Dayo… my leap of faith :)

Meet Dayo (“Joy Arrives”). Formerly Ebony / Home By Dark, she is an eight year old OTTB, one of three mare whose owners have fallen on hard times. For three years, I’ve looked and looked at horses, donated money to rescues. Of course, I have Chaos <3. Who knows why one horse speaks to you, or why your soul suddenly says: “Enough. It’s time to take that leap of faith, and be the difference.”
Stay tuned for stories as we get to know each other; for photos as she fills out, and becomes the awesome mare she is going to be!
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$100 "hell horse" wins Tevis Cup

When the stars align and a horse finds his place/person magic can happen. Do you know of a horse circumstances are conspiring against – in a field, a barn, at auction, in a feedlot? What if that horse was one connection,. one circumstance, one caring person, away from excellence and a chance to thrive in life?

Many may know a horse just like this. We all deserve hope, and the chance to succeed. Would you take the chance, change his life, and yours?

$100 Psychotic Wild Hell Horse wins Tevis Cup

Sometimes we just need the right angel to come along show us how to spread our wings.

The Wolf and the Donkey – a modern parable

This is a beautiful and incredibly touching story of love and grace. Original credit below.

THE WOLF AND THE DONKEY
On May 9, 2007, in the mountains of northern Albania in the northwestern city of Patok, a wolf was captured and put in a pen. To feed him, his captors decided to give him “live food,” an old donkey who, having been exploited for many years by its owners, had become worthless to them. Nobody expected to see what happened next.

Both animals, prisoners of an evil man with a desire for possession and selfishness, did something unexpected. The wolf looked into the donkey’s eyes and the poor old donkey did the same, and the two became friends. Because in a world dominated by the greed and apathy of men, the titles of prey and predator become meaningless, and a wonderful friendship can develop between two souls, victims of the same evil, only made possible by emotions that we struggle to understand. 


UPDATE:
12.000 people had written to the government of Albania asking that the life of donkey be spared and the wolf released to the wild. The story got coverage from the Albanian television and under the huge pressure of the public, they finally let both of them free.

The original article mentions that the donkey lives now happily on a green pasture and that the wolf would even pass by sometimes to visit him.

Original source: http://www.gut-aiderbichl.at/aktetier/aktetier_1038.pdf

Thanks to Occupy for Animals. Please visit their page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-for-Animals/152547194813334

Sunday rant: A horse is a just a horse…

Last night, we celebrated my nephews 2nd birthday, family style. As always with family, there is the joy of togetherness, the stress of togetherness, and the conflict of opinions – rarely in the interest of lively debate.

Now most who know me know I am a passionate animal lover, and have been since I was young. I’ve had kittens born under my bed, puppies born in my closet. I have crossed roads from school to sit on the back of a horse during lunch, and I have walked countless miles for the sake of animals – to see them, help them, and heal them. I have rescue dogs, network to re-home healthy horses sold for meat (because it’s easier to do this than be accountable).

I am a profound and deep believer in human rights, in every person’s abilities, and in the value of life. All life. I believe life is something that should be respected, revered, and protected. It is also something, I believe, that should be managed humanely, compassionately, and lovingly.

And, I put my money, my time, and my convictions, where my mouth is. So to speak.

I am a strong advocate of the animal-human bond, which I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, does and will heal people, will help heal the planet.  and is something which, as the top of the food chain, we need to get right if we are going to survive.

So we are were discussing War Horse, a fantastic production, full of puppetry and magic. As most people know, War Horse brings to light the plight of the many animals who were casualties of World War 1.  As we discussed the play, I shared the following information:

“Did you know that, during the war, 1,000,000 horses went to France, and only 62,000 survived?”

Now to me, this is a pretty staggering statistic. Horses serve. They are non-partisan, and they don’t chose to fight for a cause. In World War 1, we needed them. As transport for military personnel, supplies, as fighting partners, and for armaments.  938,000 horses died in man’s service, without recognition, without appreciation. Today, dogs die today alongside troops in Afghanistan – those that survive are not valued enough for their service to even earn a flight home by the military. Instead, they are to be abandoned in Afghanistan because they are no longer of value. These horses, these dogs – they are not just “hanging out” waiting for a walk, a cuddle, or so we can “play around with ponies.” They provide real, valuable service in man’s honour, and in support of man’s survival.

“Who cares how many horses died! How many people died?”

The answer to this, which I was not able to pull out of my hat, is this:
World War 1 saw the highest casualties of any war. Approximately 65 million peopled fought. 6.8 million military personnel died in action, another 3.2 million died of diseases like the Spanish Flu. Approximately another 7 million civilians died. Somewhere in the number of 20 million military personnel were wounded (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties). While the actual numbers can likely be debated, a short answer would be a lot.

I care how many horses died. And to the USA, I’d like to add “man up and be accountable. Man or animal, bring all who serve home with respect and dignity.”

It is incredibly sad that we kill each other for money, resources, for political or religious beliefs. As the average man, we chose to be the victims of a propaganda machine designed to make a few people or countries very wealthy.  It sucks that we kill each other. And it really sucks that we have to kill everything else too. We are the top of the food chain. Do we really believe it is acceptable to use other animals as grist in our political and monetary mills, to reap the benefits they provide, and then condone casually casting them aside when they are no longer useful or convenient, when they need, and to devalue their contribution in the process.

I think not.

Pets are not until – they deserve forever

People forget that animals are a commitment, a valuable member of the family, and that they deserve to have the respect, loyalty and love we ask of them returned. There are always unfortunate circumstances when the most loving thing to do is surrender a friend, but there is never a need to abandon them because they are no longer convenient… This fantastic poster from the Calgary Humane Society says it all.

In the United States, 500 animals die every day from abuse – 300,000 die a year.  Every year, between 6 and 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters, and only about half of them make it out alive. The rest are unceremoniously euthanized.

EVERY animal has its own uniqueness and value, and every animal deserves love, respect and to be treated with dignity. Practice responsible breeding. Spay or neuter your pets. Take the time to train your animal so that it is a constructive member of your family, and of society. And please, take this to heart if you are considering adopting a pet.

You are not an “until” person. You do not want to be abandoned or unloved. You deserve a forever relationship. So do pets.

Faith and Spirit

Horses play an integral role in the history, and the present, of the Americas. In recent months, there have been a great many articles about the BLM’s wild horse roundups, the treatment of retired racehorses, of neglect and cruelty. The issue of horse slaughter (which is currently banned in the United States, but allowed in both Canada and Mexico) is receiving tremendous publicity both for the inhumanity of the practices associated with it, and because of the practice itself. 
“Faith and Spirit came to the farm on April 20th 2011. We received a phone call from the local kill pen that a foal had been born in their holding pen. We worked desperately to raise funds to rescue mom and baby. Joel, one of our dedicated volunteers, donated what we needed to save these two. We estimated his birth date is April 10th 2011. This colt literally saved his mother’s life. There’s no doubt the slaughterhouse would have killed her, pregnant or not. Faith and Spirit will remain at Day Dreams Farm until Spirit is weaned and then Faith will be up for adoption. Spirit will continue to grow up at the farm and he will choose which direction he wants his life to go.”
The inhumanity of the kill pen, and the tragedy that faces horses who find themselves there, is illustrated in a wonderful video of a foal born in a kill pen while his mother waited for slaughter (http://youtu.be/WODPAmME1e8). There is a happy ending for them both, thanks to Day Dreams Equine Rescue and Therapy (http://www.daydreamsfarm.com) but there need to be many, many more. Horses, because they have outlived their usefulness in one role, should not be thrown away. They can certainly be retrained for another purposes. Like all domesticated animals, they have an important relationship with people, and one that is mutually beneficial. The unspeakable things we do to dispose of them reflects our respect for humanity as a whole, and it is time we step up for the human race, the animal population, and the planet. 
The issues around the treatment, management and slaughter of horses are complex, but the realities seem to be simple and come down to an all too common denominator – human greed.  Horses are expensive to keep, and if they are wild, can be inconvenient to have around. Crushing economic conditions have exacerbated poor conditions for many farmers and horse owners, with more and more horses suffering from neglect as owners are unable to keep them. A reduction in horse races and purses, and an increase in irresponsible breeding, have resulted in a glut of unwanted racehorses, many of whom have earned significant money before being consigned to the kill pen because their racing careers are over.  Rescue organizations are stretched, and advocacy groups fight an uphill battle in the face of a glut of unwanted horses. And, it is important to remember that, in North America, horses are not raised for human consumption, and the sale of horse meat is prohibited by the FDA for health purposes.
Please advocate to stop horse slaughter, and to address the root causes of this issue. And please, support your local rescues, shelters and therapeutic riding centres!