Friday, December 28, 2012

  Happy Holidays from the Triple D!   

Some of the animals here wanted to share their holiday spirit with everyone and they put on their Sunday bests to do so! We all enjoyed our holiday season, but are so eager to get back to business!  The animals LOVE romping in the snow and are so excited to get out and show off their majesty! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration and have a SAFE and happy New Year!! See you in 2013!!!!!

Kupalo (Amur Leopard) jingled his way through Christmas
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)
Bruno (Brown Bear) enjoying a bear-sized
candy cane that Santa brought him!
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)
Kali (Mountain Lion), beautiful in blue
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)
Aryaa (Snow Leopard) strutting her stuff,
flaunting herpretty Christmas bow
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)
Kali (Mountain Lion) proud to
show off her holiday spirit
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)
Heather & Lynsi prepping
Avril (Canadian Lynx) for her photo shoot
(Photo by Lacy Deist-Schneider)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Wonderland!

It won't be  long and the Montana floor will be COVERED in beautiful white snow!  Our events for January & February are filling up fast!!!  Make sure you make your reservations soon before we're completely full!!  The animals are already in the full flowing winter coats and have been working their tails off to make sure they're ready for their close-ups!

Available species this winter include:
Bar W's horse roundup
(Photo provided by Kathleen O'Neil)

  • Grizzly bear cub
  • Black bear
  • Amur leopard cub
  • Snow leopard cub
  • Mountain lion
  • Siberian lynx
  • Canadian lynx (adult & kittens)
  • Bobcat (adult & kittens)
  • Tundra Wolf(ves)-black & cream colors
  • Arctic Wolf(ves)
  • Coyote
  • Red Fox
  • Cross Fox
  • Silver Fox
  • Grey Fox
  • Arctic Fox
  • Pine Marten
  • Fisher
  • Badger
  • Porcupine
  • Raccoon
  • Horse Roundup
  • Birds of Prey
All animals in our line up are fresh and ready to go!  They love working and playing in the snow which makes for amazing photo opportunities!!!  So come see that powder fly with each and every excited step they take and capture the natural behaviors of our amazing wildlife! For reservations contact Jay or Kathleen at 406-755-9653 or email us at

All organized events are outlined, illlustrated and detailed at

***Spots are still available for our April event in flourishing Mariposa, CA (see website for details)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Inside the Mind of a Trainer....

The seasons are changing, and with that so do the animals.  Those changes can be anything from heightened aggression due to the body's natural instinct to breed to completely slowing down for the winter because in their natural habitat  food is scarce in the winter.  Regardless the reasons, it is my job to be knowledgeable in the how and the why of these changes.  That is just one example of the many risks that we, as animal trainers/handlers, take on a day to day basis.  Everyone has different beliefs on those dangers, but I would like to take this time to share mine.

I first saw tigers perform when I was only 10 years old.  At that very moment, I KNEW what I was going to do with my life; not what I "wanted" to do, but what I was GOING to do.  Of course at 10 years old, I did not understand the risks.  In an uneducated mind, I thought that since those people raised those animals, those animals would never hurt them.  Well, that couldn't be further from the truth!!! These animals are designed to whatever cost.  Most of those survival instincts are based on killing living things for food.  Whether its a tiger, a bear, a wolf, or even a bobcat, these animals are extremely dangerous.  It doesn't matter if they see me as their mother or not.  The bottom line is that the human body was not designed to defend itself against the claws of tiger or the bite of a wolf.  What we have on our side is intelligence.  (Well, some of us...) We have the ability to learn and understand these animals inside and out.  That is our main advantage.  I get asked a lot, "What happens if and/or when they turn on you?"  My answer is always the same.  "An animal doesn't "turn" without a reason.  There is always a reason.  A big part of my job is to know these animals better than they know themselves.  I must be able to "see" their thoughts and react accordingly.  Those reactions are mostly preventative to what the animal is about to do or what he/she is thinking about doing."  

I spend hours upon hours observing these animals; watching their every move and learning how each individual animal thinks.  Just like people, they all have their basic instincts, but have very different personalities from one another.  (For example, if anyone has filmed/photographed our two young mtn lion girls, Kali & Khia, you know that they are polar opposites of each other.  They are litter mates, they were raised the exact same way, they live together 24/7, but just have completely different personalities.)  The importance of knowing what step an animal is going to take before they take it is monumental in this field.  Most of the time, I am able to redirect any undesirable thoughts before they manifest into actions.  A simple "no" or "ah ah" goes a long long as they were taught what those words mean.  I am also very well trained and versed in how to deal with negative situations.

The simple fact remains that just because these animals know you, love you, and respect you, NOTHING is guaranteed.  These animals are never tame or domesticated.  No matter what, the "wild" will always be in them.  To me, that simple fact is the most important thing to know and wholeheartedly understand as an animal trainer/handler.  Like any professional in a dangerous field (ie: police officers, firefighters, line men, etc...), I understand the inherent risks that I face everyday and I accept that.  Statistically, however, my job is much safer than most would think.  Here is a list of 2012 deaths to put things into perspective:

  • On-Duty Police Officers: 107
  • On-Duty Firefighters: 67 
  • Dog Attacks: 30
  • Exotic Animal Attacks: 4 (2 of them were from snake bites)
As you can see, the everyday life of an exotic animal trainer/handler is actually "safer" than the everyday life of a policeman or firefighter.  And there are more deaths caused by your domesticated dogs than there are by the many exotics that are handled everyday.  My guess on the reason for that, mainly, is the mutual respect given in the man/wild animal relationship.  When man (or woman) loses respect or even just lacks respect for what these animals are capable of out of complacency or just flat out ignorance, that is when bad things happen.  My hope is that when those things do occur, the backlash is minimal and more of just a wake up call for those who need it!

My mission in this field is to safely provide the best quality of life possible to captive animals.  I feel that, that is best achieved by human interaction and training.  Providing those things stimulates the animals' minds, bodies, and emotions.  Those are things that humans need, and so do animals.  Providing those things actually make my job safer!  That is my "job."  I love my job.  It is hard.  It takes SO MUCH dedication (In the summer, I average about 80-90 hours/WEEK! In the winter, the days are shorter, so I go down to about 60-65 hours/week).  It is physically, mentally, and emotionally stressful.  The animals become more important than myself at times......BUT! the reward outweighs any paycheck or luxuries in the world.  This career isn't for everyone.  You can't do it if you don't absolutely, undoubtedly love it.  It's just not worth it.  And I can proudly say that I LOVE IT!  I am blessed that these animals have allowed me to be a part of their lives and in some cases be their mommy!

I welcome anyone to reach out to me on any of my views/beliefs/philosophies on training/handling these amazing animals!

Thank you for reading!

Bruno & his "Mama Bear"
(Photo provided by Lacy Deist-Schnieder) 
Heather Keepers
Head Trainer

Saturday, October 27, 2012

California 2013

It's about that time when we start planning and preparing for our annual Spring trip.  Upon request from our amazing clients, the Triple D staff & animals will be making the trip to Mariposa, CA this April.  Mariposa is the gateway to Yosemite National Park and the wild flowers are in FULL BLOOM in April!  We will be set up on the 7L Ranch, which is a working cattle ranch.  There are many beautiful settings on the ranch such as ponds, creeks, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, oak trees, green grass, and wild flowers!

For more information about this event, please call 406.755.9653!

Stay tuned for more updates and "behind the scenes" photos and stories!

A Halloween Winter

Snow has hit the ground!  This week has seen about 5" of snow already!  Its here early, but I would assume that means it'll be here in abundance this winter.  As an Arizonan, I usually cringe when I see that powder white on the ground....BUT!  I know just how important snow is for our busy winter bring it on!!

Bruno had fun playing in the snow!
Avy & Lany
These kittens LOVE to play together
(Photo provided by Debbie Gale)
I have been diligently working on getting our favored winter species in "show" shape.  It looks like our little Arctic wolf puppy, Morgan, just might provide some amazing howling photo opportunities for our guests!  He is quite the excited talker!  New additions to our main winter lineup also boasts Aryaa, a beautiful snow leopard; Kupalo, a rambunctious Amur leopard; Avy & Lany, two very adorable Canadian lynx sisters; and Bruno, an oversized and ornery grizzly bear cub!

Of course we have a variety of  amazing animals that are available all year round, but we are excited for the upcoming winter season!  Workshops & events are booking fast so don't wait & miss out!
Morgan, a ferocious Arctic
wolf puppy

Saturday, October 20, 2012

M.I.A. but back in action!

It has been quite a while since I've blogged, and for that I sincerely apologize!  As you know, we are up and running on Facebook, which I have used mostly during this busy season.  But I know that there are many people who choose not to use Facebook and that is why the blog is so important.  That said, I would love to share a Triple D update.  We have had quite the addition to our family this year.  In March, we welcomed a little grizzly bear cub (Bruno) to the Triple D, and since then we have adopted a snow leopard cub (Aryaa), an Amur leopard cub (Kupalo), two Tundra wolf puppies (Gracie & Ebony), an Arctic wolf puppy (Morgan), and two Canadian lynx kittens (Avril & Alanis).

Also joining our Triple D family is Lynsi Schneider.  Lynsi will be a tremendous asset to not only the staff, but to the animals as well.  She has spent the past six years at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, ND as a zookeeper.  With her knowledge, work ethic, and her eagerness to learn, she is a pivotal piece to our "wild" puzzle.  We are overcome with excitement at her arrival and we look forward to continuance of  amazing opportunities for our guests, our staff, and of course our animals.

Kupalo, a 5 month old Amur Leopard; critically endangered 

Aryaa, a 5 month old snow leopard; photograph
courtesy of Paul Burwell
Lynsi (left), Bruno (center haha), & Heather (right); Bruno
was obviously amazed at getting his picture taken
(Photo provided by Kathleen O'Neil

Sunday, April 29, 2012


We are now on Facebook!!! It's a work in progress, but lots of pictures will be uploaded soon!  If anyone would like to share their own pictures with us, feel free to tag us or email & I will post them for you (with credit of course!)

Just look up Triple D Game Farm on Facebook & send us a friend request!  See you soon!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Training!!

Spring Training has begun for America's Pastime (and MY favorite sport), BASEBALL!!!  And like a good mom, I encourage my babies to become sports fans like me!  So, Bruno is showing his support by taking comfort with his new baseball "binky."  After his many warm bottles of milk, he typically falls asleep sucking on his trendy pacifier.....and its SOOOOOOO cute!  On that note, I haven't watched any baseball yet this year because I have been prepping and prepping all of the animals for a stellar showing in Monument Valley!!!  We are leaving dark & early on Sunday and the show begins on March 31st!  For those of you who are going, I look forward to seeing you there, and for those who are not, you will be missed!  Hopefully, I'll be able to keep everyone posted while we're there!!!  Wish us luck!  See you  

Bruno & his baseball binky

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monument Valley is coming up!!!

This year's T-shirt design

Monument Valley is upon us!  The days have been filled with nonstop prep to ensure we are READY completely!  I have been working very hard on the animals (acclimation, training, behavior, health, etc...)  Jay, Jesse, Kathleen, Cassie, and even Kim have been working extremely hard on all of the rest!  (Which is A LOT)  We are excited and anxious for the trip.  It is truly going to be a once in a lifetime experience for us, for you, and of course for the animals.  I look forward to seeing the results of everyone's hard work transpire into photos, video, and even artwork.  At this point, I can only imagine just how amazing it will all turn out. 

We will also be selling T-shirts as keepsakes from this year's event.  Above is the design (created by Jeff Schiefelbein;  We will have short sleeves and long sleeves available in white, ash grey, and black.  There will be a limited amount available, but special orders can be arranged upon request.  

Well, the count down has officially begun....12 days until we depart and make the 1000 mile drive with 15 animals in tow.  Wish us luck & we will see you there!!!    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meet Bruno! He's unBEARably cute!

Bruno; born January 16, 2012  Weight: 6.9 lbs
Thumb sucker???
Enjoys falling asleep in the
laps of his caretakers

Brown bear claws can measure up to about 2" - 4"
Meet the newest member of the Triple D family!!  His name is "Bruno", which is the international word for brown.  It suits him perfectly!  Bruno took a long road trip across the country with Jay and is finally at his forever home here in Kalispell, MT.  He is settling in nicely.  He is enjoying all of the attention he is getting from all of the staff, too!

Stretching out his toes while he sleeps
Heather & Bruno
Bruno, as of today, weighs 6.9 lbs and is just beginning to get his baby teeth in.  Although, his claws as you can see are ALREADY quite large!  Speaking of size, his father is quite large (about 800 lbs), so we can only imagine just how big little Bruno will become!

The Triple D has big plans and high hopes for his professional career, and with a name like Bruno, he is surely destined for stardom!

Our summer and fall filming slots are filling up fast, so don't forget to make your reservations and secure your spot to see little Bruno in person.....he won't stay small for very long!!!

Stay tuned for more news, pictures, and updates on Bruno & all of our amazing animals!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Footprints On My Heart

13 month-old Casey bear's paw tracks 
For all of you parents out there (two-legged or four-legged), you know how bittersweet it is when your little ones start growing up.  Well, it is no different for me.  I love to see my babies grow and develop, but there is always that part of me that wants them little and sweet forever.  My goal is to keep them always sweet , but it is certainly out of my hands when it comes to their growth!  As I posted last month, my "little" Casey bear had his first birthday and we made sure we celebrated with him!  However, that one-year-old bear is now officially 175 lbs!!  He has all of his big teeth in and when he stands on two feet, his head reaches my shoulders!  My little bear isn't so little anymore....and he's only going to keep on growing for the next two years.  Just the other day, Casey was enjoying some fresh snow, (meaning he was running around like a wrecking ball and doing somersaults) and he just so happened to leave a front paw print and a back paw print right next to each other.  So like the proud mom I am, I snapped a couple pictures of his tracks.  I left my foot print & hand print next to them to give you an example of how big he's getting.  (Keep in mind, I am 5'4" and wear a size 8 shoe, but for the snow, they are bulky snow boots.)  Those tracks are going to be quite larger next winter.

Next up are my almost 8 month-old mountain lion cubs, Kali and Khia.  They lost their spots months ago and look like mini adult mountain lions!  (They have not been weighed recently, but I will do that soon.)  Khia, the runt of their litter, is significantly smaller than her sister, but still growing like a weed.  Kali, however, is quite the young lady!  When standing on her back feet, she is now stretching up to my chest!  Kali is definitely developing quicker than Khia, and has already lost her four canines.  I am so happy that I was able to recover two of them for my baby book!  (Picture below....and joking about the baby book, of course.)  While they are teething I encourage them to chew on more productive things than me, like dog raw hides.  Her big teeth are coming in rapidly and look gorgeous!  Khia is right behind her though, as her big teeth are just starting to break through the gum line.
Kali's bottom canines

Well, the babies will continue to grow and develop into the regal and majestic animals that we all respect and appreciate.  I look forward to their adult lives and to be a big part of that is truly an honor and a blessing.  I never forget that I am one lucky girl who these animals allow to be around them every day.  For those who do not know, this is the only career I have ever wanted and I would not trade it for the world.  My job is truly a labor of love and it is unbelievably easy to wake up everyday and first thing I get to do is kiss a bear on the nose.         

Monday, February 6, 2012

Work Work Work!

It has been a busy, go go go 2012 already, but that doesn't mean it's all work and no play....or...well, sleep for those really grueling days....  

After a long day of filming, I often cap off my evening with some much needed quiet time with just me and the animals.  This peaceful time is an important element in the trainer/animal relationship as it builds trust, understanding, and unity.  One of the most frequently asked questions is "How? How do you train these wild animals?!"  Typically, my response is simple, "A lot of patience!"  That is certainly true, but it takes a WHOLE LOT more than that. To successfully train wild animals such as these, I must use an elaborate recipe of time, patience, love, and positive reinforcement, also know as Operant Conditioning.  In the end, the result is mutual respect and admiration.  I love coming to work, and my long and laboring hours spent here are rewarded twofold by the relationships that I have built and maintain with my four-legged, furry babies.  I wouldn't trade them for any money or vacations in the world.            
Heather, Kali (bottom), & Khia (top) taking a "catnap"
after a hard day's work filming

Monday, January 30, 2012

A big thank you to Jeff Wendorff and sharing his amazing talent with the Triple "D" staff!  It is always so much fun to see the results of the workshops and photo/filming sessions that take place here, and Jeff generously provided some of his pictures just for our blog!  Thanks, Jeff! 

In addition to capturing the majesty of our animals, he also amazingly illustrates the beautiful habitats in which they are filmed.  Our staff continuously works diligently on maintaining our filming sites to ensure their purity, allure, and of course their safety for our guests and our animals.   


Andy, a 10 year old Mountain Lion

Kali, a 7 month old Mountain Lion

Khia (Kali's littermate), a 7 month old Mountain Lion

Dudette, a 9 year old Cross Fox

Ferrah, a 10 month old Fisher

Lil' Joey, a 2 year old Red Fox

Honey, a 4 year old Arctic Fox

Simba, a 9 month old Canada Lynx

Julia, a 9 month old Arctic Wolf
Horse Roundup

Great Horned Owl

Farewell, Nick!

Nick giving Casey Bear some birthday love
Triple "D" will be saying goodbye to one of the trainers, Nick, tomorrow.  He is leaving for personal reasons unrelated to Triple "D" and we are so saddened by his departure and he will be TRULY missed by the staff, clients, and the animals. We wish him the best in his future & hope to see him again real soon!
Casey's reaction to Nick leaving...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Casey Bear!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CASEY BEAR!!!!  Casey got to celebrate his first birthday (Jan 17) with his family at DDD!  And of course, his mom has him on a strict diet, so we kept his treats mostly along the healthy line; carrot cake, cheesecake, apple pie, & strawberry muffins.  (He did manage to get some cotton candy flavored cupcakes however, with frosting on top spelling out "Casey Bear.")  He had a blast as the DDD crew & guests watched him celebrate!  A special thank you to Jeff Wendorff for being our photographer & providing these amazing photos of our special black bear, Casey....

The Birthday setup...
complete with Pooh Bear 1st birthday party hats & plates!
We love you Casey Bear!!!!!
Casey Bear's 1st birthday!

Casey & his mama, Heather

Casey & his DDD family (Heather, Nick, & Jesse)
Nick & Casey

The birthday boy

Monday, January 16, 2012


LET IT SNOW!!!  This crazy winter finally gave way to some snow this past week!  We want to thank the last two groups that made it out!!  Thanks to our guests who attending our Winter Special & our "Animals in Winter" weekend!  And also a big thank you to another successful workshop with Jeff Wendorff!  We had a packed 8 days of filming, but the animals did great & consistently make us proud!  Thanks to the snow, our arctic foxes (Honey & Jeff) had their winter and 2012 debut this morning, and those eyes on Honey are to die for!
Heather trying on Montana's
version of a Snuggie
Nick & Otis right before
the snow really fell

Filming or not, however, we're always at work...In fact, we even put our talent to work!  Not sure how good of a job it is, but they 'A' for effort!!!

Back in September, Canon Master of Light, Bruce Dorn, shot a promotional video with our trainer, Heather  and our mountain lion cubs, Kali & Khia.  Check it out!!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  I hope everyone had a SAFE and happy new year celebration!  Although its January, it feels more like spring here in Kalispell...Unfortunately, there is only just a bit of snow on the ground, but the weather is calling for snow tonight, so fingers crossed!!!

Filming for 2012 begins this Saturday! YAY!!!  We will be hosting our Winter Special & look forward to welcoming our guests, new & returning, and introducing them to our amazing animals!  

Also, if you tried to click on the links from last week, here are a couple of better links for GMA & Fox Morning News.  Thanks, Carolyn Wright!!

Good Morning America:

Fox Morning News: