Counting our Holiday Blessings at The Wildcat Sanctuary as Asha the Lioness Recovers

By | December 17, 2013 at 3:28 am | No comments | TWS in the News

Do you ever find yourself at a time in life, when the obstacles seem so high, that you question what the future holds?  You’ve worked so hard, but you feel you still aren’t keeping pace.  I’ve experienced those feelings too, and even though the feelings may be fleeting, they do come.

Starting TWS over a decade ago, I had a somewhat naive notion of what rescuing animals would be like.  I thought doing something this good and compassionate would be easy.  That was far from the truth. But, despite the unexpected challenges, it has been extremely worthwhile. You and the cats continue to make it so.

I now know that, in running a sanctuary, there are few moments when you feel you’ve accomplished everything you needed to get done.  The hard work is to better the lives of animals. But the day-to-day worries include building, paying bills, developing effective policies and procedures, handling insurance and permits, fundraising, managing staff, and so much more.  As we grew bigger, small changes happened that didn’t mirror the original vision of The Wildcat Sanctuary. This gave me the most sleepless nights.

The business side of The Wildcat Sanctuary kept changing and this weighed on me. But nothing weighed on me more than being true to the Sanctuary and the cats.  And being true to you, our donors, by ensuring we fulfilled our original mission and vision.

Many of you know, there have been quite a few changes over the past year and it hasn’t been easy. We are still in transition and restructuring the organization.  But let me promise you, The Wildcat Sanctuary is on track.

I have spent the last month with the board reviewing policies, outsourcing business functions, developing a new organization structure, fundraising, and meeting with donors. I know we are headed in the right direction.  For more than a decade, the tireless work by so many is helping us move to the next needed stage.

In the midst of this transition, Asha, the lioness got sick.  All the business demands became unimportant.  Nothing else matters when one of our beloved cats falls ill.  For a moment, you feel helpless, but it also brings clarity.  Clarity that this is what all the hard work is for – to help cats like Asha.

I can remember the first day Asha arrived at The Wildcat Sanctuary.  It was a cold and snowy winter day, much like today.  She was in a large metal crate being lifted from a truck with a skid steer.  Both the crate and the skid steer were rocking from her shifting side to side.  Even through the crate, you could sense the sheer power of her.  She was such a strong girl.  She has been a strong girl every day since joining our sanctuary in 2006.  That is until recently.

Even at 17, Asha has been an active lioness.  Meal time is her favorite time.  So, when she wasn’t as interested in eating one day, we knew something was wrong. Seeing one of our strongest cats appear weak is very emotional for each of us, but we know we have an important job to do.  And, with wild animals, it often must be done quickly.

Taking a 400-pound lioness to the vet isn’t an easy task or inexpensive, but your support ensures big cats like Asha always receive the best of care.

Dr. Blake and Dr. Lee sedated and examined Asha at the Sanctuary.  She was given pain medications, fluids and supportive care here at TWS so she would be stronger for her trip the next day to the University of Minnesota’s large animal hospital for diagnostics.

The University’s expert team performed ultrasounds and it was determined surgery was needed.  Asha had a baseball size benign cyst on her liver and a blockage in her lower intestine due to slow motility. Results showed this had been an ongoing issue for Asha.  Surgery took several hours and then she was on her way back to TWS for recovery.

Asha received around the clock monitoring and care by her keepers, including medication and a special diet.  Two weeks after her surgery, she was introduced back into her pride with Shanti Deva and Aslan.  The reunion and recovery was just as emotional for us as her illness.  Seeing the pride accept her back and immediately begin grooming her was heartwarming.

Asha’s keeper Kathryn said, “Tears came to my eyes when I saw Asha walk-up and nuzzle Aslan.  And hearing the pride roar together for the first time again was a great moment.”

Happy endings and specialty care for our residents is made possible because of your generosity.  This was a very serious surgery for a cat of Asha’s age and size.  We feel blessed that Asha will have even more days here at the Sanctuary.

Coming together to care for Asha truly embodies what TWS has been and continues to be about.  Our work is so important and you are extremely important to the cause.

The current board of directors continues to embrace the original mission and vision of TWS.  And we all know that years of rescue, providing natural sanctuary and educating No More Wild Pets would not be possible without your support.  Please remember we need your continued support moving forward.

If you haven’t yet made a year-end gift, please consider doing so. You can give online here or by mail to The Wildcat Sanctuary, PO Box 314, Sandstone MN 55072.

Forever blessed to have you a part of The Wildcat Sanctuary,

Tammy Thies

Founder & Executive Director

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