Serval Serval Alphie


Alpha Serval

Male Serval

DOB 5/15/91

Arrived at Big Cat Rescue  6/27/97

Alpha (AKA Alphie) arrived at Big Cat Rescue on 6/27/97 with Shasta and Peaches. He was retired from a breeding program. He has a chronic arthritic hip due to a life on concrete, but he had been getting around much better in his retirement home of all natural elements and Glucosamine.  He died in 2008 from liver cancer.


I almost forgot Alphie was a serval.  When I walked around his enclosure, I didn’t get the obligatory hiss that every serval at BCR feels they need to give me. No, instead Alphie followed me as if to say “OK Regina, just clean the bowl, get my poop and move on…But I’m watching you!!!!”  Even feeding him was easy…so unlike a serval…which made me love him all the more.  I’ll miss you Alphie….maybe from heaven you can make Arizona a little nicer…..Regina, Senior Volunteer Keeper

I had recently spent some time with Alphie, when cleaning Little Back, and was so sorry to see him gone. He had a noble face and demeanor, and I always felt that he was an old soul. In our interactions, Alphie held a balance of following to “supervise” the quality of my work in cleaning his enclosure, but always maintaining just enough distance to maintain his dignity as a wild animal. There was something special about him and losing him has affected me quite a bit. I hope he had an easy journey across to the other side…..Beth, Volunteer Keeper

I knew, because of his age, he had lived longer than servals are supposed to live. I knew that, one day, I would come to BCR & read on the board or be told Alphie had passed.  But, I also knew that his time at BCR was a haven, a true sanctuary for him….the quiet, the sounds of birds, the frolicking squirrels, the trees that shaded his large enclosure, the grass under his feet, the tall grass to play in.  I knew first hand the quality of life Alphie had at BCR….Alphie was blessed to have been a resident at BCR with the quality of care & respect given to the cats at BCR.  Alphie taught me so very much and, through operant conditioning, I came to know just how smart servals could be. He had my schedule in his head, always knew the day and time I would be there, and looked forward to his operant conditioning. On Mondays at 7:45 am, it was like Alphie knew I would be at his lockout with his little chunks of raw meat. Did he know my voice, see me as I walked down the road toward his enclosure, or did he have a built-in clock and calendar to know when it was time? I will always believe he had the clock /calendar in his head…Smart Boy! To show you what I mean, the only time Alphie was not in his lockout at 7:45 am was the Monday after Daylight Savings went into effect, or when I came in on an additional day for Operant Conditioning. He was so very consistent, with the day and time, over these last 18 months.

I am honored and so privileged to have had the opportunity to bring that special time to Alphie’s life.  I am so thankful to have had the time to be involved in operant conditioning with him, including the day before he passed away. Alphie, you will always be remembered in my heart and soul…..GOOD BYE SWEET ALPHIE!…..Judy, Volunteer Keeper

So many times when I have cleaned Little Back at the sanctuary, one of the first stops would be Rusty and Sassy and then Alphie. I would see him basking in the sun and watching quietly as I cleaned his water bowl and dinner block. He was always quiet for a serval. He never hissed at me at which point, I would ask, “What’s it all about, Alphie?” I always thought every serval hissed, but in two years, I never heard one hiss out of him.

Alphie would follow me around as I cleaned his home. I knew it was generally an effort for him even though he never complained. He moved slowly and it was obvious, he was physically uncomfortable. His prior life had been extremely difficult before coming to the sanctuary, and he would often find it best to just be.

Alphie is going to be missed. His quiet presence had a calming effect upon some of the other “wilder” ones. You can still feel his sweet presence even though he left his physical body recently. Alphie has joined the other cats that are making a difference on the other side. Although his body is gone, he lives on in the hearts of everyone who loved him….. Laura, Volunteer Keeper
When I started working with Alphie, I found out he was the #1 serval.  From day one, he never used his paws or hissed (for a serval, that is a shocker).  Ok, I know Bongo is also a strange serval.  But Alfie was my boy so I must make him shine.  He had a gentle soul.  Alphie knew when I was coming, I would turn the corner and he was either in his lock out or heading there.  It was very sad when I heard he was gone, but I knew he lived a great life at BCR & now he is in a better place.  Now, he has his true freedom for I do believe that we all have a spirit.  Alphie, to you I say, “In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still. In my heart you hold a place no one else could fill”…….Cathy, Volunteer Keeper

Dedicated by Volunteer Keeper Cathy to Alphie:

The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
and pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
Don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
What is to come can hold no fears
You’d not want me to suffer, so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me til the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
it is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close–we two–these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Author Unknown

Becky Gagliardo Apr 15, 2016
Miss you Alphie – miss your curiosity and your gentleness.

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