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Big cats wow Mazie

How many people get to pet a tiger's tail?

“ The wish was something that we can share together. ”


- Kolby, Mazie's dad

Every time 5-year-old Mazie sees a tiger these days, she calls it Mik. “Look, there’s Mik,” she would say. Mik is short for Mikhail, the male Amur tiger at the Oregon Zoo. The two met recently while on Mazie’s wish to be a zookeeper. Her dad says the big cat exhibits were her favorite. “That was such a thrill for her, and obviously seeing her so excited was great for us.”

At home, Mazie loves to wear her animal-print outfits and draw animals in her journal.  At the Oregon Zoo, she got to take her love for animals to a whole new level.  She helped feed the lions, tigers and leopards; checked for eggs in the penguin nests; played with Mochica the penguin; and even painted an original artwork with the tail of Neka the lion.

Mazie’s dad says she deserves such a special wish, because at age five, she’s already been through so much.  He explained that the wish experience has played a part in her recovery.  “It definitely did something for her spirit - just judging from her attitude, the way she talks about [her wish granters] and knowing that people outside her family care about her and will do things like that for her.”

In addition to the incredible memories, the Oregon Zoo gave Mazie three stuffed animals – all big cats.  Her dad says the toys have not left Mazie’s side since the wish.  She’s even brought them to school inside her backpack.

When asked what the future holds for Mazie, her dad replied:  “I think it’s a really good possibility that she’ll want to be a zookeeper when she grows up.”

  • Just one of three stuff animals Mazie now keeps by her side all the time.

  • Mazie helps zookeeper Laura feed Zawadi Mungu

  • One of the lion cubs wants to play.

  • Zookeeper Laura helps Mazie with her lion tail painting.

  • A friendly penguin stops to say, "hello."

  • Lunch time!

  • How many people get to pet a tiger's tail?

  • Mazie feeding a leopard.

  • Thanks to zookeepers Jen and Rob for helping out.

  • Mazie with volunteer wish granters Michelle and Robin.

  • Mazie with zoo staff Julie.

The wish was something that we can share together. ”

— Kolby, Mazie's dad

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