Meet Bud and Carrie. You could say they live the wild life. But for this couple, that doesn’t always mean fun and partying. They live together with over 400 animal residents, and work together, rescuing exotic animals, rehabilitating local wildlife and running a struggling small zoo in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With no days off and no vacation, their relationship has more than its fair share of pressure. They sometimes butt heads, but they share a deep passion for animals that always bring them together again.
The brand new series My Life Is a Zoo follows this intriguing couple around their DeYoung Family Zoo as they work to keep up with the demands of their business, while tending to their huge and ever-growing wild family.
Photo Caption (above): Bud and Carrie DeYoung pose with Gus, their bonnet macaque, and Gunner, their spider monkey, at the DeYoung Family Zoo.
“There’s no combination of two people that could be doing what we are doing… we’re doing it all on our own,” says Bud.
Carrie adds: “Every single day in and out we are constantly here at the zoo dealing with animals and caring for animals… I mean this is it. We have completely dedicated our lives to this. We don’t even own a couch! We can’t sit down and watch TV. People think we’re nuts.”
The zoo is home to a diverse mix of exotic and regional animals, some of them rescued from distant parts of the world. Carrie moved in seven years ago and since then the zoo has grown dramatically. It now includes a rehab and rescue program with Bud and Carrie adopting between three and 10 orphaned animals every week.
It’s a struggle for the couple who depend on admission fees collected during the short summer to last through the harsh winter. The show documents the impact of a nasty, early snowstorm with more than a foot of blowing snow and below zero temperatures. Delivering over 2,000 pounds of meat and 500 gallons of fresh water every day is difficult enough, but with a foot of snow on the ground, battling winters fury makes the task Herculean! Throw in a pregnant white tiger ready to deliver, an untrained stallion to rescue, a pregnant potbelly pig to relocate, and a sick calf to tend to, the two are in for one crazy winter.
My Life Is a Zoo premieres Monday, April 26 at 10 PM et/pt on Nat Geo Wild!
Video Preview: “The Hippo Rush” — The zoo is getting a hippo! But can Bud and Carrie finish the hippo pen in time for his arrival?