Amongst all our hard catch-up work, we took an hour here and there to take a mental break and do something fun. Bev took us to a local concert of the “Sons and Brothers.” They are country style band that is the pride of the town and are apparently getting pretty well known. We enjoyed the music. One thing we miss most of all on this trip is music. We don’t have Ipods with us or anything, and we really miss music. Friends and family, our home and Tempurpedic bed, my cat Nacho, fresh fruits and veggies, and music. That sums up what we miss the most. So a concert was really nice.
We’ve had some good times here with our hosts too. Ann and Bev had their sister and a couple friends come over for dinner and they went crazy making good food. Richard was in the kitchen chatting while they were finishing up and made some comment about how they were all making him feel young. In perfect unison, all 5 senior citizen ladies turned at once and yelled, “YOU ARE YOUNG!” Oh man did I laugh! It was fun to laugh all evening long with these wonderful ladies, and it charged us to get up and keep working hard the next day.
Oh…… you wanted to hear about the tiger story?????………. Oh, alright……!
After we spent the morning speaking at a cowboy church in Pueblo- Bev, Richard, and I drove up north of Colorado Springs to a place Anne supports and recommended we see. It was a large cat rescue charity called Serenity Springs. They gave us a tour through their facility where they lovingly cared for over 115 big cats who were retired actors, previous house pets in areas where laws changed forcing the owners to find a good home for them, or were rescued from bad and unhealthy situations. There were lions, tigers, (no bears!), bobcats, mountain lions, leopards, a panther, and many other unique cat species I’ve never seen before.
We were instructed to stay 3 feet away from the fences at all times during the tour, even though some of these big kitties were friendly and rubbing their faces along the fence like a house cat enticing you to pet it. There was a raw reminder of how deadly these hunters can be as we walked by the panther’s cage…. he had just caught and was eating a ferrel domestic cat who had climbed into his cage. A black and white house cat followed our group as we took the tour, but he seemed to know to stay away from his relatives’ cages, especially the mountain lions who crouched in pounce position every time he walked by!
We got to hear lions roaring in unison- it was sooo cool! We watched sibling tigers play fighting. And we really got the rare opportunity to see that large cats act very much like house cats in personality. There was one tiger that loved to play stalk and pounce. While we stood there and watched as our guide was telling us about him, he hid behind a toy in his pen, slowly slinked up behind her, then jumped playfully right at the fence where she was. It reminded me so much of how I play chase with Nacho, only I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of that fence just in case he did get out of control! It’s one thing to get play-attacked by a cat…. it’s another by a tiger!
But after the tour, we actually got the opportunity to pet a baby 3 month old tiger! I was nearly shaking with excitement. I’ve never heard of anywhere allowing you to pet a large wild cat! We were each allowed 5 minutes of one on one time with the tiger, and as much pictures as we could snap! The little guy was so cute! He weighed about 35 pounds and his fur was rougher than I expected. He played just like a regular kitten- wanting to bat and bite at everything. Yup, he bit my leg, my hand, my shirt sleeve! He bit Richard’s side and leg and left a mark! When he bit Bev’s hand, her thin skin ripped and she had blood all over her hand and will have a sweet tiger bite scar! He wasn’t being vicious, just playing- but his teeth were a bit bigger than a kitten! The handler that was there would distract him with a toy once in a while so he didn’t cover us in teeth marks, and it allowed us to just pet and hug him. The handler even let me pick him up! The picture didn’t come out too clear since the little guy was squirmy. He was obviously more comfortable being picked up by the guys that normally handled him. Like house cats, there is a level of trust that is built. That was some of the fastest 5 minutes ever, but we enjoyed every second of it. If you are a big cat fan, an animal lover, or just want a really cool experience, I highly recommend supporting this place and going to see it! However, if you want to pet a tiger, you better hurry! They will only allow them to be pet for a little while longer before they get too big to risk it. They try to rescue at least one tiger kitten a year so that it helps earn food money for the cats, but no guarantees. If you do get the opportunity, don’t miss it! This was an absolutely AWESOME experience!