I'm so sad to share we helped 20-year-old bobcat Harley on to her new wild life.
We couldn't keep her comfortable any longer with the spread of carcinoma in her leg. So we had to make the difficult decision to let her go.
We always use the phrase 'wild at heart' when talking about our residents. But these words truly embody who Harley really was.
Content at the Sanctuary, she always had a wild side and kept her distance from her human caretakers.
Formerly declawed and kept as a pet, Harley ended up at a facility in Texas with two other bobcats, Salem and Dakota, before needing placement at The Wildcat Sanctuary in 2008.
For years, she enjoyed their companionship. But as she aged, she wanted her own space and we gave it to her.
She much preferred her habitat in the brush, watching wildlife in the woods nearby. She had her very own "bird tv" as she lounged on the fire hose hammock she loved.
And though she enjoyed boxes, scents and other enrichment, she enjoyed it even more when no one was watching. She was camera shy, so we respected her privacy. But occasionally, we caught some special moments.
Harley may have not rubbed and purred along the fence to us like other bobcats, but that didn't mean we loved her any less.
Love isn't about reciprocation. It's about loving selflessly and giving Harley the best life she wanted - on her own terms. And that's exactly what everyone did.
Harley, sadly you couldn't live wild. But we were able to give you the next best thing - living wild at heart.
Now you truly get to live as your spirit was meant to be. No more fences confine you. And every choice is yours.
We will miss you each and every day, but smile knowing you are finally free.
Though Harley's Memorial Plaque has been purchased, her rock art piece has not been. If you'd like to help remember Harley in a special way by sponsoring this for the Memorial Garden, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With over 110 wild cats now calling The Wildcat Sanctuary home, something we have to think about every single day is raising money to be able to rescue and care for them. When it can cost as much as $10,000 each year just to care for one big cat, you can see why fundraising is a vital part of the work we do. Your contribution to The Wildcat Sanctuary goes straight to work helping save lives of wild cats in need -- both at the Sanctuary and through outreach and rescue programs all across the country. Please consider donating at http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/