GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Tossing fish to pelicans intently Tuesday morning at the John Ball Zoo, Caitln giggled at how patient the animals were.
"It was amazing knowing that I fed birds and it made them happy," she said.
Caitln, 14, is fearless with a big heart. She's a budding zoologist or veterinarian entering the eighth grade, and she's knowledgeable.
"I want to work in a place where I can breed animals, animals that are going endangered, that are going extinct," said Caitln. "Like a passenger pigeon: there were millions of them at one time and then one day the last one disappeared."
Tuesday a zoologist allowed Caitln behind-the-scenes, teaching her how they care for animals like bongos. Walking triumphantly throughout the exhibits she smiled and said:
"I’m not trying to brag, but I am an animal natural. It’s like when I was little I grew up a city girl then I hit the country and then I’m like, I’m amazing with animals."
She is a natural with animals and brave, too. Caitln says when she's earning enough salary for herself she wants to give back to the homeless.
"When I grow up I want to donate money to the homeless and to different charities," said Caitln, "because there are a lot of people in Africa and Iraq and Lansing-even people in Michigan that are way more homeless than I am. And I should donate to them."
First she says she wants to share special moments with a family.
"My wish list is to celebrate just about every holiday there is, because I'm kind of a holiday freak," she laughed. "I love to celebrate."
And having a family Caitln says is something she would never take for granted.
"I lost my one family and I feel that it’s taught me a lesson not to take families for granted," said Caitln. "Because once you get a family, and you lose that family, you may never get another family."
If you would like to learn more about Caitln and how adoption through Michigan foster care works, please call her adoption agency to speak with an adoption specialist: Orchards Children's Services at 1 (855) 694-7301.
FOX 17 would like to say thank you so much to the staff at John Ball Zoo who arranged this amazing behind-the-scenes filming opportunity for Caitln!