October 25, 2013

Little tiger, big tiger

Was there really any doubt what my daughter would be for Halloween this year? I know most kids her age change their minds again and again. The other moms at preschool and I have been laughing about it.

SB has been that way in the past. But this year, with her singular focus on a particular animal, it's been set for months. And, for the first time since I became a mom, I actually made her costume! I am quite proud of how it turned out.

There is a wildlife sanctuary here in NE Florida that is home to a number of Siberian tigers. We took SB over the summer to help a trio of them celebrate a birthday:

Recently, I read on the facility's Facebook page it would be holding a Halloween celebration. So of course we had to dress SB up in her tiger costume and head up there. She was so excited.

Her costume was a huge hit. The staff of volunteers loved it. The tigers themselves were not so sure what to think. Several charged the fence of their enclosure. And one went around spraying its scent all over as she stood nearby.

There were crafts. Special games. Face painting (which we don't allow, b/c it seems to trigger her seizures). And a haunted forest. I thought if we went by light of day she would be OK with it. I was totally wrong. But we were able to see all the big cats and avoid it.

The tiger SB is standing in front of in this shot? A 600 pound male Siberian tiger. He is massive and so powerful. His paws are bigger than my face. I watched him for some time. He is an absolutely magnificent creature. Seriously. Look at him!

His name, appropriately, is Zeus. And as I looked into his eyes, I was filled with the same passion my child has for saving his wild counterparts. It would be a tragedy if these beautiful animals were to be erased from the earth. As the CEO of Panthera says, "We cannot allow it."

My four year old has raised more than $400 to date in support of Panthera's mission to save the world's big cats, including the Siberian tiger. She is so proud, and we are proud of her. But more is needed to make a difference for these cats. 

If you have the means, please consider donating to her campaign. Zeus and I thank you! And SB will do one of her celebration dances:

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