October 19th, 2017
It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce, today our beloved Balloo walked into the Forest. While we do not know yet what caused his body to fail, we do know his quality of life had diminished to a place where all hope was lost. He had the best care we could offer and was on a regimen of medications mitigating the pain, addressing his loss of mobility and flexibility and it was hoped, muscle healing.
Balloo and his siblings joined us when they were orphaned at 1 ½ years old. Many experts felt they were too old to adapt to a life in captivity and suggested they be euthanized, we thought otherwise and offered them an alternative. Within a very short time they were be hand fed and playing in their new home. Balloo, showed himself, early on to be the leader and the most intelligent of the group.
Balloo will be deeply missed by his family here at Fortress. He had such a unique and engaging personality and special ways of relating to and communicating with those who knew him best. It has been our privilege to have had him with us for 7 years and to have been given the opportunity to offer him a home where he could get to know and live with his siblings and extended family.
His support from Sitkans and beyond and our generous Facebook community deserves a huge thank you. Our vet Dr. Michelle Oakley, came with 8 bags of equipment; her flight handled skillfully with Alaska Airlines not only footing the bill, but laying the ground work for all the trip entailed. Aspen Hotel suites stepped up and offered a stay in their beautiful hotel. Bev Caldwell hosted Dr. Oakley in her lovely home during her time in Sitka. All aided with an A team of professionals, all of whom offered their expertise - Dr. Burgess Bauder, Dr. Richard Wein, ADF&G Biologist Steve Bethune and Drs. Elizabeth Decker and Jeffrey Reinhardt. We will never be able to repay their support and generosity.
Balloo’s legacy lives on. Our hearts are broken.