October 13, 2014
Panther Ridge is an amazing and pristine sanctuary for abandoned, abused, and retired big cats. I have spent many years volunteering with these glorious felines and have felt blessed to be in their presence. I have brought many groups of college students to help rebuild habitats and everyone of them has been moved to tears to have been of service to such marvelous spirits. For many students, it has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to see and get to know these rare felines as souls with value, unique personalities, and meaning as opposed to a "just" a beautiful cat in a cage. Their enclosures are beautiful and natural and NO cat has to sleep on hard concrete like many places I have visited. Judy Berens works tirelessly to provide them with not only the proper food and medicine, but loving enrichment and activities. These well adjusted and happy felines are a testimony to the loving care that they receive from the staff and volunteers. The tours provide tremendous opportunities for education about the issues facing these animals in the wild by developing a one on one connection with each feline. I have been to many other facilities and this one is the best.....by far! It's well worth a visit!
November 15, 2012
Panther Ridge is my heaven on earth. It is a beautiful property filled with unique cats that are seldom seen in such a close setting. I have been blessed to volunteer there for 7 months, rebuilding some of the decking and structures in the cats’ enclosures. It has been a life changing experience to communicate with and assist such noble animals and the dedicated people that take care of them so well. I can’t begin to explain how rewarding it is to raise a roof on the den for of an old, wise, loving, and very arthritic cougar. Then to see that cougar realize that he no longer has to stoop down to enter his den, and in his joy, approaches me at the fence and thanks me with his precious vocalizations and a dance of love. After re-decking the lock out enclosure for Amos the black leopard, he rubbed on the fence between us trying to hug me and vocalized his gratefulness. The world would be a more compassionate place if everyone was lucky enough to have the experiences that I have had while working with these big cats. Many of the animals were abandoned by their original owners and came to Panther Ridge feeling unloved and filled with anxiety. To witness their recovery and capacity to trust again is truly remarkable and gives me hope for the world. Judy, the director, has given so much of her time and love to ensure that these animals know their own worth and you feel that as soon as you enter the place. The staff is very knowledgeable about all the cats and their individual personalities and they work very hard at maintaining a healthy, clean, and loving environment for them. I recommend that everyone tour the place or spend some time volunteering. You will definitely receive more that you give!
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