Performing Animal Welfare Society, December 8, 2011
With Bob Barker
PAWS directors, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, were delighted to host Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet, director of the DJ&T Foundation, for a Thanksgiving visit to see the wonderful habitats for bears and lions, and the third bull elephant barn - all funded by the Foundation.
Mr. Barker and Ms. Burnet were greeted by curious bears, Boo-Boo, Winston and Jack, as they toured the outer area around the spacious, forested bear habitat. All bears were engaged in their early morning foray for acorns when the visitors arrived. Oma and Sampson remained at a distance, but fat little Cinnamon waddled down the hill to check for possible treats.
Bolivia lions Camba, Daktari, Simba and Bambek sleepily watched the fascinated benefactors as they approached, but quickly flopped over to sleep in the morning sun in true lion fashion - quite a change from the snarling, frightened circus survivors we saw when they arrived from Bolivia.
Sheba, our female lion from Galt, was more alert, silently stalking the group from behind a large bush. Hope springs eternal in the world of female lions, the quintessential hunters; Sheba quietly waited for someone to stumble, allowing her to spring into action. After a few moments, she turned away and watched as a red-tailed hawk swooped past, patrolling the premises. Another quiet day at ARK 2000.
Nicholas, the first bull elephant rescued on behalf of Mr. Barker, seemed to recognize his friends who have visited him before, and happily dusted, played, accepted a treat bag and blew the elephant version of a kiss at Nancy. Elephants identify and recognize individuals by smell, and often blow long breaths at each other in the process. It resembles blowing a kiss, and is a delightful behavior to watch.
Our guests joined Pat and Ed for Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating the many blessings enjoyed by the animals and provided by the generosity of the DJ&T Foundation. Just as they were sitting down for dinner, the phone rang with the news of the Toronto City Council's decision to send Thika, Toka and Iringa, the Toronto Zoo elephants, to ARK 2000. Although they were quite aware of the problems inherent in relocating elephants, and the challenges they will now face, everyone was happy and excited about the momentous decision.
Thanksgiving entertainment was provided by Pat and Ed's precocious housecats, Buzz and Julie. Julie focused most of her attention on Nancy; Buzz was so fascinated by Mr. Barker that she climbed into his lap whenever he sat down, purring and preening in a blatant display of cat adoration. Mr. Barker is quite obviously her favorite visitor.
Thank you Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet and the DJ&T Foundation, for your dedication and support to the PAWS' animals!
Buzz and Julie are two of the "Real Housecats of PAWS", a prestigious group of former feral domestic cats, a majority of which were rescued by PAWS board member, Ed Minghelli and his wife, Cindy. Ed and Cindy have been loyal supporters, and fierce activists, involved in PAWS' campaigns and rescues for nearly 20 years.
Trained, licensed wildlife rehabbers, the Minghellis have fostered, rescued and rehabilitated a variety of native wildlife: possums, skunks, squirrels, raccoons and many others.
Ed Minghelli has sat waiting all night with Pat in the freezing cold to monitor the unloading of circus elephants when they arrived in Las Vegas; he accompanied Ed Stewart on a grueling rescue of a bear incarcerated in a small cage at a convenience store in Wisconsin; and he and Cindy have participated in numerous other PAWS' campaigns to help captive wildlife.
"The Real Housecats of PAWS"
The issue of feral housecats straggling into our sanctuaries has been a problem for many years. They often carry diseases fatal to lions and tigers, and they reproduce rapidly if they are not caught and neutered. Since we are all cat lovers, the problem is compounded by our desire to help them which consumes a lot of the time allocated to the sanctuary residents.
We were so appreciative and grateful when Cindy and Ed Minghelli founded The Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc. (Fat Kitty City) in 1998. A non-profit corporation, Fat Kitty City is dedicated to ending needless animal suffering through spaying, neutering, socializing, adopting and other programs to feed and care for an endless stream of domestic dogs, cats and others.
For the past 13 years, PAWS has relied upon Fat Kitty City for all our domestic animal problems. We have sent many sick and starving felines on the verge of death to this remarkable haven where Cindy and Ed and a team of volunteers perform the magic of TLC, good veterinary care and superlative housing to transform snarling, defensive bundles of matted fur into loving, happy companions.
The Fat Kitty City Sanctuary is located in the Sacramento area foothills on a 20-acre, tree-studded, natural habitat where homeless and severely abused domestic animals (mostly cats and dogs) are provided grassy, spacious areas to run, play, jump, climb, chase and explore. They can go indoors or outside, as they wish, in an environment that replicates a natural home.
The "Real Housecats of PAWS" are former residents of Fat Kitty City, adopted under a rigorous screening program (even for us!) to be office kitties and personal pets for PAWS staff. Buzz, Julie, Sylvester, Gordo, Susie and Abby, are beloved members of the PAWS family, and we hope all of our supporters will visit the Fat Kitty City website to learn more about their wonderful work, to volunteer, to adopt an animal or to donate.
Fat Kitty City provides a unique and very necessary service to homeless, abused and abandoned domestic animals.
Thank you Cindy and Ed for your dedication to all animals.