Wild Home, Wilder Beard.

Share this post

Wild Home project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Deep in the woods of Mt. Vernon, Maine, in a place most of us don't know about, there is a man in overalls and a trucker hat bellowing out, "TUNDRAAAAA," as he walks by a chain link fence. On the other side of the fence is a 650-lb lion named Tundra. She's been with the man in overalls, Bob Miner, and his wife Julie, for seven years now. Bob and Julie run the D.E.W. Animal Kingdom ("And Sanctuary" is in smaller letters on the sign, like a footnote), where they have rehabilitated hundreds of animals, from monkeys, to camels, to kangaroos. They have the largest collection of cats in New England. And by cats they mean: four lions, four tigers, three leopards, two lynx, and three bobcats.

Director Jack Schurman introduces us to this joyful mindbender of a world in his project video. He lives in Maine and says that one of the greatest experiences of his life is getting to know Bob & Julie Miner. We see a little kangaroo hopping through the living room, a toddler cuddling a baby lion, and multiple instances of very large tigers jumping at people through the fence.

But what is the perhaps the most compelling part about this story, the part that almost makes you burst with happiness, is Bob himself. It turns out that Bob started the animal sanctuary when he found himself back from the infantry in the Vietnam War — "Shoot 'em up, bang bang and that stuff." — and unable to deal with people. Caring for sick animals was a form of therapy for him, too. He explains all this with a thick Boston accent (where he lived before the war) interspersed with jokes ("I can go in every cage with every animal, including my wife. She attacks me but I love it."), bellows to Tundra, and little bits of wisdom about life and love. And all this through, it must be said, one of the best big, gray beards you've ever seen.

We love this project!

Because it's Friday, and just in case you need any more convincing, Jack sent us some photos of Makeena, a Bengal white tiger cub born on April 11th. Enjoy!

Bob, his beard, and his tiger cub.
Bob, his beard, and his tiger cub.
#dying
#dying
Wild Home director Jack Schurman with Makeena.
Wild Home director Jack Schurman with Makeena.
Eep!
Eep!
Comments
    1. Andrew Cornett on

      Now also in love with this project.

    2. Audrey Jackson on

      Awesome! N sooooooo cute

    3. Darren Jackson on

      This looks absolutely incredible. Really wonderful.

    4. Ian Clark on

      Great life, and as it should be, doing what you love.

    5. Tricia Beck True on

      I am so lucky to be 20 minutes away from this great place.

    6. Tj McAnally on

      please donate so this project can be funded! thank you.

    7. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    8. Richard M. Roser on

      Shut it, Lisa! No one would mind if you left kick starter forever.

    9. Mara MacKay on

      This project is freely, giving life to others. Thankfully, no one can take that away. Creatures big and small, need love. Lost or dying, need love. Illegitimate or kept, need love. Traded and refused, need love. Bartered or bailed out, need love. May you all know and feel that love at D.E.W. - and may it be well with you and your animals - for a very, very long time. (Ditto: Robert Roser!)

    10. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    11. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    12. Missing avatar

      John Gregory on

      I know this is long passed but I felt compelled to say this when I found this blog post. The fellow who is worries about it being a roadside zoo has an understandable point, however you cannot understand the quality of a place without actually visiting it. Bobby Miner is my great uncle though I have unfortunately never met him face to face, my grandmother however makes yearly trips to visit him and DEW. She and dozens of others that I have met know that Bobby takes the greatest care and greatest safety precautions while giving these animals a life that they otherwise did not have the chance to experience. Even in the past three years DEW has come a long way in serving it's animals and it's community, and it can only get better.

    13. Soni Gupta on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    14. Soni Gupta on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    15. Soni Gupta on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    16. Soni Gupta on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    17. Missing avatar

      Upeksha Pawar on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    18. Missing avatar

      Namaku Keren on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    19. Missing avatar

      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    20. Missing avatar

      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.