In her role (for the last ten years) as ""goodwill ambassador"" for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Embery has lectured and made public appearances with hundreds of exotic animals; most notably, she's been on the Tonight Show more than 40 times. While she wins over audiences by coolly displaying cougars, wolves, elephants, and tarantulas, Embery stresses the vital role of the modern zoo as a breeding and preservation center for endangered species. As a child, she was surrounded by animals (most of which she brought home herself); and dinner conversation was often talk about veterinarian surgical procedures (her mother was a vet's assistant). Summers were spent riding and showing other people's horses, and going on rounds with her veterinarian uncle. While attending a pre-veterinarian program in college, Embery started working at the San Diego Zoo's children zoo (a job she waited a year to get). There she started training Carol, a baby elephant, who was one of the first animals she introduced to Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carol held a paint brush in her trunk and painted for the audience of 15 million. Another animal guest was Dudley Duplex, a rare two-headed snake. At home Embery lives on a ranch with her husband, their horses (one named Finally because she waited so long to have a horse of her own), their dogs, and sundry other pets. There's a good mix of personal anecdote with researched and first-hand knowledge of animal behavior and ancestry. Those who've enjoyed Embery on television will welcome this engaging account of her career and her charges.