The Machine Broke-Time For One Letter

Taken after first sorting at the Fallon Auction of "unbranded" horses

Taken after first sorting at the Fallon Auction of “unbranded” horses

I know I do not write often on this blog. My work has taken an increase in intensity and most of what I write is for the organization now. Field reports and legal actions… assessments and paperwork and media… and of course the documentation on the range, holding and roundups. All of that you can see on and the WHEblog.

Taken the day after the auction when "unbranded" were placed in the parking lot

Taken the day after the auction when “unbranded” were placed in the parking lot

The intensity of the work has been increased by a health issue. Many of you know I have breast cancer and am undergoing treatments after surgery. Well this am I got a call that the machine is broken and I get a day off of radiation treatments…. so I have a bit more time today than normal. My first impulse was to catch up on work that piled up during the Fallon auction fiasco…. but my inbox is filled with notes from people asking “how are you?” and I do not have time to respond to each one… so hence this posting.

The letters in my inbox range from sincere inquiries as to my health to accusations that I am ignoring people. First I am not “ignoring” anyone. Those of you that are pushing that button are failing to recognize that the workload is more intense than ever. Not only is there roundup data to collect where I was able to attend many operations and tours but had to find others to cover operations where I was at the auction, in court, prepping court documents and at the hospital. There have been days I have been so tired that I literally stutter and drool by the end of the day. I have no staff (but a few volunteers that do what they can in between the course of their “real” lives) and precious few who are close by the hospital that I must remain near… that have taken a moment to visit… I can count those people on the fingers of one hand. (Thank you for the company Cat, the soup Jess, the help with Krieger Margie, the little “Hope” Sally… and all of the effort on the cases Gordie).

Jackson foals waiting as mares are processed at PVC

Jackson foals waiting as mares are processed at PVC

For those of you asking how I am? I am hanging in there. The side effects from radiation are in bloom. I am red and swollen and a bit sick to my stomach from the pain I guess. I opted for the intensive treatment as it will get me back to being “mobile” the fastest. So the doses of radiation are higher than the traditional treatment… but I am half way through! I was told the last week will be the roughest… but of course it coincides with an incredibly rough week of work. The Fallon auction (and days and days of troubleshooting) left everything almost two weeks behind. The brief on the Appeal to the Ninth Circuit (massive effort) is due shortly, the other cases need some work and there has been an issue that has been looming the last year that will become public shortly (pretty intense stuff)… plus several ranges MUST have follow up and and investigation is on hold…. the plate is pretty full. On a positive note it leaves VERY little time to even think about the cancer battle.

I start my day with treatment. Every time I walk in that door it is an odd experience… a reminder of how fragile we are. There are a few folks that you see that you know are new like you and will be in this loop of treatment and checking to see if the cancer is still gone. Then there are those whose cancers have come back or were really far into the disease when it was discovered… and you can see the knowledge on their faces that they are in treatment to postpone… but in truth we all are there to postpone… there is a lot of quiet conversation.

Krieger helping check on horses at PVC, photo by Cat Kindsfather

Krieger helping check on horses at PVC, photo by Cat Kindsfather

The staff is wonderful and in love with Krieger who is becoming a real “therapy” dog…. for the staff. They wanted me to take a very early appointment and I had to explain that I do not “live” here and have a new puppy that I can not leave alone. So a staff person meets me in the am and takes Krieger on “rounds” to greet everyone as they come to work or treatment. I think he likes his job. Today he was a bit confused when we did not get up and head to “work.”

Krieg is a lovely little guy that wants so much to please…. even though his teeth make him a but nuts now and again. He is growing so fast I swear he stretches in his sleep and adds length…. Sept 11 he will be three months old. His presence makes tasks a bit more complicated to complete… but the gap left by the loss of Elvis (so fast) and the loss of my Passion (the following week… but it was her time) is made easier to bear by this fast growing, very intelligent, “little bear.”

Technology has presented several challenges as well this last week when my phone died (now lives but battery holds a smaller charge and spends considerable time charging in the truck) and a back up drive went on the fritz (don’t worry the backup is backed up with only files created for sharing missing… that need to be recreated).

In the midst of all of this the “bashing” of my attempts to gain changes in the wild horse and burro program continue. They have gone so far as to write editors saying things like “she is faking cancer for attention,” “her work means nothing,” and several attacks actually aimed at trying to destroy the work like writing Department of Justice attorneys that represent the BLM (and these attacks are coming from people claiming to be advocates). These attacks have never stopped me and speak more to the motives of those making them than my work…. life has taught me not to tolerate crap no matter where it comes from… and many I have told to “pound sand” because I saw who they really are… think that bashing will somehow stop me. Not a chance.

So I have already spent more time than I have on this note. I want those that care and are writing to know I read what you write and I thank you…. please know that your notes are read and appreciated. Those that have supported the work know I will catch up on thank you notes… but for now please see the commitment to the work as my “thank you.”

And to those bashing? Have a Nice Day.


22 thoughts on “The Machine Broke-Time For One Letter

  1. Kate says:

    Thank you for your selflessness, compassion and hard work.

  2. debra heverly, m.d. says:

    Be well dear friend of the 4 leggeds. I am sorry to hear of your challenge and pray for peace and blessings to you. My heart hurt when I saw the little palomino filly and her mama in the first pic here – it would mean a lot to me to know if they both are with you- if you have time to respond. Thank you from me and all the horse you have so tirelessly defended. debbie heverly md

    • Laura Leigh says:

      The horse with the palomino was either a young mom that dried up or not her mom… the palomino filly is with rescue and is getting veterinary care. I have seen her and she was a bit brighter than at the auction yard….

  3. motmot2013 says:

    I’m new to the fight but recognize your sincerity and commitment. You are my hero.

  4. Laura, thanks for taking the time out of your hectic day to message us. Please stay well and disregard the idiots (I use that term loosely) who disrespect you and other selfless advocates by harassment, lies and public displays of their ignorance.
    I know you are a brilliant charming woman, as we have met in person and I have supported you 100% and always will. So glad that you have Krieg to hug. Many blessings to you both.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Very well said..I am sorry you even need to explain:( Hang in there Laura:) xoxo

  6. jnphotograpy says:

    GOD Bless you Laura, you are the most courageous person I know !!! your puppy is so darn cute I know he brings you Joy~ If there is anything at all that I can do for you please let me know, Jeanne Nations Hugs~

  7. I noticed early in my involvement with horses that horse people have wildly varying opinions on everything from hoof care to hay to bits, etc. So it follows that those who rescue and advocate will also have different ideas about things. BUT why anyone would do less than support your legal battles with the BLM seems awfully short sighted. Challenging the BLM’s methods in court is the only thing right now that is forcing them to change. I have tons of respect for everyone who rescues mustangs and burros- too bad the advocates can’t all work together. Then we would be a force to be reckoned with.

  8. Dawn Goslin says:

    Please take care of yourself…and God bless!

  9. Lori Schmidt says:

    ((((Hugs))))) Laura, those of us who truly know you, care about you and support you don’t need “thank you notes”. I said it before, you are one tough cookie and are always in my thoughts. Your devotion and tenacity and results are all the thanks that I need and I am sure there are many others who agree.

  10. Don’t let the bashers get you down — they obviously have not been physically involved in the day to day end of horse rescue. You are in my prayers — one day the cancer will be a distant nightmare. The horses thank you — I thank you for your efforts. Godspeed —

  11. sasha shapiro says:

    ditto Jennifer. ❤ Laura ❤

  12. Tina says:

    U r 1 hell of a person to do all that u do and fight ur cancer.Be proud. I am new at this fight but I read ur stuff to know ! Again Thank you Tina

  13. B. McGahee says:

    Thank you for your work Laura. The infighting between advocates takes everyone off point and it seems that is the intention. We have to be a united force to get anything done. A few well placed comments completely derail the process. Our opponents are aware of this and it makes one wonder who is real and who is acting instigator. The only way around it is to plow right over the top, and ignore it. The work will speak for itself. We really need you in the legal trenches.

  14. Arlene says:

    Dear Laura, I have respected you and your awesome work, never have I ever doubted you or your love for the Mustangs, In fact i admire you for it !!!!! I am praying for a speedy recovery !!!!!!!!

  15. Lori Walker says:

    Love you so much Laura♥You will continue to be in prayers!!! Thank you so much for everything you do!!! Hugs

  16. Paula says:

    Laura you are a true inspiration, I respect, admire and love you for all you are and all you do, you are true to yourself and you care so much what happens. Life is throwing some real tough times at you and to your credit you can soldier on and turn many of those negatives into positives, I have never met you and yet I feel I almost know you, I feel you are a friend and your standards, morals and hopes are all in tune with mine…keep strong lady and know that there are many of us with you on your journey..I send hugs, prayers and very special love to you, keep safe, eat well and take care of yourself xxxx (((hugs)))

  17. Barbara Warner says:

    Laura, I am amazed at how much courage you have. You are awesome !! Thank you for all you’re doing. Sending prayers and love,

  18. Teresa Cook says:

    Laura, your dedication, work in the trenches and “never give up” no matter what stance is greatly admired by me…so glad you found a brief moment to “update”…on how things are going with your battle with cancer. I am sure there are many like myself, who got the updates from mutual friends (like Jessica G.) making sure you were ok and getting the support that you so very much deserve. I must say that your little guy, who will be a huge guy soon….is just adorable…give him a hug every time you feel down….I am sure he is your guardian angel!! Bernise Mountain Dog, has always been my favorite…so glad that fluff ball is now your best buddy!!! Awesome! Let me know if there is anything I can do, or help with…..Teresa 😉

  19. THank you Laura, sending healing tuning for you, behind you all the way. Love , Jane

  20. Nancy Z. says:

    Thank you Laura for all you do for the Mustangs, take time to heal, and make time for you, first!

  21. Sue Benzel says:

    Bravo, Laura Leigh! Run those bashers to the edge of the canyon ledge and give THEM the choices: Jump or Work with me for THEM that you are trying to push over this ledge. I keep trying to win the lottery. I have a list to donate to. My Loves of the Earth-the Equine family and Education-to teach people to make the right choice, to be honest, and to not be bought out. As for the Breast Cancer–I believe in living. I believe you do, too! Keep your vitamins and supplements going-maybe liquid nutrients would be simpler for you. You beat this, you will win this all. My Love and Mental Support, Sue Benzel

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