Did you ever have the feeling that you aren't alone? It's almost like someone is watching you, but not in a creepy way. The thing is, there is a whole zoo full of animals keeping an eye on you. As if that wasn't surprising enough, there is more. They are much closer than you think. In fact they are keeping an eye on you, from the INSIDE!

Did you ever feel so silly that you did something totally crazy just for the fun of it? Like jump on your bed until you fell down giggling? That was your crazy monkey saying hello. Have you ever felt so sad that you thought you had no choice but to cry your heart out? That was probably your hound dog howling your troubles away. The thing is, we all have a whole family of different animals just waiting to help us deal with our emotions.

So let's take a look around. You have a brave lion, an angry tiger, a crazy monkey and a whole flock of happy bluebirds waiting to sing. You probably have even more animals. We are all different and our own private zoos are different too. The thing that is the same for all of us is that we are the zookeepers; each of us is in charge of our own personal zoo. We get to decide who comes out to play and who needs to wait in his or her habitat.

Let me tell you about a kid named Henry and his zoo. Henry was really tired after a long day at school when his mom picked him up.

"Hurry up Henry!" She yelled to him from her car.
Henry trudged along and dragged himself down the steps of his school. There was no breeze at all and a single drop of sweat ran slowly down his back. He plopped into the back seat of his mom's car and fell asleep almost before he left the parking lot. The next stop was the orthodontist and Henry literally got a rude awakening.

"Come on, you are making us late! Wake up and move it!" His stressed out mother bellowed to him from the curb.

Henry slowly opened one eye and quickly shut it again. He was exhausted. Maybe staying up late last night to watch the end of the game wasn't such a great idea after all. The car door opened and he all but fell out. That's when he noticed something shiny and green walking along beside him. His mother was running on ahead so he sat down to get a better look. It was the small leatherback turtle that visited Henry's dreams when he was trying to fall asleep at night. This little turtle would slowly introduce himself, as if Henry couldn't remember his own turtle's name, and then curl up and fall asleep.

Henry could hardly believe his ears when the turtle looked up at him and said, "Hello, I am Alfred Lloyd Tennison, but you can call me Tension for short. Most people do for some reason."

Henry's mother seemed to know why they called him "Tension". The vain on the left side of her neck was popping when she saw that Henry was sitting on the curb. Slowly, ever so slowly, Henry got up and he and Tension Turtle began to move. As relaxed and tired as they were; Henry could see that his dragging himself through the afternoon was causing a lot of frustration to those around him. His mom apologized to the nurse and Henry saw the orthodontist. Everyone around him seemed to have to go through his or her jobs a little bit faster in order to make up for Henry's slow pace. The next appointments were now running late and given the way Henry's mom kept checking her watch, Henry knew that she was under extra pressure as well.

He still felt tired and he still just wanted to sleep, but Henry knew what he had to do. He looked over at his turtle and sighed. They would spend some time together later that night, like at bedtime, but right now, he knew the turtle needed to go back to the zoo. Henry needed help and he knew just which animal friend could so it. Henry closed his eyes and brought Alfred Lloyd Tennison home and then he went over to the roadrunner's arena. As usual, Racing Red was whipping around the track. Henry liked to keep him in good shape for little league games, but this was an emergency. When Henry opened his eyes again, he sat up straight, thanked the orthodontist and was ready for action.