Giving Back to The Wildcat Sanctuary
I am a longtime volunteer at The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) in Sandstone, Minnesota. The Wildcat Sanctuary is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill big cat rescue. The mission of TWS is to provide a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspire change to end the captive wildlife crisis.
I have had the pleasure of helping with many tasks at the sanctuary, from building enclosures to cleaning to making fire hose hammocks to picking up tiger poop. Every task I do, I know I am making life better for a big cat whose previous life was most often filled with abuse and neglect.
During a particularly heavy snowfall in northern Minnesota, the cats’ enclosures had over three feet of snow in them. The tigers residing at the sanctuary don’t mind the cold and snow but the lions (there were three at the time) tend to spend more time inside during the winter months. (Each animal can escape extreme weather in a temperature controlled building.)
You can imagine when a tiger walks in new fallen snow they immediately create a path. Well, the same would be true for a lion, if they would actually walk in the snow. So, in order to coax the lions outside, we had to go into their large enclosure and shovel paths for them. (Anytime people are in an outdoor enclosure the cats are safely shut in their indoor enclosure.)
As I shoveled lots and lots of snow to make the paths, I thought, “I am an average size woman shoveling a path for a 400 lb. lion!” I affectionately say the lions are big babies in the winter; but I really know that this is due to fact that they are an African species. Of all the shoveling I have done as a Minnesota native, shoveling snow for lions is the only time I have gotten excited about shoveling.
After we finished shoveling the snow, and the lions were let back into their outdoor enclosure, they immediately investigated every inch of their new path. It was so gratifying to see them happily exploring and romping in the fresh snow.
It’s an honor and a pleasure to give back by volunteering at The Wildcat Sanctuary. It’s hard, gratifying work and I am so grateful this wonderful sanctuary for big cats resides in Minnesota.
Review from #MyGivingStory
My first introduction to The Wildcat Sanctuary was in Isanti. I sponsored a big cat and along with that sponsorship came an exclusive tour of the sanctuary. On my ride up for the tour, I remember thinking, “I hope this is a reputable sanctuary and I won’t be disturbed by what I see.” I know that all “sanctuaries” are not what they claim to be. Sure the photos on the TWS website looked great, but websites may not be a true reflection of a place.
Upon arriving at TWS, I was thrilled to find out that Tammy Thies was giving the tour! The Executive Director and Founder of the sanctuary had made time in her day to spend with me! After that first visit to TWS I was moved by the mission of the organization, impressed by all they were doing for the cats and completely “wowed” by Tammy’s commitment and dedication. From that point on, TWS became a top favorite cause of mine.
Over the years, I have been a financial supporter of TWS as well as introduced others to TWS. Tammy possesses the expertise to lead the sanctuary into the future. She is respected nationally for her knowledge and skills, for which she is called upon frequently. Minnesota is very fortunate to be home to this sanctuary that not only provides the best home for life possible for formerly unwanted and abused big cats, but serves as a resource for the entire country. This has all been built and accomplished under the leadership of Tammy Thies.
Review from Guidestar
This organization is a great advocate for neglected, abused and abandoned wildcats, however, its reputation has been tarnished by this investigation. By removing the people responsible for this mess, then and only then can this wonderful organization rebuild its reputation and become the sanctuary it used to be. New people, more structure and accountability, and full transparency are needed in order to regain the trust of its loyal donors and the general public.
The reason for the rating is that I will not donate to this organization until there is trust that the donations will not be used inappropriately, but The Wildcat Sanctuary has and will eventually have a great impact in the future.
Review from Guidestar
I hope to get to volunteer there the next time Scott Lope is helping you out and I will be bring my camera to get the most awesome photo for you and your super big hearted place for these beautiful animals!!!! Thank You!!!
So often; people, organizations and cities call the Wildcat Sanctuary, "Can you? Will you?" And the answer is always "Yes". They will rescue, feed, support and give a protected life to numerous felines of every possible description". And not without sacrifice.....and not without a struggle....and not without great financial burden. This organization demonstrates one of the simplest principles of a great humanitarian, the care and preservation of our vulnerable, priceless wildlife.
This organization is doing a very important work to educate people that owning exotic pets is not ok. Too many people get in over their heads when they think an exotic pet is such a great idea. When it doesn't work out, they are lucky if they can find someone to give their exotic pet sanctuary. Room is limited! Don't own exotic pets!
The Wildcat Sanctuary does an extraordinary service to helpless felines. They've made a huge impact on the community considering they've been pushing for knowledge about what is a pet and is not a pet. They truly understand the concept of humaneness and compassion.
I admire the Wildcat Sanctuary for their heroic work in saving exotic cats from bad situations and providing them loving lifetime care. Perhaps even more important is their dedication to educating the public about the issues surrounding the inappropriate use and keeping of exotic animals. Thank you, Wildcat Sanctuary, for all that you do!
I learned about the Wildcat Sanctuary a few years ago and I have nothing but love for Tammy Thies and ALL of the staff and volunteers that make TWS a home for these beautiful creatures. I hope and pray that TWS is able to provide help to cats in need for many years to come!
This sanctuary is truly devoted to the welfare of these big cats. It costs so much to feed and are for them all, but, somehow, TWS does it. Daily. Weekly. yearly. I don't worry too much about the big cats because I know, that come hell or high water, these magnificent creatures will be taken care of. I'm disabled and on a very limited income, but I do what I can to help. If only more people would!