The Extreme Home Makeover folks took as its project the dilapidated home and small animal cages of a wild animal sanctuary. Forever Wild Animal Sanctuary in California has been taking in unwanted and abused animals, mostly exotic large cats, from for several years. As they struggled to make ends meet, they couldn’t afford repairs on their own house.
The Extreme Makeover team recruited about a hundred volunteers. Sponsors supplied earthmoving and construction equipment. The family, parents Joel and Charmain Almquist and four daughters from teen to toddler, were sent on vacation to Costa Rica. The team demolished the house and built a new, larger home with solar panels on the roof. Each child’s bedroom was a personal space that reflected the child’s interests. The house became a secure sanctuary and change of pace. The local community college and university offered four-year scholarships for each of the children.
While the family was away, the team took one of the tigers for surgery to cure its longstanding paw injuries from “de-clawing” and relieve it of constant pain.
They built a learning centre for educating the public. The learning centre will enable Forever Wild to bring in school tours. There are new terrariums for the exotic (venemous) snakes. It also has a food preparation area and large fridges, so that the family can prepare 300 lb of meat a day for their animals. Each animal had a new sign with its picture, name, and story.
They made larger cages with more space for the animals and an animal playground for the tigers. They wove cat beds from indestructible used fire hoses.
The builders and volunteers collected $50,000 for maintaining the learning centre. It was a fitting reward for the years of hard work and caring put in by the Almquists.