“Little Tyke,” a 350-pound lioness visited the Gibbon family in the Pritchard Beach neighborhood in 1955. A local celebrity, Little Tyke had been rescued from her violent mother at birth and raised by the Westbeau family near Auburn. Because she refused to eat meat, Little Tyke was adopted as an icon of the vegetarian movement.
Gary Gibbon (left) and David Church pose with Little Tyke above Pritchard Beach drive. Gibbon recalls introducing his cat to the larger feline: “I took my cat “Valley” over to see the lioness as she drank out of our birdbath, but Valley dug her claws into my arm and jumped away. Before they left, the owners got Little Tyke to roar by honking the horn on their truck. The lioness roared loudly and clawed deep grooves in our pear tree that we could show off for years to come. The loud roar brought neighbors to our fence to see what was going on. It was wonderful.”
This picture will be featured in our upcoming illustrated history of the Rainier Valley to be published this winter by Arcadia Publishing.
Rainier Valley Historical Society