I have done several posts about my love for Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and the good work they do. Just recently I even posted an award-winning story I wrote about a tiger getting the chance to run and move freely in a larger habitat area. Today I had the chance to prove how important those habitats are by helping to build some of them.
When the work on Rescue Ridge first began, my family and I went right away to help build. I think today was our third trip to that section of the refuge. As part of a Volunteer Day, we helped to hang fencing to allow more tigers the chance to run and move and lie in the grass. Each enclosure already has a small yard area, but these larger sections are about 10x the size. The cats in Rescue Ridge are mostly from one very large rescue event, but we learned today that this section is also helping the older cats who cannot manage the hilly areas where most of the other large yards are located. Rescue Ridge is serving as a place for the rescued cats who don’t care for humans to be separate from the tour groups and loudness of the main sections, but it is also a retirement area for the older cats who need some flat ground, as well as peace and quiet.
It’s important to stand behind the causes we support. If you are going to shout about pet adoption, you’d better be ready to volunteer at a shelter or foster some of those displaced pets yourself. We have four rescue cats and a rescued dog, so I’m safe on that one. I’m grateful that I often get the chance to volunteer at Turpentine Creek. So when I say I think it is vital for those rescued tigers to have habitats with open spaces and grass and nature available to them, I can stand behind those words because I have hacked at the earth and carried fencing and spray painted and picked up rocks (and donated money when I can) and done whatever else is necessary to give those tigers that space. It may be years, if ever, that I get to personally see those exact tigers roam in that exact space. Rescue ridge is not open to the public. But I still know it is there and it is happening. That’s enough for me. As we walked back to the trucks, it made my heart so happy to see tiger after tiger, lounging in the sun in the already completed yard areas. One was belly up, feeling safe and comfy regardless of the people and machinery all around him. He was home.
Ivy, the volunteer coordinator we have worked with many times, mentioned that they may soon be ready to demolish all of the small concrete enclosures at the front of the refuge. Every tiger and lion and cougar there now will have a real habitat. You can be sure I will show up for that demolition day, and I’ll bring my own sledgehammer.
What causes makes your heart happy? How can you put your actions where your mouth is today?