CARE's Holiday Rescues
Loving, Giving, Sharing and CAREing
Before I formally introduce CARE's four new and precious gifts, I must first give you a bit of perspective into CARE the organization and what CARE really stands for.
What CARE Believes In
CARE leaves political and legal matters of animal welfare up to professionals in that area. We are here solely to give help and a home to animals in need when asked by authorities (or the owners themselves) but are not involved in making lawful judgments about other facilities or removing animals from owners against their wishes.
CARE does not condone or support any verbal or written negative rhetoric about other animal facilities or owners. There is way too much hatred being shared in the big cat world and we refuse to contribute to it. You never know the whole story. We are here to help, and we can do that without demonizing others.
Many people and facilities who are in possession of big cats are not bad, evil people. Many of them are good, caring people who started out with the best of intentions. Some get lost along the way or get in over their head. They fail to provide the home they intended. Some facilities may become overpopulated because they lack the ability to say “no” or allow unchecked breeding. Some organizations lack staff or lose precious funding. Some people just have bad things happen and they can't care for these amazing creatures anymore. The fortunate ones learn along the way, improve and grow, and have a support system that helps them carry out their work. Whatever the case, CARE was not created to judge others, we are simply here to accept animals who need a home with open arms when we can. We do not feel it necessary to comment on animals' previous owners, many of whom come to us wanting to do the right thing for the animals they can no longer care for. Despite previous choices, they are trying to make the right choices in the end - which can be very difficult.
Now For the Story
With that said, we want to tell you a little bit of the story about four tigers that needed immediate help from CARE. Simply put, the little ones’ home failed to meet the standards set by federal regulations. After lengthy communication with authorities and the owner last week, the owner gave up custody and CARE made the decision to give the tigers a home with the approval of governing agencies.
With just 4 days before their arrival, CARE staff and volunteers were called to action! After three backbreaking days of work fixing platforms, building housing, moving sand, filling the enclosures with toys & fresh, warm hay, the new residents’ homes were ready.
However, there was still a final touch……a Christmas tree...they must have a Christmas tree! Late at night, in the dark after working all day, another quick trip to the store and the final touch was in place. Festive trees for the new CARE angels. All there was left to do was wait for them to come home. Are they going to be aggressive? Do they get along well? Will they be malnourished? Will they hate us? Will they be diseased? There were so many unanswered questions. All we knew is that we were giving a home a set of 3-year-old sisters and a separate set of brothers.
On Tuesday, December 13th, at 10:45 am., Robert Engesser and his professional animal transportation crew arrived with CARE’s precious cargo. Each of their personalities were immediately apparent and the names we chose beforehand were easily matched to each cat.
First to unload was a girl. She walked on the grass like she was trying to get her sea legs. Never being in such a large enclosure before, she was a little frightened. She would be named Shaanti, which means peace. Shaanti is a little more mellow than Naya, her sister. Naya, meaning new, is smaller than Shaanti and a little more skittish than the others. We learned she is also very food aggressive. It may take her a while to get used to the way we feed. She will do better once she realizes there is no hurry to eat, that there will always be enough for her and all the others. But, both of the girls are loving and affectionate as well. There were millions of snuffles for everyone!
I must tell you I was in shock when I saw the boys. We were under the impression these tigers were 2-3 years old. I'm thinking about our big boys at three weighing nearly 500 pounds! I was getting the gates ready when the boys rolled around the corner in their transport cage. I couldn't catch my breath - they were not 500 pounds but 100! They weren’t mean and aggressive, but sweet and calm. They weren’t starved or diseased, but healthy and strong.
The boys’ names are Nadal, meaning fortunate and Divali, meaning Festival of Lights. They are full of energy and life. I could hardly control the tears watching the two boys run for hours in the same enclosure inhabited by tigers Kate, Zeus, Jezzabell, Elley, and Kira through the years.
All four tigers are perfect. They got here safely, and they all seem to already be settling into their new forever home well. They were loved at first sight and will be loved always. After all the loss in the past years, new life is extra precious to us all. It's hard to explain the overwhelming joy and energy these new residents have already brought back to CARE. And, most importantly, they are why CARE exists. This is what we ARE here to do!
Right now the four tigers are quarantined and will be for the next 30 days. The sisters and brothers are unrelated and have never been together, so they are in separate enclosures. Once we are sure that they are healthy, we want to move the boys to a larger enclosure and let the girls have both sides of the space they are currently in. We will be planning a fundraiser in the upcoming months to make that happen for them.
Meanwhile, please come and visit if you can, donate if you can (we still will need extra supplies for them), and share their story if you can. This is the real message of the season - Giving, loving, sharing and CAREing!
Heidi and the CARE Family