Wednesday, August 12, 2009

UNbelievable... but wait - is it???

Went for a ride Monday night with my daughter and a friend. At one point the horses started acting up and we were like “What is UP?” then we smelled it – dead critter. Then, we saw it - dead horse! And a bit further, the scattered bones of what looked to me like a calf, but no head so hard to tell. I was appalled, disgusted, angry!!! So I went back last night to take pictures with the intent to report it to the authorities, hoping since it’s on state trust land someone would come clean it up… and was gonna write about it here, and send e-mails to all the folks I know who live out by me, to see if anyone could identify it. Not far from the scattered bones was another skull under a bush… not sure the two go together but it was a horse as well. I won’t post the pictures here as they are horrible, but if you can’t help but look you can click here:


After talking with hubby and daughter some more, daughter and I had a wild hair and popped in to visit someone we know with the intention of scoping out their little herd… then I said to her, I’m just gonna ask straight out… so I did. {The names have been changed for obvious reasons.)

Me: “Hey, Jack, you guys missing a horse?”

Him: “No… why?”

Me: “Because we found a dead one while we were out riding yesterday on the state trust land.”

Him {looking at his feet, then looking at me, very grim and sad}: “Then yes, we are missing a horse. It’s Red. He died last month and we didn’t have the money to pay someone to come get him…”

Un-freakin’-believable, right? But wait a minute…

Let’s back up here… about 5 years…

Jack and Jill were renting, living month to month, not rich by any means but doing okay. Happened to go to an auction with a neighbor and ended up saving two older horses from going to slaughter. The boys looked pretty bad but with love and care and good food, it wasn’t long before they were healthy again – healthy enough that Jack even rode them a little and said that Red was the best horse he’d ever been on, that Red knew what Jack was going to ask him to do before Jack asked, and was already doing it. But age and previous poor care resulted in health issues that soon made both boys nothing more than pasture ornaments. Jack and Jill didn’t care, they loved the boys and were happy to do whatever it took to keep them in good health and let them live out their “golden years” in safety.

Jack and Jill rescued a young thoroughbred next, and later took in a couple of other horses from neighbors… one with serious emotional issues. Having a boarder also helped with expenses, and Jack got a promotion and a raise which enabled them to purchase a newer vehicle and even purchase the home they were renting. Like any of us, they were doing their best to have the American dream…

Then in March of 2009 Jack lost his job. He hasn’t been able to find another one – even McDonald’s wouldn’t hire him saying he was “over-qualified”. They are living on unemployment and food stamps, and let their vehicle get repossessed so they could still buy the medicine that Red needed, and their home is on the brink of foreclosure. Now well over 30, Red was having trouble getting up if he laid down. They took another financial hit when the boarder left. Then the medicine stopped working and Red couldn’t get up without help.

So, WOW. Am I still appalled, disgusted and angry? YOU BET! But I am also heartbroken for Jack and Jill, who did the best they could and finally felt they had no choice, and for Red who didn’t deserve what he got. Did they do the right thing? At least they didn’t dump him somewhere alive to fend for himself… we’ve seen that happen recently too… and which is worse? And to be honest, they aren’t the “perfect” victim in this situation… when Jill came out of the house to talk to us, she had a cigarette in her hand. I don’t smoke and never have – I know cigarettes aren’t cheap but I haven’t experienced the addiction… anyway I can’t bring myself to judge them, because I KNOW they are good people and it was obvious that having to do this really tore them up… and because there, but for the grace of God, go I – or you! And I feel guilty that I have been so caught up in my own problems that I didn’t even realize this was happening… and that we hadn’t talked in so long that neither Jack nor Jill thought to ask me for help. And I feel sad because frankly, even if they HAD asked me for help, I don’t know that there was anything I could have done… And I am frightened and concerned for Jack and Jill and for Red’s auction buddy, who will sooner or later face a similar fate.

BUT I am also SO THANKFUL to have the AZBCR folks in my life… because I truly believe that if it were to come to that point for me, I would at least feel I had someone to reach out to for help, and maybe someone on the forum might be able to come up with a better option for a horse like Red… or if not, there would be cowboy Bill and his trusty backhoe to at least give the poor horse some dignity in death.

So I went home planning to delete the pictures and ride in a different direction for a while… I can’t justify possibly making things even worse for them.

But I kept thinking afterwards, this is exactly what we have been talking about recently on the riding forum: there needs to be some answers for the people out there who find themselves in such a predicament, before they reach the decision to abandon a live horse or dispose of a dead one like this. And maybe there already are, but if so, they aren’t well known enough to reach the people that need them. I wish I had a magic wand … but I don’t. And I don’t know anybody who does. I wish I had a million dollars… but I don’t. And while I don’t know anybody personally who does, well, there are still SOME people in this world with money… so the problem becomes, HOW do we get the needs together with the means?

I’m at a loss. I knew, intellectually, that things like this were happening. We all know it. But when you see it up close and personal, it slaps you in the face. This hurts. It hurts BAD. I want to help. I really, really want to DO SOMETHING! But what? I’ve done rescue myself and donated to others regularly for years, but right now it is all I can do just to take care of my own… and I’m not so sure I can succeed even at that. Doing nothing isn’t an option that will let me sleep at night… if sharing these pictures and this story touches enough people, and things are changed for the better, well then it’s worth it. And if anyone has any other ideas, I’m all ears!

1 comment:

Mikey said...

Yep, not so unbelievable. We know that horse, and the situation and it's so sad. Lots of good people out there unemployed right now. Makes for tough decisions. Yes, wish they had reached out for help, although the most I think could have been done is a burial. And even if you do that, there's restrictions on that too. So what's a person to do?
I don't have any answers, or any extra money. I just took 2 more in (after Quinn left) and am trying to rehome them. And as for the smoking, the last week or so I've cut back to 1/4 of what I usually smoked. I'm trying super hard to quit, cause I can't afford it! So the economy is hitting every single one us it seems. I think this isn't even the worst of it. It's going to get a LOT worse.