Extending the Holiday Spirit

Enriching the Lives of Our Animals

January 10, 2019

One of our favorite times of year is after Christmas and shortly after New Year’s Day when gently used live Christmas Trees begin to arrive. Pine trees carry a strong scent that might trigger nostalgia in humans, but for big cats, it means a special form of enrichment only experienced during a short time of the year. Our big cats love this fun form of enrichment, and it helps keep the trees out of landfills, helping the environment.

Luckily, each year we have a steady supply of trees from local supporters and the Crescent Hotel. During the month of December, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs hosts a “Crescent Christmas Forest” where nonprofits from the area decorate trees and people vote for their favorite with donations, which the nonprofit receives. At the end of the event, the trees are then donated to Turpentine Creek so that our big cats can enjoy some extra enrichment.

Throughout the week, our animals will be getting Christmas trees as part of their daily enrichment program. Some of the animals, like Daniel and Fergy (pictured above) love to rub and scent their Christmas tree enrichment, others will tear them to itty bitty pieces, and a few will ignore them in favor of their permeant enrichment (boomer balls). It is always interesting to watch the reactions of our animals to the various types of enrichment that we provide them.

Seasonal enrichment is a great way to encourage our animals to utilize their natural instincts. Scent enrichment is vital to keeping our animals lives fun and stimulating. We are very appreciative to everyone who donates Christmas trees, scent enrichment, boomer balls, and other various types of enrichment throughout the year. Donate today so that we can continue to provide quality care for the animals that call the Refuge home.

Improving Animal Care

Why We Continue to Making Strides Towards Quality Care

January 2, 2018

The TCWR animal care and veterinary program grants lifelong care to rescued survivors of the exotic animal trade, elevating their quality of life. We are always looking at ways to lower stress in our animals and improve how we care for their physical and mental well-being.

In 2016, your belief and commitment realized the first step in ending the stress and risk of anesthetizing and transporting our big cats and bears over 40 miles for veterinary care, with the construction of the Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital. In 2018, we took the second step, with the addition of staff Veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweeley.  Having a vet on-site enables us to conduct weekly evaluations of each animal’s physical and mental health, to better plan for their long-term care and avoid emergency situations with early intervention.

In zoos people see perfect specimens; at sanctuaries, like TCWR, visitors learn about animals whose fangs have been filed, claws removed, injuries gone untreated, and who suffer from diseases and physical deformities caused by malnutrition and inbreeding. Health complications are always an issue in our rescued animals, and regular exams can make the difference between life and death for many.

Since joining the team, Dr. Sweeley has dedicated much of her time to making sure that pain management and dietary requirements of all our animals are up-to-date to ensure we properly address their changing needs as they age by using the muscle condition scoring system developed by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Global Nutrition Committee (WSAVA). When she observes cats with new limps, she checks for ingrown claws; Roulon’s ingrown claws were diagnosed and treated when she noticed he was limping more prevalently on his front left limb.

Nala had started frequently vomiting in early October; Dr. Sweeley had been closely monitoring her as she was showing signs of moderate chronic kidney disease. Once the vomiting began, and she stopped eating, she started Nala on an intense treatment plan for suspected Stage 3 kidney disease. With her vomiting under control she is eating again and has been doing great — we’ve slowed the progression of the disease and had her feeling good again.

Blackfire’s lifesaving surgery came about because when Dr. Sweeley observed his discomfort she was able to try GI medications first, realize early on that they were not controlling his symptoms, and then made the timely decision to fully anesthetize for radiographs and blood profile. With an outside vet it would likely have taken a much longer time to get to the same conclusions; by then we could have lost this young tiger.  Instead, your generosity allowed us to take him for emergency surgery to repair the extreme hiatal hernia threatening his life, and today he is back enjoying his grassy habitat and roughhousing with his sisters.

While having Dr. Sweeley on-site is  elevating the quality of life for all our animal residents, the initial costs to stock our clinic puts an enormous strain on our resources:  Having the equipment, instruments and supplies necessary for common immunizations, prescriptions and medical procedures to treat the many conditions these animals suffer from such caused by inbreeding, malnutrition, declawing, defanging, and neglect are necessary to make the program a success.

Beyond veterinary and medical expenses our Animal Care Program also includes the maintenance and updating of their habitats, daily care, and enrichment to closely mimic the mental and physical stimulation they would experience living free.

Our 2018, Animal Care and Veterinary expenses, aside from the equipment so generously contributed by donations from Giving Tuesday 2018, stand at:

  • Habitat Expenses – $ 28,790
  • Payroll – $ 12,600
  • Rescue Expenses – $968
  • Animal Enrichment – $2,825
  • Animal Care – $15,487
  • Animal Food – $131,276
  • Medication – $16,492
  • Vet Procedures – $16,818

Total Expenses – $225,256

Together, we can continue to offer them the best quality of lifelong care here at the Refuge.  Remember, winter is our slowest time for visitors, so we need your support now more than ever! Donate today to help us keep helping them! 

Making a Difference in 2018

Counting Down Until 2019

December 27, 2018

The countdown to 2019 has begun in earnest. With only four days left of this year, we are already looking forward to the adventure that awaits us in the coming new year. Despite how eager we might be to jump into 2019, we still have a lot of work to do these last few days of 2018. We still have animals to care for, visitors to educate, and bills to pay. We hope that these last few days are filled with pleasant weather, great supporters, and plenty of happy tiger chuffs.

Now is the time to get your last minute tax-deductible donations sent. To have your donations count towards your 2018 taxes, make sure you have your checks mailed out or your digital donations submitted by December 31, 2018. All non-membership donations are 100% tax-deductible, and 100% of donations go towards the care of the animals that call Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge home. Every donation made helps the animal residents, no matter how big or small.

Some examples of how far your donation can go are:

  • $7 – Provides a week’s worth of supplements for an animal
  • $25 – Covers routine bloodwork to diagnose health problems for a single animal
  • $50 – Covers annual vaccinations for one animal
  • $110 – Is the cost of a cylinder enrichment toy
  • $130 – Is the cost of a 20″ boomer ball
  • $250 – Provides a day’s worth of special diets for all animal residents
  • $335 – Is the cost of a “Ball in a ball” boomer ball
  • $1,200 – Is the budget for a year of basic animal enrichment supplies

Although we are in need of general donations, you also have the option of putting your end of the year tax-deductible donation towards one of our programs, such as adoptions or sponsorships. If you opt-out of memberships, adoptions, and sponsorships are also 100% tax-deductible. Now is the time to purchase an adoption, as of January 1, 2019, adoption pricing will rise to $150 per animal no matter the species and will no longer include an annual membership pass. Although animals can only be sponsored by one person at any time, any number of individuals can symbolically adopt an animal. Some animals have a lot of adopters, but a few only have one. You can ring in the new year with a new symbolically adopted furry family member!

Animals with only one adopter:

  • Holli – Black Bear
  • Harley – Black Bear
  • Jasmine – Tiger
  • Sadie – Tiger
  • Ty – Tiger
  • Shakira – Liger

The Turpentine Creek Wildlife team would like to thank all our supporters for making 2018 a fantastic year. Without your support and donations, we would not be able to continue our mission, click here to donate today. We hope that the end of 2018 is wonderful and that you have a purrfect 2019.

Making The Season Bright At TCWR

Shasta “Paws” and Flip The White-Nosed Coati Need Your Help

December 20, 2018

Flip the white-nosed Coati might not be able to lead a sleigh through dense fog to save the day and help Shasta “Paws” deliver gifts to all the good girls and boys, but you can help “save” animals in need by donating to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge today.

This has been an exhilarating year for the Refuge. We welcomed five animals into the TCWR furry family, created a new department dedicated to education, added an advocacy program, built two enormous natural habitats for six bears, hired an on-staff veterinarian, started constructing a new serval habitat with a temperature controlled building, heated multiple dens, ran electric throughout Rescue Ridge and part of the tour loop, installed five storm shelters (with 4 more to go), replaced our 30+-year-old meat trailer which broke down, purchased new vehicles to help team members get around the property, updated some of our lodging, and so much more. It was a year of advancement, improvement, and innovation, but also a year of unexpected expenses.

Although our amazing supporters come to our rescue often to help cover project costs, we rely on our annual visitors and lodging guests to fund our yearly operations expenses. This means that typically 100% of all donations go directly to the care of our animal residents. This year, however, our visitor attendance was lower than anticipated. This left us struggling to cover our high winter utility bills and daily operating costs. Winter is our slowest time, meaning there is very little chance that we will be able to make up the funding gap through admissions. So, this year we are asking you to help just a little bit more in the holiday season to keep the Refuge running.

We could cover the unexpected gap in our operations expenses if:

Everyone who visited our website in a month donated the cost of 1 adult ticket ($20)


Everyone who came to the blog post from social media donated the cost of a Pride Membership ($100)


Everyone who visits our blog donated the value of one small cat sponsorship ($1,000)

We appreciate the support and dedication of our donors, many of whom have recently given to help cover Blackfire’s surgery and the purchase of much needed medical supplies for our veterinary hospital. We want to thank everyone for their support this year and hope that 2019 will be even better than this one.

Thank you for helping us give refuge to animals in need, for supporting our mission, for helping spread the word about the plight of big cats in captivity, and for being the voice of the voiceless. Please help us help them; we couldn’t continue to rescue big cats without you.

Donate Now to help Turpentine Creek Have a Bright Holiday Season

Leading the WAY

New Teen Advocacy Membership Club

December 12, 2018

TCWR Offers a New Way for Teens to Become Change-Makers and Advocates!

Today’s youth want to take action to help animals but don’t know where to start.  This Holiday Season, Turpentine Creek offers a chance to put meaning into your teen’s presents, by Introducing the new Tier Membership just for teens:  The Wildcat Ambush for Youth (W.A.Y.).

A group of tigers is called a ‘streak’ or ‘ambush’.  In the Wildcat Ambush for Youth (W.A.Y.), teens can truly lead the W.A.Y. for positive change.  Here, teens can learn how to teach and inspire others to advocate for big cats and other animals through advocacy.  They’ll learn why predators should never be forced to be pets or used for human entertainment, understand the huge expense and exhausting amount of work necessary to adequately care for big cats and bears, and learn how tragic consequences for both humans and predators can be avoided by effective lobbying.

The youth of today must join forces if we are to end the Exotic Pet Trade and ultimately save the planet and its wildlife. Members will have exciting hands-on volunteer opportunities, as well as access to exclusive educational webinars focusing on topics from paths to careers in exotic animal care to glimpses of behind-the-scenes activities for our animal care experts at the Refuge and the true scope of the Exotic Animal Trade crisis.

For $75 in addition to 1 year of unlimited entry to the Refuge for the cardholder and 1 guest, sign-up gifts include the exclusive “Leading the W.A.Y.” t-shirt, frameable certificate, TCWR newsletter and more!

A W.A.Y. membership makes a great holiday gift and is also the “purrfect” introduction into advocacy for your child. Get a W.A.Y. membership today and help your child start “Leading the W.A.Y.” in big cat advocacy! Sign your teen up today!

Weathering The Storm

Severe Storm Hits TCWR

December 5, 2018

This past weekend, a severe storm ripped through a large portion of the central USA, including our little section of North West Arkansas. Strong straight-line winds whipped through the area in excess of 80 miles per hour. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge made it through the storm, but not without some damage around the property.

The team at Turpentine Creek came to work Saturday morning to numerous trees down all around the property, including one that fell onto the jump guard of Willy the lion’s habitat causing only a little dent in the fencing. Some of the buildings on property sustained damage, including the roof of our veterinary hospital, two of our safari lodge roofs, and the new bear building. The most prevalent damage was done to our shade cloths and structures. The high winds tore off all the shade cloths at rescue ridge, shredding them beyond use. The winds also bent and twisted some of the recently built metal shade structures in the self-guided discovery area. One was beyond saving in Thunder and Harley’s habitat while the others are just bent and need a little work.

Overall, the damage done to Turpentine Creek was minimal. All of our animals came through the storm safely. Luckily, the team was well prepared and made sure all of the animals were secured in their night houses for the evening. Night houses are roofed structures that protect animals from flying and falling debris. They offer safe heavy cement dens for the animals to escape from the weather and feel secure. As a facility that faces storms frequently throughout the year, night houses are vital to protecting our animals.

We have also been working over the past year to protect our team and visitors from severe storms as well. This year we installed multiple storm shelters all over our property. These shelters are FEMA approved and will protect our humans from tornados. Protecting the animals that call the refuge home is essential, but we also have to protect the people who dedicate their lives to caring for the animals as well.

Despite the damage, Turpentine Creek is open to the public. Some of our lodging units might not be available as we replace the roofing and our team will be a little busier than usual cleaning up all the trees, but we are still open for visitors. Our insurance will help cover the repairs on the buildings and we have a handy set of team members that can rebuild the damaged shade structures when we have time. Turpentine Creek weathered the most recent storm well. Thank you to everyone who has shown concern over the Refuge this past week. Please donate and help us help them during our slow season this winter.


Amazing Support on Giving Tuesday

Making a Difference in Health and Home at TCWR

November 28, 2018

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge put out a plea to our supporters to help us raise $35,000 on Giving Tuesday so that we could purchase a long list of veterinary supplies and habitat building equipment and our dedicated donors responded in droves. Over 300 supporters donated a total of $29,947. Donations ranged from $5 – $5,000 and every penny will go towards helping us provide the best health care and habitats possible. Although we did not meet our goal, we came very close, and some donations are still coming in through the mail and Facebook fundraisers.

We are very grateful to all our supporters who not only donated but liked, shared, and commented on posts and responded to emails sent out. Sharing our information helps to spread awareness and expands our post reach. We can only do what we do with the help of our fantastic supporters.

Your donations will allow us to purchase:

Maintenance & Habitat Building Supplies

  • Sliding Compound Miter Saw
  • Adjustable Miter Saw Stand
  • Brushless Corless Impact Wrench
  • D-Handle Impact Wrench with Anvil
  • All System Service Tablet
  • 20 Gallon Wate Air Operated Drainer Drainage Lift
  • Pneumatic Drive 10 Piece Heavy Duty Truck Set
  • 28 Piece Cordless Oscillating tool Kit
  • Multiple Mechanics tool (170 pieces)

Veterinary Supplies

  • Long-blade Laryngoscope 45cm & 55cm
  • Cuffed Endotracheal tube 11mm, 13mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, & 24mm diameters
  • Endotracheal tube regular and large storage racks
  • Lighted Stylet 45 cm
  • 15L & 6L Large breathing bags
  • Large Animal Anesthesia Machine
  • Pulse Oximeter
  • Doppler US Flow Detector with an adult flat probe
  • Bair Hugger with ten warming blankets
  • 2 Medical Pole Syringes
  • X-Ray Lead Protective gear & storage racks
  • PanOptic iExaminer Digital Imagin Kit & Digital Macroview Otoscope
  • Veterinary Tonometer & 100 probes
  • Prescription Printer
  • Gel X-Ray Surgery Positioner
  • Large & Small resuscitation Bags
  • Centrifuges (fecal & urine/blood)
  • Cautery Kit
  • Dental X-Ray

Since we did not reach 100% of our goal, the veterinarian will have to determine which of the above-listed items are the top priority and purchase them with the allotted amount of funds. Although listed as our final goal, the Dental X-Ray is a much-needed item that is needed so that we can check on a handful of cats who are having some major dental issues.

We kicked off the day of giving with a live video update on Blackfire, who returned to his habitat. He happily chuffed at his sisters before they were reunited. They spent a little time exploring the nighthouse before venturing into their habitat to enjoy the brisk winter day.

Throughout the day we also ran a few giveaways to make GivingTuesday fun for everyone! We gave away a $10 Big Cat Bucks card, stuffed animal, 3 calendars, and 3 coloring books. We also premiered our newest Christmas video, Silver Tails, as a reward for reaching the halfway point of our Giving Tuesday goal.

Silver Tails is a parody of the classic Christmas carol Silver Bells. A team member wrote the lyrics and produced the video, the team and interns sang the song, and a local band Eureka Music Revival recorded the background music.

Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, liked, or commented to promote Giving Tuesday. It is only with the help of supporters, like you, that we can continue to provide lifetime homes and quality care for the animals that call Turpentine Creek home. Thank you! Please continued to keep Turpentine Creek in mind while planning for the Holiday Season. Winter is the time of year when our budget gets tight due to lack of visitors. Donate today and help us, help them. 


Give Health, Home, Hope, and Refuge

Join us for Giving Tuesday 2018

November 21, 2018

At TCWR, our goal is to provide lifelong Refuge for animals in need. “Refuge” can be defined as, “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Not only do we provide a safe environment for our animal residents free from exploitation and abuse, but we also support their overall well-being by giving them the necessary health care and spacious, naturalistic habitats. By contributing to our #GivingTuesday goal of $35,000 on November 27, you are giving our animal residents refuge and all that coincides, including life-long health and a safe, stable home environment.

Here are just a few things that your dollars can do:

  • The $7,000 portable dental x-ray generator will help animals like Roman, who suffer from frequent dental issues due to poor breeding. This machine will allow us to quickly identify current maladies and do preventative care to keep future problems at bay.
  • The $2,050 Panoptic iExaminer Digital Imaging Kit + Digital Macroview Veterinary Otoscope will provide us with the technology to have a magnified view of the back of the eyes, eardrums, nasal cavities, mouths, and throats or our animal residents while taking and saving digital images for our records. Kitty Cougar is only one of the animals who will benefit from this machine; we are carefully monitoring a disruption in her vision, which is not uncommon with her age.
  • Gel X-ray/Surgery positioners ($326 for a set of two) give us the ability to position large carnivores for certain X-rays and surgical procedures, especially when the abdomen is involved. These devices keep the animals upright, straight, and stationary and the soft gel is gentle on their skin and prevents the occlusion of vessels and pressure on nerves that harder surfaces can cause. Blackfire and his other three siblings have a history of abdominal issues from their deformed pelvis’s; the positioners will allow us to investigate and treat their problems and the problems of those like them in an efficient manner.
  • Tool sets of sockets, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers ($116.49), an impact wrench with a 6” anvil ($657.99), and even a service tablet ($380) will not only allow us to maintain the habitats themselves but also keep our work vehicles up and running.

Because a private donor will be contributing a $5,000 match, your donations will go even farther! To say, “thank you,” we will be doing special giveaways throughout the day as we reach our mini goals:

  • Once we reach $5,000, we will give away one $10 reloadable Big Cat Bucks gift card, which can be used to purchase anything through our on-site or online store.
  • At $10,000, three people will be given official TCWR coloring books, which are fun for children and adults, alike!
  • When we hit $15,000, we will draw the names of 3 lucky people to win a 2019 calendar!
  • At our halfway point, $17,500, we have a special treat for all! Not only will one person win an 8 x 10 photo of their favorite TCWR animal resident, but we will release our newest Christmas hit “Silver Tails” for all to enjoy! This parody is sung by talented members of the team and includes precious footage of our animal residents enjoying the snow and special enrichment!
  • As we get closer to our goal, we’ll draw the name for someone to win a plush animal of their choice at $25,000.
  • Make sure to hang with us because once we raise $30,000, one lucky winner will be wrapping up with one of our popular TCWR throws!
  • Finally, once you’ve got us to our $35,000, not only will you be rewarded with the knowledge that you have shown all of our animal residents what it’s like to be truly cared for, but one winner will take home a one-of-a-kind paw painting!

You do not have to donate to be entered to win. Simply monitor our social media pages and your inbox throughout the day for ways to enter.

If you’re interested in #GivingHealth, #GivingHome, and #GivingRefuge during Giving Tuesday, there are several ways to get involved:

  • Donate today by clicking the Paypal button below!
  • Make a donation the day-of on our website: https://www.turpentinecreek.org/support-us/donate-now/
  • Create a Facebook fundraiser as early as you want, extending it through Giving Tuesday.
  • Mail checks Friday, November 23, to 239 Tiger Lane, Eureka Springs, AR, 72762.
  • Bring a donation to the gift shop the weekend before or the day-of, but denote that it’s for Giving Tuesday.
  • Ask your employer if they will match any donation you make.
  • Send personal emails, phone calls, text-messages, social media communications, or face-to-face requests to your loved ones to join us in #GivingHealth and #GivingHome.
  • Email your “Giving Story” to katelyn@turpentinecreek.org. Your story can be as short or as long as you want and simply needs to say why you’re choosing to support our Giving Tuesday initiative. We will be publishing these to encourage others to give. You do not have to put how much you are donating/plan to donate, and we will not include your full name if you would prefer we didn’t.
  • Share your #Unselfies with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your “unselfie” is a photo of you with a caption that talks about how you’re supporting TCWR for Giving Tuesday. Feel free to get creative and don your favorite TCWR gear, paint your face like your favorite animal, or hold up a TCWR plush animal! Make sure to tag us and use the hashtags #GiveHealth, #GiveHome, #GiveRefuge.
  • Encourage your kids to draw photos of their favorite TCWR animals or of a memorable trip to the Refuge and share with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Again, remember to tag us and use the hashtags #GiveHealth, #GiveHome, #GiveRefuge.
  • Share our social media updates in the days leading up to the event and on the day-of.

No amount of effort or monetary support is too small and ultimately provides our animal residents with the lives they deserve. Help us make “happy tails” come true on Giving Tuesday, November 27.

Donate For Giving Tuesday Early Today!

Giving Tuesday 2018

Only Two Weeks Away!

November 15, 2018

‘Tis the season of giving and there’s no greater opportunity to give back than on November 27, Giving Tuesday. Coined as the official “global day of giving,” we will be asking you to #GiveHealth, #GiveHome, and ultimately #GiveRefuge to our animal residents as we use this 24 hours of charity to raise $35,000 for new veterinary and habitat maintenance equipment.

All of our animal residents require some form of animal intervention because we provide a Refuge for the old, the already-sick, and those who suffer from an assortment of health issues stemming from inbreeding or cruel declawing and defanging surgeries.

New veterinary equipment will allow us to not only address immediate maladies in a timely manner, but gives us the opportunity to do more thorough preventative care. A portable x-ray generator, which makes up $7,000 of our $35,000 goal will allow us to examine the extent of dental issues and perform regular check-ups on those prone to them. A $180 Laboteca Centrifuge and tubes will allow us to more accurately examine animals to detect infection, keep animals parasite-free, and should we need to, strategically treat with proper dewormers. We’re also raising money to stock our hospital with everyday essentials, such as resuscitation bags (small-$51, large $59.00) used to provide breathes for our patients during regular surgeries or medical emergencies.

Another thing all of our animal residents have in common is their need for safe, spacious, sturdy habitats. From building to accommodate new rescues, amending current habitats to stay in compliance with various laws, or doing regular maintenance on the homes of these large carnivores, we spend our fair share of time working on habitats.

Tool sets of sockets, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers ($116.49), an impact wrench with a 6” anvil ($657.99), and even a service tablet ($380) will not only allow us to maintain the habitats themselves, but also keep our work vehicles up and running.

An individual has stepped forward with a $5,000 matching donation, meaning your dollars will go even farther on Giving Tuesday. There are multiple ways to give the gift of Refuge to our animal residents on November 27:

    • Make a donation the day-of on our website: https://www.turpentinecreek.org/support-us/donate-now/
    • Create a Facebook fundraiser as early as you want, extending it through Giving Tuesday.
    • Mail checks Friday, November 23, to 239 Tiger Lane, Eureka Springs, AR, 72762.
    • Bring a donation to the gift shop the weekend before or the day-of, but denote that it’s for Giving Tuesday.
    • Ask your employer if they will match any donation you make.
    • Send personal emails, phone calls, text-messages, social media communications, or face-to-face requests to your loved ones to join us in #GivingHealth and #GivingHome.

Give For Giving Tuesday Early at

Life-Saving Surgery Update

Blackfire Recovering Comfortably

November 7, 2018

Blackfire is on the road to recovery after receiving life-saving emergency surgery at Kansas State University on Tuesday, November 6. The 2-year-old white tiger is currently staying in a recovery enclosure at our on-site veterinary hospital. He will spend two weeks there healing, receiving much-needed pain medication, and being closely observed by our staff veterinarian. After two weeks he will be evaluated to see if he is healed enough to return to his habitat and sisters.

On Friday, November 2, Turpentine Creek announced that Blackfire needed surgery due to a severe hiatal hernia. Dr. Kellyn Sweely had diagnosed Blackfire’s hernia but knew that we did not have the proper equipment or team to perform such an invasive surgery in our on-site veterinary hospital. The operation required a full team of anesthesiologists, specialized equipment, and a full veterinary team. We reached out to Dr. James Carpenter at KSU to oversee the surgery. We have worked with Dr. Carpenter and KSU in the past and know that he is the best in his field.

During the procedure, the KSU team found that Blackfire had a large hole in his diaphragm and that his stomach, spleen, colon, and intestines had pushed into his chest cavity. They believe that he had a birth defect that caused the diaphragm to be weak in a large section causing the hernia as he grew and had bowel issues related to his Metabolic Bone Disease. Luckily, we caught the hernia issue in time, and his intestines were still healthy. If his intestines or stomach had lost circulation, he would have died.

The KSU veterinary team was able to attach his stomach to his abdominal wall and close the hole in his diaphragm. As long as he rests throughout his two week recovery period, he should not have any lasting issues due to the hernia and live a long happy life here at the Refuge.

The cost for the surgery, aftercare, travel, and medication was estimated at $9,000. TCWR put a call out to our supporters on Friday to raise the money for the unexpected expense, and our donors quickly came to our aid. Within a few short hours, we had raised the needed amount to make sure Blackfire could get the care he desperately needed.

Thank you to all the supporters who liked, shared, commented, and donated to help Blackfire!

It is thanks to your support that we are able to give these animals a chance at a long, happy, healthy life with us.  We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Blackfire says “chuff chuff chuff,” which we are pretty sure means “thank you for saving my life!”