Sassy's Friday Night Out
Sassy sees her opportunity and takes it swiftly and easily. The keeper turned his back and left the entry gate just a smidge open while he untangled the hose he just took out of her enclosure. She slips out of the enclosure unnoticed and quickly hides herself in a bush. Since she wasn’t out when he went in to clean he did not think twice about not seeing her when he closed the gate and put the padlock in place. Sassy liked to hide out in her den and he wasn’t about to peek in on her. He was in a big hurry to go out with his new girlfriend on this beautiful Spring Friday night. He had big plans. With 10 minutes to closing, Sassy patiently waits in the bush for the moment when no more people walk by. She hears a loud voice on the air announce closing time, but she cares not what is said. She only cares about freedom and the need for exploration.
Sassy, still in the bush, eyes scanning the zoo for any movement, sees no one. She slowly comes out of the bush, eyes scanning everything, ears listening to everything. She is all the way out. Free of the cage that was around her and free of the bush that surrounded her. Free as a bobcat should be. She is on the move. She easily clears the four foot fence. Moving through the zoo slowly, she passes another bobcat, five raccoons and two wolves in their cages. They watch her with excitement. The wolves let out a long loud howl indicating the freedom Sassy has found. The bobcat paces impatiently back and forth knowing he is still in his metal cage and can’t get out. The raccoons watch quietly gripping onto the fence staring at every move she makes.
Sassy stalks around the zoo for a while looking for a way out and finds it at a point where the chain link fences have a twelve inch gap between them with only thin mesh covering the gap. She slips under the mesh and is now free from the zoo. She stops and looks around, taking in her surroundings. She sniffs the air and decides which way to go. She heads into the forest across from the zoo free to explore whatever she wants, wherever she wants. While she moves, she listens to, and smells her surroundings with the independence she is meant to have. As she moves through the forest her eyes easily adjust to the nighttime surroundings. She gets a feel for the ground underneath her paws. She moves gracefully with quiet and ease.
Now that her hunger for freedom has been sated, she now has a hunger for food. Stalking through the forest looking for her first meal she hears owls hooting, crickets chirping, but hears nothing familiar to her as far as food goes. Nothing sparks her interest as of yet. Sassy has known freedom before the cage. She was stalking out a rabbit and went for the ambush. Just as she was going in for her kill she was hit hard, and thrown a few feet. A person tearing up the Mother at full speed on a four wheeler hit her. She had heard the sound before but had never suffered from a meeting with a four wheeler. She was too focused on her prey to pay attention to how close the sound of it was. When her prey made a run for it because of the sound, she should have too. She thought she was hidden, she thought she was safe. She woke up to unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds. She is frightened, defensive, and very aggressive toward her new surroundings. She wants to run away but she can’t. She is in a very confined space and her body hurts. She can’t move her rear legs because they have been bound. They are stiff.
From one confined space to another she goes. The person that hit her brought her to a veterinarian. They were able to help her heal, but were not able to help her get back to freedom. Her pelvis was permanently damaged and she could not be put back into the wild. Her fate was determined by the people who healed her. From that point on she was to spend the rest of her life in a zoo.
Back in the wild now, where everything that used to be familiar is new again Sassy is on the prowl. She hears movement in the trees and bushes and lets her curiosity get the best of her. Slowly and quietly she approaches the nearby trees. All movement stops so she stops to listen harder. She sniffs the air to get the scent of what is out there. Sassy smells something familiar. The forest has brought her a gift. Rabbit! She scans the forest with all of her senses heightened. She detects the smell she is looking for and stalks towards it. She makes no sound, hunched low to the ground moving expertly. None of her hunting skills lost at all after being confined for what seemed ages. The scent gets stronger and stronger as she approaches the sage bush.
The rabbit sensing its demise bolts from the bush. The rabbit digs its feet into the dirt with every leap to gain momentum, to gain speed. Sassy leaps into the air, the rabbit in her sights. She comes straight down onto the ground and makes a run for it! She leaps up into the air again, this time coming down onto the rabbit! She clutches it in her claws, digging them in deep. The rabbit squeals with fright and pain as they roll. Heart beating fast Sassy sinks her teeth into its throat. For the rabbit Sassy is four legs and a funeral. For Sassy, the rabbit is food. Her heart is beating fast as she finishes the kill. She doesn’t waste any time with the rabbit. She rips open its soft belly and the taste of fresh blood enters her mouth. She takes her time enjoying every bite. She has now satisfied her hunger for food. Sassy is complete again. Predator meets prey as it should be. No cage, no human feeding her when they want her to eat. Sassy can eat on her own again when she wants to, how she wants to.
Sassy continues on her journey after a bit of grooming, wiping away the evidence of her meal. Stalking through the forest in pursuit of more freedom and more adventure she finds a hollow log, sniffs around it, and lays down to rest inside. Her belly full of rabbit, she falls fast asleep, still alert to her surroundings. As the morning arrives Sassy wakes up and is back on the move. She wants another meal.
Sassy hears all of the sounds the morning has to offer. She is on the move. She comes out of the trees and discovers a small stream. She drinks from it. As she is drinking, she smells something yet again familiar to her. She sniffs the air getting the scent of her next potential meal. The familiar scent is a fawn. Sassy scans the area looking for its mother, and sees nothing but the fawn laying down by a sage bush. The fawn has no idea Sassy is there. Sassy is down wind and the fawn cannot smell her. Since fawns have excellent hearing, Sassy uses stealth to try to make this kill. At any moment the fawn could hear her and take off running. Sassy stalks around until she comes up behind the fawn. Just as the fawn smells her, Sassy leaps onto its back, digging her claws in and biting down hard on the side of the fawn’s neck. The fawn writhing and fighting to run can go nowhere. The cry of pain and defeat is heard throughout the forest. Sassy has another meal.
As she is taking what is left of the fawn back to the hollow log, the world around her starts fading fast. Feeling slow and dizzy she drops the fawn and drops to the ground herself. She doesn’t know what is going on and she cannot stop it. Out from behind the trees, come two Fish and Wildlife experts. It is their job to find Sassy and bring her back to the zoo. After the discovery that she was missing, they started a search for her. They collect Sassy and leave the fawn. They quickly put her into a crate and began their drive back to the zoo. They traveled eight miles to find her. They were not surprised that she got that far though.
When she wakes up she is confined once again; surrounded by the smells of captivity. She feels herself being carried back through the zoo to the familiar cage she escaped out of. Her freedom short lived. The wolves are howling indicating her return. Sassy, aggressive towards her captors growls at them. They release her back into her enclosure. She unwillingly, still groggy from the tranquilizer; goes in. Once again looking through the chain link, being fed when the keeper wants to feed her, surrounded by freedom but not free. She remembers the moment the gate was left open, and yearns for it again.
Rescue and Release Facilities
This rescue and release facility is a very real place and has existed since 1959 in Big Bear City California. Their goal is to release all animals brought to their facility back into the wild after they have been healed. Some of the animals cannot be released due to being medically altered. Some have pins in their bodies, some have amputations. Other animals have been confiscated because someone tried to have a wild animal as a pet.
In this case Sassy, a wild bobcat; was hit by a car. She has pins holding her pelvis together. California Fish and Wildlife says she cannot be released because of her injury. If she were to be released back into the wild, mate, and give birth; it would disable her. She would not be able to take care of herself or her young. She cannot be spayed and be put out into the wild because she would be considered altered. She has to be permanently housed at the rescue facility.
Bobcats play a very special role in our ecosystem. Their prey consists of rabbit, squirrel, chipmunk, lizards, ground birds like quail and a number of other animals. They can even catch and eat fish. Mother nature put them on this planet to keep a very delicate balance in place. This rescue and release facility recognizes their place in nature and does everything they humanly can to release animals back into the wild. If they cannot be released because of a permanent injury they keep the animals themselves, or find a facility that can if they don't have the room. Euthanasia would be the next option for the animal if it could not be housed somewhere.
I hope you enjoy reading this fictional story about Sassy's escape. I figure I'd give her freedom fictionally since she cannot have it in reality. Thank you for reading about her.