Montana illusionist’s tiger has surgery only performed on humans

Posted at 10:34 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 00:34:20-04

BELGRADE – Many know Jay Owenhouse as an illusionist whose show has toured around the nation, but there’s something 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 they have been a part of his family ever since.

In February, he discovered Shekinah had gotten hurt from playing with her sister. He believed it was just a torn muscle, but her femur was broken 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 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.

“Our human orthopedic surgeon Dave, Dr. Dave, he has never seen a tiger, a real tiger before, much less operate on one,” Owenhouse said.

Shekinah is fully healed and 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 eight 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.

-Reported by Emma Hamilton/MTN News