Last year Nancy was at a charity auction and placed the highest bid for an overnight at an animal rescue facility called Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Because of schedules we were not able to plan the overnight until earlier this month. It was amazing.
Nancy and I went with her sister Mary Kay and Mary Kay’s husband Chuck. The facility is located about 40 miles from us in Japatul Valley and we drove out there on Thursday afternoon. It’s a sanctuary for exotic animals who need a place to live. Sadly there is a demand in our country for ownership of animals who have no business being owned in substandard conditions. This facility was born in 2002: two Bengal Tigers in Texas were being neglected by their owner. He was persuaded to donate them to this facility. Once here, the female was found to be pregnant and she gave birth to two cubs on November 8, 2002.
Since then they have opened their doors to other exotic animals, and to us. They aren’t a zoo: they don’t buy, sell, trade, or breed animals. Their sole purpose is to rescue animals that have found their way to places where they can’t be cared for: roadside zoos, stupid rich people, and (let’s face it) stupid poor people. Also, some carnivores unwittingly intrude into suburban neighborhoods and would be killed. This facility will take them in and provide an excellent life for the rest of their lives.
We were there from Thursday night to Friday morning, and it was an enchanting experience. When we arrived we were greeted by Tina who enthusiastically showed us around the grounds and provided us the background and history of the exhibits. We knew we would be impressed by the animals, but we didn’t expect to be impressed with the place we were going to stay (Mary Kay asked us if we needed to bring sleeping bags). Our accommodations rivaled the best of any bed and breakfast. We were pampered well beyond our expectations.
Early Friday morning I woke up and walked around the exhibits. Conga, one of the leopards, saw me before I saw her and jumped in my direction. I wasn’t in any danger as there were two fences between us, but that was not my first thought. Advantage: Conga.
If you care about the plight of these magnificent animals, if you care about the welfare and future of lions, tigers, and bears, or if you just want to spend a night in a magical place, do not let this experience you by. Call now.