Not having to transport a sick, injured, or aging animal many miles to the vet is so important. Those trips were not only hard on the animals but dangerous as well. What if there was a car accident and a tiger got lose? It almost happened once. The tens of thousands of dollars required to make this on-site clinic a reality was truly a monumental task. What it will mean for the care of the more than 100 big cats and bears in TCWR's care is even bigger.
Normally, the clinic would not be part of a tour at the facility, but yesterday it was open to the public. I was thrilled to see Chamber of Commerce members from Fayetteville, Rogers, Eureka Springs, Holiday Island, and many others that I didn't catch the names of coming with giant scissors to celebrate with us. I'd also like to give a shout-out to the Ghost Tours of HauntedEurekaSprings.com and EurekaVanTours.com for volunteering to provide shuttle service down to the clinic from the parking lot. They kept everything flowing smoothly. I'd like to think my flight attendant inspired directions helped too. This way, please.
If you want to watch the ribbon cutting video and see a tour of the facility, just click on this link. You will need to be signed in to Facebook to see it. I didn't get to witness that part. I was still up in the parking lot making sure everyone found the shuttles and made it down there in time. Being a volunteer often means you miss the actual big moment, but that's okay. I was just grateful to see how many people showed up--I'm guessing around 200.
Here's my own personal photos of the event:
|I overheard that this table can support a horse standing on it. |
You don't really think about how heavy a tiger is, but that's a huge concern when they need veterinary care.
|You know that scale you put your dog on at the vet? This is the giant version.|
|A very sweaty me with the amazing Emily, the curator, who has been with TCWR from almost the start. |
She is the best friend an animal could have, and she's pretty cool with people too.
|Enclosures for receiving new animals or temporarily caring for those who need it. A wall in the middle slides back and forth the adjust the size or bring an animal up to the wall for shots and such with out having to sedate them.|
|Proof cats really do have bones, even though they move like this is impossible.|
|A photo they have on the wall from an earlier surgery.|
You really don't want that anesthesia to wear off!
Of course, once the tour was over, I had to go hang out at the refuge a bit. Health issues have kept me from my docent duties this summer, and I have really missed it. I hope I can get back to business shortly.
|Selfie with BamBam. He's a character in Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge.|
|Elvis and Dillon, just snoozing the day away.|
Bobcats, in case you can't tell.
|I even got myself a little treat at the gift shop. I mean, how adorable is he?|
I shall name him Thor after my lion buddy for many docent sessions.
Next up is the Ozark Writers League quarterly conference on Saturday the 20th in Branson. I'll be part of a panel on self-publishing at the end of the day. Come on by and say howdy!