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In Remembrance of Cleo

, In Remembrance of Cleo

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Last week we lost a queen. Cleo, our beloved lioness passed away at the age of 18 during an operation to remove a tumor that had formed on her side. We are shocked, saddened, and will miss her more than words can possibly describe. She was so special, and this post will look back at the remarkable animal that was Cleo the lioness.

Cleo arrived with Leo from West Virginia in 2013. Leo and Cleo were incredibly bonded, showering each other with affection at all times of the day. Cleo loved Leo, and was a devoted mate. She watched over his every move and tended to his every need. She could often be found cleaning his face, sometimes to Leo’s disgruntlement, but she was going to take care of him regardless.

, In Remembrance of Cleo

Always keeping in close proximity with each other, their love was obvious and infectious. It had made them quick favorites in the PrideRock Facebook community, and this same audience was deeply saddened to hear of her sudden passing. Cleo always wanted to say hello and greet PrideRock staff with her warm copper eyes. She was a sincere lioness with a welcoming and caring spirit. Her personality stood out at PrideRock, and with it she made her way into our hearts.

The unfortunate cause of death was a blood clot that stopped her heart from functioning. Great lengths were taken to revive her by veterinarians, however there was nothing that could be done. This, of course, means that she has left behind her beloved Leo. Big cats, like humans, mourn the loss of loved ones. We have been keeping a watchful eye on him, and are helping him to the best of our abilities get through this tough time. To his core Leo is a happy lion. He is incessantly upbeat, and we believe that his optimistic attitude will help him cope with this loss. We care endlessly for Leo, and we are right by his side in this difficult time.

, In Remembrance of Cleo

While losses are always devastating, there is only one thing to do with situations like this. We have to move forward. We make an unbending promise to each animal that we receive; a promise to provide a caring and happy home. Giving our animals a happy and fulfilling life is our purpose. We find solace in the knowledge that Cleo was happy and well cared for in the final years of her life that we were privileged to have her for. She was a positive force, and her impact on this earth was full of care and poise. We can say with complete certainty that there will never be another lioness like Cleo, for unique souls such as hers are truly a special occurrence.

Photos by: Sara Goodnick

Animal SensAbility Workshop


, In Remembrance of Cleo

Andrea teaches the class to feel their own energy fields

Spring.  Little buds emerging from the tips of bare tree branches, the time changes and theys stretch out, all the big cats and the bears seem to sense that warmer days are coming, and the pace of life at PrideRock picks up significantly.  We shake off the frost and ready ourselves for the most special event of the year- our Animal SensAbility workshop with “Critter Doc” Andrea Sobotka. 


Andrea is a special friend of PrideRock, and once a year she travels from her home in Arizona to share her special gifts with us, our animals, and a few lucky folks who sign up for her seminar.  Andrea shares her pioneering blend of allopathic, wholistic, and spiritual knowledge to help us become aware of our connections to the world around us, and to deepen our ability to understand and communicate with the animal world.


, In Remembrance of Cleo

Meeting the residents before the workshop

This year we anticipated storms on the day of the workshop, and for the first time in all the years she has been coming, we had to set up inside the barn where we prep all of the meat for the big cats rather than basking in the sunshine and grounding ourselves to the natural world around us.  The rain never came, but the wind was mighty and the barn made a perfect shelter between breakout sessions.


We began the day with introductions and each person in attendance sharing what brought them to PrideRock to study under Andrea.  One couple had been volunteers at another big cat rescue out of state and recently relocated, almost everyone shared that they were animal lovers, and some have worked with Andrea to heal their pets and wanted to know more about her practices.


In the workshop we learned about the ways animals communicate, how it’s different than you and I, and safety measures to keep in mind when working with them. We learned the terminology for each modality, or method of communication, and then broke out into small groups to experience these healing practices with one of the animals.  Tony, Zoe, And Java’s personalities fit the bill perfectly.


After the morning session, our guests picnicked about the grounds, marveling at Leo’s roar, chuckling at Tony’s chatter, and giving Kyndl the kind of attention he is always asking for. The rain held off and the early spring sunshine made for an idyllic backdrop for the break.


, In Remembrance of Cleo

Kyndl poses for Tim Gritzuk of Papabear Photography

The most incredible part of this experience is gathering a room full of people, some eager beginners, some reluctant skeptics, and watching them experience an entirely new connection to the world around them and begin to understand how to listen to animal communication. To see their eyes light up and hear their joy at the end of the day and know a part of the world is now open to them that was not before, and that we got to be a part of that, is a gift in itself.

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