Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Babies!

Baby Mohan!
Last week, we were remiss by not sharing with our readers why we call two groups of tiger the "Babies" and the "Brats."  So let's correct this little oversight by introducing you to the "Babies!"  

On August 17, 2000, seven tiger cubs were rescued from a Texas inhumane breeding facility.  The cubs, ranging from 2-4 months old arrived in poor condition and required medical treatment.  We welcomed home, Boris, Emma, Eric, Lucca, Mohan, Nadia, and Saber--our babies!

Our "Babies"

Since the cubs required round the clock care, we started calling them "babies" because calling out their individual names took up a lot of time! You can often hear us saying throughout the day "it's time to feed the babies," "it's time to give the babies their meds," or "it's time to move the babies," that eventually, we stopped calling them by their individual names until they got older!  Now you can hear us yelling out "Mohan, it's time to get out of the pool!" "Emma, it's time to come in!"  "Lucca, leave Nadia alone!"  "Saber, it's dinner time!"

Even though it's been 12 years since their rescue (to the day this Friday!), we still affectionately called Emma, Lucca, Mohan, Nadia, and Saber our babies.

Sadly, two of our babies, Boris and Eric, are no longer with us.  Boris passed away on August 10, 2002  from impaction of the cecum and Eric was put to rest after a year long battle with cancer on April 21, 2007.

                                          Boris                                                     Eric                     

So let's meet our 12-year old "Babies!"

                       Lucca                                       Nadia                              Emma

Saber & Mohan

Tomorrow, we'll introduce you to our "Brats!"

In the meantime, we'd like to share with you a special letter we received from one of our volunteers who participates in our "Cat Companion" program.  This letter was written in memory of Okemo, our precious tiger, who recently joined Boris and Eric across the "Rainbow Bridge."
A Visit With Okemo 
I have been trying to find the words to describe what a visit with Okemo meant to me but couldn't.  Then I heard the words to a country song and thought, that’s it!  “Gonna put the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live it”…time with Okemo is gonna wash my blues and irritations of the day away!  As soon as I opened that gate the day’s events were left behind “and I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise.”  Actually I know I did...it was like being Over the Rainbow.

When I met him, he had me at first chuff.  I had just lost my first companion Grumpy 10 days prior to my meeting him.  When I looked into Okemo's beautiful round eyes I saw the same sparkle, innocence and wonderment that Grumpy had and it just warmed my heart.

Over the course of time we bonded and formed a friendship that I will cherish forever.  Something that words cannot describe is the feeling I got at seeing the sparkle and joy in his eyes at seeing me.  And it dawned on me the other day, that he saw that same joy in my eyes at seeing him.  And then when he would come out of the den just to see me, it just melted my heart.

One of the things he would do, that I just loved, was if he would walk off and I would turn my back and not be paying attention to him, he would come up to the fence and head butt at my leg.  I would turn around and he would be waiting for nose and ear scratches.  That was the best.

I would love too when he would come and tell me good night.  He would go in his den and clean himself (as only Okemo could) and then he would come out and over to me for a little scratch time and then back in the den he would go and clean a little more.  And he would come back out, give me a few chuffs and a little more scratching and then he would go back in and lay down to take a nap before dinner.  It was like he was saying “good-night”.  And I knew once he laid down, the visit was over and he was going to be down for the count…at least until dinner.

I used to love to sit next to him and watch him watch the trains go by.  He would always have this innocent wonderment in his eyes.  I would try to figure out what he was seeing.  Was he trying to figure out what type of animal it was…was he trying to figure out how to catch it…or was he just staring out into time and space.  I guess we will never know.  But at those times I would also think about the strength and power of the beautiful wild tiger I was sitting next too but the calm and the peace that emanated from him was contagious and spirit calming.  I laugh that I go and sit with a tiger to unwind from civilization.

Over the course of the last few months it got to the point that I wouldn’t even have to say a word.  He would see me and head for the fence. Or I would wave at him and here he would come.  What was the absolute best was when he would lay down at my feet through the fence, and just sit there while I read my book.  Usually no words were exchanged; it was just being close that mattered.

After we lost him, I realized that once again, God had let me live yet another desire of my heart.  I have always wanted to work with exotic animals as a trainer.  But what I shared with Okemo was a friendship which was built over time just by sharing time together.  I have said on many occasions that special moments spent with him were what being a cat companion was and is all about.  
Cheri
video
A Simple Act of Love - Annette Creekmore

The bond between our volunteers and exotic wild animals is very special--it's what makes In-Sync Exotics different from many other wild animal sanctuaries.  The love and respect shared between human and animal  has healed many hearts.

So, two mighty tiger paws and echoing lion roars to all animal caretakers who make a difference in the life of an animal under their care!  Sometimes the best reward is a simple chuff, chirp, or even a loving look... Thank you very much, Cheri, for sharing your special memories of Okemo with us.

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting and will join us again tomorrow for more news and updates on our wild ones!  Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!

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