Some History Links: http://www.skagitriverjournal.com/Definition of a Tiger Lover
I like tigers and admire their grace and beauty, but my neighbors love tigers - truly love them. The reason I know this is that they became caretakers of these wonderful animals. A friend of theirs had a tiger that he could no longer take care of and so they stepped in and said they would adopt him. This is one of the reasons why people should not have exotic animals (that are such cute little babies), these animals grow and no matter how sweet they are, they are still wild and are still dangerous. Eventually, you have to find a zoo to take them or have them euthanized. Most zoos no longer take exotic pets, so the latter will have to be done.
Our neighbors spent months getting permits, building proper fencing, contracting a vet that would take care of the tiger in case of emergencies and of course there are the regular preventative checkups that need to be dealt with. The vet, being a reasonable person, would not consider looking at the tiger unless the tiger was asleep. The shot each time to put the tiger to sleep was priced at $600. Already, the couple have made numerous sacrifices and gone to the extreme to care for this newly adopted (full-grown, I might add) tiger. The expenses of caring for a tiger are astronomical and only a true tiger lover would be willing to make this sacrifice. Time went on, family and tiger bonded and were very happy together. The phone rings and someone says, "I heard you adopt tigers that we can no longer take care of." "Well, we have one, not sure if we could handle another." "We don't know what we are going to do with him, could you please consider taking him."
Another tiger was welcomed into the family. Of course, since it is another male the tigers cannot be in the same run, so they needed to build another run. Happiness goes on for a couple of years as the family bonds with another beautiful animal. Mind you, they are always dangerous, but they are very lovable and the neighbors can go into the runs with them; but as much as they love each other the humans must respect and be wary of the tiger's natural instincts. The tigers would never intentionally hurt their owners, but by their sheer size and power they could snap their neck in what was meant to be a lovable hug. They have no fear of their tigers, but extreme caution must be used when they are inside the run.
A few years later, a zoo in California ordered some tiger cubs from a zoo in Florida. The babies were born and it was a large litter and the California zoo could not take them all. The phone rings again and it was the Florida zoo announcing that they had a female cub that no one wanted and would you please take her. By this time, there is no question in their minds that they would take her, but yet another enclosure had to be built and then when she was old enough she would have to be neutered or it would cause all kinds of problems between their boys. And life continues on for a few more years.
The phone rings, "We have the cutest lioness cub.... "
So far, they have four very big babies who love being the center of attention. It is a joy to be able to visit and pet them (through the fence), listen to their purring and other talking noises they make, watch their comical shows and playfulness. It is especially rewarding to see them in all their majesty relaxing in the safety of a shelter where they will live a long happy life. My hat is off to these true tiger lovers, they are wonderful, caring people who love their babies and give them the best care available.