GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Zookeeper, Rachel Gulley is living her dream. For the last 10 years, she has been a zookeeper at the Alabama Gulf Coast zoo and this week, she and the rest of the zookeepers around the country are being recognized.

National Zookeeper Week is held once a year to appreciate zookeepers’ hard work, conservation efforts and passion. Gulley said that if you are not passionate about it, it may not be your calling. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo celebrated not only their zookeepers, but their entire staff.

Lately, Boodah, an American Black bear, has become her best bud. She has wanted to do this job since she was a little kid but she didn’t know it would be this hard.

“From about 8 a.m. until probably about lunchtime, we are cleaning,” said Gulley. “That’s one of the biggest parts of our jobs is making sure their habitats are clean, well taken care of so we do lawn work, we do exhibit maintenance, we do everything.”

Though this week has been dedicated to zookeepers, Gulley says it’s really a team effort.

 “It’s a lot of hard work. We have a crew of about 32 other keepers here and so we have to take care of these animals every single day, make sure they have the best welfare, mentally and physically so it’s definitely a work of passion,” sad Gulley.

Boodah for one is glad she’s here to make a difficult job just a little easier.