“Working with Beliza (AKA: Beezee, Beezee J, Beliza Sunshine, Princess B) for the past 7 years has been very rewarding. Beliza’s playful, sassy personality has made me smile & laugh countless times. Her stubbornness has frustrated me at times. The news of her cancer brought many tears to my eyes. It has been an interesting 7 years that has given me many memories and stories to share.
First rule when working with Beliza: she is in charge. Second rule: Beliza does not work for free. By “work”, I mean “shift”. Shifting is the term we use to describe asking the animal to move through a door from one space to another. Every now and then Beliza will surprise me and shift without food. Most of the time, Beliza will not shift unless she given the proper amount of food. How much is the right amount? Only Beliza knows. I have no idea how she decides, but it could be 3 meatballs one day and 7 the next. It could be a fish or she may require meat to go with her fish. She will lay with her front legs crossed while watching the meatballs fall until she sees what she likes, then she’ll shift. Beliza is in charge.
I’ll never forget the day Beliza scared me. First thing in the morning, I went to verify she was on exhibit, alive and well. Usually when I call her name she will look towards me or even come over to me. This one morning, she did not move. She did not blink. I tried to confirm she was breathing by looking for the rise and fall of her abdomen. Nothing! I could not see any movement anywhere on her body. My heart sank. Why wasn’t she responding? Stroke? Seizure? How are we going to get her help in the middle of the exhibit? I kept calling to her hoping to see movement. I turned my back to her for a second. She ran up to the mesh and jumped at hit! She was playing! I had never seen Beliza do something like that before. The biggest wave of relief came over me. I told her it was not nice to scare me like that. Apparently Beliza thought it was a fun game because she tried the same thing several times after that day. Beliza is a prankster.
Another day I’ll never forget is the day of the skunk. I was told to go to the jaguar exhibit because Beliza had tangled with a skunk. I wasn’t even at Amazonia yet. When I entered the back of Amazonia it was very clear, by the smell that she had tangled with a skunk. The closer I got to the exhibit, the stronger the stench. In order to clean the exhibit without getting sick and trying to minimize the amount of smell that seeped into my pores, I wore a full Tyvek suit with hood, 2 pair of gloves and an N95 mask. I have no idea how Beliza was able to deal the smell, but she seemed fine. It took a couple of weeks for the smell to leave the Day Room and Beliza’s body. To this day, she still has 2 small scars on her face from her encounter with the skunk. Beliza is fearless.”
$125 will support Beliza’s cancer treatment medication for one week. A gift from you today will help us, help her. At Mesker Park Zoo, we ensure that all our animals, like Beliza, receive excellent care every day. Funds in excess to Beliza’s medication will be distributed to our annual Adopt and Animal program that provides animal care and enrichment to all of our animals.
If you feel so moved, use the link below to help us offset the cost of cancer treatment for this amazing cat:Donate for Beliza’s Treatment