As it turns out, when it’s hot out, bears, gibbons, horses, monkeys, pigs and tigers in sanctuary are not different from us at all. Everybody loves the water and a chance to cool off, and at Black Beauty this month, with temperatures high, sprinklers, ponds, mud wallows, pools, and homemade ice pops are the order of the day, every day.
There are more than 700 animals representing 43 species at Black Beauty, most having landed there as survivors of cruelty cases, abandonment, and other adverse circumstances. Each one of them has his or her own story. But their stories all converge at Black Beauty, where they’re safe and they’re well cared for by a dedicated team. COVID-19 has certainly had its effects, but the standard of care doesn’t waiver at Black Beauty, and neither does our determination to make this forever home one of the best there is.
One of the animals enjoying the water in the video is Loki, a tiger discovered several years ago by law enforcement officials in in the garage of a vacant Houston home. He could barely stand up or turn around in his cramped, makeshift cage, and spent his days lying in a mix of rotting meat, straw, trash, mold, maggots, and his own waste. Loki’s come a long way since then and now has plenty of room—complete with his own waterfall—to spend his days enjoying life.
Black Beauty, like other sanctuaries around the world, is part of a vital network devoted to helping animals harmed or imperiled by crisis. Ensuring safe haven for animals threatened or trapped in bad circumstances is an integral element of humane work. For those displaced, rescued, relinquished or confiscated, sanctuaries are likely to become still more important in the future. That’s one of the reasons we have strongly supported the work of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries in building out this sector for the long term.
In a society that frequently treats animals as expendable and neglects its responsibilities toward them, sanctuaries are sites of moral repair and new beginnings. In these special places, we have a chance to alter the course of mistreatment, misuse and trauma, and to mitigate their impact for the animals who have suffered. In this sense, sanctuaries are alternative spaces in which a new vision of the relationship between humans and other creatures can take root and flourish. They are essential to the idea of a humane world, one in which those creatures who are dependent on our goodwill and our mercy are the beneficiaries of the best we can offer.
Every one of us involved in humane work knows that there are a lot of animals out there who are not as fortunate as Loki and the other residents at Black Beauty, and we spend our waking hours trying to improve their situations. But I think it’s important, even necessary, to dream of a better day for them all. To me, Black Beauty offers a glimpse of the kind of world we can build for animals, a world in which they too can thrive.