March 2, 2015
Have you ever heard the saying that animals know where to go to when they need help?
I’m not Catholic, but at times it seems ironic I was named “Frances” (yes, that’s my real first name) as St. Francis of Assisi is the patron of saint of animals.
For whatever reason, it seems animals have a penchant of finding me, or me finding them. I’m passionate about horses in particular, but it seems that helping them really is a calling on my life- there’s too many coincidences that seem to occur.
For instance, last week during the ice storm I hurried home from work and on the way I noticed that this horse was standing off by himself in the pouring ice and rain. My gut told me something wasn’t right – I should have listened. I stopped and hollered at the horse. He moved and then turned his head in a way I could tell he was blind. I chalked it up to my being over reactive. I didn’t want to be the crazy lady running to the owners over their already blind horse.
The next day, we ventured out to town and drove by that same pasture. The horse was closer to the road and I could tell his eye was severely injured. The owners weren’t home because they’d lost power, so I immediately went and caught the horse. He had gouged his eye out.
In the midst of bringing the horse back to the barn, the owner shows up wondering who this crazy lady is that’s stealing his horse. He quickly changed his tune when he saw what had happened.
That horse was on a road that a lot of people drive down every day. Yet, no one else had ever even noticed.
The week before that, we rescued two horses down the road from us that were a 1.5 and a 2 on the Henneke body score. The local animal control got involved and we fostered them overnight. The next day, they went to Horse Haven.
The people who owned the horses also owned a jack (stallion) donkey that wasn’t released to animal control upon an ultimatum. Mysteriously, the donkey was suddenly running loose in the neighborhood. And just where do you think he headed? Yep, you guessed it.
The owners are home but they’re too busy to attempt to catch their donkey. I don’t need a need a bred mare, or a vet bill so I got my halter and a bucket of grain. Keep in mind, the donkey was literally dragged behind a car when the owners got him. There was no way in hell the donkey was going to get within 20 feet of me!
I couldn’t stay out til midnight trying to catch a donkey that’s not even mine, and the cowgirl in me wouldn’t let me do it when the owners were home doing basically nothing! Besides, the donkey was much closer to their house than mine. My husband was headed to town so I told him to call the cops.
In the meantime, I headed back to the house looking forward to finally getting some quiet time. I proped my feet up on the couch and turn on my favorite TV show. A little while later, over the babble of the TV, I hear “heeehaaaw heeehaaaw heeehaaaw!” I can’t share the words that came out of my mouth at that moment.
I pulled on my boots and my coat, grumbling the whole time. Sure enough, the donkey was standing in my front yard, just a few feet away from my gelding who’s ready to fight over the fence.
Obviously, the cops and animal control were not going to save the day. It was up to me and me alone to catch this donkey who didn’t want to be caught…in the dark. This could be a problem!
I’ve caught enough loose horses and cattle in my lifetime to know that food is a strong motivator…especially if they’re starved. So I grabbed every single feed bucket I own and put a handful of feed in each one. Then I set up a trail of buckets that led to the round pen. I crossed my fingers and started slowly herding the donkey in the direction of the buckets.
He discovered the first bucket and took the bait. Then he meandered to the second bucket and finished it off. A few buckets later, he was in the round pen! Thank you Jesus!
That was three weeks ago. We still have the donkey, for now, who has been named Oscar. Do you need a donkey? I have one!
The last six months, we’ve rescued and re-homed two dogs and two horses, and now Oscar.
So what’s your purpose? Was is it that you’re passionate about that always seems to find you even when you might have other plans?