Kipenzi meets big brother Kopano

I didn’t even know I loved that baby giraffe so much.

Kipenzi, the giraffe whose birth was broadcast on Animal Planet and over live Internet feed from the Dallas Zoo, died suddenly in an accident Tuesday. She was not quite 4 months old.

When I visited the zoo one rainy Thursday this past spring with my 3-year-old nephew, he didn’t want to walk, and he didn’t want to ride in the stroller. He wanted to be carried even though he weighs like 40 pounds, you know? And then I didn’t get to see Kipenzi because the giraffes were inside. He was crabby. I was disappointed.

On Tuesday night, zookeepers were herding the giraffes inside; Kipenzi made a sharp turn while scampering around, “as she loved to do,” they said. She hit a corner, broke three vertebrae in her neck and died instantly.

“Our hearts are broken,” the Dallas Zoo stated via Instagram. “Please keep the entire Dallas Zoo family in your thoughts.”

An esteemed journalism professor of mine used to deride, “Every time I turn on the TV news, there is always a story about a baby animal at the zoo.”

The death of Kipenzi was not the worst thing that happened in the world Tuesday. It was surprising and sad, though. It’s personal for our neighborhood, and it’s OK to take it as a personal tragedy, even if it is one of Lil’ Sebastian proportions. Therefore why not use our grief to make the world a little better this week?

Kiss your loves, read a book to the little ones, say a prayer with a friend, meditate, do a good deed, pick up a tab, pour one out, sing together, sway, give hugs, feel the feels. RIP Kipenzi, y’all. The sadness is real.