Sad Lioness Has An Incredible Reaction When She Sees Her New Neighbor

Happiness isn’t always easy to find for wild animals raised in captivity. Some are fortunate, being cared for by zoos or sanctuaries where all their needs are met. But other animals, like those bought and sold illegally on the black market, never know what it’s like to be safe or to feel happiness.

When one badly suffering lioness had reached what she thought was the end of her path, she was stunned to discover a reason to live — and to live happily — so close to home. But getting what she wanted wouldn’t come so easily…

Meet Sheila, a light-haired lioness with more strength than most lions already have. Sadly, her strength had been faltering, and Sheila had grown tired of putting on a brave face. 

See, Sheila always stood out from the crowd, as her very light coat is rare among lions. In fact, light lions like her are only found in Timbavati and South Africa. Unfortunately, her beauty also led to her demise.

Because of her rare coloring and her easygoing spirit, Sheila starred in countless photo shoots and music videos when she was young. While many people dream about a life in the spotlight, it was no place for a lioness.

But that wasn’t the worst of her jobs. Sheila was so popular that her owner pushed her further into the entertainment industry, where she attended parties and events and was forced to do tricks. She was practically a circus lion.

Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture intervened, and once they had rescued her, they left her in the capable hands of In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center — a place where big cats can retire.

At first, In-Sync feared they’d have to put Sheila down. She was underweight and weak, could barely stand, and refused to eat. It was clear she wasn’t just depressed, but sick, and no one had bothered to take care of her.

When Vicky Keahey, the founder of In-Sync Organization, was asked about Sheila’s former owner, she explained: “when the cats are no longer useful to him, he throws them aside and stops taking care of them.”

One thing was clear: Sheila had lost her will to live. She didn’t bother drinking water, she showed no interest in playing with her toys, and when she did eat, she tended to throw up most of her meals. Things were looking very grim.

Still, the workers at In-Sync refused to give up on the beautiful lioness. They even risked their fingers by hand-feeding her in the hopes she would recover a little. Anything to keep her from being euthanized.

Finally, the organization could diagnose her symptoms: Sheila suffered from toxoplasmosis — parasites in her blood. The disease is usually fatal to cats, but they tried to medicate her anyway.

Soon after administering the first dose, Sheila showed signs of improvement, which baffled her caretakers. Surely the medication couldn’t be that effective that fast? So, they wondered: was there something else making her feel better?

While In-Sync houses dozens of wildcats, it was Sheila’s new next-door neighbor whom she seemed to like the most. His name was Kahn, and not long after he moved into the enclosure next to Sheila’s, the two became very close.

As it happened, the two shared a very similar history and hardships. Kahn, too, was abused by his owner, and he was forced into the entertainment industry. In fact, it was the same cruel man who was responsible for both their fates!

And just like Sheila, Kahn entered the center beaten and malnourished, weighing 100 lbs less than the average adult lion. On top of that, he had terrible bone structure due to growing up in a small cage, which stunted his growth.

But while Sheila was depressed and lifeless when she came in, Kahn was aggressive and distrusting. His injuries frustrated him, but as soon as those were treated, he started to ease up and be more relaxed. He even seemed to enjoy his new home!

Still, lions are not meant to live alone. They belong with large groups called prides, which is why it’s so saddening that both Sheila and Kahn grew up completely isolated and were separated by enclosures for their own safety.

Nevertheless, the two seemed to form a friendship through their barrier, so In-Sync decided to allow them to play with each other once in a while. They instantly hit it off and continued to grow healthier thanks to each other’s influence.

Sheila and Kahn were so in love, and eventually so healthy, that their caretakers made a major decision: they would end Sheila and Kahn’s loneliness and let these two love-lions move into the same enclosure together.

Meanwhile, their former owner lost his license to keep lions, which caused his business to sink in a matter of weeks. He even faced imprisonment for animal neglect. Most importantly: he wouldn’t harm any more creatures.

While both Sheila and Kahn went through hell and back, they came out stronger than ever, with each other and their own willpower to thank for it. Oh, and the people of In-Sync of course, who can’t get enough of this Lion King romance!

Unfortunately, exotic animals are not the only ones who suffer abuse. While many dogs live in loving homes, the reality is that millions of unwanted pups are surrendered to shelters every year, alone and abandoned.

MTM

One afternoon, a sweet young pit bull named Merrill was brought to Rocket Dog Rescue in San Francisco. However, she wasn’t the only animal dropped off…

Countless other dogs made their way into the shelter that day. In fact, it was so busy that they almost missed a second dog, a senior male chihuahua named Taco, in the process due to his tiny, frail status.

Rocket Dog Rescue was used to pets being abandoned on their property, so examining these lost pets and caring for them was nothing new, even in such great numbers. But something about these two dogs stood out…

Rocket Dog Rescue / Facebook

Taco was about 8 years old and suffered from asthma and dental disease. While Merrill was about 3 years old and had a severe uterine infection due to consistent breeding practices.

Humane Society of the United States

It was clear that health issues were why both dogs had been surrendered. Although unfortunate, the timing was perfect, because Merrill needed emergency, life-saving surgery.

D. Joseph Construction Co.

Thankfully Merrill pulled through, although she needed a lot of time to recover. Volunteers were amazed by how Taco, a much smaller dog, stuck by her side the whole time like a personal nurse. 

It was then obvious to the volunteers that these two must have known each other prior and could not be separated. This was going to make finding their “furever” home even more difficult. 

Rocket Dog Rescue

The pair was soon placed in foster care together while they waited for a more permanent home. Volunteers at Rocket Dog Rescue snapped this photo right before they were dropped off, which went viral. But would it find them a place to live? 

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

The post received over 26,000 shares and over 1,000 comments. People were losing it over the adorable pair and how Taco seemingly appeared to be an extension of Merrill. 

Rocket Dog Rescue / Facebook

Many families came to visit the two dogs, and many also made promises to adopt them both, but none were quite ready to seal the deal. Then, something wonderful happened…

At the end of the day, one last family saw the pair and adopted them on the spot! The shelter later wrote on Facebook: “Merrill & Taco have been taken in together and are now enjoying hanging out by the fire snuggling up after a long, fun-filled day.”

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

The best friends were so popular that their new family, who wished to remain anonymous, created a Facebook account, “Merrill & Taco,” so the world could follow their new life. But not everything was as it seemed…

Things were going well until about a month after they were adopted. Following a vet visit for Taco, great concern was expressed for Taco’s health. 

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

The vet feared that Taco was in heart failure as it was enlarged and there was fluid around his lungs. The family was eventually told to prepare for the worst. 

Suddenly, the roles were reversed and now Merrill became Taco’s nurse, refusing to leave her best friend’s side. It was a sight that was just as touching as it was heartbreaking. 

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

Taco was quickly put on various medications and required to see a specialist. With time, Taco’s health stabilized and her future was looking brighter…

Still, Merrill had to be gentle with her little friend, because even with his medicine, Taco still had respiratory issues that needed to be monitored.

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

Both the dogs’ health issues didn’t stop them from living their best life. Merrill will still playfully romp through the grass while Taco gets carried around by his human sibling.

Clearly, it doesn’t matter what these two do, as long as they’re together. When separated they will even cry for one another until they are reunited!

Regardless, the unlikely duo found their home and happiness after a not-so-happy beginning. It was a scary journey, but ultimately one with a happy ending!

Merrill & Taco / Facebook

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