Petting Zoo and Block News

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It's Friday today. I am not looking forward to the weekend ahead. I will be walking home by myself again today.

Luke has been absent from school. He will be transferred to Kate's class on Monday. I think he has elected to stay home with Sam's encouragement till he gets transferred.

I stay back in the school to I make lesson plans for the week ahead. I am researching on ideas on how to teach kindergarten kids about animals.

One idea says the teacher can arrange a mobile petting zoo visit to the class. To bring a mobile petting zoo can be costly but most effective way to teach kids about different animals.

Suddenly I am reminded of Gary. Gary has a pet shop and some spare time on weekdays. He loves animals and is good with kids. He can run a mobile petting zoo.

I start researching on how to run a mobile petting zoo. I am encouraged by results I get. There is one company who offers a franchise to run a mobile petting zoo.

I decide to mention this idea to Gary. It won't happen overnight but he can look in the possibility if he is interested.

I come home and visit Gary in the shop to tell him about my findings. He knows the concept of mobile petting zoo. The circus he used to work for had animal visiting times where kids can come and pet the show animals.

After the shop closes he comes to my room and we discuss the concept more. He needs to get a licence to run a mobile petting zoo. He can start a baby animals' petting zoo. He can ask his breeders and suppliers for puppies, kittens, rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, baby chooks and ducks. He can keep the small animals in his pet shop. He can offer animals from petting zoo for sale to the people who are interested.

He can start small by going to school, birthday parties, shopping centres, Easter and Christmas fates. He can display the animals at a low cost and charge a small fee for each child who wants to pet an animal.

By now both of us are excited. The ideas are flowing. We sit together till late at night to create a business plan. We even contact the companies who offer mobile petting zoo franchise.

He can ask some of his friends from his hometown to lend him calves, piglets, small goats and sheep, even ponies for a small fee if there is a demand down the track. He casually mentions.

I now learn more things about Gary that I didn't know before. His hometown is close by. Only two hours' drive away and he is still in contact with his friends there. They even visit him if they come to the town.

"You can take a boy out of country but you cannot take the country out of that boy" he says.

He hasn't talked to his Da since he left but knows that his Da is getting old. I try to convince him, he should contact his Da and try to reconcile with him. I tell Gary about my mom. How I hated her in my teens and resent her still. How I wish to talk to her but she denied me even that right when she took her own life. I tear up telling him about my mom.

Gary readily agrees to meet his Da. He tells me he does not have anyone except his Da anyway. His mother passed away from cancer when Gary was very young. His Da is the one who raised him. For all his faults his Da loves him. He tried to do the best for him. If nothing else he can show the old man that his son has succeeded in his life.

Gary leaves me late in the night. My body is tired but my brain doesn't want to rest. I am glad I could give Gary a good suggestion that can help him in the future. I wish to help out Alex as well. It would be a thank you to both of them for being so good friends to me.

I open my file for Alex where I have listed all his dreams for the future. He wants to get further education in English Literature.

I remember a flyer I have seen about a community college that offers English literature courses in the evenings and weekends. It's not a proper degree but the course is good. I quickly find the nearest community college details on the internet and sure enough they offer English literature course. I note down the address, contact information and course times.

The course is offered part online and part instructor led. This format is the best format of education as it gives personal contact with the instructor with online material to work in your available time.

His next dream is to work in a newspaper. I think about how he can achieve that dream. It will be hard for him get a good job in a big newspaper but how about a small newspaper.

I remember my town has a weekly local newspaper. At one time the newspaper was going to close as it was running at a loss and the owner wanted to retire. The town council decided to fund the newspaper and some enthusiastic people in the town volunteered for different jobs in the newspaper.

Soon the newspaper was reporting about Mrs Smith's beautiful garden, or Joe Burgess selected as the captain of the school football team.

The town people complained that the volunteers were giving preferential treatment to their friends and family by making them a news item.

The genius news editor came with a brilliant idea. Anyone who wanted to report a story can do so provided they paid for an advertisement or gave a donation to the newspaper. The length of the story would depend on its newsworthiness but it might also depend on the amount paid.

Soon the newspaper stopped making a loss. Now it is making a small profit.

In today's internet world people follow Facebook, Instagram, twitter or blog sites. The businesses in the block have their own websites. They can't advertise the business directly in the market. It has to be discreet.

I think the block can have a small monthly newspaper. The material in the newspaper must be appropriate for the general public. The newspaper can have different sections. Small News and Current affairs section with details of what's happening in the block. A bigger Gloss and Glam section. Followed by relationship advice, star signs, crosswords the whole works.

Enterprising businesses in the area will figure out a discreet way to advertise their businesses in the newspaper.

The newspaper can be kept in public places or in the bars, pubs or shops. Someone can even hand it out to the visitors in the area.

Unfortunately I am currently out of favour. But Alex has enough contacts and goodwill in the area to sell this idea. He can volunteer himself to run it. If he is smart enough he will soon start making a profit. He can even get the newspaper printed at small cost.

The printed newspaper can be accompanied by a digital version, online blogs, Facebook, Instagram, tweet feeds where people can sign to get regular updates. Businesses can give some discounts to registered clients. The digital version can have links to other business websites in the area with appropriate warnings.

I sit on my laptop working till early hours in the morning. I type up a detailed business plan and send it to Alex by email.

Finally my exhaustion catches up to me. I change into my comfy singlet and shorts and go to sleep with a smile on my face.

The dream I have is of Petting Zoo and Block News.

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