I worked at Columbia House for 34 years and was let go in March of 2007. After that I started volunteering at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center located in Center Point Indiana. I am now on staff there part time and love every minute of it. I do various jobs there. Anything from giving tours to visitors ..... to the funnest of fun ..... Freezer diving and tossing out all the meat that had gone bad since the freezer quit this summer ..... and believe me ... you don't even want to know the details. But anyone around here who has never visited it is well worth the time to visit. Check out the website at www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org and come see us. Maybe I can be your tour guide!!!!
Not into people who lie on here about who they are. Not into just playing head games with others on here. Have come across to much of that. So someone who is honest about who they are. Anyone who would truly like a friend to converse with and have fun. Caring with a big heart. A big plus would be you love Cats .... From the smallest to the biggest .... LOL ....
This one ... this good bye is probably one of the toughest of all. I am saying good bye here to my boyfriend the love of my life. His name was Tony. Tony was a Tiger. There was not a dry eye at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center yesterday as we all joined together to say a final good bye to him. We were all there to comfort him on his journey. No words were said. None needed to be. We were all feeling the pain of losing one of our most beloved cats. We feel this pain even knowing in our hearts that he is now at peace. He had a lot of arthritis and had trouble moving around lately. It was a struggle for him to get up and move around and he just decided it was time to go. He was a very old boy and his body finally wore out. Once again we were not ready ... but he was ... You could see it in his eyes.. that far off distant look. The look of seeing every little thing around them ... but from a distance. I saw this look in both my Dad and Mom before they passed on. Almost like they are taking in everything they can before they leave. He will always have a special place in my heart. You see when I first started working at the Center ... he was the very first cat that made friends with me. Putting my hand on the fence to let him smell me ... he instead licked my hand ... a tiger kiss!! I had gotten my first tiger kiss. Or maybe he was just tasting me and I thought it was a kiss. But either way it is something I will always remember. I remember thinking then that I must be special for such a beautiful creature to want to be my friend. This is why I would tell people he was my boyfriend .. the love of my life. I later found out that Tony pretty much loved everyone at the center so I was not that special ... but he sure was. He had touched the hearts of everybody there. He would always come to the fence to greet you with big Tiger chuffs. I loved to tell visitors about Tony and how he became my boyfriend and was the love of my life .... and had a special place in my heart.
Tony lived by himself at the center when I started working there. I was told he came with a female Tiger whose name was Patty. They both came to the center after authorities busted a meth lab. What a combination ... Meth and Tigers. Why you ask? How you ask? We don't know ... There are just alot of stupid people out there. Why again you ask ... why do authorities allow this? The laws on being able to own these Exotic Animals change from state to state. So in some states it is completly legal to buy sell and breed these animals if you have the proper papers and permits. You then ask what it takes ... How to get the permits? That depends upon the state you live in. Some states do have a ban on Exotic animal ownership and believe it or not ... there are some states that don't have any laws on it so you can pretty much do what you want. There are many .... many .... many things I have learned since I have been working at the Center. But I don't want to spend all my time on those here ... that will be for another story. Back to Tony's mate Patty .. I was told she had teeth that were in such bad shape when she came to the center that she had to endure about 6 hours of emergency dental procedures. They told me the infection was so bad that she had actually developed outside drain tracks. This is where the infection has to go somewhere and it actually opens below the jaw and the infection drains out. Not pretty I am sure. So it was obvious she was having problems ... but nothing was done about it. Can you imagine the pain this must have caused? At least Tony and Patty got to spend some time together at the Center living in a nice big enclosure with lots of trees and climbing stands. They were well taken care of there and very much loved. I am told that when Patty passed away that Tony grieved very deeply for her. He never wanted another friend. At least another feline friend. But he had friends ... many friends who loved him very much and are now grieving his loss as he did Patty's. We will continue on as he did. It is with many tears I am trying to write this. The hole in my heart has a lot of healing to do now and memories to come and fill it up. My dear sweet Old Man Tony .... My Boyfriend ... the love of my life .... I will miss you very much and I will look up to the stars at night and know in my heart you are running free without any pain and nothing to stop you now. You are back with your Patty .... and could you do me a favor? Could you please tell my Achia girl that I miss her too.
2 more sweet spirits have been freed to shine with the stars. I will start with Sinbad. Sinbad was a beautiful Black Leopard who touched my heart. He walked with a limp .... but he sure could truck along when he wanted to. I was told he had the llimp when he came to our center. It was assumed the limp had been caused by an injury that a previous owner did nothing about. He liked to stay in the back of his enclosure alot making it hard to point him out to guests. But every so often he would come up to the front to greet them. Those were special times for the guests. His spots really showed up most times so the guests got to see that he was not a solid black ... but a beautiful dark brown with black spots. Now Sinbad loved to have a shower in the summer. He would come over to where you were holding a hose to fill his water dish and beg for that shower with little sounds. Really can't explain those sounds but you came to know what he wanted. Aiming the hose up in the air and creating a fine mist to fall down upon him. He would stand under that mist making sounds of contentment ... once again something that can't be described ... you just knew what it was. When he was done he would walk away and then take a nap. He could have a very growly side also when he didn't want to be bothered so you learned to just leave him be. We will all miss Sinny ( as we called him ) very much. He now walks and runs without that limp to hinder him and no fences to hold him back ... Good bye Sinny my old boy!
Now my good bye to Pesha ... Our sweet beautiful cougar girl! Another one of our sad stories of the cruelity of what some people put these beautiful animals through. Pesha had ears that were straight across the top instead of rounded like they should have been due to previous owner who kept her tied up outside in the winter time. This owner did not give her a house to live in. She had to lay out in the very cold wind and her ears got frostbitten. Why and how could anyone do this to such a beautful animal? We wonder that every day and every time we rescue these animals from these bad situations. It is amazing that these animals can come back from the trauma they have lived through and learn to trust us with their care. But they do. Pesha would come over to the fence to see guests .... rubbing on the fence and purring. Gotta love a cougars purr!!! Sometimes she would hide in the grass and watch guests and they didn't even know she was there. But when she got her food .... look out!!! She would grab that food and let out a screech! She would then hold that food in her mouth and growl and snarl .... while waving her front paw in the air at you .... You knew then that she was telling you that food belonged to her and you need to step away. It did make for a comical sight at times. I remember one time we had dead rabbits to feed out. Pesha got one that was a white fuzzy one. When I had a group of guests and we were going by her enclosure ... She lifted her head up from her dinner and she had rabbit fur all in her whiskers on both sides of her face. I swear it looked like she had a mouthful of cotton candy. You couldn't help but laugh at that. Another time she was given a deer head .... While I was walking by ... this time by myself .... she came running towards the fence with that deer head in her mouth and that paw flailing in the air .... What a sight to see a big scary deer head coming at you with a Cougar attached to it. You had to once again just laugh out loud. We will all miss Pesha very much. And we will always picture her with that paw raised in the air .... High five ... or is that four? to you Pesha! What a beautiful girl you were. Good bye Pesha Pig ( our nickname for her ) run free now!
Isn't it funny how attached to these animals you become? What beautiful creatures they are. Tears flow when they pass on .... but you move on knowing there will be another to rescue ... and then you will have happy tears when that one is rescued and you get to give it much needed space to roam and the care and love it needs until that good bye .. which brings the sad tears. I know every day that the cats that live out their lives in the care of The Exotic Feline Rescue Center have been given a great life and get what they so much need and deserve. Once again ... what a great crew of Keepers and Volunteers I work with everyday. And the cats!!! What else can I say.
Every now and then you are blessed with a special friendship. Be it a person or animal. It is with a sad heart I write this as my special girl was called away yesterday. My girl was Achia. Achia was a cougar and she lived at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center where I work. She touched my heart in many ways. There is a hole there now. But I know it will heal and fill up with the happy memories. Memories of her rubbing on the fence and purring ... Memories of her being moved from a smaller enclosure to a much larger one .... Memories of the first time she reached her paw through the fence and put it gently into my hand. It felt like she was saying with that touch "Please stay with me for awhile". This is how the friendship began. It was then and there she became my favorite girl. She was always there to greet me when I called her name. She would give me purrs and meows .... how I loved that meow and will miss it. When I gave tours to visitors I always made sure they would get to hear that meow. And see those eyes ... she had the most beautiful eyes. I would tell the visitors she was my most favorite cat at the Center. I would tell them how when I first started working there that I did not think I would have a favorite because all of the cats were so awesome. Sometimes they would ask "Why?". All I could tell them was I really don't know why but I felt a connection between Achia and myself that surpassed any connection I had with the other cats. You see I fell in love with each and every one of them. From the sweetest to the growlingest of all. I can't describe all the differences in them ... Sweet Tiger chuffs to say hello .... purring from the cougars .. Ohmming from the Lions .... They all have their greetings for you .... but they are wild animals and they sometimes show you that also .... snarls ... growls ... lips curled back .... teeth barred. They let you know when they want you around and when they don't.
The rescue center became not only a rescue center for the cats ... but for me also. The center came into my life at an uncertain time in my life. I lost my job after working at the same place for 34 years. None of my family lives close to me. My parents and grandparents all passed on. So I felt all alone going through a bad time. I felt myself becoming depressed. I did not know which way to turn ... I was not ready to jump back into a job right away .. not that there were any choices out there close to where I was living. I decided to see about doing some volunteer work to do something with my time while deciding where to go from here. That is when I remembered hearing a few years before about the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. Being the cat lover I am ... I can't believe I had never taken the time to visit it. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I pictured these big beautiful cats living in small concrete enclosures. Or maybe it just wasn't the right time for me to visit .... just yet back then ... The time just might not have been right for that door in my life to open. They say things happen for a reason.
I then searched the internet and found the website for the Center. I loved the website and the pictures I was seeing. I then saw that they would take Volunteers. I sent an email and received one back. I then went and took a tour and was in awe of what I saw. No small concrete pens here. Big enclosures with lots of grass and trees in most. And well cared for Cats .... Lots of big beautiful cats. Lions .. Tigers ... Leopards .. Bobcats ... Ocelots ... Lynx ... Servals ... and Cougars! The Cougars or Mountain Lions ... Pumas ... Florida Panthers ... as they are called by many names ... they became my favorite type of cat there. It was decided by me right then that I would volunteer if they would have me.
The time for the new door to open was just around the corner and I didn't even know it yet. I was very excited and I will have to say just a little scared when I was accepted as a Volunteer. These big cats can be intimidating at times! I started with being there one day a week to as many as they would have me .... Sometimes 4 days a week. I became the Volunteer who wouldn't leave. Then sadly ... I knew I had to start looking for a paying job. I knew I would still volunteer whenever I had free time ... but knew it would not be as much time as I would like. I then asked Joe Taft .. Founder and Director ... and Jean Herrberg ... Assitant Director if I could use them as pesonal references on a Job Resume. They both said yes. Before I could get a resume together I was offered a part time job with the center. My new door was opened! And for this I am grateful.
I work with some of the most caring and dedicated people ever. Long hard grueling days. The full time keepers work 6 days a week. The work is hard .... dirty. These keepers are there on the freezing cold days ... hot .. hot humid days .. pouring down rainy days ... they are there because they know the cats depend on them. They are there because of a passion. A passion we all share that work there. We are there because of love ... a love for these animals. And it is this love that keeps you going on a sad day when you have one of your loved ones pass on. You find the strength to grieve and move on to care for the rest. Sometimes there are questions ... Why??? Did we do enough??? What could we have done different??? What if .... etc ... etc. Those questions will always be there without an answer. But as you move on to take care of another one of these beautiful cats ... you know in your heart you are giving this one a life she or he would not have had without your dedication and love.
Yes the stars were shining brighter last night because they merged with a beautiful new spirit ... a spirit of a special cougar girl named Achia ... now running free and without any barriers. Achia, you will always be in my heart.
I would like to end this with a Thank you to The Exotic Feline Rescue Center for giving not only the cats a second chance at life ... but also for giving me one by letting me work with these beautiful animals and opening my eyes to all the good that you give the cats ... and also for opening my eyes to the bad places that you have rescued these animals from.
Also a big thanks to all the Volunteers who give so much to the Center ...and give to us employees of the center ... you bring us treats to eat .... and for loving the cats also
But mostly thanks to all the Keepers ... Present and Past for your determination to make sure the cats are healthy and cared for with love . You give so much of yourselves. You all deserve so much more credit where credit is due.
Looks like all my pets have turned into question marks .... I must really make it a point to come by here more often .... I even think my owner has abandoned Human Pets ... I knew I had been gone for awhile but didn't think all my pets and owner would be gone .... sigh ..... guess I will just have to amuse myself at work with all the Tigers and Lions ..... and of course my favs .... The cougars ...... They are such incredible beautiful animals ...... Glad to see some of my friends still on here though .... I will try to stop by for some much needed visits and thumbing ..... Miss you all!!!!
A week ago we lost Prince. Prince was one of our beloved Tigers at the EFRC. He came to the center in 1997 in a group of 10 retired Circus Tigers. They came in 8 circus cages. The cages were where they spent their entire lives until coming to the center. They would be taken from the cages to the arena to do the show and then back to the cages. At the EFRC Prince lived in a very nice enclosure with his lifelong friend Princess. They had a nice house and climbing tower and lots of room. We lost Princess last spring and Prince has been declining since then. He was a very old Tiger. He was almost 20 years old. I am glad they both had the time they had at the EFRC where they were loved and very well cared for .....They will always be missed and it is with a sad heart I write this. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of him .... but at least he is now once again with his Princess ..... Love you Prince and Princess ..... big Tiger chuffs to you both ....
Trying to find something different???? Then hopefully you have come to the right place. I am going to start a rotating stock. I will try to rotate things in and out once a week. Please come by often to check out the new things. Be sure to stock up on your favorites in case it gets rotated out. However if you do find one you like let me know if it is gone and I will see about putting it back in for a little bit. If you leave me a comment I will give you a thumb and try to come visit you to give you more thumbs. Big Tiger Chuff to all my customers. Enjoy your shopping with my Cats and me!!!