Two weeks ago I pushed the pause button on my blogging hobby … I’ve missed it. And I think I’m back. My intuition was telling me in October that there was a change in the wind. It wasn’t the blog per se … It turned out that both Darby and Paco were struggling with some health issues. Darby seems to have been set right in short order. Paco … not so easily. It was very difficult to take ‘beautiful and upbeat’ pictures when my heart strings were so stretched.
The whole experience of these past few weeks has led me to face some pretty tough issues. Living with large animals – caring for them – and about them – is not only a big investment of time – it is an investment of heart. My days have been made richer for their presence. The flipside is when things go wrong … my heart will break. Especially when it comes to Paco.
Paco has developed a growth between his cheek and his teeth. It makes eating awkward and he is always conscious of the strangeness of sensation on that side of his face. We thought we were dealing with an infected tooth – and it was a sobering revelation that things were much more complicated than that.
Two weeks of vet visits, antibiotics, sedatives, manipulations of his jaw … all put the poor guy right off his food. My heart broke as I watched him hang his head and struggle to make it up and down the hill. I came to the terrible realization that at some point I was going to have to make the call to end his suffering. Ede and I were both walking wounded … I don’t think I’ve had a ‘longer week’ in the two years since I retired. Paco has rallied … he is back to eating and I even had the pure joy of watching him running with the herd yesterday afternoon – up and down that hillside – kicking up his hooves. But now I know … I know even the preamble we have dealt with over these few days broke my spirit. It’s been a BIG LESSON. I will have to at some point deal with the loss of any one of our beautiful. hoofed children…
And there pops up my ‘blogger’s’ question … Do I write about the sad parts of our life with the creatures here at The Meadow? Or am I posting pretty pictures each day…? Who am I writing for?
Here is the result of my thinking. Each day, if I stop to think before I fall asleep, I count my blessings. And topping the list every time are the ways nature has touched my day. The smell of the air, the feel of the earth, the head butt of a loving cat, the songs of the birds, the braying of donkeys (even Bella!), the buttery sunlight at dawn or dusk … That is what this blog is about. Sometimes the people who visit and plug into my chores show up here. Sometimes the days can be sad – extremely sad. But mostly not. It is a space I use to show my gratitude for small wonders. By taking pictures, writing down my thoughts, researching about things that are uncommon or new … I celebrate the mere fact of being. It is a good process for me.
And so … out of the ashes of this first painful burning flame of disaster and heartbreak I am picking myself up, dusting myself off and daring to share the ups and downs of my little but appreciated life here at the Meadow.
22 comments on “Phoenix Rising”
Oh Wen, what an emotional few weeks for you. I am glad Paco has turned the corner. Thinking of you all.
Thanks Claire. Hey – we’ll be seeing you soon! Take care of yourself and get some rest between now and then. 😉
Your writing is so vivid. So true, living with animals is another way of life. I am taking care of Denise and Kens dog Teddy this week. Your story brought tears to my eyes, thank you.
Cheers to you and Ede,
Thanks Barb. It is nice to see him soaking in the sunshine out there this morning.
A tear jerk er for sure. What you love is also shared by other family. Good and bad, we also feel the same as you do. Continue on – you always “show your love” of all animals – a lesson for everyone. Love you all!
Thanks Kathy. Do you include ‘Great Aunt to Asses’ on your resume? 😉
Welcome back Wendy. We’ll take the tough parts as well as the gentle. It’s how we get stronger and stay humble. Hoping Paco continues to improve. He couldn’t be in a better place. Hugs Kate
Thanks Kate. He is looking comfortable this morning. Munching on his hay and soaking in the sunshine.
So happy you’re back – missed you and your beautiful blog. It always caused me to pause and appreciate life and the people/pets around me. You are so talented and I look forward to hearing all your stories, the uplifting ones, and the sad ones. Awesome pictures too. Hugs Lynda
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks Lynda. I know your family is populated by sweet animals too!
With tears in my eyes, I applaud you gals and your efforts for the four-legged family members (oh, and yes, the two-legged!). I missed your blogs and welcome you back with open arms!
Thanks Pam. Happy to be back tapping away at the keyboard and toting my camera.
Here’s a thought: the good and the bad are different sides of the same coin: change.
The cultivation of an attitude of gratitude is an important job and your blog is about that – cultivation of an attitude of gratitude to hold us true as things change, as they certainly will. So glad you’ve decided to continue.
Thanks you guys. I’ll keep that coin analogy in mind!
The challenge with all loss is the same isn’t it? Not to deny or minimize or even despair, but to stay present with it All, so the places we have hardened become soft again and we fall to our knees with compassion for all the beings who share our world. Sending love to you and Ede and Paco and his pals. Don’t stop writing!
Thank you Nancy for your kind words. That sentiment – “not to deny or minimize or even despair” sure rings true to the cycle of emotions I was going through when I thought we had already reached the end … And, the constantly sobering thought that there are no guarantees that it has moved all that far into the future. It is something I’m going to have to learn to live with daily – as we’ll need to keep a close eye on how he is doing and not let him suffer unnecessarily. Sure caused us both to think about the implications for the euthanasia movement … and how tough those decisions are going to be for family.
It is the ups & downs in life that allow us to live…to truly live and to experience & appreciate everything we have every minute of every day. Thank you for sharing!
So, I wrote this a couple of days ago and then the &^%#$ computer crashed again before I could send it, but it is all still true….
I am glad you are back, but, I am sorry you are going through this. loving anything is such a risk and doubly so for equines. They are so strong, vibrant and powerful, yet so fragile. I have lost some much loved hoofed friends and I had gotten so that I tried not to get too attached to them anymore for fear of losing someone again.
Then, I brought a little donkey home. I did not have any prior donkey experience and no expectations and, because of that, I was not guarding myself against her and she slipped right past all my protective barriers. I think that is why, when Ramsey (my precious unexpected baby) got sick, I opted to spend a rather large fortune on saving him. It was because I could save him. I have lost so many loved ones to illnesses and diseases that can’t be fought. The idea that the only thing standing between Ramsey’s life or his death was money was just not acceptable to me. I couldn’t fight late stage cancer or terminal illness, but I could fight a bone infection. Money be dammed.
I struggled with whether or not to blog about the hard stuff and in the end, I wound up writing about it because it was all my mind could hold at the time. Life isn’t always good or beautiful.
I struggled with the same questions you are, and finally just shared what was going on and I am glad that I did, and not just because my readers ended up helping to pay Ramsey’s huge vet bills.
A blog is a personal thing and can be anything you want or need it to be, but it also becomes a sort of community and people genuinely do care about what happens, both the hard times and the good. That can be both a blessing and a burden. I know I certainly feel like I owe it to my readers to keep writing and that is an odd thing in itself. It often makes it harder to write because I feel that weight.
I am quite fond of your little herd and I am very sorry to hear that Paco is having such trouble. Selfishly, I hope you do continue to blog so I can see what happens. However, I also understand if you don’t. It is your blog and you should write what feels right. Just know that there are those of us out in blogland who care.
And in that spirit, do you know that the vets at the UK donkey sanctuary will consult with you or your vet for free? They are the world’s experts on donkey care and they may have some ideas that could help you and Paco. They were very helpful to me when Ramsey was so sick. Also, soaked hay pellets or cubes can be a Godsend to donkeys with chewing issues.
Sending healing vibes and donkey hugs.
Oh my goodness. What a heartwarming message to open up here tonight! Thank you for your support – and your expertise! I WILL contact the UK sanctuary. I’ll be in the city next week and can pick up some hay cubes too. Once again you’ve been a tremendous help. Thank you!
Look pure timothy or orchard grass pellets. A good brand is Ontario Dehydrated pellets/cubes. Make sure to soak them into a mash as they can be a choking hazard for an animal with chewing problems. I know a number of toothless old horses who live on these alone and do very well. Also, I know that some people have had good results treating sarcoids and oral tumors with turmeric. I will find you the recipe. It can’t hurt and has been known to help in some cases. Don’t give up hope just yet.
THANK YOU! I will look into this.