Hey guys! Welcome to my first blog post EVER!!! Today I want to share something near and dear to my heart with you. As you all know, I love cats. I adore cats. I am obsessed with cats...Big and small! If you have ever exchanged emails with me you may have scratched your head at my greeting of "Chuffs". I LOVE talking about my chuffs! In my About Me section I shared how miserable of a human being I was during my bout with depression. I hated myself. I loathed this new body of mine and I was really lonely and just not ok mentally. It's tough to think about these days because I really was at rock bottom. I had a nice house, two beautiful kids, a husband in the Navy and I was just not happy. I knew I needed a change.
I put all of my available time and effort into this little slice of heaven on earth, Catty Shack Ranch. This place and these people and these animals played a huge part in my healing and self love journey. Kurt who is still there to this day was one of the first people to really take me under his wing and show me the ropes. Jordan is so sweet and always had a smile for everyone. Curt LoGiudice is the director and his favorite line every day is "Another day in Paradise". A lot of us say that sarcastically, but Curt seemed genuinely in paradise when at the Ranch. He lives, breathes and eats Catty Shack Ranch. From the website:
"Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Jacksonville, Florida, serving Duval, Saint Johns, Clay, Nassau, and Baker counties. We are also proud to be a top destination for many national and international visitors. We are humbled and honored to be Trip Advisor’s #1 attraction in Jacksonville.
The mission of Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is to provide a safe, loving and forever home to endangered big cats and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and in captivity. Our primary focus is in the rescue of exotic animals from serious situations. Once an animal arrives at Catty Shack Ranch, they have a loving, forever home for life. We do not breed, trade, sell, or buy any of our residents. Our current residents include tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, lynx, foxes, and coatimundis (the last two species being “honorary cats”)."
As a volunteer at Catty Shack I was entrusted with helping to care for these AMAZING animals. Talk about exhilerating getting your first greeting from a tiger. When they start to recognize you as one of the caretakers, the tigers will chuff lovey greetings at you. They would also mark you if you weren't careful! FUN FACT: Tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn. No lie. If you want me to chuff at you at our session, I will don't try me! Haha. Tigers cannot purr but chuffing is almost better! They make moo cow noises when they hear the food truck coming down the lane. The puma's or mountain lions did purr and it was always the sweetest thing. I miss them so much! Tamara, and Binky, and Tal and Nyra, and even the new residents that I haven't met like Abu.
So why am I writing this novel of a blog post about lions and tigers and...how many times do I have to remind y'all that there are no bears?? As I grow this business of mine, I want to be able to give back to my local community here in Ravenna and Portage County. But I also will be donating money every year to adopt a resident at Catty Shack Ranch to give back to a place that gave so much to me. It will be up to y'all to pick! I'll host a poll on my Facebook page each year for my followers to pick one of the residents so STAY TUNED. If you aren't following me on Facebook yet please do! Your support for me and everything I hold dear will always amaze me. I am humbled and honored that you chose to take time out of your busy lives to join me here on this journey and for that I am forever grateful.
PS: Let's grab coffee soon!
All photos are Copyright of Catty Shack Ranch and are not mine. https://cattyshack.org