Faith, Trust, and Wild Animals

Lemurs at Safari Zoological Park, Caney, Kansas

“If we have learned anything over the last 22 years it’s this: God is able to do the impossible! We have seen it time and time again.” ~Tom and Allie Harvey, Safari Zoological Park.

I like to hear and share faith stories—stories of miracles and of God’s provision. Tom and Allie Harvey are living a story of faith through their Safari Zoological Park in Caney, Kansas.

This zoo is different from any other I’ve been to. Tom, Allie and their staff interact with the animals, including tigers, wolves, bears, and lemurs, just to name a few. Personal stories invite visitors into the lives of the animals, making you feel like you know them.

The best part of the experience for me is the strong Christian faith of Tom and Allie. Every day they trust God will provide for another day.

White tiger at Safari Zoological Park, Caney, Kansas

Back in 2008, the slowdown of the economy hit hard and the zoo was going to have to close. Tom and Allie knew they needed a miracle to stay open. So they prayed. And they set the date of August 1 for the decision to be made.

On July 27 of that year, their white tiger Sassy had three cubs, but abandoned them the next day in the hot sun. Seeing that Sassy was not going to mother her cubs, Tom and Allie thought they would have to bottle feed them. However, their golden retriever, Isabella, took an interest in the cubs. She had just had puppies weeks earlier, and decided she would nurse the tiger cubs.

With the local press taking an interest, the story of the tiger cubs spread nationally. On August 1, 2008, the day the zoo was expected to close, Isabella and her tiger “pups” were sitting in front of TV cameras. God worked the miracle Tom and Allie were praying for, and the zoo remained open.

Safari Zoological Park still has its struggles. Food costs and other expenses continue to rise, while tourism and school field trips remain on a down turn. You would expect a sense of negativity, but it’s the complete opposite. The faith and trust in God is so strong you can feel it.

I spoke with Tom during my visit. He said some days he doesn’t know how he’ll provide for the animals, but more importantly, he knows God will provide.

“One of great things about doing something like this is that it is way bigger than us and when it gets done there is no doubt God did it. God may speak to 1 person’s heart or to 1000. All we can tell you is we will continue to trust God and believe that he has a plan.” ~Tom and Allie Harvey, Safari Zoological Park.

Disclosure: I was not asked to write this on behalf of Safari Zoological Park, nor did I receive anything in return. I simply love this faith story—a story that continues each day, each year as they trust and rely on God to provide.

Quote and information used from the Safari Zoological Park Web site with verbal permission from Tom Harvey 7/2/12. Pictures © Laura Rath.


12 Responses to Faith, Trust, and Wild Animals
  1. Tereasa
    July 12, 2012 | 6:05 am

    What a wonderful story! It reminds me of George Mueller, who cared for orphans in Bristol.

    • Laura Rath
      July 12, 2012 | 7:39 am

      Thank you for your visit and comment Tereasa. It’s such a fun place to visit.

  2. Jenni Mullinix
    July 12, 2012 | 7:14 am

    My husband and I just watched We Bought a Zoo yesterday. Funny how God works sometimes, eh? Thanks for sharing this story of faith. 🙂

    • Laura Rath
      July 12, 2012 | 12:35 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Jenni! God bless!

  3. Nikki
    July 12, 2012 | 10:48 am

    Oh to live reliant on God to provide each and every day…What a wonderful testament to that, Laura! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Laura Rath
    July 12, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    Amen Nikki! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Jane
    July 12, 2012 | 2:43 pm

    Wonderful article Laura. I have been there a couple times. I bought a tee shirt there with the blue tiger eyes on the back. I really enjoy wearing it because someone nearly always asks me about it & I have a chance to tell them how much I enjoy the Park & encourage them to visit. It’s obvious that the staff members there care deeply about the animals.

    • Laura Rath
      July 12, 2012 | 9:32 pm

      I agree, it is obvious how much the animals are cared for…like members of their family. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.
      God bless,

  6. Sylvia R
    July 13, 2012 | 1:16 pm

    I love stories like this! And I can testify that God does provide, just like that, and at the “last minute.” It happened countless times when I had to feed not animals, but my own child, and myself, on His provisions and faith. He is truly amazing!

    • Laura Rath
      July 13, 2012 | 2:10 pm

      What a wonderful testament to His provision Sylvia! Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. ~Laura

  7. charis
    July 18, 2012 | 7:23 pm

    that is crazy cool that the dog adopted the tiger cubs and nursed them as her own… that in and of itself is a huge God picture if we can see it.