Good Neighbors

Lions, Tigers & Bears – In The Front Yard? Woman's Effort To Cheer Her Neighbors Will Make You Smile

She was tired of seeing unhappy faces in her neighborhood, so she turned her front lawn into an animal lover's oasis.

With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise again and people seeming to be more divided politically than ever, it's sometimes hard to see the bright side of things.

Thankfully, there are people who are doing what they can to bring more positivity into the world – even if it costs a pretty penny to do it.

Nancy Connor was tired of seeing her neighbors in Pawtucket, RI walk by with frowns on their faces, so the 86-year-old decided to use her stimulus check to invest in a new neighborhood attraction – a front yard zoo.

Connor couldn't stock her lawn with real wild animals of course, so she did the next best thing. She purchased oversized stuffed animals and lifelike statues from Amazon and placed them around her yard. A hand-painted wooden sign that hangs over her gate reads, "Welcome to the Zoo."

The front yard zoo is stocked with giant stuffed animals and sculptures, all purchased by Connor herself. Julie Anne/Facebook

"I went through World War II which was tough but it's nothing like what's happening now everything is so sad," Connor told WJAR-TV. "People are walking up and down the street looking very sad and I thought well what can I do? I'm handicapped. I can't go out there and do anything, but people love animals."

Connor is an animal lover herself, and so far her zoo houses dozens of species, including a penguin, a peacock, lions, a rooster co-habitating with a polar bear, and an impressive Siberian tiger.

The zoo has been cheering people up during a stressful time. Julie Anne/Facebook

While Connor admits that she could have spent her stimulus money on herself, she says the joy she's gotten from the zoo is priceless.

Connor typically watches for passers-by from her porch or waves to them from her window to keep a safe distance.

"Many, many they come every day," Connor said about the regular stream of visitors she's had since putting out the animals. "They come by, they walk and point, and the kids smile. It's worth all the effort I've put into it because everybody looks happy that comes by."

Connor says she's had a steady stream of visitors since she set up the zoo in early June. Julie Anne/Facebook

Connor is still adding to her menagerie, and she says she's accepting donations of stuffed animals to add to her growing collection.

Connor says she plans to keep the zoo up until the end of October. She hopes word spreads and more people come by to visit – especially families with children.

You wouldn't normally see a rooster hanging out with a polar bear, but in the front yard zoo, anything goes! Julie Anne/Facebook

While Connor knows her contribution isn't going to cure the world of sadness, she's happy that she's been able to bring cheer to others during such a dark time.

"It's worth everything," Connor said. "It makes me happy to see people happy again, even if it's only for a couple of minutes."

How can you start something good?

Inspired by Nancy Connor's incredible act of kindness?

Why not take her lead and do something to bring smiles to those in your community? You can start your own stuffed animal zoo, make chalk art drawings or put up signs with jokes to make people laugh who are walking by.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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