The longer I live, the more I realize that there are many things which are not in my control. This is especially true with the work that we do. Since we have committed to caring for this unique segment of the animal world, that is senior and special needs, we have set ourselves up to experience change on a very regular basis.
I, for one, tend to resist change, while Dee is much more able to roll with the punches, and go with it. Part of this may have been losing my father at the tender age of 7, and that fear of having things taken away is something I still much confront regularly, but I am quick to see the divinity of our sanctuary as a perfect classroom for me to learn the skill of embracing change, of welcoming change, of having faith in change. I would not have the great Dad I do had my father lived, and while I, of course, would never choose to lose my Father, the fact remains that when my Mom chose to remarry, I got my Dad, and for the past 35 years I have been so very proud to be one of his beloved children. I guess it worked out the way it was supposed to, but it all began with change.
This past week, change was upon us in two profound ways.
Change first knocked on our door when Spike, our beloved donkey, started to show the all too familiar signs of colic. He was up and down, up and down, and we were concerned. Dee checked on him regularly, and late in the day we made the decision to take him to the vet, knowing we did not have the funds budgeted, but committed to at least try to reverse what we going on.
We took him to Loomis Basin, and the staff immediately worked to get him comfortable and see what was going on. They discovered he did, in fact, have the classic symptoms of colic. The doctor cleared his colon, emptied his stomach and filled it, instead, with mineral oil and water, and hoped that an aggressive course of IV fluids through the night might be enough to get the blockage softened up and moving. We left late that evening, but got the call at 5 AM the next morning that he had worsened, and that it was time to help him along. Dee and I drove the short distance to the vet, and then walked our dear boy from the stalls to the gated area where we said goodbye, and with a simple shot, he was pain free, and on to the other side.
Spike was special in every way. Not just because he was our only donkey, but because he had personality. He was a talker, a lover with the ladies, so very playful with his best friends, Handsome and Star, and a perfect gentleman to the kids and adult human beings who just wanted to rub his ears, or scratch his back. It was a delight to see him go from broken hearted to happy go lucky. To see him run after knowing he was abandoned in a back yard with hooves so long he could barely stand. He had a great finish, 14 months of fabulous food, constant affirmation, friends to play with, and guardians who adored him. That is what we are all about… a great end to life. We may not have any control on what happens before they come here, but we do once they arrive, and we want their time here to be really, really great.
Fearlessly First for Food
After that, change knocked again when our Ranch Manager and dear friend, Guy, together with Dee and I, decided it was time for a change, and it was time for a new challenge in his life.
This is not an easy place to live and work. The days are long and it is a 7 days a week, 365 days a year job that can wear on the best of us. We have been blessed to have relationships with some amazing people, but we would not be where we are today without the selfless efforts of Guy. He was paramount in getting our non-profit determination, spearheading our fundraising efforts, staying in touch with a host of community and civic contacts, all this in between all the feeding, mucking, and cleaning he did. He made an extraordinary difference to us, the animals, and all those he has come into contact with, and we will miss him greatly, but wish him great success and good fortune in the days and weeks and months to come.
I am ready for a little more predictable, less dramatic week!!