Monday, September 22, 2008

Lions, Tigers, and...Ligers, Oh My!

As many of you know, my daughter is a very big tiger lover. She already wants to save the tigers however she can. This weekend we were fortunate enough to be able to do our part to help tigers who have been rescued from horrible conditions and have gone to live in a wildlife sanctuary in Oklahoma.

The story behind the G.W. Exotic Animal Park is a touching one. After their son was hit and killed by a drunk driver, Francis and Shirley Schreibvogel of Springer, Oklahoma, along with their other son, Joe, vowed that they would dedicate their life to saving the exotic animals that their son had always wanted to see run wild in the jungles of the world. You can read more about their story here.

My daughter and I had to drive more than 80 miles to see their show - and it was worth it!

We actually got to pet two baby tigers! And I'm not talking through a cage, but they were actually sitting in our laps. How much closer can you get? Isn't this little guy adorable? And of course, it was very safe - we had two trainers in the cage with us.It was absolutely amazing to pet these wild creatures and know that we were helping to save them by merely paying for the priviledge to be in the cage with them.


They also had white lion cubs, ligers, and a white tiger, plus older tiger cubs.


We had great fun watching them play in their cages (which were very spacious, yet safe). As you can see, one of their chew toys is a bowling pin!

And just like our cats here at home, these exotic creatures would play for awhile, wrestling on the floor with each other, chasing after their toys, and then they would nap. And they would do so curled up in each other's arms. It was very precious. All of them were very well-cared for, and you could just see how dearly the trainers loved them.

To cap off the day, one of the founders, Joe "Exotic", performed a wonderful FREE magic show for everyone and delivered a message to the kids about taking care of animals, saying no to drugs, and making them aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. It was a bit of a tearjerker to listen to him talk about his brother, but I am in awe that he dedicated his life to saving these animals and educating children.


Needless to say, my daughter wanted to run away and become a tiger trainer herself! She enjoyed every minute of it and now has asked me again how we can help save the tigers. We've got a few ideas up our sleeves!

14 comments:

  1. Wow! You got to cuddle a tiger. What an amazing experience. I am so jealous. :o)

    What a story, too. How wonderful that people can turn tragedy into hope.

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  2. It sounds like it was a fun day! excellent pictures:))

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  3. I can't believe you got to pat tiger cubs! I'm so jealous.

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  4. Shirley - It was pretty cool that this guy would dedicate his life to saving the animals to keep a promise to his brother. Very humbling.


    Terri, thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the pictures. :-)

    Kelly - I'm still amazed that I actually got to do that!

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  5. What a cool experience (and memory) you gave your daughter! Petting a tiger would make a good item to check off the old bucket list too. ;)

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  6. Way cool!!! Love all those pics. And what a wonderful tribute to the lost loved one. It's so easy to live the rest of one's life in bitterness after such an experience - how wonderful this family found a way to turn their loss into gain for these wonderful creatures.

    You and your daughter might enjoy this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNTdWbVBgc

    But KEEP THE KLEENEX HANDY. I'm TOTALLY serious about this. Happy crying :)

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  7. So cool! And such sweet pictures. How great you were able to share it with your daughter. :)

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  8. What an incredible experience for you both.

    I do admire people who manage to turn tragedy into something so positive and wonderful.

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  9. Tess - Oh, I've watched that video before and yes, I cried! It's truly touching.

    Janna - It definitely was a wonderful mother-daughter outing. :-)

    Debs - I admire people who do this, as well. It must take amazing strength and courage.

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  10. Angie - I agree! I've always wanted to pet a tiger and never thought I'd get the chance. :-)

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  11. Oh, my gosh! You got to pet a tiger? How cool is that???

    Good for the family for turning something bad into something wonderful.

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  12. That is amazing!! How sweet :)

    PS. I nominated you for a Brilliante Weblog Premio Award.

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  13. That is so cool! I'm sure she enjoyed it a lot!

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  14. Kacey - Definitely VERY cool! :-)

    Toni - Oh, wow. Thanks!

    Brian - My daughter enjoyed it so much I could barely get her to go home! :-)

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