“How do you even get a tiger?”
That is the very good question asked this week by a Houston, Texas, 311 dispatcher when a woman called to inform them that, upon entering an abandoned house to smoke weed, she and her friend discovered a what the Houston Chronicle described as a “chubby tiger” locked in a tiny cage.
“I’m not lying,” the woman — who was probably not high yet because happening upon a zaftig wild animal tends to take precedence over most other activities — assured the dispatcher. “I don’t know how he got it in there. It’s not a baby tiger. It’s pretty big.” To which the dispatcher replied with that very good, timeless question: “How do you even get a tiger?”
Neither of them knew the answer, it seems, so the dispatcher patched the woman (who has asked to remain anonymous) through to the nearby BARC animal shelter, which sent an animal control officer, accompanied by a Houston Police Department officer, to the scene.
They discovered the tiger in “4-by-8-feet cage, resting on a bed of hay” and concluded that he “had eaten recently but was dehydrated.”
After he was transferred to BARC’s animal shelter, he was administered tranquilizers to sleep, and woke up on Tuesday morning “in good spirits,” Lara Cottingham, an employee of the city’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, which oversees BARC and 311, told the Chronicle.
She added that he was “snoring adorably,” and that he was “really Instagram friendly,” posing “regally” for photos and picking up his food bowl with his mouth to “request a meaty nosh.” (Somewhere, out on the fringes of our reality, the phrase “Instagram friendly tiger” overwhelms the system, interrupting the flow of data, causing a small but pronounced glitch in the Simulation, like a tear of color across a TV screen.)
The staff at BARC have taken to calling the curvy tiger “Tyson,” a nod to The Hangover movie. It is still unclear (1) where he came from, or (2) how you even get a tiger, though I imagine the answer to the second mystery lays somewhere in the bowels of the internet, and involves a chain-smoker named Lyle.
Also unclear: whether the unnamed woman was finally able to get high in peace and to reflect on her heroism, and the thin line between man and beast. Let us hope so.