Nicholas Richard Maccharoli Sr., or “Batso,” is perhaps the most recognizable because of his myriad of tattoos: Buddha protected by dragons and a cobra, and bats on his head, a tiny spider on his right ear, a snake on his left ear and the barbed wire ring that circles his neck. At 86, he's a fearsome-looking man, one who holds a Connecticut state record in power lifting and is still dedicated to a workout that integrates martial arts and weights.
He developed a lifelong love and respect for animals tending livestock when he was young. At age 10, he had a job in the circus working with the trainers who cared for the lions and tigers.
Soon after that, he got into cars, learning how to fix and customize them. He says he could feel how much paint or lead to apply, trusting his intuition over standard methods of training. He’s still in love with cars, especially the ones he customized himself.
Now Batso applies his ability to sense things with animals. He can feel their energy and connect with their pain or their happiness. After losing one of his sons two years ago to Lou Gehrig’s disease, he is committed to living his life happily, and that means helping kids who remind him of himself, and animals whenever and wherever he can, in his own unique way.
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