However, as long as I keep experiencing blog-worthy events, I'll keep blogging about them. Which brings me to the meat of this post, the day that I first got to pet a tiger. I say first because I do intend to try it again sometime in my life - maybe I'll become a trainer and get to do it everyday! All my life I've had a fascination of tigers and nursed a jealousy of Jasmine on the movie Aladdin who has the most loving tiger Raja as a pet. I recall he/she ? even gave Jasmine a ride on her back when she needed to escape the palace. How cool would that be? I wish I had my own tiger to give me rides places. That'd be the best entrance ever. But anyway, sometime last year I decided to put "pet a tiger" on my bucket list (things to do before I die). I truly expected that to be one of the least realistic goals in my life, but by surprising luck it was the first thing to get done.
Luck that came from my reading the newspaper that morning and finding out about the fair going on that weekend where kids were getting to pet baby Bengal tigers. Thank Ford I wasn't working that day! I immediately contacted Hannah and in a few hours, we were sitting on the grass with yummy BBQ pork skewers in hand at the fair, waiting for the tiger show. I didn't care how much it cost, I decided before I even left home that I was going to pet a tiger! We put our names on the list and I forked up the $25 that allowed the two of us to sit in the cage with the 3 month-olds for 8 minutes. Small price to pay for a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?
So we watched the 15 minute show where they taught us a little about the animals they showed, like the tigers, lemur, and baby kangaroo. Did you know male and female kangaroos are called Jacks and Jills? How cute! After the show we got our 8 minutes in with the two baby tigers and two of the zoo keeper/trainer persons. Admittedly the guys' attitudes were a little awry because they'd been sick of doing the same thing for days on end in the disgusting heat, but they were still helpful in getting the tigers to come over to where we were sitting. We had to be up against the cage so they couldn't attack us from behind, with a blanket covering our bare legs and feet. We weren't allowed to touch their heads because apparently a girl got bit just the day before by pissing one of them off that way. The EMT trailer was right next to the tiger tent but I didn't want to risk it, no matter how tempting it was to feel their furry little heads.
The trainers used chewed up light saber toys and water bottles to coax them over to where we were sitting. I wish I could've cuddled with them more, but obviously that's not the smartest thing to do with a wild animal that has sharp teeth and claws. Combined, Hannah and I took a good amount of pictures of their cute faces, and of our hands on their backs just for proof in case anybody didn't believe us. At the end of the 8 minutes we exited the cage and got stickers on our shirts that said "I Touched a Tiger," that we proudly wore the rest of the day.
A week later my checking account is a little bruised from the amount of money spent that day in the span of 2 hours (not to mention the 250 miles on my car, mostly from helping another friend move that night), but in the long run who knows the next time I'll get an opportunity like that? Plus we get awesome bragging rights, and a fun story to tell friends. Picture time: