This evening, I headed a bit over an hour away to see, in person, the 30+ year old mare we have been asked to place, get photos and evaluate her.
A friend of mine in Virginia may be able to provide this senior mare a home, and either way, I needed to see her myself to really know her story.
But this isn’t a story about that. . .
This is a story about something else entirely.
We so often deal with horses in urgent need because they have been so unloved, uncared for, discarded. . .
Sometimes the love people can have for their horses catches me totally off guard. Sometimes I feel like I have seen so much bad, I am unsure I can be believe the depth of love people do actually have for things, anymore. Then I am reminded. . .Yes, I can.
I remind myself during these times that the work we do is more than just saving horses. I know and have long talked now and again about how this work saves people, too. It redeems the rescuers, it renews the faith people looking on have in humanity and then there is something even more important that happens. . .
Sometimes we are able to come into a situation where a person deeply loves an animal but has been dealt too many blows to continue to care for that animal they have loved so well for a very long time. . .where that animal means too much for them to ever just let go without deep assurance that horse will continue to be safe and given the best of care. . .where they will never have any peace if they cannot find that assurance. . .
Today was that day.
This grand old horse’s owner has loved her for nearly 3 decades, almost longer than my entire lifetime, and now, while trying to help her adoptive son with a serious medical condition, through a recent divorce and very failing personal health, while on a cane in the rain this evening, she, in tears, explains how difficult this is for her, to let go, knowing she must because her health and finances give her no option. . .
She knows that she cannot possibly care for this horse anymore, but she explains how, while many have offered to take her, she never felt safe with those offers. . .
I see a horse of at least 30 in remarkable condition. Glowing health, one I would never guess a very senior horse. While she hasn’t been able to afford routine vet care and farrier care, this mare is truly in remarkable, well loved condition even though she has been roaming a bit too freely over the neighbourhood.
And after I filmed the mare, took photos and explained to her we would try very hard to help, as I started to get into the rescue truck to head back home, and she asked to shake my hand. . .
and I’m a tough sort. . .
But that is something.
One of the moments that reminds me there are So many important reasons why this effort must always continue, one day when those working here now wear out. . .always through someone, through many.