I set out for my hideaway today. It is a place I fell in love with back in 2009. It has since grown to hundreds more acres, but holds the same meaning for me.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) is a retirement home for captive carnivores. These animals should never have been a pet or an entertainment gimmick. But now, the majestic animals have found their forever home, and will live out their lives in peace and security.
Knowing they came from captive situations could be the connection I initially felt. Their rescue brought tears to my eyes. Some spent their life imprisoned in trailers, garages, or basements. They never had a chance at freedom, and in came TWAS. From small confined spaces to acres and acres of habitats (average of 20 acres), they now know what grass feels like underfoot. After my childhood abuse, I experienced freedom as an adult. I left the basement of terror and stepped into that freedom. Our connection is personal.
This facility is their sanctuary, but it brings me peace to walk the elevated walkway system and see each animal roaming with grace or lounging comfortably with their pride. I watched a Tiger strut around his entire enclosure today. I smiled with content.
I needed this time to regroup. The stress of life melted away, and I was left with calm reassurance. We all need a place of retreat. A quiet place of solitude where we can let go and breathe in. If you don’t have that place, I suggest you find one. Keep it locked in your heart. Give yourself permission to stop and rest your mind.
I was blessed to work for TWAS for a few years after moving to Colorado in 2010. My time there sealed my lifelong dedication to the rescued animals and the people who put their lives aside for the welfare of the beautiful, furry residents.