A Love of Animals

No one in my life is ever shocked when I bring another critter (or 5) home. I have always loved all animals. I have been more than willing to bring home the young or old, sick or healthy. Sometimes I even find myself going a little overboard in the process (like 34 baby chicks on the husband’s birthday this year when we didn’t even need 1). But having these critters have always brought me smiles, especially when the rest of my life was causing me tears.

I grew up very much feeling like I wasn’t good enough, was a failure, was a total screw up. I was a straight-A student, honor athlete, working hard to make sure everything I did would please others, only to be treated like a failure in the end. I felt this way due to things that were said, actions put upon me, treatment thrown my way. I dealt with this silently my whole life, until 2004 when I met the husband. He just seemed to get me, to understand me, to appreciate me, to love me unconditionally. I felt the love and acceptance from him that I had never felt before. One one of our first dates he called and wanted to see me. I was at the stables, shoveling horse poo and giving my 2 horses baths that day. He showed up anyway, and helped me clean up. He has often said he’s been shoveling horse poo every since then, and he’s right…15 years down the road and he’s still cleaning my horse stalls.

I think due to the rejection I felt while I was younger, pushed me to look more towards an animal for that missed connection and love. We always had a dog, and I got a cat when I was in my senior year of high school, the horses came in college as well as my own dog, Ozzy. A year ago Ozzy passed away as the 14 years had battered his old body. His passing was soon followed by Maggie, our 14 year old mutt. We have many others here at home to make up for the love that is missed with them being gone. Actually we have 4 dogs, 6 total cats, 5 horses, 11 goats, a donkey, and a chameleon. There is plenty of unconditional love to go around.

This morning I saw another level of unconditional love. I had gone into the barn about 2 hours after the husband had fed the horses to turn them out on the pasture for the day. The first 3 quickly trotted out to pasture, but the cute 2 year filly was still laying down, staying warm and cozy in the shavings in her stall. Fully content with just snoozing. At first I was alarmed, why wasn’t she getting up. Was she hurting (she did have quite the incident with barbed wire recently)? I walked around here, and then I sat down on her hip, she just sat there to see what I was doing. Then I got up and walked around to the front of her, she still isn’t getting up but seems totally content. So I sat down with her. She sniffed my coffee and cuddled up, nosing my phone while I was trying to get the perfect picture. She just wanted to be loved on, even though her friends were already in the pasture grazing and playing.

This morning, all Lacey wanted was to be loved on, and show her love in return. She didn’t care that my hair was a mess, that I didn’t have on any makeup, my clothes were sloppy, or that I was rocking a pimple or two on my 40 year old face. No, she just wanted the attention and to nose around on my coffee cup. I wish I could have stayed longer, but being adult called me to get up after a few minutes. But those few minutes of quiet time, sitting on a barn floor, curled up with a laying down horse, smelling the good and bad odors of the barn soothes my soul. See, a horse normally won’t allow you to walk up to it while it’s laying down. They are a prey animal, and if they are down, they are vulnerable. A horse that lets you sit down and cuddle with it has total trust in you.

Today I was loved just for being me, the horse mom who lets Lacey sneak a few extra bites of grain in the morning before I put her food out. The one who knows just where her favorite spots are for scratching, and who knows just how to give her a hug and a kiss on her nose. Those few stolen moments today, renewed my soul more than anything that can travel under my needle can. Tomorrow, maybe she will let me cuddle a little longer, and I’ll take advantage of every minute that I can. Enjoy some pics from this morning of my horse, and me…without makeup, or hair done, or even decent clothes, but being loved for just being me.

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