A Tour

“Talk about pressure!”

Such a compliment. To say that about having to guide a tour at the sanctuary where I am just another guest.

Well, perhaps not just another guest. After a half hour, she desired to give credit and mention that one of the creators of the enrichment program was in the crowd.

I have wanted to get TG out there for awhile. But schedules were not matching up. When my favorite eight-year-old ended up staying at grandma’s for the weekend, I decided I couldn’t stay away any longer.

There is a cell tower on the property. Right next to the largest enclosure. I had, at the very least, a forty-five minute commute every day when I lived there. I was often in a foul mood by the time I reached that exit. Yet every single time I saw that tower, I would sing to myself in the car, “Tigers live there!” Such a wonderful, magical thing to know.

I did the same thing today. Except I started shaking. Perhaps a good thing TG did not accompany me on this trip.

I was nervous. The way you are nervous seeing family you feel you might have disappointed.

A couple volunteers who know me actually guided me to a parking spot and let me get out of my car unnoticed. Tour times are hectic. I stood in line and wondered how long I could go, but when GM came up I could resist calling his name.

And falling into the hug that followed.

I cried at her grave. And at the sight of his old cage inhabited by another tiger.

I was happy to see a certain cougar in a different enclosure, and nearly bitch-slapped another guest who preyed on his fear to elicit a hiss. Do not make my cougars angry. I promise I will bite before they do.

Afterwards, we all caught up before feeding time. It felt weird – to be an outsider and yet so comfortable with what was going on.

It felt good.

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