Kate Gallagher and Tom Lee
Northdown Café and Taproom co-founder Kate Gallagher worked with veterinarians for a decade before opening a Chicago eatery with her husband Tom Lee. They decided to combine their connections, craft beer and cats to launch the wildly successful event called Lions, Tigers & Beers – a fundraiser in Chicago for The Wildcat Sanctuary. Along with top breweries in the world, they bring in the rarest beer for a day of great drinking to support the cats. “On our first visit to TWS, after the first Lions, Tigers and Beers, Diablo Guapo won my heart. Hearing about his history, and seeing how content he was then… I knew at that moment Lions, Tigers and Beers was going to be an annual event. So other cats could live life like Diablo.”
Their annual event has become so successful that they were inspired to create another holiday event called A Very Surly Catsmas with proceeds donated to sponsor as many as four wild cats a year at the Sanctuary!
Sue and Dan Schmitt
Dan and I have donated to TWS for around the last 10 or 12 years. There are so many reasons we do – and they’re all wearing fur (referring to the cats). There was such a need for a safe, secure place these cats could live out the remainder of their lives with no fear. TWS is the place. Every person I have met who is involved is so dedicated to the TWS mission and vision. The money that’s donated is put to such good use and stretched as far as possible. I will continue to stand by TWS for many years to come! Kudos to all who work so tirelessly to make life as wonderful as possible for the furry wonders in their care!
Naomi came to know The Wildcat Sanctuary when the Catskill Game Farm near her closed and began auctioning off their animals. She stepped up to sponsor Max, a cougar TWS rescued (along with many others) from that auction. TWS has become a very important part of her life. She values the care given to the animals as much as she values the integrity of the Sanctuary. As she says, “I know I can trust my money is being used properly. Your kind of sanctuary is so needed in this world we live in. I’m not rich. I’m very careful where I spend my money. Helping you folks makes me feel part of something that is good in this world, where so much is not good. And my giving comes back to me greatly in the way you respond to me. I’m a real individual person to you. Not just somebody who gives money. I’m proud to be part of TWS today and its future. You folks and Max, Cody, Cedar, and Aztec are a real part of my daily life.” Naomi continues to sponsor many of the cats that call TWS home.
Ms. Stacey is an elementary school teacher who heard a radio ad many years ago for The Wildcat Sanctuary. Being such an animal lover herself, she sparks discussions about the difference between wild animals and domestic pets in her class so her students learn that putting animals in captivity is often inhumane and tragic. “It’s amazing to watch their awareness broaden as they come to realize these unfortunate and tragic consequences – they become so passionate about helping the animals that have been mistreated before coming to TWS.” Since 2004, her students have worked hard raising money to sponsor many cats. “The kids LOVE everything about this project and it’s the number one thing my former students come back and talk about when they visit!”
Eileen and Charles Adamec
Receiving a Wildcat Sanctuary Valentine’s Day card from a friend many, many years ago introduced the Adamec’s to the Sanctuary. Realizing the cats needed to be in the wild, but really had no “wild” to go to, really moved them. They understood why the Sanctuary was so important and started sponsoring cats and even named Carlo the cougar when he was rescued. Inspired by TWS, they also founded a non-profit (then called CRY) to make people aware of the misery that wild animals in entertainment suffer. Knowing the animals rescued by TWS would never have to go back to the horrors they once knew, that they would each have their special needs met, these were the things most important to them. Eileen and Carl have said that the greatest gift they’ve received has been “to see our donations put toward making these formerly abused animals as whole as they can be for the rest of their lives.”
Years ago, Charlene saw a billboard for the sanctuary at the Minneapolis airport. She jotted the information down, visited the sanctuary website and began reading all the rescue stories. She was moved to sponsor one of the cats and has since become a member of The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Legacy Pride by naming the sanctuary in her will. But, she also prefers gifting while she’s alive so she’s able to see or hear about the results of her donations. Watching the Sanctuary move to its new location, seeing the cats move into larger habitats filled her with a sense of pride, knowing her gifts contributed to their new lives. Charlene is extremely hopeful for the future generation and generously donated towards intern housing. In her honor, we named our intern housing “The Hogan,” which is a Navajo term meaning dwelling.
After reading an article about The Wildcat Sanctuary, Maureen began reading more about the cats that had been rescued. She and her family decided to sponsor five cats! Maureen explains that, “What sets The Wildcat Sanctuary apart from any other organization is the staff’s obvious dedication to the animals. The pure, authentic compassion, the respect shown, the excellent care and hard work, the broad knowledge base of each species and each unique personality, the exciting enrichment opportunities given the cats – these are why we are so devoted to the Sanctuary.” The cats they sponsor have become such an important part of their lives that the cats’ pictures are prominently displayed in their family room with all the other cherished family photos.
When she describes the sanctuary to others, she emphasizes what’s most important to her – “TWS advocates for the exotic animal – allowing them to be free of pain and abuse, allowing them to be what they are….wild. If they must be rescued or relocated, TWS works above and beyond to find the right ‘home’ for them.” In her Lizbeth Dobbins eyes, educating anyone and everyone with every email, posting, and through media is what sets the sanctuary apart. Lizbeth has become a consistent supporter, helping out by donating towards many of the day-to-day necessities the cats need to thrive.
David Witte and April Viar
What started out as fun chalk drawing while babysitting their cousins’ children has turned into a very successful event called Driveway Cats. Inspired by their friends’ Lions Tigers & Beers benefit for The Wildcat Sanctuary, David and April came up with this unique idea of auctioning off driveway space for artists to chalk cat-themed art. A brewer friend donated a keg of beer and it’s become an annual event now that has sold out in advance. David said they’re “stoked” on being able to sponsor three big cats and a medium cat since they “crushed” their fundraising goal for TWS! A simple idea by this talented musician has made such a difference for the cats.
Whether it’s outdoor play yards for the little cats, a shed to store the cats’ fun enrichment items, or so many other necessities on our Amazon Wish List each week, Joanne always steps up to spoil the cats here at The Wildcat Sanctuary. She’s one of our most special Wish List angels and says, “it’s just something I like to do from the heart” for the cats. She also commemorated the passing of one of our dearest tigers Lilly by purchasing her memorial plaque for the sanctuary’s Memorial Garden. She inspires so many others on the sanctuary’s Facebook page to give each week.