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In Memory of Lance

I first saw a video of him, pacing the back wall of a horse stall looking like he was almost dragging his back legs. We called and said, "We’ll take that one." He was taken to a veterinarian thinking the masses on his back legs might be tumors, however, they weren’t. The masses were bone as he had fractured his back legs a number of times. These stress fractures were a result of Lance standing up on his back legs with his front legs on the stall wall looking out for when his food was coming.

He wasn’t alone in his stall; he had Gwen, and they were very bonded to each other. They arrived with 3 other cougars, a lion and a tiger, rescued by groups in Texas that took them from a private owner who became terminally ill in July of 2011.

They all lived in horrible conditions for almost 10 years, being fed chicken necks and backs without any real nutritional value, (which is why the stress fractures happened so easily). Upon their arrival at Popcorn Park, they came off the transport vehicle, one by one: Porthos, Taj, Camille, Fiona, Gwen and then Lance. Lance was a very proud cougar considering all he had endured, evidenced by a jagged claw mark which formed a scar on his shoulder and an injury to his front right paw which left him with only two digits. One of these claws grew straight upward. This proud cat had been through some tough battles.

Everyone found their new homes within the park. Lance and his Guinevere found their home next to the barn which is the employee hub of the park. He was on guard and looking out for Gwen until he knew there was nothing to fear and then trusted the staff. Lance and Gwen could always be found together, sunning themselves on the deck outside or curled up on their bench in their den. From all of his old injuries, walking seemed to be a chore at times. He was on pain medication, but his range of motion was limited. But still, no matter where he was in his enclosure, when he saw staff, he got over to them for some attention.

You could always hear his patented purr from yards away. After years of living in that squalor, they could now live in their own yard, lay in the warm sun, smell the cool breezes and play in the snow. They had their own den to lounge and sleep in, knowing with certainty that they would have a good meal every night.

Gwen passed late last summer. Lance has now joined her and they are reunited across the Rainbow Bridge. It was our privilege to care for them, to see them in comfort without worry or stress.


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