by Steve Strichart
Associate publisher mauled by tiger
Okay. Okay. It was a baby tiger, but a TIGER just the same! So, how did this come about?
As many of our readers know, Neena and I are involved in greyhound rescue. The organization Fast Friends, located in La Habra Heights, puts together an annual “good will” bus trip to the Caliente race track in Tijuana, Mexico. This year we went on Saturday, Oct. 13. We were met at the border by armed guards and escorted right to the track. They give us a wonderful lunch and all the margaritas and beer we can drink. This is the closest track to Southern California and we, along with some other groups, rescue ex-racing greyhounds from there to be placed into their forever homes. The owner and management cooperate with us completely to see that no dog, even one with a broken leg, gets destroyed.
If you own a greyhound, you really must make this trip and see them in all their glory running on the track. They are truly poetry in motion. Also, they are the second-fastest land animal in the world.
Another reason I like to go each year is that the owner of the track has a private zoo located on the track property. I have become friends with the vet and have had the opportunity in the past to hold a baby tiger (both normal and white), baby lion and baby black jaguar, and I even got pushed over on my butt by a baby brown bear. I have hand-fed American bison, zebras, giraffes, camels, emus, ostriches, and a number of different types of deer and antelopes. I have even petted some North American wolves.
Back to the baby tiger. Everyone was taking turns holding this little 3-month-old baby girl, and all was going fine. I was the second-to-last to be handed the little “beast” and by now she was getting a little tired of being passed around. First, she tried to bite my neck, then tried to jump from my arms and finally scratched my hand. She was magnificent! I wouldn’t have traded those moments with her for another margarita. (Did I mention we got lunch and all the margaritas and beer we could drink?). After my “attack,” the manager insisted and brought me two margaritas right away, for medicinal purposes, of course.
All and all, it was a great trip, and I’m looking forward to going again next year. Who knows what I might get to play with?
And now, just a word about greyhounds. Wow. How do I start? If anyone out there is considering adopting a dog, please give some thought to an ex-racing greyhound. First of all, they are adult dogs usually between 2 and 5 years old. (No puppy crap.) After they have been with their foster family for a short time, they come to you having had all their shots, spayed or neutered, house-broken and ready to give you more doggy love than you can imagine.
To learn more about these wonderful dogs check out their website at fastfriends.org, or if you would like to meet my two girls, I will be at Petco in Signal Hill located at Spring Street and California Avenue tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 27 from noon to 3pm. Stop by and say hello.