Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
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Sweet Refuge!
Monday, October 17th, 2011

Last weekend when friends and I attended the Ozark Writers’ Conference in Eureka Springs, we blew off the conference accomodations in favor of something more on the wild side.

We headed a few miles out of town for the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It’s a big cat refuge where exotic animals that have been abused or have become too much for their owners to handle can live out the rest of their lives. These animals aren’t suited for return to the wild and most have some health issue that prevents them from going to zoos. The refuge strives to put every animal they acquire in its own habitat, but while animals heal or are awaiting the opening of a new habitat area, they are caged.

We toured the habitat area and watched the keepers feed the animals. We were impressed with their work, the facility and the need.

First, take a look at our digs. These cabins are made to look like tents set up for safari, but are much more comfortable. At night, we could hear the cats “singing” and snarling. Very cool!

This is the inside of the one I shared with Myla Jackson and Shayla Kersten. The cabins ringed a deck that had a firepit and a jacuzzi. Yeah, we were roughing it. 🙂

These are a few pics I took of the animals in the habitats. They looked comfie, healthy, and the fences were sturdy—thank God—because you don’t realize how big those creatures are until you stand near them!

These are a pair of siblings that share a habitat. They greated each other affectionately, then proceeded to snarl and swat each other with their big paws.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the tiger on the right is missing its hind leg.

These are pics of the animals living in the cages near the visitor center. They are either healing or awaiting a habitat. The refuge relies on donations. I think the stupid pet owners who raised them should have to pay “cat-imony” on a monthly basis.

Ever seen a Liger? Me neither. A cross between a tiger and a lion wouldn’t occur in nature, but again, stupid pet owners…

Feeding time was fun to watch. Wish they’d let idiots like me pay for the privelege to risk our arms throwing raw meat into the cage.

They had plaques up for deceased animals. I found one pretty kitty who had my name.

15 comments to “Sweet Refuge!”

  1. Brandy W
    · October 17th, 2011 at 5:05 pm · Link

    I love big cats. I would love to go visit a place like that.

  2. Judy Nickles
    · October 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm · Link

    Thank goodness for people who can do this! FYI, there is another drive-through habitat (not just for big cats) at Glen Rose, Texas, if you’re ever out that way. It’s a nice visit.

    Enjoyed meeting you and your sister at the conference.

  3. Shadow
    · October 17th, 2011 at 5:40 pm · Link

    wow! beautiful creatures! some people can be so stupid. i hate some of those cages, they look sterile and cold. 🙁 its nice to know that this refuge takes in the animals and gives them a home. thanks for sharing delilah! 🙂

  4. Christi Anderson
    · October 17th, 2011 at 6:13 pm · Link

    My heart breaks for these amazing animals. But thank god there are people who care and provide a home for them. You are so right in calling the people who think they should keep wild animals as pets. Very stupid.

  5. Diane Sallans
    · October 17th, 2011 at 6:29 pm · Link

    You have got to see this thing author Donna Grant posted on FB today – incredible video of this guy romping with big cats. Here’s the FB page that has it:

  6. June M.
    · October 17th, 2011 at 6:42 pm · Link

    I agree with the “cat” imony. People are stupid for trying to turn beautiful, wild creatures into pets. Do they actually think they will be just overgrown house cats? Idiots! 👿

  7. Jet
    · October 17th, 2011 at 9:02 pm · Link

    Right on June M.!
    Love the pictures, they are all so beautiful, especially that white tiger, yet also slightly scary. Why someone would want one of them in their backyard baffles me….Hellllo, they are dangerous people, they eat meat, you’re meat!

  8. Cynthia D'Alba
    · October 17th, 2011 at 9:50 pm · Link

    I’ve been to Turpentine more than once (and was the one who asked everyone to go stay with me there last weekend!) I believe we (i.e. humans) have a requirement to care for other creatures here on earth. I wish you guys could all see this place. What a wonderful environment for this rescued “kitties.” (Kitties! Ha!)

    And Delilah didn’t mention that there was also a GRIZZLY BEAR that had been rescued when the owner realized that maybe a FREAKING GRIZZLY BEAR MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST PET!!! The bear’s name is BamBam. He loves his metal swimming pool and his play toys, which he can tear up in short order.

    I want to go back and do another weekend…um, DD? You in?

  9. Emily Tardy
    · October 17th, 2011 at 11:43 pm · Link

    I loved the pics Delilah! I really wish I could help out places like this… Maybe when my little ones are older =D

  10. tammy ramey
    · October 18th, 2011 at 12:37 am · Link

    beautiful pictures Delilah, it’s unfortunate that there is a need for a place like this but i’m glad that there is a place for all of these poor animals to call home.

  11. Becky Ward
    · October 18th, 2011 at 2:33 am · Link

    Beautiful pictures Delilah. I love the pictures. I like big cats. I’m glad that there is a place for these poor animals to call home.

  12. Zina
    · October 18th, 2011 at 8:06 am · Link

    I agree with the cat-omonie therory too, especially for the animals that come in abused or maimed. The digs did look very comfy.

  13. Brenda Demko
    · October 22nd, 2011 at 5:38 am · Link

    Great pictures Delilah! Thank you for sharing them.

  14. becky jean
    · October 23rd, 2011 at 5:59 pm · Link

    wow. what an exciting sight!

  15. melissa r.
    · October 23rd, 2011 at 6:07 pm · Link

    I love big cats. That is so awasome, I would totally love to go there.

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