As you recall, our most recent rescue in October was Sadie, from a private owner over in Elkins, Ark. Her owners had divorced and were court ordered to find a new habitat for her, so we brought her here. We were concerned because she limps on her front right paw, and x-rays did show a fracture there.
The good news is Sadie is adjusting very well to her new surroundings and new human friends. According to Turpentine Creek Curator Emily McCormack, it takes time and patience to regain the trust of a big cat when it has been uprooted from the existence it knew, whatever the conditions may have been like.
“My favorite part of a rescue is when they recognize we are their friends and can relax and enjoy their lives here,” she said. “I wondered if she’d ever forgive me for giving her a shot. She looked me right in the eye when I gave it to her, and they remember. But she is doing great.”
Sadie was kept in quarantine and then in lockdown – the smaller area where they eat and sleep – for several weeks, mostly to give her paw time to heal. However, further observation and a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon at MU has led us to believe the injury is an old one, and Sadie’s limp has been going on for years. She limps out of habit now. Corrective surgery might well do more harm than good, if it worked at all. The limp probably developed as a result of the bad de-claw surgery she endured as a cub, which can lead to arthritis and other problems as tigers age.
Sadie loves enrichment – she received a Christmas tree to enjoy, from a generous donor, as well as gifts to unwrap from one of our interns – and on Tuesday, Jan. 7, she took her first steps out into her large habitat area. As you can see from the photos here, she had a good time despite the cold weather!