writing for children

I’m not lion to ya – it’s love…

When I took the picture of the 9 year old lion below, I didn’t know he would still be on my mind today…almost 3 weeks later.

See how his mouth is open? I was able to take a picture of him mid-roar. It was a first for me. I have NEVER heard a lion roar – and never photographed one, either!

(And by NEVER, I am not including movies or tv coverage of lions that I’ve heard. Those don’t count.)

But this lion – his roar was not what I expected.

It was miserable.



I couldn’t understand why the roar filled me with sadness.

But after we returned from the zoo, I figured out why.

Ailing lion put down at N.C. Zoo – Local/State – NewsObserver.com

About a month before we came to the zoo, the lion’s female companion had to be euthanized. She had mammary cancer that metastasized and could not be cured. She was in pain.

Did he miss her? I think he did. Was he in mourning? I really believe he was.

“But Donna!” you must be saying. “Animals are not like humans. They don’t have the memory span we do. They wouldn’t understand a loving gesture!”


And in the 70’s, two men raised a lion but had to give him up when the British government wouldn’t allow them to keep him. They took him to Africa. A year later, they wished to go back and see him. They were told he had a pride of his own, was completely wild and wouldn’t remember him. Watch what happened… (you don’t have to watch the whole thing – you can get the gist of it in the first 3 minutes or so – but the whole thing IS good)

These animals remembered the people who had shown them love and compassion. They remembered. It was embedded somewhere deep, deep down.

Now – if animals can be affected so profoundly by love… why do we doubt that our fellow man can be changed by it?

We are creations of a living God. A God who loves and understand us in a way no one else can. We are made in HIS image. And He is love. GOD IS LOVE.

What more can we do but share that love with one another? How are you paying His love forward? How am I?

How will folks remember us when we are gone?


11 thoughts on “I’m not lion to ya – it’s love…

  1. Donna,
    Okay, I admit it. I cried. Touching stories! Did you know that a PB named Christian. the Hugging Lion is coming out. Laurent Linn, the art director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers spoke about it at the SCBWI-Fall Conference. I can’t wait to see it.

    Thanks for a moving post, Donna. It will have me thinking about my legacy for a while. I don’t need to be rich and famous, just a faithful follower of Jesus.

    I’m glad you were able to learn why the lion’s roar sounded miserable. Look what one photograph led to!

    Linda A.


  2. I agree with you, V. God is love and I believe He created the animals in love, too. How they understand and remember love, though, is a mystery to me! I can’t explain it. I can understand it a little better with domesticated animals, but wild animals like these lions? Wow.


  3. Oh, that’s so sad for the lion who lost its mate. I do believe he was grieving too. And that Christian the Lion brought me to tears the first time I saw it!
    I do believe animals feel more than many think.


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