Jacksonville, FL - Animals (Post 4)

We woke up again this morning at 7:30 thoroughly excited to go back to The Catty Shack and continue our work from yesterday. All of us seemed to wake up more quickly with the thought of seeing the same familiar faces and animals. We knew we had a lot of projects to finish when we returned and a schedule to finish them, we also knew we would be rewarded at the end, with seeing their beautiful cats.

The volunteers were happy to see us and all of them invited us back in by name. We got to work right away, painting tables, staining wood and caring for the horses again. With teams already developed, the tasks were completed much more quickly and six hours went by in the blink of an eye.  We even, as a group, wanted to stay longer because we were all having so much fun.

Curt, the owner and founder, surprised us when our scheduled time was done with Papa Johns pizza and a promise of an amazing tour; amazing was an understatement. First off, we got to see the first row of tigers in the habitat, which were stunning to all of us. We felt pride in our school mascot, as well as respect for the pure beauty of the animals. Also, we saw some beautiful black leopards, and we also were able to hear lions roar back and forth between each other in the enclosures.

A big part of the tour (which happened to be the unanimous favorite of the day) was the education. One of the full-time employees guided us, while telling us facts about all the tigers, their backgrounds and about their species in general. We also learned about the funds they need to raise to move locations and be able to provide larger enclosures for all the animals. Our group plans on helping achieve these goals by fundraising in our Mizzou community.

After the AMAZING tour and the sad goodbye from the sanctuary (which we plan on returning to whenever any of us are back in Florida) we decided we were going to take the beautiful weather to our advantage and head to the nearest beach. We quickly threw on our bathing suits and drove 45 minutes to Atlantic Beach. The beach was beautiful and the water wasn't that cold and we all had an amazing time and made great memories.

We came home to a home cooked meal from a neighbor we met on a walk down the street. Being the college students we are, a home cooked meal was the greatest thing we could ever ask for, we thanked them accordingly. Warm and full we decided to relax for the night, continuing our laughing and bonding sessions.

Our group has no doubt that our connection is one of the best in the MAB program. We know that we will not be separated once the trip is over and that the service that we performed on this trip has made an impact not only on animals and their caretakers, but also on each other, and those will last a lifetime.

We look forward to returning to the Jacksonville Humane Society again tomorrow. Hopefully, we can continue to make major noticeable impacts. As always, "We're In It For The Zou." Stay tuned! 

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