princeville Elementary and West Edgecombe Middle schools starting today. The meals will be offered from Monday through Thursday until Aug 8. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Gun permits on the rise
The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department reported a spike in the number of citizens applying for gun permits and carrying concealed weapons. From Dec. 1, 2011 to June 13, 2012, the sheriff's department issued 88 gun permits as well as 213 concealed weapon permits. From Dec. 1, 2012 to June 6, 2013 the sheriff's department issued 492 gun permits and 364 concealed weapon permits.
Warmest day this year reaches mid 90's
Beating the heat was the name of the game Thursday in Edgecombe County, as temperatures soared into the mid 90’s.
“Right now the temperature is 95 degrees. This is the warmest day so far across central North Carolina,” said Shawna Cokley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, at 2 p.m. Thursday. She said the average June temperature for the Raleigh area is 86, 87 degrees.
Art Council offers summer camps
Art camps this summer will get children’s creativity flowing.
Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council is offering several camps for children ages 3 to 12. Art teachers for the camps include Ashley Myers, Genevieve Govoni and Taylor Owens, as well as guest artists.
“It will be a chance for them to create and explore different mediums that they might not be exposed to in school,” said Joyce Turner, executive director of Edgecombe Arts. “Each camp will more or less be themed.”
Pinetops mayor satisfied with 2013-2014 $4.6 million budget
PINETOPS — The board of commissioners stayed in line with surrounding towns by adopting its budget without implementing a property tax increase, although water and sewer rates increased by an average of 6.5 percent.
"It's a good budget, said Pinetops Mayor J. Vines Cobb. "There was no tax increase, so we are holding the line,"
Drugs found on THS student at school
A Tarboro High School senior was hit with drug charges on campus three days before graduation.
According to Tarboro Police Sgt. Al Braxton, a teacher spotted Rasheen Travon Council, 18, 404 Lincoln Road,. Tarboro, engaged in suspicious activities. The teacher notified a police officer.
Upon the officer's investigation, he found Council was in possession of 29.4 grams of marijuana in small bags. Braxton said he doesn't know whether or not Council made a transaction at the school.
Rising Waters on the Tar
The Tar River has risen to 16 feet-four inches over the past four days. On Saturday, the water levels were very low, but since the rains have come, the water levels have risen. The gates at the Tar River on River Road are shut with padlocks on them, because the water has gone over the path that runs adjacent to the river.
WWII veteran Cobb honored at 118th flag raising
The American Flag flying at the home of World War II veteran Walfield Cobb was only one of signs he was proud of his country.
Cobb was honored Tuesday during the 118th Memorial Flag-Raising Service sponsored by Tarboro Golden K Kiwanis. His five children, Teresa Cobb, Tim Cobb, Polley Briley, Trudy Gallinotto and Karen Mobley attended the event.
Cobb served in World War II from Sept. 1, 1944 to June 2, 1945. He returned to his Edgecombe County home and began a family, retiring from Glenoit after 32 years. Cobb died Sept. 30, 2011 at the age of 86.
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