Saturday, February 14, 2009

Big Cats, Little Cats and a Memorial to a Dear Friend

This past Thursday, we gathered at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo in order to dedicate the new lab named for my dear friend Bev and see the equipment that had been donated in her name. (Take a look over here for some of the pictures I took at the memorial. Here is one, below:)

Photo montage

After the outdoor ceremony, with its moving speeches by Bev’s friends and colleagues, followed by songs she loved, we went inside the animal hospital building to see the new equipment. On a door facing the large memorial plaque that had been mounted on the wall was the following sign:

Here there be tigers

“Tiger free inside. Open the door carefully!”

Indeed, inside was a ravenous Sumatran tiger by the name of Sylvester. Here is the fearsome creature, chowing down:

Sylvester the tiger cub

I got to pet him. I got to pet a tiger! (It only made me miss Bev all the more, though, since I remembered how she let me pet Roo, the Persian leopard cub that she hand-raised, when he was very little.)

(Check out some information on the Sumatran tiger here.)

When I first met Bev, she had four or five cats whom she cared for with her love and boundless knowledge of animals. All of them lived well into old age. When I was helping to care for the Lady in Red, Bev was one of the people who held my hand and recommended the veterinarian who saved her life, enabling her to live out her last year and a half in comfort and good health. So here, in Bev’s honor, are photos of two cats of the smaller kind. First, Her Ladyship among the tulips:

Cat, tulip, tree

Next, here is the torbie who is being cared for by people in the next building:

Kitty on a car

Quite a few close friends of mine have died over the past several years. Each of those losses has been difficult, but Bev’s death hit me the hardest. Even now, I feel her loss as sharply as I did the moment that I first found out about it, and I know that other friends of hers feel the same. I suppose that is a testimony to just how special Bev was.

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