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Review for The Wildcat Sanctuary, Sandstone, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

Role:  General Member of the Public

Review for The Wildcat Sanctuary, Sandstone, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Role:  Donor