When I was offered a job at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge in Terrell, TX, as their Media Relations Specialist, I had no idea what this new job would bring my way. I’ve been at PRWR now for a little over 4 months and can honestly say this is the best, most coolest job I’ve ever had. Now, I don’t say that lightly because in the past, I have worked at Disneyland caring for livestock, I’ve owned a wildlife education service called The Creature Teacher and I’ve rescued sick and injured seals and sea lions and released them back into the wild. I’ve had a lot of cool jobs over the years. But never have I seen a white Bengal tiger taking a bubble bath with its eyes closed without a care in the world. And never had a heard lions roaring and calling to one another from inside my office. When I park my car everyday, I see lions, bears and tigers, playing, resting and being what they were meant to be. And everyday I park that car I am amazed my job allows me to see African lions and other wildlife up close and I am allowed to share in their lives.
And I can’t forget my office buddy, the PRWR companion, Sammy. He lays on my paperwork, computer, and chair, when I need the papers underneath him. He also creates a line of zzzzzzzzzzzzzz on the computer if I don’t catch him before he starts randomly hitting the keyboard. I have always wanted an office pet and it has great benefits. Statistics show having an office pet makes employees work harder, enjoy their work more, improves attitude and reduces stress. Sammy sleeps in odd places – places that are too small for his 20 pound body, but he makes it work and is always entertaining. But the cool animals aren’t the only reason why I like my job. I get to talk about PrideRock and all the good work it does. I get to promote our mission and spread the word about why big cats don’t make good pets. And what amazes me most is the lengths Carol and Gary Holliman go to to make PrideRock a peaceful environment for all the animals and doing what needs to be done to make sure they are happy and healthy. From building new enclosures, taking animals to the veterinarian when needed even if that means an expensive surgery and building outdoor enclosures for animals that have always lived on concrete so they can now feel the earth beneath their feet, these animals get the best of care. Carol and Gary also make sure their staff members have everything they need to do their job efficiently and correctly. They treat their staff with respect and honestly, and frankly, that says a lot and goes a long way to keeping employees for a long, long time.
PRWR has only four employees, but paid or volunteer, our staff makes everything work and chips in to get the job done. They work however many hours they have to in order to finish the day knowing they accomplished everything that needed to be done. All of us, including the owners, have a fun and relaxed camaraderie and help each other out in business and personal life situations.
I never imagined working at a wildlife sanctuary. I drive an hour to get here. But every day is different and some days don’t have words to describe them. For an animal lover like me, seeing a tiger with bubbles hanging off its whiskers and chin or watching an animal paint on a canvas, is enough to make me smile for days.
Monthly feed bill, $1,500; building a new enclosure for three bears, $50,000; watching a tiger take a bubble bath, PRICELESS.