Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michela Walters Week 65: A Lioness Sleeps Tonight

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Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: 2

Title: A Lioness Sleeps Tonight

Her eyes were alert and vibrant, a stark change to what I’d seen all week. It was as if she knew what I was about to do, trying with all her might to keep the vitality in her soul. Unfortunately, I understood there wasn’t anything left to try, and the spark would soon fade away from her brilliant gaze.

Her life had been fading for a few months, and today was the day the veterinary staff at the zoo had decided would be Kimba’s last. She’d put up a hell of a fight, but the cancer had spread and even though she still looked okay from afar, her tumor riddled body was being eaten alive from the inside out.

As soon as the sedative had left her as a heavy dead weight of fur, we moved her into the back area to euthanize her. Now, I stood beside her, my cheeks wet with tears as I said goodbye to the beautiful and majestic animal that had been in my care for over eight years.

I still vividly remembered the day she arrived like it was yesterday. She was skin and bones, an afterthought to someone who decided caring for a wild beast as a pet got a little old. She was nursed back to health and became an integral part of our sanctuary. Now, today I was saying my last goodbye to an old friend. My hand gently rubbed through her short mane, wanting her to know that someone was there, even at the end. Her nose nuzzled it, looking for even more affection, as if at the end she became as tame as a kitten looking for one last purr. Leaning down, I whispered in her ear to rest peacefully, and nodded toward the tech administering her lethal dose.

Her breathing shallowed, limbs went limp and it was all I could do to tear myself away from my girl. This was the worst part of my job, having to watch a cherished member of our zoo family be put down. Even though I hated it, I also appreciated the gift I was given. To be a trusted pride member, with them until the end. I kissed her head gently and asked the heavens to watch over her. “Sleep well, Kimba. You’re at peace now.”

Walking out the door, I had a sense of peaceful melancholy about my search for a new lion to replace her. No one would ever be Kimba, but if I could help another threatened animal, it would give me purpose and strength, knowing Kimba would be at my side from now until eternity.


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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog:



  1. Oh this is so beautifully sad. What a lovely, close relationship. xx

    1. Thanks Lizzie for your kind words. :)