BELGRADE, Mont. – Many know Jay Owenhouse as an illusionist whose show has toured around the nation, but there’s something that many don’t know about one of his tigers.
Though they don’t look it, Sheena and Shekinah are twin sisters and live right here in Montana.
Jay Owenhouse brought them home at just 12 weeks old and has had them as a part of his family ever since.
In February, he discovered Shekinah had gotten hurt from playing with her sister.
Owenhouse believed it was just a torn muscle that turned out to be a broken femur in three places.
“As we talked to animal and tiger experts around the world they all said there’s nothing you can do. Surgery just can’t be done for many different reasons. One is a tiger will open their stitches for the incision that had to be made that large,” he said.
Owenhouse was determined to do whatever he needed to for Shekinah to fully recover.
He found a team of doctors from Montana and Idaho, where the surgery took place, to take a chance and operate on his tiger.
Owenhouse said, “Our human orthopedic surgeon Dave, Dr. Dave, he has never seen a tiger, a real tiger before, much less operate on one.”
Shekinah is fully healed and is making her debut back to the show. Owenhouse said it just wasn’t the same without her.
“It was hard because she’s been a part of the show for 8 years. What was interesting which I didn’t anticipate, it was actually harder on her than it was on the rest of us,” he said.
Owenhouse said his tigers choose to perform and enjoy doing so.