This post is sponsored by BlogPaws, a free place to connect with like-minded pet people who are active in social media. I am being compensated to support Giving Month with an inspirational post, but The Tiniest Tiger only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
If you have been friends of The Tiniest Tiger for a while, you will already know this story, so I hope you will bear with me while I talk about the inspiration behind The Tiniest Tiger once more. December is Giving Month and I was asked by our friends at BlogPaws to talk about what inspires me to write about cats and carry on the work of The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club.
Inspiration: Guiding Light
When I sat down to write about how The Tiniest Tiger came to be, I sat a long time and stared at my keyboard and monitor. Not because I didn’t know what my inspiration was, but because Christmas time is when I found Gracey and brought her home to be part of our family. I remember finding her on the floor of the dog pound so tiny and cold. I wasn’t sure how to take care of her but I knew from the moment I looked into her eyes I would do my best to help her live her best life. Christmas is a time for celebration but it also brings up memories of Christmas times past and the blue part of Christmas starts to creep in and I try hard to not let it take over the season.
So I procrastinated and looked up inspiration in the dictionary, not because I didn’t know what the word means, but because I was just trying to move my frame of mind out of sadness into grateful and happy. Then I saw the words. Inspiration: Guiding Light. That made me smile. Gracey is our little star. Our guiding light.
The Tiniest Tiger Story
Gracey was so tiny when I found her that she fit into the palm of my hand. I was scared to death that I would not be able to care for her properly. Because she came into my life unexpectedly the day after Christmas, there were lots of things for a kitten to get into, the Christmas tree, decorations, Paperwhite narcissus, and a beautiful poinsettia.
Once I couldn’t find Gracey and I had looked everywhere. I was feeling completely devastated when I caught her out of the corner of my eye, hiding inside the poinsettia. I didn’t know then that cats could get sick from chewing on poinsettias but I was lucky that Gracey was only hiding not chomping on the leaves. The poinsettia was re-homed along with the Paperwhite narcissus. As I watched Gracey fall fast asleep I said out loud to her, “You are the tiniest tiger, what am I going to do with you?”
Insomnia Led to Thoughts of Big Cats
I went through a period of insomnia. During those waking hours, I would look at Gracey and wonder what kind of cat she would be if she were a big cat. I began to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the big cats and house cats and the story of The Tiniest Tiger unfolded. Shortly after The Tiniest Tiger was published I travelled to Australia with Jack Hanna and the Into the Wild Film crew. After spending time crouched alongside a river in Tasmania waiting to see platypus and learning about Tasmanian Devil conservation, I knew I wanted to change paths. So I exited the specialty food industry and completed my Master of Zoology with a focus on big cats.
Caring For All Cats, Big and Small….and Elephants…and Bears….and Toads
Today I am fortunate to be teaching for Miami University’s Global Field Master’s Program where I am inspired every day by my colleagues and students doing amazing work. I realized I might not be the person who is out in the field researching but that I could be the person that writes about and perhaps even helps raise money to help fund the programs that are saving the animals that we love. This is how Triple T Studios began. A combination of my experience in business with my love for global conservation. By creating uniquely designed handbags and accessories that appeal to animal lovers, we will be able to help support conservation programs helping animals in need. Fashion with a Passion for Global Conservation. This year we were able to donate to six programs, Kitten Associates, PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary, Santa Paws Drive, Lion Guardians, Cheetah Conservation Fund, and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Elephant Orphanage. And we are just getting started.
Gracey is Our Guiding Light
Losing Gracey was one of the hardest things that I have gone through. She was the light of our lives. But we realize her light didn’t burn out, it just changed positions. Now her light shines within us and inspires us to keep working and doing the best we can for all cats big and small.
The photo above is one of my favorites from a Christmas Eve a few years ago. I caught Gracey looking out the window, she seemed almost mesmerized. I thought of two things while watching her; the lyrics to Do You See What I See and the phrase “the stars are shining brightly” from O Holy Night.
This Christmas Eve, after Midnight Mass, I will look out the window with Annie, Eddie and Mercy and watch the stars shining brightly.
I am grateful you are part of The Tiniest Tiger community and we wish you peace this holiday season.