This is a picture of me and my cougar, "SoWePa." His name is a compliation of South-American/Western Puma, which refers to his mixed ancestry. I could stand to lose a few pounds in this one, and seem to have been having a bad hair day. That happens when a cougar paws your head.:)
I'll be adding more pictures of my world, more recent shots, to the bottom of this URL from time to time, so check in every month or so.
Below are some links to other pages of mine. I invite you to visit there as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Artists' Co-Op
My album's info is there.
John Taylor's Home Page
My Personal pages
The Art of Peace
My Aikido homepage
This page has been visited times in the past month or so.
Here's another shot of SoWePa, taken the same day as the one above. He sure is cute, isn't he? And always very careful with his teeth. SoWePa loves having his belly rubbed, but is still a high-energy kitty, and doesn't sit still for very long. We'll play for 5-10 minutes, and then he'll go lay down somewhere nearby - his way of saying that he's pooped, but doesn't want me to take it the wrong way that he doesn't care to play any more. Cougars and other wildlife are NOT pets, but under the proper trained handling, they can be kept safely and with mutually pleasureable interactions, they can remain a tractable joy their entire lives.
It is with much regret that I report that tragedy has struck. January 2, 1998, SoWePa bit my business partner on the hand, requiring that he undergo reconstructive surgury to retain use of his hand. While in this case, full use of the hand is apparent, had it been as much as half an inch further to one side, the bones would have been crushed by his powerful jaws, probably irreversably. This misjudgement on the cat's part was primarily caused by a lack of constant handling and training, as I'd been "too busy" the past few months to work with him. Yes, there was a warning sign, but I saw SoWePa as he WAS for so long, not as he'd become through this lack of handling, and disregarded the warning. At present, SoWePa's fate remains undetermined. Since any handling of SoWePa is now likely to be dangerous, after over a month of painful soulsearching, I'd decided to put him down into a peaceful, permanent sleep. My friends and I, even my business partner, tried to talk me out of this decision, citing that the cat is just doing what a cat does - that it was not a malicious mauling. Nevertheless, even I feel his training has become so laxed that any physical contact with him may prove crippling or perhaps even fatal. SoWePa still calls to me every day, wanting me to come play with him. He doesn't know he's become dangerous, have any idea he did anything wrong. It seems to me a far crueler thing to subject him to an existence void of the contact he so much enjoyed. When I contacted the Oklahoma Department of Conservation, though, we came upon our next surprise: Oklahoma law prohibits the intentional destruction of any mountain lion. So for now, SoWePa's fate remains in limbo.
This incident demonstrates that even the best natured big cat with the best of raising can become dangerous, and the signs may not be evident until it's too late. Please, please, don't put yourselves, your loved ones, and the cute cub at risk unless and until you've got the direct guidance and involvement of someone with extensive HANDS-ON experience with these animals, and until you know for certain that you'll always be able to make the time to provide it with the daily handling necessary to allow us to come in contact with these beautiful, majestic creatures.
On December 21, 1998, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida agreed to take SoWePa in, provide him with a permanent home. His facilities there will be 50'x70 feet, with an attached "bedroom" that's 10'x20'. There are pine trees in the enclosure, and he'll have the life of leisure he so richly deserves. All that remains is to dig up the money to send SoWePa to Florida.
My most heartfelt thanks go out to David at Busch, the Busch family and all of the other sponsors of the Sanctuary which make this placement possible. Click here to visit the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary's home page. I encourage you to help support these essential facilities with membership, donations of materials, or any other way you can.
David, knowing and raising SoWePa has brougth me immeasurable pleasure. Nothing I've ever faced before has been so difficult or heart-wrentching as facing the possibility of having to put him to sleep. In the final hour, you came through for us, and we're forever in your debt. Bless you!
Now, on a lighter note, we return you to our regular programming, already in progress:
And THIS is MyRa, my peregrine falcon eyass, at about 3 weeks of age. She's about 5 weeks now, and you wouldn't BELIEVE the difference a couple of weeks makes in these birds. MyRa came out of an egg about 1/3 of the size of that lensecap, though. I'll be publishing pictures of her as she is today as soon s they come back from Seattle Filmworks. See my personal page for a link to Seattle Filmworks if you want to add pictures quickly and easily for your homepages.
As you can probably figure, this page is badly in need of an update. MyRa is now fully grown, living in Utah, preparing to make babies of her own!
Finally, I leave you with a view of a sunset from my home on The Hill...