Save That Tiger!

Larry - Save That Tiger
Larry - Save That Tiger | Source

The Day I Met Larry

With a tremendous regard for animal rights, conservation of species, and in particular, the efforts made to prevent the extinction of tigers, I write this humorous story partly to entertain but, mostly, in the hopes that many people will consider seriously what part they may play in these critical issues.


In 1969 I worked with a national television network in their broadcast studios in the west. The studios were very large and open, and were occupied by many very talented people. One of the aims of the network was to produce valuable story content, that was true, perhaps controversial, at least heart-rending, and of course, timely.

Television News Story with a Live Tiger

My co-workers and I were told by management that a special event would be happening that afternoon around 5:00 o’clock. A well-known animal conservation organization was recording a news story in our studios that would include a live tiger named Larry. The response to this information was surprise and enthusiasm. A number of staff members decided to stay a little late that Friday afternoon to watch the taping. We were also told that the tiger was safe (although not caged) and in the hands of two professional, and strong, animal handlers who had been with the tiger for many years. But, we were told, we must not rush the animal, make sudden moves, or scream loudly. If we decided to stay we were to conduct ourselves with appropriate decorum. (Who really knew what ‘appropriate decorum’ was in the presence of a live tiger!)


Larry - Save That Tiger
Larry - Save That Tiger | Source

Hoping to Catch Sight of Larry

Before this news, I had decided to stay late to finish some copy I was writing for our children’s’ show next week. The copy had to go for ‘voice over’ tomorrow (Saturday) to be recorded and ready for Monday.

When Larry had not arrived by 5:30 many of the employees left for the weekend. There remained, of course, two producers who would be directing and producing this story.

I worked in a large office that I shared with another writer (not in today), that was slightly around a corner from the production area of the studios. So I thought, “This should be great. If I move slightly in my chair I can see what goes on when the tiger arrives.” Then I thought no more about it as I returned to my task.

I was focusing intently on writing something interesting and catchy about how great Cocoa Pops were for Charlie’s Clown Club kids. So, although I caught the fact that Larry and his team were coming in to the production area, and felt a rise in excitement, I was still concentrating on my work, eager to finish it and join the fun.


And, there was Larry

With hands literally poised over the keyboard of my typewriter, I sensed more than heard a very quiet ‘pad, pad, pad’. I heard the plant on my desk move slightly, I think, and felt annoyed at the interruption to my deep concentration. I turned my head slightly to see what was going on and what the odd odor was, and did a classic double-take. There was Larry, paw on my desk beside my (now moved) plant, dribbling into my pencil cup!

In absolute surprise (not terror) I started to rise, but couldn’t. I started to scream, but couldn’t. Looking into my eyes were the most loving eyes I could imagine. Larry showed no concern or intent to hurt me, he seemed slightly interested, that was all. He blinked his eyes, snuffled slightly while removing his paw from my desk, turned, and strolled out of my office back to his handlers.


Larry - Save That Tiger
Larry - Save That Tiger | Source

Oh, he was still on his chains and tied to his handlers. In fact, when he had been in my office his chains were taut and at the limit of their length. Larry could not have moved closer to me if he had tried. Of course I didn’t know that at the time.

I did not realize I had been holding my breath and was now sputtering, “J…J…J..”, trying to call Jeff, one of the producers, to come and help me. He and David, the other producer were laughing and crying at the scene of Larry and me. But both came to my rescue. I shook, and cried, and laughed at the prank they had arranged with Larry’s handlers. And, as I peeked out of my office, there was Larry, calming sitting at the feet of his two handlers.

Eventually, I closed up my office and went home for the day. After all, what more could I do. I had just met Larry.


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Comments 39 comments

ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Oh such a sweet, surprise meeting. You wanted it and you got it. Hhhhheee! If i had been you. OMG, i would ve jumped to the moon. Incredible story. So interesting


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it.


skymaster 5 years ago

Save them indeed.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Maralexa, I think you are so very fortunate to have been so close to such a gorgeous, regal animal. I particularly treasure the passage, " Looking into my eyes were the most loving eyes I could imagine." I know I'm an idealist, still, I can't help but imagine the wonder you allowed yourself to feel, after the unexpected visit had concluded and you were able to reflect on the experience. I envy you. Lovely, Maralexa.


PWalker281 5 years ago

A lovely story with beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. Rated up and beautiful!


Prisana profile image

Prisana 5 years ago from Thailand and Colorado

Awww, what a great story! I've written several stories on endangered tigers and it's refreshing to read one that is so upbeat, funny and endearing. I loved meeting Larry and look forward to reading more of your great Hubs!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thank you, Prisana. I appreciate your comments. Meeting Larry was a rare experience. Thank goodness he was used to being with people and (I think) had been given a mild sedative. What I found interesting was that he didn't smell! Not until he got quite close could I detect him by smell alone. One of the best experiences I have had.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

I read that scientists are saving DNA from animals on the endangered species list as a way of preventing extinction! interesting isn't it.

Thanks again adeaugustus. Aren't you studying for your exam??


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas

I really enjoyed this hub - there are so many animals in danger - some may seem frightening in the wild, but they are just staying true to their species and trying to protect what little habitat remains for them - it is alarming to contemplate what species will become extinct over the next ten or twenty years - can we save them all? - sadly, probably not - but at least we can try - B.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

You are so right! We can try...try to save these beautiful creatures -- the tiger.

This story happened quite a while ago (35+ years ago), and we were extraordinarily fortunate to have a real live tiger walking through our offices. It is quite unbelievable to me now! He was a magnificent animal and very very well looked after.

Thank you for your comments, billips. i appreciate your reading my hub.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

What a great story. I'm not sure I would have reacted as calmly, but I would have been mesmerized to be so close to such a magnificent animal. I'm glad I saw this one go by on the feed. What an outstanding story!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Hi HSB! Thanks for your reading and your comment. Believe me, I was mesmerized too! When it was over my heart was pounding, I was shaking and cold, I was gasping for breath, tears were streaming down my face. And all the time Larry was sitting calmly at the feet of his handlers.


Kallie 4 years ago

That's a cute story!!!!! I know what you mean! The pics were so CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thanks for commenting Kallie. I understand that you love the pictures. I find them poignant!

I wrote my story of Larry because I wanted to bring to light the plight of tigers in the world today. It is important to me that people realize these beautiful animals (and all other endangered beings) need our active help to keep them from going extinct.

Thank you.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Maralexa....I enjoyed this wonderful story immensely. What an absolutely exquisite animal. I'd be thrilled to see him so up-close and personal...as long as I knew in advance he would not have me for lunch!! lol. God forbid that an animal of such beauty and importance ever even get close to going extinct. That would be a tragedy. Thanks for sharing this with us. Up & awesome!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Tigers are very beautiul animals I agree. I share this story because I would like to see even more action taken to protet these animals! Thank you for your comments.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

This is quite a compelling read.

There are tigers in my country, and the government is trying hard to save these wonderful animals.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thanks for your comments Vinaya. I appreciate your stopping by.

I also appreciate the fact that your country is trying hard to save these incredible animals. We all must be involved even if it just means being aware of the fact that we could loose these wonderful animals if we don't take care.

What I experienced would never happen today. Everyone would think it was too dangerous and not appropriate for the tiger. So I feel blessed.

Save the Tigers in this World!!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

A great story to highlight a serious issue. I worried that the next generation is not going to have tigers, elephants, rhinos in the wild any more. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Like you, alocsin, I hope we have tigers, elephants and rhinos in the wild many more generations to come. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

So glad you had a chance to say hello to brother Larry! When we save our animal brothers and sisters, we reclaim the right to share this planet with them, and with all life. Voted up and awesome.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Save that Tiger is one of my favourite hubs and favourite experiences in life! Thanks for your very wise comments. I would like to build a writing niche in this area and look forward to your wise words as we all continue in the wonderful world of HubPages.

Thanks, Sid.


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

My first connection with tigers came when I was five years old, and they are a lifelong inspiration to me.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Hi Sid! Would you share your love for tigers? in a hub perhaps? 5 years old! That's amazing!

I found that when I started researching some of the animals I wanted to write about it brought to my attention so many incredible, interesting and, in some cases, unbelievable traits about these fascinating creatures.

Thanks again for reading and commenting.


traslochimilano profile image

traslochimilano 4 years ago from USA

I totally support you to save tigers Indeed.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Traslochimilano - Thanks for your support in saving tigers around the world. By just reading and commenting you raise this issue higher. It is much appreciated!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

I love tigers! Your photos of Larry are beautiful. We really need to make more effort to save our planet and every living thing on it and to stop destroying this planet in the name of mammon and greed.

Voted you up and beautiful!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thanks for your comments, Au fait! I wish I could do more to protect tigers than just write about them. It is easy to like tigers because they are such beautiful animals. Baby harp seals are beautiful too. So they, too, get a lot of attention.

Like you, I believe we should pay more attention to our planet and the living things it supports. Greed, money, power - they are powerful motivators to do otherwise. Maybe you might write a hub on the psychology of big company greed and power? Just a thought.

Thanks for your comments and votes. Maralexa


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Wow! Talk about being blessed in life! I can hardly imagine anything better than being face to face, eye to eye with a safe-to-be-around loving tiger. You're a lucky lady! Great story.

Voting up, awesome and sharing.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thanks, Pamela. I know, I was lucky. It was quite a number of years ago. I doubt the opportunity would arise today unless I was in the wild. But, all those years ago, they were trying to raise the issue of protecting tigers even then. I was in the right place at the right time. This experience made me much more aware of the plight of these beautiful creatures. I do what I can to participate in their protection. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing.


manthy profile image

manthy 3 years ago from Alabama,USA

Now that's is what I call multitasking, I loved this story and it reminds me of a fact many people ignore.. THE TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION, 43 years ago and I bet you can remember it like it was an hour ago.

Voted up and awesome ;0)

Thanks for the link to my hub & for your love & support of animals.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thanks manthy for your kind comments. You're welcome for the link. I think we (who write these stories of saving tigers and other animals) should link all our articles. Maybe that would attract more attention to the issue and help people understand how they may be able to help these beautiful animals.


manthy profile image

manthy 3 years ago from Alabama,USA

I am gonna give you a link back from my hub to yours.. and I totally agree, we all need to write more articles and link them all with like content.

Have a happy and prosperous new year.


manthy profile image

manthy 3 years ago from Alabama,USA

Done


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

On behalf of endangered animals everywhere, thanks manthy!


Jonetta 23 months ago

That's a wise answer to a tricky quioetsn


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 23 months ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Save that Tiger! If you have any feelings at all about endangered species, please, pursue the issue. See what you can do to help. At the very least, please talk about it.

Sincerely, Marilyn


Eloise 23 months ago

Your post has moved the debate fordwra. Thanks for sharing!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 23 months ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Tigers are seriously endangered. Please, do what you can to help protect all endangered animals. Thanks, Eloise for your comments.

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