The Holiday season of 2014 has been an emotionally charged season on my personal and professional “fronts.”
In the world of wild horses and burros we have some intense issues heating up. The court case on access (that has taken 3.5 years of my life) is heading for Circuit Court Mediation (this is not the same as the “settlement conferences” we had that in my opinion were a waste of time as “discussion” can only take place when issues are “discussed”). This Mediation will have not only myself and BLM in discussion but a Mediator will be present from the Circuit Court that will report the content of discussion to the court. We are awaiting the next move in the Owyhee case (illegal removals and inhumane treatment) and the Triple B/Jackson Mountain case (fighting since 2011) for humane treatment of wild horses and burros (roundups and holding). We have massive land policy issues that could change (for the worst case) life for any hope of viable herds of wild horses. We are awaiting a roundup schedule (yes, it’s coming).
On the personal front I continue my battle with breast cancer in the midst of this crazy life I have. I am having yet another surgery (after two surgeries, radiation, medication complications with my epilepsy). It is what it is.
However at the end of each year it is natural to begin to reflect on the events of the year before…. with all that has transpired my thoughts immediately go to the loss of both my dog and an amazing horse.
Elvis was my constant companion. A big, calm, happy soul that gave the most amazing hugs on the planet. We had been through hell and back together even before we began the trek following wild horses. So many, many months it was just Elvis and I. One year we travelled more than 100,000 miles in that journey. In triple digit heat and sub zero temperatures his patience and outlook literally kept me focused and optimistic. They say you take on the personality of those you spend time with… and I know that it was his influence, not mine, that made the insanity of documenting the absurdity of the management of wild horses and burros bearable. Wise and wonderful… but relied on me for everything.
Passion was a huge Percheron that was literally pulled from the packing plant. I was told it was impossible to save her… and the impossible was no such thing. Distrustful and broken physically and emotionally, Passion became the horse that would walk through fire if I asked her to. There were days I would look at her and swear I was looking in the mirror. During her first vet visit he said to me he had no idea why she was standing (x-rays revealed some horrific injuries that spanned years)… “any other horse would be on the ground in pain, but she shows you nothing of it.” He suggested we simply see if she was standing tomorrow. Years later (and many, many stories) I had to finally release her from that pain. Not always able to be there in person for her while I was on the road wonderful friends filled in when I could not be there and she was treated with respect and love… and I was there for each farrier, vet, ache and pain. The strongest soul I will ever know… but she relied on me for everything.
My life is a bit insane and it was not always easy to make sure that “everything” was available to them.
During the holidays it becomes very tempting to bring a pup or foal into your life. We see ads on TV that show children getting a puppy with a big red ribbon. Or we see dramatic pleas to pull a pup or horse that desperately needs a home. In no way am I saying not to do it… these are some of the most important relationships of our lives… what I am saying is please remember… that if you take that step… you become “everything.”
You may have work or school. There may be social engagements or sporting events. There may be illness and financial hardship. The dog, horse, cat, bird or reptile may not fulfill whatever your expectation was (a horse that can’t jump, a dog that is hard to potty train, a cat that claws the couch) but you must remember that each relationship is different and YOU have to accept that responsibility. If you can’t, then don’t bring them into your life. Instead spend time volunteering at a shelter or rescue, foster, or help a friend in need. That is a realistic way for many to be with animals that can’t make the “everything” commitment.
To them you are food, shelter, warmth, time and most importantly love…. to them… “You are my Everything.”
~~~~ If you have animals in your life remember to include them in your holiday plans and find time (while you prepare meals and shop) to be with them. My heart aches today for the losses of this year… but I rejoice in the new responsibilities that have come my way…. My new pup Kreiger is a challenge that brings joy… the rescues that seemed to walk right through the doorway left by Passion…. Faith, Dawn and the Sheldon girls Rosie and Kidron… create new challenges and joy.
Happy Holidays to you and your families… furred, feathered, hoofed and clawed.