Sunday I had the chance to go to the Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota, Florida. What a wonderful thing these people do to provide a sanctuary for these animals. They are a non-profit organization running entirely on donations. They provide a safe haven for big cats, bears, and other animals in need. They primarily take in exotic animals, but they also had some goats, turtles, and greyhound dogs. They were looking for homes for the dogs. It is a family run organization founded by Kay Rosaire who has had more than thirty years experience working with exotic animals. The commitment the Rosaires make to these animals is one for life. When they take an animal in it will be their last residence.
I had the pleasure of meeting a lion named Handsome, a liger (no it's not a typo...it's a cross between a lion and a tiger) named Mia, and a chimpanzee named Ricky. Guess what? Ricky was having a book signing. Yeah, a chimp signing his books. He had quite a crowd around him, more than I usual get. I think maybe I could learn a few things from Ricky. Maybe he could teach me to make those funny noises. But then I don't have my picture on the front cover of Jon Stewart's "Earth," a book that spent ten weeks on the New York Times Best Seller's list.
It's not a fancy place, and it's not as large as they would like (although they are expanding) but it's a loving shelter for animals that wouldn't survive elsewhere. If you're ever in Sarasota, stop in and see the service the Rosaires and their staff of wonderful volunteers provide.