We considered 2020 as a whole and thought about yet another year passing us by. We considered those we have lost and took a moment to mourn their passing.
Robbie the collie; who would have herded anyone and anything and would chase any stick, ball, or even a bit of rubbish and bring it back to you for you to throw it again. He was in his teens and his health had been deteriorating over the years to the point he was having issues with his teeth; many having been removed; and his digestion. It got to a point he needed help to eat.
Trudy the cat; she was a firm favourite on the yard, for many years spending them as an observer from various windows or ledges where she could look down on those working. As she got older she struggled with the stairs and windows and moved into the tack room, happily sleeping in a chair at night and heading outdoors during the day to continue her monitoring. Sadly her kidneys began to fail her and she was having increasing troubles. It was a sad day when we had to say goodbye to her and she is missed dearly around the yard.
Pepper the pony; Pepper was without a doubt one of the most notorious ponies to step onto the yard. He was commonly known as windsucking Pepper which probably tells you a lot about him already. Yes, he was a cribber and a windsucker; it was this condition that caused the majority of his issues in homes and in the yard. Still, he was very much loved and when he returned to us again in 2019 we welcomed him back happily and promised that he would live out his days with us. We didn't know how long that would honestly be but when his time came it was quite a shock for us all. He'd been having more and more colic attacks and the last one was one of the worst we on the yard had ever seen; the vet was called immediately but it was kinder on Pepper to let him go.
Whitey Riley the Cat. Many will never have met him but he was a loved boy who spent his life in the sanctuary house. He was FIV positive and although for some that isn't all bad, he had a harder time of it. He was prone to infections, and every sniffle or cough or sneeze in his direction would potentially be life-threatening. He had a faithful trouble making companion in Naughty Kitten who is also FIV positive. Whitey Riley could usually be seen watching from a window or napping on the nearest bed, chair, sofa, or soft cushioned spot. He will be missed by all who knew him and spent time with him.
We said goodbye to Percy, our stand out rooster who had to be will into his teens when he passed away during the summer. He was an independent boy with a love for the ladies; in his younger days, he was often seen patrolling the yard and keeping the ponies in check. In his later years, he lived in the pink house with his many girls around him and enjoyed a turn about the garden daily. He was not a petted rooster but he was very loved and very missed.
Bertha passed away just after her first birthday, and just before Christmas, we said goodbye to her sister Beryl who passed away peacefully in the hay next to the staff and volunteers who cared for her. They leave behind their brothers Bruce and Bart the Broilers who have now roomier accommodations (small positives.). Bertha and Beryl were part of the group of 10 broilers taken on in September 2019 after Norman the broiler, one of our very first original broilers from 2016, passed away. Broilers are wonderful birds, many of whom never get a chance. They have lots of health issues and their excessive weight gain makes difficulties with joints and muscle growth. They get whatever we can provide them to make their lives happy and healthy and as sad as it is at how short they are; we know at least they are happy. If you have been on the yard to be greeted by Bruce or Bart, coming waddling down to the gate to say hello, or heading out for their daily exercise you will know exactly what we mean. Beryl loved nothing more than pottering around her little yard and on days when there were no horses or ponies in the main yard she got the full space to herself to explore. She would rush over to see you and was very happy for a stroke and a pat when you passed by her spot. Both girls will be missed dearly.
There were others too, like the pony with no name; she never got a chance at a happy ever after; merely two days of love and care. Or the mare we never even met who needed someone to help her in her final days; we covered the costs of vet tests and checks and when all was ruled out we assisted with the arrangements and costs of having her put to sleep and her cremation for the family. There were the animals who we helped provide a home for hospice who got a chance to live out their days in safety and love; even if for some it was only for a few months. There were the messages and stories we received of those who we have helped in the past, those who have lived happy and full lives in homes that loved them; and this year sadly passed away.
This year, like every other year, has had its ups and downs; and we are truly saddened to say goodbye to so many. Of course, we must look to the positives of all of these sad endings, and one positive we know is that we miss them. No matter what their starts in life, or what happened during, in the end, they knew love, and care, and when they passed there were people who loved them and mourn them. There are people who miss them. There are people who will remember them.
We will never forget them, no matter how long they spent in our lives or us in theirs we are every day blessed to be a part of those lives and to share not just the happy days, but the sad days too. We thank each and every one of these animals for sharing their lives with us, and we thank each and every one of you for helping us to do provide a life, a home, and that all-important ingredient; love; to every one of them who we meet (and even in those occasions when we don't meet physically.).
So, today, on the final day of 2020 we take a moment to remember them. Those who we have lost, those who are missed, those who are loved.