He stopped. When he realized what was happening, his heart sank in his chest. The outcome didn’t look good. He glanced around the area—nothing but trees and plants. The crowd gathered weren’t wildlife experts. Some didn’t even own a pet. Understandably, they had no idea what to do but neither did Craig. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. They were running out of time—he didn’t have the chance to think of other options—he had to do this now.
Craig Loving always loved the outdoors. So, when he was offered a job as Superintendent at the Lost Creek Country Club in Austin, Texas, he couldn’t turn it down. He would be surrounded by scenic views of the grasslands, trees, and natural wildlife, along with the beautiful Barton Creek. On numerous occasions, he caught a glimpse of young rabbits running across the golf course. The fresh air was all he needed to be happy. But one day, they spotted an animal they had never seen before. But he wasn’t happy to see its condition.
It seemed like a regular Saturday in the country club. The sun was shining, guests were out on the field, and everyone was smiling. Devin and Dora were making their rounds, checking in on some of the customers when they heard someone shouting. In the distance, a small group of men were waving in a bid to get their attention. What was the problem? They rushed down to the pond and noticed a great horned owl perched on a rotting tree stump in the middle of the water. “It’s been there for hours. We passed it this morning,” they explained. Then, Dora noticed something troubling.
Dora’s eyebrows furrowed. This wasn’t the first time she had seen this own. The night before, she passed it while checking to see everyone had left the course. Had the owl stayed there the entire night? Had he even moved since? She wasn’t a wildlife biologist, but she was sure something was wrong. Why would the bird reside in such an odd location? And weren’t owls nocturnal? Why was it out in such an exposed area during daylight hours? It was exposed. A predator could pass at any moment. She knew to trust her instincts.
Devin grabbed his phone and called Craig. Maybe nothing was wrong. But they would rather have been safe than sorry. Craig loved wildlife. He was sure to know. News of the owl quickly spread around the course, and a crowd gathered around the pond. Craig rushed to the scene. There was nothing golfers hated more than a disturbance. And the crowd was blocking many of the regular’s preferred routes. But when he finally arrived, he realized the crowd was the least of his worries.
Craig lingered on the edge of the water and squinted. The chit-chat of the crowd annoyed him. He couldn’t concentrate. He walked around the side and leaned forward. Then, his eyes widened. The owl wasn’t perched just to take in the view of the course. The owl was caught in fishing line. Craig believed that it had been flying low in the search of prey when a piece of line caught its back feathers. Thankfully, the stump was there to save it from the water. Craig’s ears turned red. He would make sure someone would be held accountable. How could someone be so careless?
With so many golf courses built around ponds and rivers in the United States, many guests jump at the opportunity to take part in on-site water activities. Lost Creek held a special permit that allowed guests to fish on their grounds. Responsible fishers with years of practice know to respect nature by disposing of their fishing line correctly. Craig knew he would have to aim high. Maybe the club managers had no clue of this littering, but they needed to take action to prevent it from impacting the local wildlife. Right now, Craig needed to focus on the present. Time was moving quickly. The owl was growing weak. He had to act fast.
Craig and Devin began to dial every number listed online for a wildlife rescue professional. He didn’t want to risk injuring the animal even more than it already was. But there was one problem—it was the weekend—no one was available. “Maybe we should wait a while and call back?” Dora suggested. Craig didn’t even pause to think before “no” slipped from his mouth. The owl could have dropped from exhaustion at any moment. They didn’t have time to stand back and watch the animal suffer. He had to do right by this owl.
“The fishing line was wrapped around its wing, so they were gonna try to get somebody to go out and get it,” Craig shared. “And I guess I volunteered.” Craig was always up or a challenge. Guests who had planned on spending the morning on the pond donated their fishing dungarees and knee-high rubber boots. Most importantly, he found a pair of thick gloves to protect him from both the line and the talons. But nothing could make this job easy.
Craig turtled towards the bird. Each footstep sunk into the earth beneath the water. He could feel the fishing line beneath the surface tugging his pants. He took his time to get to the creature, making sure not to spook it from the stump. He paused at its side to inspect the damage. The owl had managed to wrap itself around the line while trying to escape. Craig began to cut the line that connected the owl to the tree. Then, he realized the damage was much worse than he expected.
The line was wrapped tightly around the owl’s wing. Craig sighed. Even if he did manage to free the wing from the line’s constriction, it wasn’t guaranteed to be unscathed, He placed his hand on the owl’s wing and lifted it up. He waited for a reaction. But the owl just stared into his eyes. He began to unwind the line, being careful not to pull the feathers. But his gentle touch wasn’t gentle enough, and Craig was about to learn the hard way.
The owl craned its neck forward and snapped its beak. “It kept slamming its beak down, like trying to say ‘hey, I don’t like this’” Craig immediately knew the hostile behavior was due to its discomfort. But he had an idea to sooth it. “I kinda talked to it a little bit,” he explained. Craig’s chatter managed to keep the bird calm while he removed the final pieces of the line from its wing. He took a step back, expecting it to take flight. But he didn’t think the owl would do this.
The owl stayed frozen to the trunk. Maybe it didn’t realize it was no longer trapped. But Craig was sure it was exhausted from standing for more than 12 hours. Without food or water for energy, it could have given up at any moment. Craig raced back to land and requested a shovel. “Really? A shovel?” Devin questioned his choice of tool. “Yes!” Craig replied as he took the handle. Then, he returned to the owl and placed the wooden handle by its feet. After a few moments, the bird stepped forward. Craig quickly moved back to land, making sure to avoid any sharp movements. But one question still remained. Could the owl fly?
The crowd parted like the sea as Craig marched towards the grass. Then, he hunched down, laying the shovel flat on the ground, He paused, hoping the owl would take off. But it didn’t. Craig began to fear the worst. Was its wing broken? He edged closer. Maybe it just needed a little encouragement. So, Craig reached forward. Then, they witnessed a miracle.
Craig took hold of the owl’s wing he had freed and gently inspected it for any sign of damage. Thankfully, there were no cuts or sores to be seen. Craig scratched his head. Was there a problem he couldn’t see? Then, the owl took three steps back, spread its beautiful wings, and took flight. Craig couldn’t take his eyes off the majestic creature. “It was definitely the first time I’ve ever done that, so it was a new experience,” Craig later shared. “A little intimidating, especially when its beak started snapping at me. But it was cool. It was definitely very cool.” Someone may be deserving of a pay rise. But human’s aren’t the only ones ready to help another creature in need…
They heard her cries. They searched throughout the zoo for their favorite resident—one-year-old Musya. She had been acting strangely that day, waddling from space to space with her swollen belly. The staff were anxious. If they didn’t find her on time, maybe something else would. When they eventually got to her, she had some unexpected company. What were they to do now?
Musya wasn’t always a resident of Sadgorod Zoo in Russia. The local attraction was home to tigers, bears, leopards, lizards, camels, reindeer, turtles, monkeys, and lions, but never cats. However, when zoo-keeper Alice was venturing to work on a cold winter’s morning, she noticed a small pile of dirt moving. When she looked closer, she realized it was something else entirely.
Musya fit into Alice’s hand when she found her. The tiny kitten was frozen, and even had icicles stuck to her nose! Alice wasn’t sure if she was going to make it through the night. She stuffed the hairball inside her jacket and went to work. The vets rallied and did everything they could for the little tot. Then, all they could do was wait. But Musya was about to shock them all.
To everyone’s disbelief, Musya made it through the first night, then the second, and then the third. Between shifts, the keepers would come to the staff room to shower her in affection. She was still underweight and weak, but she still managed to get up and run around every day. She quickly became one of the family. Then, they realized how much danger she was truly in.
As Musya became strong, she longed to explore. The window of their staff room was her only experience of the outside world. They wanted to keep her safe. After all, there were wild animals on the other side of the glass. But one day, as Alice opened the door, Musya slipped out. They managed to keep her inside for over a year, only ever leaving for a short walk on a leash. How would she fend for herself? They never expected her to come back like this.
Alice spent two days searching for Musya around the grounds. Every time she passed the crocodile’s enclosure, her stomach clenched. What if she made her way into the wrong pen. What if she wasn’t quick enough? Alice was warned by her colleagues not to expect to see Musya again, but she refused to listen to them. She had faith. And sometimes, all you need is a little bit of faith.
Musya eventually strolled back to her home in the center of the zoo. It was Alice who saw her pawing at the glass door. She couldn’t help but cry. At the beginning, she had intended to find Musya a home, but she could never bring herself to say goodbye. Her love for Musya continued to grow. But that wasn’t the only thing that was growing.
After a few weeks, Alice noticed a difference in her beloved cat. Musya was lethargic and cranky. She always had a playful personality, often hiding behind the tablecloth and slapping those who passed. Alice began to leave the door open for her to venture around the grounds. But Musya no longer had any interest in exploring. Instead, she would just lie on the ground outside. But they never expected to discover this.
Alice returned to the staff room after feeding time to have a hot cup of tea. But when she got there, Musya was nowhere to be found. This time, she didn’t panic. Alice knew Musya was smart. She had made her way back once before, so Alice was sure she could do it again. But as the second day passed, rain began to fall heavier than Alice had seen in months. The animals were off. Something was coming. Then, she heard thunder.
Alice and the other keepers grabbed their flashlights to search every nook and cranny around the zoo. She was sure Musya wouldn’t have left the grounds. Here, there was food and small rodents. Outside, there was nothing but cars and parking spaces. Then, by the lion enclosure, they heard a cry. Alice followed the noise to their wood area of trees and plants. Deep within a bush, she saw Musya. However, she wasn’t alone. Something was crawling on her chest.
Alice crawled into the bush when Musya refused to leave. With her were four newborn kittens, and among them were baby hedgehogs! Alice didn’t know what to do? Where had they come from and why were they with Musya? One by one, Alice loaded them into a box of blankets and brought them all to the vet room. Alice had more questions than answers.
When Alice told the vet about Musya, he laughed. But when he opened the box, the smile turned to a frown. Deep lines burrowed into his forehead. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he whispered before checking Musya and her young. He separated the species into two boxes before leaving for a talk with Alice. When they returned, they found out what was going on.
Musya had picked up her kittens and moved them one by one over to the hedgehogs. She sat among them, proud as ever, purring as they burrowed into her for heat. Were the hedgehogs not hurting her? Were they not hurting the young kittens? But as Alice watched them together, something clicked.
Musya had adopted all eight hedgehogs. And although their pricks would scare off many animals, Musya was not like most creatures. Alice was amazed. But then, she worried for the safety of the kittens. She took the hedgehogs away and attempted to nurse them from a bottle. However, after hours of them refusing, she had no choice but to return them to their new mother. Little did Alice know, this wasn’t the first instance of interspecies adoption.
Another cat in Russia called Rosinka made headlines after she adopted a baby squirrel monkey named Fyodor. The young creature was brought home by a zoo keeper after being abandoned by its mother. Thankfully, Rosinka immediately began to comfort him. Was it just cats in Russia who had the tendency to help other animals in need?
Cats are commonly misunderstood. They are the less popular household pet when it comes to dogs, and many canine-lovers put the fact down to feline’s malicious demeanor. However, cat owners around the world have rallied to share the benefits of owning a fluffy pal.
Owning a feline is said to lower the risk of heart disease and help their owner sleep better. Their calm personalities ease stress and anxiety, their purring is a continuous vibration that increases relaxation, and owning one is known to reduce allergies during childhood years. Above all else, owners have expressed the unparalleled company a cat provides while lounging on the couch to watch television. But how would Musya cope with such a big family?
Against all her better instincts, Alice decided to keep Musya’s family together. The young mother managed to nurse and care for all her children. Later, they discovered where the hedgehogs had come from. Turns out, their mother had been involved in a tragic accident with a lawnmower on the grounds of the zoo earlier that week. The little tots had been starving before Musya came across them. Alice was astounded. Had she rescued them before she had her kittens?
Although many had their doubts, Musya continued to raise the hedgehogs like her own. Alice set up their own house just outside their staff room, so she could keep a close eye on them. To her surprise, Musya has yet to cry from the pricks of the baby hedgehogs. It’s as though they can sense her motherly presence. And the internet couldn’t handle the cuteness.
Alice shared photos of the young mother online, and people are astonished. Cat-lovers are singing Musya’s praises and dog-lovers have been touched by her gentle nature. Looks like Musya is showing the same kindness that was once shown to her by Alice. But how would the kittens feel about sharing their mother?