Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Just Never Know

Dear Friends,

I have been dealing with sorrow for so long I’ve forgotten how it feels not to be sad.

I have found comfort in the strangest and least expected place, with one of our two piggies. Hamish is 16 years old and Blaze is 8. I have never had the time to pay much attention to them. They are clean, well fed and cared for, but volunteers have always been the ones to give them extra attention. After all, I am the “horse person”!

We just moved them from inside the barn, where they stayed for the winter, back to their outside summer digs. I redid their sleeping quarters and fixed it all up nice for them. Now that they are older, they are having troubles stepping up into their “Pigloos” to sleep. As I sat on Blaze’s platform (it’s about 6” in height), he sauntered over and lay down beside me. With his gentle sprit, as if he knew he helped me. As I rubbed behind his ears, the soft pads on the bottom of his feet, and examined his tusks, I felt myself go to a place of peace.

With no demands, he offered me his quiet friendship.

Blaze grew up as a family pet. He was house broken and well loved by his humans. When the family was divorced he lost them all. His story is sad and it doesn’t matter anymore, but he has a piggy’s version of post- traumatic stress. He doesn’t handle change very well, but he just loves people.

While contemplating how to handle the “Pigloo” situation, I slid into the “gray place”. For a few minutes, Blaze and I comforted each other. Who would have thought?

I have loved horses all my life. I think it’s programed in my DNA. Their beauty, intelligence, and their absolute magnificence just blows my mind—but who would even have thought that a piggy could have such a beautiful spirit? Such ungainly, strange little mutants, funny little faces, sparse hair, and baggy little bums.

Do you know that they have no body odor? You can pet them all day and your hands will never smell? They are dear beings. Every bit as wonderful as horses or cats or dogs.

Really! Who would have thought?


The Babies of Spring

I found a nest full of meadow voles between our hay bales. These beasties will methodically destroy ever single bale. They don’t hibernate. They happily burrow through the bales, chewing through every single rope along the way all winter long. They eat, poop, and reproduce. A great deal of our stored hay is ruined.

                There were seven babies in the nest. They looked like teeny tiny puppies, all silky and velvety. They have teeny, squeaky baby voices. They have the same bones in their little hands as we do. They are intricately exquisite. I held one and rubbed it gently against my lip. It was so smooth.

                Setting it back down, I placed a handful of hay on the nest and left them so their mother to find and move to a safer spot.

                Really, what difference will seven more meadow voles make in the world in a family of millions?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dear Friends

Dear Friends,


                I’m sorry I have not been able to write in a while and I’m afraid all you’re going to get from me today is sad stories. It’s just not fun anymore.

                On 10/28/14 Czardas was euthanized. At 31 years old, she reached the end of her life. We were no longer able to manage her pain. She had that “I’m exhausted and ready to go” look in her eyes, so I was there for the end of the life of horse number 31. My last gift to her.

                The list of deaths goes on. In January my most beloved cat Pip died of cancer—how did that happen? He was only 12. It took a month and he was gone. I cannot get past his loss. I cry every single day for him. I feel as if I have lost a child. I just cannot believe that he is just GONE.

                Gabriel fell down in his stall in March. It took us hours to get him outside as he thrashed and struggled to get up. He could not get up inside the barn. The floor was too slippery even though it is all rubber mats. We finally got him outside where he was able to get up on the gravel driveway. We were all beat up (us attending humans), as we cushioned him with our bodies. The muscles across my ribs still hurt and our vet was sure his ankle was broken (but it wasn’t thank goodness). Gabriel was a bit battered but not as much as we humans. He has been exiled to the outside barn that opens directly into a turn-out. He’s not all that happy about it but at least we can get him out of there if it happens again.

                The following day I came in to find dear old Solomon down in his stall, unable to get up. He too was 31 years old. Solomon was always so easy. He was stiff and sore from his past life but otherwise was so consistently well. He lived with us since 1999 and was never any trouble at all. I knew that his situation at that moment was very bad. We tried to get him up, but he just could not do it. His hind end didn’t work anymore. I have seen this in so many old horses on the last day of their lives. When forced to try to get up the just bash their heads on things and cause eye injuries. I did not want that for my dear, old, loyal friend. So I said, “Wait.” All our efforts stopped. “Solomon, my friend, your angel is here, I’m sure. If you want to stay here with me, get up on your own, if not I’ll let you go.” He looked at me one more time, closed his eyes, and sort of sank down with a deep sigh.

                And so I held horse number 32 as he left me in death. He was so beautiful. He never suffered, he knew I loved him and I want to believe his angel was there.

                Elliot my dear friend and barn cat faded away and was euthanized March 31st. He was almost 16 years old. What a horrible two years this has been. They are all growing old. They’re all going to die of something, but I don’t have to like it. I don’t have time to get over one loss before someone else dies. I’m so SAD all the time.

                I wrote a while ago that I don’t cry anymore, well—that’s over. I never stop crying now. I miss my cat Pip so much. The Bible says at Psalms 45:16, “Jehovah is going to open his hand and fulfill the desire of every living thing.” The first desire I want fulfilled is to have my cat back—my Pipper, my beautiful golden cat.

                Gabriel has been unable to rise on three more occasions since that day, but he manages after a great struggle to get up on his own. Those times have always been at night. When I arrive he’s up but his injuries are worse each time. He was a burst melanoma under his tail that is difficult to treat as I think his tail was injured the first time he was down. This is the beginning of the end for him too. This will be impossible to deal with soon. He’s probably going to be death number 33 for me.

                I know these things were inevitable. All our young not ruined horses and ponies are fostered out to trusted friends. Due to the property being up for sale, I have only kept the blind, the geriatric, and the emotionally damaged here at EOTS, where I personally care for them. Crap is going to happen. Our vet bills this year have already been astronomical. We desperately need money. We need a new farm so our program can go on. This is a very bad set up. We managed to shovel off the roof three times during this hideous winter so we weren’t on the list of collapses but that surely gave me nightmares.

                The other day I found dead snakes in the well—I think someone’s messing with me—I need a rest.


My Pip

     In the last two years I have lost 6 beloved horses, my father, my friends Samantha and David, and my cat Elliot. But I am completely trashed over my cat Pip. He died in January and I can just not stop crying for him. What makes some so special?

                Pip was so tiny when found; he was about four weeks old. He was unable to clean himself, and though he could eat wet food he was almost helpless. For the next two weeks of his life he lived inside my shirt, right against my heart. I was his mommy.

                I would set him in the sink and gently wash his messy little bum under warm running water. He trusted me completely. I took him with me wherever I went. He loved riding in my truck. He would lay on pillows in the back seat and watch the world go by.

                We lived in a house where he was not safe. The person living there did not take my tiny kitten seriously. Doors were left open and he could have easily been stepped on. So I moved out.

                My brother Jimmy, bless his heart, took us in. There we lived for the rest of my golden kitty’s life.

                On a freezing cold January day, Jimmy thawed a foot of frost from the ground with a space heater and dug my dear cat’s grave. Thank you Jimmy, that is the greatest gift you could ever have given me, I will owe you for eternity.

                So my incredibly precious cat was gone—gone—from my life.

                Sometimes I cry, sometimes I whimper, and too often I scream. Every single day.

                Maybe I am borderline psychotic over his loss. I don’t know, I haven’t felt like this since I was a kid. I have many, many things to live for, but I can truly understand why people kill themselves over the loss of a pet.

                I want to believe that Jesus has to know how this feels. He lived for 30 years as a “common man”.  As a child he has to have had pets that grew old and died. The Bible says he experienced it all and passed every test that the human race must endure. I want to believe, as our King, that he knows how broken my heart is and somehow he will make it right. How could it possibly be any other way?

                So my beautiful cat has a rock on his grave and a white iris that blooms in the snow. That is all I have left to give him. His little body will go back to the Earth.

                I want him back—I just want him with me again. Amen.