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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cashing Out

With my time in New York quickly approaching its end, I've been doing a lot of farewells in the past few weeks. First, I said goodbye to my airedale that I walked for 2 years. Then, I bid adieu to my whippet, which was a sad moment. This week is my last with my beloved wirefox terrier, and I don't know how I'll handle our last walk together. He's a special boy. They're all special to me, and I hope I'll get to see them when I come back to New York to visit.

This past Saturday, I went up to Green Chimneys for what may very well be the last time as a volunteer. It was not the best visit I've had; I spent the majority of the time inside the tack room, painting the ceiling. As the day came to a close, I asked my supervisor if I could take the last few minutes to make the rounds and say bye to the horses I'd been helping care for over the past several months. Of course she allowed it, and so I trekked off onto the trail to stop by each pasture.

First, I stopped by the biggest paddock with the two resident driving horses, Unar and Alta, the Norwegian Fjords, and their pathetic pasture-mate, Odessa. I say pathetic because she's the bottom of the herd. We all had a good scratch, and Odessa managed to wipe the mud from her side onto my back. Thanks for that. Next, I simultaneously introduced myself and said goodbye to the two new Norwegian Fjords, Sadie and Zipper. Beautiful mares, but I'm not sure they'll be staying at the farm long.

Then, I followed the path up to Laddie and Jackson, two handsome boys. Jackson is a young guy, and enjoyed when I scratched his mane. The flies were making all the horses crazy, so I did my best to swat them away while I was standing there. I made the last loop around to the farthest pasture where my old friends Cash and Second were hiding in the lean-to, trying to avoid the pesky flies. As soon as I got to them, I felt a wave of sorrow creep up on me. In January, I blogged about this farm and about my first barn buddy, Cash. He is such a special horse, and I can't completely describe why. The few times I got to ride him, we didn't do much, but he was the kindest, most willing horse you can imagine. I love his attitude and I love imagining what he was like in his prime: handsome and agile, eye-catching and lightning-fast.

I made my way up to Second, the other elderly horse, and said a quick goodbye. We hadn't been close, but he got a kiss on the nose anyway. Then I slid over to my main man, Cash. And it hit me. These old boys probably aren't long for this world. They are both in their mid-thirties, which is old for big horses like them. I put my forehead on Cash's, and he stood quietly, with his eyes half-closed, while I started to cry. He didn't move a muscle, or bat an eyelash. I wrapped my arms around his huge muzzle and squeezed, and he still remained motionless. Then I shifted around to his side and buried my face in his neck, crying all the while. I have no idea what came over me, or why it hit me so hard.

Maybe it was the fact that I may never see my sweet Cash again. We hadn't done much together, but he has a good soul, and you don't get to meet many horses like him in a lifetime. Or maybe it was the realization of what this farm grew to mean to me over these months. It was a respite from the city, a place of peace amid a hectic, city life. Being around horses again helped me understand how much I need them in my life, and solidified my resolve to work with them in the future. Being at a place like Green Chimneys also made me realize that I am in absolute awe of the human-animal bond, and I want to be surrounded by it in any way I can. I watched the way the troubled young children brightened up around these gentle beasts, and it made me realize that I want to help animals help people.

I don't know what my future holds beyond the next few weeks. I do know that I am going to do everything I can to ensure that my future is one that involves horses. I also know that while I may not miss the city of New York, I will miss the animals I met, and worked with, and loved. And I can only hope that my future takes me more places like Green Chimneys, so that I can meet more special souls like Cash.

Farewell, handsome boy.

1 comment:

  1. Awww chica...this post totally just made ME cry :( I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to so many wonderful creatures this weekend, but it's great that you went to see them again. Big life changes are scary and sad, but help us grow into who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to do. I'm absolutely positive that you will achieve your goal of helping animals help people, and vice versa, and you'll have an amazing bond with many an animal to come :)