Thursday, June 7, 2012
In-Sync Exotics Wildlife in Wylie rescues exotic cats
The facility faces financial struggles and is actively seeking donations.
“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.”
It’s a popular quote credited to Chief Seattle of the Suwamish Tribe in a letter to President Franklin Pierce. For many folks this quote holds true, but even more so for people like Vicky Keahey. Keahey is the President of In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue & Educational Center in Wylie, a big cat rescue center established in March of 2000.
Keahey began taking care of large cats before that time when as a veterinary technician she spent her days caring for, comforting, and playing with the array of animals who visited the clinic where she worked.
In 1991, a female cougar was brought into the clinic for treatment. The cougar was named Tahoe, and after Tahoe healed no one came back for her. Keahey had grown attached to the 18-month-old cougar, so she gave her a new home.
Working and learning from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over time, Keahy eventually ended up with a second cougar in 1994 named Ranger. Then, in 1998 she found herself the keeper of a three-week-old female Bengal tiger that was badly maimed and neglected. She named the tiger Kenya, nursed her back to health, and decided it was time to consider establishing a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for rescued exotic felines and sharing her experiences with others.
“Overall, what I do is rescue exotic cats,” says Keahey. “I take them in when no one else wants them or when the owners can no longer take care of them. Most of them have been abused one way or another and not cared for properly: not given the right food while they were growing, not given space to run and play or to exercise, resulting in bone, joint, and mental problems. There are many cats that have had to endure this kind of treatment, and I take in the ones I can and help them become healthy and happy for as long as I can.”
Currently she has lions, tigers, servals, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, bobcat, and lynx at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue & Educational Center. Over the years, as noted on the website, there have been over 80 big cats rescued.
Some of Keahey’s biggest challenges these days, she says, is having to come up with enough money to provide proper housing, medical treatment, and food to the cats taken in to the rescue facility.
“The economy is so tight and I am left with begging for more and more money,” she explains. “Every dime we receive is spent on the cats [though].”
While the challenges can be overwhelming, the experience for Keahey is not without its rewards.
“When Sheila, the white female lion came to me, the USDA sent me an email saying they were so sorry for bringing me such a hard case,” she says. “They felt like she was going to die despite any effort I could make for her. After treating Sheila for two weeks and seeing her jump around and play, [that] was all the reward I needed.”
As a kid, Keahey says she was always drawn to cats -- all kinds of cats.
“I had a bunch of them,” she says. “Later I found boys were interesting too. Then I showed dogs and groomed dogs for about 20 years. Looking back, cats are much better than boys,” she says adding that she has learned some big lessons from cats.
“I have learned that I am as stubborn as anyone can be. If I know that something can be done, I make sure it gets done. I have learned to trust myself and listen to my heart because my first feeling is usually the right one. I have also learned to somewhat listen to others that they too have good ideas and know things that I do not.”
Keahey’s hope for In-Sync Exotics in the next five years is to be known throughout the world. “For everyone to know what happens to exotic cats when people try to make pets of them,” she explains. “I would like In-Sync to be able to afford to care for the cats that are here without having to worry about having food on the table for the next month. I would like for In-Sync to be a beautiful peaceful sanctuary for cats and people that need a place to come and find happiness.”
Offering tours and educational opportunities, In-Sync Exotics is “a pure and legitimate facility worthy of every donation,” Keahey concludes. “Here at In-Sync, we truly love all the cats and they are not just here to survive, they are here to live.”
Pegasus News Content partner - Green Source DFW