I featured the Conservators' Center in Mebane on the site in April.
The nonprofit preserve was launching a new tour at the time and was kind enough to let me and my daughter join in. We saw some of the 21 lions, along with tigers and a collection of smaller cats and animals, including servals, lemurs, wolves, red foxes and more. The nonprofit takes in animals that no one else wants, including those that are sick, elderly or have behavioral issues. Conservators' Center program lets families help care for animals
During the tour, I met Deanna Domres and her daughter Alyssa, now 15, of north Raleigh. The two had obviously spent a lot of time at the center. I found out that their family had adopted one of the center's animals - a New Guinea singing dog named Ife (pronounced i-fay).
They visit Ife in Mebane regularly, bringing her toys, feeding her and interacting with her. They got involved because of Alyssa's interest in animals.
"I really want to work with animals," Alyssa tells me. "And I really wanted to find a place where I could learn more about them."
Adopting Ife also meant Alyssa was able to join the Conservators' Center Cub Club, which meets for special activities, projects and behind-the-scenes opportunities.
It costs between $800 to $1200 a year, or $67 to $100 a month, to adopt an animal. Domres tells me it's well worth the cost.
"If you have kids who want to become more involved with animals, it's worth the time and it's also worth the few dollars," she tells me. "For me, it's like you give up something at home - cable TV. This is a great way to get your kids connected to nature and to get them connected to the real world."
The center will host a special event called Meet Your Match from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 24. Visitors can learn more about adoption and whether it's a good fit for them. Current adopters, including Deanna and Alyssa, will be stationed beside their adoptive animals. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer general questions.
Reservations are required for the event, as they are for any event or tour at the Conservators' Center. Children under six will not be permitted.
For details about Meet Your Match, click here. Watch the video to hear more from Deanna and Alyssa.