Mustang Profile: Mrs. Davis

It may seem hard to believe, but your teachers weren’t always teachers. Canyon Vista teachers have come from all walks of life, even walks on the wild side.

Mrs. Davis teaches 8th grade science. Photo by Sanika

Mrs. Davis teaches 8th grade science. Photo by Sanika

Before Mrs. Davis worked with Mustangs, she worked with tigers! After graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in zoology, Davis was required to do an internship somewhere to help her gain experience in the field. She searched for an internship in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a non profit organization, which led her to Tiger Creek, a sanctuary for not only tigers but lions, leopards, pumas, and bobcats.

Davis said she has been an animal lover all her life and that she has always had pets. When people ask her if she is a cat lover or dog lover she responds with a simple, “I am an animal lover.” Davis says that animals will always have a special place in her heart.

At Tiger Creek, Davis was never bored. She worked 60 hours a week, rain or shine. “At Tiger Creek, I learned what hard work really was,” she commented. Davis would give tours, clean cages, and feed the animals. Feeding the animals was especially tedious. She would cut up meat that the sanctuary had ordered, measure the proper amount for each tiger, and put in any needed medications. Meat donations of any variety were accepted at the sanctuary. Davis recalled, “From hunting trips to deers found on the side of the road, I’ve seen it all!” Her favorite part of her job was when she got to work with the adolescent tiger cubs because they were “so sweet and friendly!”

Mrs. Davis used to work with tigers. Photo from personal collection

Mrs. Davis used to work with tigers. Photo from personal collection

As fun as the job was, there were also some scary moments for Davis. “My most memorable moment was when we were trying to move Sammy, the first tiger on the reserve, and the meanest. Sammy loved Terry, the owner and founder, but everyone else he hated with a fierce passion. We had to put him into a cage and then push the cage with our hands to another cage. I remember staring at the gapes in the bars thinking he could so easily take one of my fingers off if he gets mad. I do not know how long I was just standing there when Terry asked me to start pushing. I could not make myself move, I was so scared. I could feel the tears starting to come and knew I could never do it. Terry had always told me that I never had to do something that I was scared to do and when she saw my face she told me that I didn’t have to do it. I love tigers, but I also respect them for what they are capable of.”  

Davis said not all tigers at Tiger Creek were mean, but some were, due to their past and how poorly they were treated. Davis had a very special relationship with a tiger at the sanctuary named Alcolon. He loved Davis and would ‘chuf’, a sound to show pleasure, every time he saw her. However, he hated all men and would roar and charge if they came near his cage. “They are NOT pets!” she said. “Most of the tigers we had to take in were because someone thought it would be ‘cool’ to have a tiger as a pet and would declaw them. This is not good for the tiger.” Davis states that most pet tigers are often abused or do not get all the nutrition they need and have health issues for the rest of their lives.

Davis changed her profession to teaching kids after she got married. “I decided to become a science teacher since I loved science and took many hours of science in college. I think science is just in my blood. My mother was a science teacher while I was growing up, and even though back then I never wanted to be a teacher because it was what my mom did, I have always loved science. It is a different kind of work with a different kind of gratification. Before I came to CVMS, I would say that working with tigers was easier because at least they don’t talk back!”

Davis feels that even the student community can help to conserve wildlife. She says to always be aware of endangered species. By donating or raising money for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), we can help to save endangered animals like tigers, pandas, gorillas, elephants, sea turtles, polar bears, rhinos, and whales. There are many nonprofit organizations that will be happy for any kind of help that you are willing to give whether it’s donations from your birthday party or proceeds from a fundraiser. Davis believes that the most simple thing every person can do to help bring balance between humans and nature is to be aware and know the consequence of your every action.