-- Lioness' Life Completely Changed After Meeting Him at the Rescue Center

Lions are perhaps the most magnificent animals on the planet. Unfortunately, we humans do not appreciate them as much as we should. To make things worse, we even lock up these creatures and make them show animals that appear in private parties. Sheila, one truly unique lioness, had such a sad life.
Sheila is a unique lioness who used to be a show animal. Unfortunately, her owner didn't take proper care of her. The hard work started taking its toll on her health and it only got worse. One day, she was lucky enough to get rescued. Unfortunately, Sheila was in such a bad condition that the rescuers thought they were too late. Still, they tried to get her back on her feet but everything seemed pointless. Just when they were about to put her to sleep, one remarkable thing happened and changed Sheila's life for good.

Helping Sheila Out

Back in July 2009, Sheila was rescued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with a few other animals. All the animals were in a bad shape, but Sheila's condition was the worst. 
This lioness looked like skin and bones; she was weak and frail. She seemed to be in such a bad condition that her rescuers thought she won't get to live another day. However, they decided to give their best and help the poor lioness out

Causes of Sheila's Condition

Sheila was held in an entertainment center located in Texas. She was one of the animals who performed in entertainment shows and her task was to amuse the audience.
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Not only were the performances exhausting but Sheila's caretaker didn't pay much attention to her or the other animals. eahey, founder of In-Sync Organization explained, ‘when the animals are no longer useful to him, he throws them aside and stops taking care of them.’

Captive Since Birth

Sheila was born in Africa, however, she was stolen and brought to Texas. This means the poor lioness has been held captive since the day she was born.
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As soon as she was brought to Texas, Sheila started living as a pet and appearing in photoshoots. It took only a year for this lifestyle to start harming Sheila's health.

Brought to Safety

Sheila's condition was so bad that she couldn't stand up on her own. Her rescuers pointed out that "she had very little muscle coordination, and thus when she walked, her legs would slip out from under her.”
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Sheila was so weak that she could barely lift her head up to drink water and she refused to eat anything. It seemed that she didn't want to live anymore.

Not The Only One

The saddest thing is that Sheila is one of so many animals who share this horrible faith. It is common for people to steal animals, take them away from their natural habitat, and use them for entertainment practics.
Only few of these captured animals manage to survive in these horrible conditions. Most of them die after a few years. Luckily, Sheila had something amazing waiting for her.

Handing Sheila Over

The organization that rescued Sheila in the first place didn't know how to help her out. That is when they decided to hand her over to In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center, an animal social welfare organization.
This organization shelters and looks after animals who have been suffering for a while. The U.S Agriculture Department turned to the wildlife rescue center hoping that they could save Sheila. If not, they approved Sheila's euthanization.

Helping Sheila Out

As soon as Sheila was admitted into the organization, the resucers started working on helping her out. They were willing to do anything to help her get back in shape.
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Since Sheila rejected food, the rescuers would hand feed her. The founder of In Sync said, “For two weeks, I had to go in with Sheila and hand-feed her.” She added further “I’d meatballs balls and literally stuff them down her throat.”

Losing All Hope

No matter what the team did, Sheila's health was not getting any better. The team started losing all hope.
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An In-Sync member stated that “Sheila had very little muscle coordination, and thus, when she walked, her legs would slip out from under her.” It seemed as if nothing could help her out.

Nothing Can Help Her Out

Even the rescuers themselves were shocked. It seemed as if Sheila was reluctant to get better. After some time, she even became motionless.
Sheila would even throw up after eating, which made her even sicker than before. The team didn't know what to do. But, still, they were not willing to give up

Making Tough Decisions

Despite the efforts that the rescuers put in, Sheila's health condition was not improving. The team then started considering USDA's advice and thinking about euthanizing this lioness.
The rescuers noticed that Sheila was in lot of pain and wanted to end her suffering. Letting her live like this would be nothing but torture. So, the team started considering giving Sheila a merciful death.

One of a Kind Lioness

Losing a unique lioness like Sheila would be such a shame. Her unique color made her stand out from all the other animals. We're quite sure that other wild cats were jealous of her looks.
When it comes to her unique color, it is caused by a unique gene called color-inhibitor or chinchilla gene. Only lionesses from TImbavati and South Africa look like Sheila does. And, moments before she was euthanized, something incredible happened.

Deadly Disease

Soon, the In Sync team made another discovery. Sheila was suffering from the lack of vitamin A and a disease known as Toxoplasmosis.
The parasites that carry this disease get mixed with the blood of the disease. Toxoplasmosis is not harmful to humans, but it can be quite dangerous for cats. The team was worried about saving Sheila. If she wouldn't eat anything, how would she take her medicine?

What Is Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection commonly found in cats. When an animal's immune system is not strong enough to fight infections, Toxoplasmosis is very likely to occur.
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The symptoms of this disease are lack of coordination, breathing difficulties, disorientation, lethargy, anorexia, enlarged lymph nodes, and even blindness. If not cured, the disease can cause death.

Taking Care of Sheila

The rescuers started immediately treating Sheila's condition with antibiotics. They were aware that it was already too late for the treatment and were unsure about its results.
Still, they decided to give it a try. Getting Sheila to take her antibiotics was not an easy task. At first, she refused to take it but then started to change her mind.

Getting Better

To everyone's surprise, Sheila started getting better. She started walking and eating on her own.
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Everyone thought that the medicine she was taking helped Sheila get better. But, in reality there was something else. Something that no one else noticed before.

Hopping With Joy

In-Sync team was glad to share the good news on social media. "Sheila has made a remarkable improvement. She has regained muscle control, swallows easily, and runs and hops like a bunny.”
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However, the team still couldn't understand what made Sheila change her mind. She was reluctant to have the antibiotics and, all of a sudden, she decided to start taking them.

Meeting Someone Special

Sheila was living in a big chamber which had another one attached to it. And, there was a special someone living in the neighboring chamber.
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This special someone helped Sheila get better. And, the rescuers were shocked when they realized it. What do you think, who lived in the chamber next to Sheila's?

Meeting Another Lion

A handsome lion lived in chamber next to Sheila's! From the moment these two noticed each other, they started bonding. And, this handsome guy's name is Kahn.
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Soon, Sheila fell in love with Kahn. And, it took the team quite a while to notice the affection they had for each other. But, when Sheila started getting better at such a fast pace, the team realized it was because of Kahn's company. Unfortunately, he also had a painful past.

Meet Kahn, The Lion

Kahn is a six-year-old lion. He was rescued by the organization a few months before Sheila was.
Kahn shared the same fate as Sheila. He was trapped in the hands of reckless caretakers and performed in the entairtainment centers in Texas. When he was rescued, his condition was almost as bad as Sheila's.

Kahn's Terrible Past

Kahn was a show animal and his main task was to entertain the audience. He would often appear in private parties.
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In order to do his "job", Kahn was carted to different events every day. A hectic schedule like this started making him sick. But, his caretaker didn't pay attention to Kahn and still made him perform, despite his illness.

Pathetic Living Conditions

Kahn's living conditions were pathetic. When the team found him, he was malnourished and weighed 100 pounds less than the average male lion of his age. Similarly to Sheila, his owner treated him badly.
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Kahn's living space was very small and it hampered his physical growth. All of this made him do something that was quite unexpected.

Kahn's Frustration

Kahn was frustrated and bored. This made him chew his own tail off. As a result, the tip of his tail became raw and swollen. If the In-Sync team hadn't found him in time, Kahn would have died.
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Keahey explained, “When Kahn came, the end of his tail was completely chewed off and [he] was very thin.” The lion also suffered from a bone condition that made it difficult for him to walk.

Aggressive Behavior

When Kahn came to the rescue center, he was very aggressive. But, the team knew the reason behind his behavior - his illness and the bad living conditions he was in.
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Perhaps the fact that he wasn't given enough food also made Kahn aggressive. However, the team knew that once Kahn started feeling better, his behaviour would change.

Becoming a Friendly Face

And, they were right. Kahn was a fighter and he recovered very soon. Formerly an agressive beast, Kahn became a disciplined animal and an integral member of the rescue center.
Once Kahn was cured, nothing could get him worked up. His previous agression was due to his health issues. Even though Kahn recovered from his illness, he still has some difficulties when walking.

A Gift for Kahn

The team was glad to see Kahn getting better. And, because of his good nature, they gave him a gift - cinder-block stairs.
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The stairs were made to help Kahn reach his den easily. This ill-treated lion was finally able to live the life he deserves. His den was well-kept, big, and spacious. And soon, he would meet someone special.

Everybody Loves Having Friends

Even animals need to have friends; someone to play and have fun with. The chamber next to Kahn's was empty until Sheila arrived.
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When these two met, they hit it off in no time. In short time, they became very good friends. But, their relationship was much deeper than that. Because of Kahn, Sheila started taking her medicine and her condition started improving.

A Few Things In Common

Sheila and Kahn had a few things in common. Both of them had gone through the same tragedy. However, their situations were a bit different.
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The In-Sync founder explained that treating Kahn was easier since he got comfortable with his new surroundings in no time. Sheila, on the other hand, hand a hard time adjusting. It was because she was in a very bad shape; she was almost dead when she arrived to the center.

Becoming Beautiful Again

Keahey was so happy to see the condition of both lions getting better. She stated that, "as time went by they both healed and grew into beautifully grown lions.”
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She also pointed out that the team had built a new lion enclosure. It was designed so that Kahn and Sheila could live next to each other.

More than Friends

Kahn and Sheila spent so much time together. The team suspected that their relationship could be more than just a friendship. Keahey noticed that “Sheila spent the next few months showing off for Kahn, and Kahn strutted his stuff for her.”
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These two lions didn't even try to keep their love for each a secret. Everyone had realized that and they were glad to see Kahn and Sheila happy together.

Going On Dates

After the rescuers noticed Sheila and Kahn's affection for each other, they decided to let them "date." But, to prevent any accidents from taking place, they spayed Sheila. And then, the two started spending so much time together.
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Vicky, one of the rescuers, explained that they "did short dates every day, then the dates got longer and then the dates became unsupervised."

Lions Getting Married

Then the team let these two lovebirds spend the night together. And, after three months of dating, they allowed them to get "married."
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The team built a special enclose for these two. There, they get to spend their special time together. But, it seems that Sheila is the boss in their relationship.

Kahn Is All She Wants

Kahn and Sheila seem to can't get enough of each other. Sheila is absolutely in love with the attention and affection she gets from her husband. Oh, let's not forget those special cardboxes he brings her all the time.
Vicky also talks about Kahn’s possessive nature for his wife. Whenever he notices other lions getting close to his wife, he does not hesitate to confront them. Oh, and there are so many other ways he expresses his love...

Beautiful And Rough Love

Having a wife as special and beautiful as Sheila is, Kahn has to make sure she is safe all the time. He protects her from all the other lions.
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Vicky says that Kahn lets all the other guys know Sheila belongs to him. He roars and sometimes even charges at them. Who would say that two animals can make such a perfect couple? But what happened to their owners who almost caused their death?

Punished For His Deeds

Sheila and Kahn's owner were punished for their improper treatment of animals. They are no longer entitled to keep big animals.
Even though the owner was punished, many petitioners expected a stricter action and weren't satisfied with this minimal penalty.

Beautiful Love Story

What started out as a sad story about a mistreated lioness ended with unconditional love.
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Sheila was so close to getting euthanized. However, after meating a special lion named Khan, her condition improved and she ended up in a blissful marriage. Such a beautiful love story, isn't it?
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