Good morning everyone –
Needing time to cool down (central air, not functioning ) I got into my car (where the air conditioning is working) deciding to run an errand that was some miles away. I would get to travel the road along the river, towards Montreal, and enjoy the countryside, as it is reaching out and up to meet the wonderful seasons, of late spring, early summer.
I saw a faded sign, Papanack Zoo, something niggled in my mind, I come this way, time and time again, why had I not seen this sign before. I turned off and headed down the road in the direction the arrow pointed. I was overwhelmed by a very sad feeling as I looked over and saw an exotic cat (big one) lying on a mound of earth and weeds. So out of place. The area looked so unkept, it was a field, like one would see in the back forty of an acreage where a broken down, old piece of farm equipment would have been left to rust.
This was a majestic animal, one that I would see pictured on an advert for a safari somewhere in a totally different country, certainly not here in Ontario, just outside of Ottawa. My curiosity peaked I went in search of information. The place was closed, not inviting at all.
I was now on a dirt track, I had parked near a building, to look at what looked like donkeys, standing in open pens, a man came out of a building and I asked him if he could give me information, but he distanced himself from the place, said he knew nothing, I should google it. (I did when I finally got home)
Meanwhile, not getting any information from this man, I turned the car, to continue along the dirt road that ran along a high fence. I saw other animals, in enclosed areas, with very poor looking structures that would allow for “some” cover should there be high heat, or heavy rain, but not all of them had any form of shelter to speak of.
I felt the eyes on me before I saw him, he watched as my car slowly drove by. when I came to a gate that barred my way from going further, I carefully turned the car around, the road was unkept and really meant for a truck or as I later saw, a golf cart type of vehicle.
Here I am, visiting with my new friend. He had a quiet dignity. That could be my finger, because I did scratch his head, and gently lift his hair to see his eyes. He didn’t move except to turn his head, to acknowledge me, and share the moment. His hair was matted in places, and like the other pens, there was no where for him to go. There were two other animals with him. My focus and love was on him.
I wanted him to feel love, experience kindness, he was not just a curiosity, he was beautiful, he mattered. Our bonding was interrupted by a woman’s shouts to not put my hand in it was dangerous. Too late I thought, I have already touched him with love in my heart, and spoken to him with tenderness. Even prayed with him, for I felt his energy, his patience and his gracious acceptance of my attempt at friendship.
Honestly, when I read the negative and awful reports on the internet about the cruelty that was reported a couple of years back, I felt sick, and still today, I hurt for my friend and his other companions. Please offer a prayer for these animals.
I have read reviews, one reviewer who went said it was nice to see animals in a natural setting unlike commercial zoos. There were positives and negatives. I guess one needs to go when it is open and actually speak to staff.
For me, I give thanks for the time I got to spent with my silent friend. His strength, his ability to communicate by just BEING helped me, in my moment of need.
PL calendar day 21 – Let’s be thankful for everything we have right now. Now is an accumulation of every moment leading up to it, and everything that continues to progress and develop to become NOW. Be thankful for everything.
Friendships can last a moment or a life time – love is forever