Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Special Day of Remembrance

It was one year ago, when we announced with great sadness that Raja, our beautiful 19-year old tiger had passed away.
 Despite the passing of time, we miss Raja just as much today as we did the day he left us. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe we won’t see him again, waiting to greet us at the playground or in his quarters. He was filled with so much exuberant love for life that it was such a joy just to watch him play with Jasmine or his favorite ball in his swimming pool. His absence from our lives truly leaves a hole in our hearts.

For those of you who are new to our blog, beloved Raja and his sister Jasmine, arrived at In-Sync Exotics on February 3, 2003, and for the next 8+ years, both cats flourished under our care. Raja is survived, not only by Jasmine, his sister, but his offspring, Samu and Tyjar. Raja, Jasmine, Tyjar and Samu came from the same drive-thru animal park that was subsequently closed years later due to inhumane living conditions for its animals. Raja was also the father of Vicky's beloved Kenya (her first tiger) and Midas—both whom were obtained from the same animal park—and lived with us for many years before they crossed the rainbow bridge.
The first time Vicky met Raja and Jasmine was about four months after she lost Kenya.  Since Kenya was such a special tiger, she wanted to meet Kenya’s parents.  As it turned out, Kenya looked just like her mom, and since she was a real sucker for “daddy’s” girl, she fell completely in love with Raja.  After spending time with Raja and Jasmine, Vicky learned where Kenya got her personality.  From her mom, Kenya got the aggressive, “do what I tell you” behavior; while the sweet “I’ll do anything you want me to do” side came from her daddy!

Jasmine (left) and Raja (right)

We were devastated to learn in December 2010 that Raja was dying from renal failure. Even though there is no known cure for this progressive disease, we were able to keep Raja comfortable by giving him subcutaneous fluid treatments every four days for about 10 months. 
Raja was such a determined tiger, never objecting to his subcutaneous fluid treatments, that we hoped we would be with us for many more months. Sadly, his body slowly started to shut down and Raja finally “told” us that his time with us was coming to an end. A week prior to his passing, Raja stopped eating and he refused to move around his quarters, signaling to us that he was ready to move on to the next part of his journey.
One of the hardest decisions we ever have to make is whether or not it’s time to let an animal quietly slip away from us or to continue administering treatments in the hope that the animal will resume eating, drinking and playing. With the help of our veterinarian’s diagnosis, our own intuition, and our loving understanding of Raja’s wishes, the decision to let him go peacefully was made that Sunday afternoon on October 23, 2012. Before he left us, he spent some wonderful quality time with his Jasmine. We think Jasmine knew what was happening to Raja, but we don’t think she was prepared to lose him so quickly. Before he passed away, we shared with him our final words of love and admiration for this beautiful tiger as he gradually slipped away from us—Raja was truly at peace. 

A special rose bush was planted in front of Raja and Jasmine’s quarters, signifying the beauty and importance of life, never-ending love, and despite the loss of our beloved Raja, life still goes on. 
Today, Jasmine shares an adjacent quarters with her son, Tyjar. While Tyjar cannot replace her brother Raja, he does provide her the comfort that only family can provide when in mourning.  
May God walk with Raja, Midas, and Kenya as they explore their wonderful new home together, on this side of Heaven, called the Rainbow Bridge.
Eagle Scout Honors Raja 
Hello Eagle Scout Trevor!
Eagle Scout Trevor Stubblefield approached us earlier this year needing to do an eagle scout project. Although we have a long list of projects that we need to have done he choose this one—he wanted to create a memorial garden for Raja.  Recognizing that Raja memorial means a lot to of all of us, he took it upon himself to design and implement his plan on improving the memorial site for our beloved tiger. 
We were thrilled that Trevor wanted to take on this project for us.  So often, we are so focused on the minutia of the day-to-day animal care tasks that we fail to take the time to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.  Raja’s memorial garden will always be a wonderful reminder as to why we are here for the cats, like Raja and Jasmine, and will serve as a source of inspiration as we remember all the great times we had with our beloved tiger.  Even our visitors were impressed with our new memorial garden—all built by volunteer hands!
Needless to say, Jasmine and Tyjar were fascinated with all the activity in front of Jasmine’s quarters.  The tigers watched every person very intently, trying to figure out what exactly the Eagle Scout and his helpers were building near Raja’s rose bush.  You’ve never seen two excited tigers—especially Tyjar, as he kept a constant eye on everyone! 
Congratulations Eagle Scout Trevor and his hard working crew for a job well done!  We love our new Raja Memorial Garden!   
Trevor, you certainly earned your badge on this project! 

Let’s give a round of applause to Trevor, his Mom Diana, his younger brother Austin and his aunt Denise Klapp for sticking with the project until the end!  We’d also like to give a hug “paws waiving in the air” of approval to Brent Rudzinski, Harrison Binger, Pierce Portorfield, Brandon, Ross, Debbie, Ashley Stanton, Dane William, Nathan Holly, Evan Campbell, and William King for making this project such a success! We just can’t thank everyone enough for the tiger-ific work and team spirit!
What a vast improvement!  Thank you everyone!

Raja's yellow rose bush...

Beautiful tiger display

Raja's memorial

The memorial garden looks like it has been in place for years!
It fits perfectly with the landscaping...

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends of In-Sync Exotics! 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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