...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.
“...Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
is there somewhere you can tell me?
He walks on, doesn’t look back,
he pretends he can’t hear her...
starts to whistle as he crosses the street...
Oh, think twice, it’s just another day
for you and me in paradise...” (1)
Did you know that horses have the mentality of a 3 year child? That dogs can understand human verbal speech and hand signals? That cats can learn their own name and that all of these animals have short and long-term memory capability?
Basically, they are like our little children, requiring a lot of care and having the qualities and attributes of small children.
They also feel emotion, just like you. They get mad, they get happy and silly, they get sad.
No one can tell me that animals don’t feel emotion, I saw it for myself. Maybe you’ve never thought of it before, because it doesn’t really present itself on a daily basis, but one time I had this old boy that had come up from Texas with his stablemate. He was an Appendix Quarter Horse (2) and his buddy was a white Arabian.
They traveled over 1,400 miles together up to my pastures and they didn’t like to be separated.
The Arabian had skin cancer on his face and inside his nostrils. I sent him to a local Vet over night for tumor removal and also down to the Equine Hospital in Ohio, several times each. He was on Gaviscon as an off-label use to combat certain types of skin cancer in horses, and it really worked. But he also had a sarcoma in his nose that we had removed several times. It just kept coming back, more angrier each time and one day we had to make a decision about his quality of life.
I led him up the bridle path, his Appendix buddy screaming the whole time because he got left behind, and the Veterinarian made things very simple with a needle and euthanasia. Old “Ironhead” is buried up on the lane, next to a hay field.
That other horse moped for 3 months. He went off feed, lost weight, and never lifted his head up. He whinnied frantically for several days and kept looking out the barn door. When turned out to pasture, his eyes would rapidly scan the field and when he realized he didn’t see his friend Ironhead, he would put his head back down and resume moping.
I tell you, it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. I kept thinking he would snap out of it, and eventually he did. Horse folks informed me that I should have let him see the body of his deceased friend because horses know what death is.
That horse was sad and experiencing grief, and no one can tell me any different.
A reminder to all owners of animals and livestock, PA Anti-cruelty Law mandates the following, as written in the PA Legislature and Purdon’s Law Books Title 18, Sec 5511, subsection C: ”..a person commits a summary offense...if he neglects any animal he has a duty of care...ABANDONS any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, (food) drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal’s body heat and keep it dry...” (not applicable) “in normal agricultural operation...” (such as plowing or harvesting a field while raining and the handlers are also out in the weather.)
I have discovered that a shady realm exists on the Internet with Craigslist and the sale of live animals, everything from gold fish and scorpions and spiders, to dogs, cats, ferrets and horses.
Jargon has been created for the purpose of owners ridding themselves of unwanted pets and notes are posted about animal hoarders and “animal flippers,” who surf Craigslist for free, live creatures that they then “flip over” for a profit.
Many notes posted there indicate that the owner is moving and is not allowed to have animals at the new location or they are expecting a child. Many do not spay or neuter their pets, and are trying to get rid of a litter of “accidents.”...this wasn’t supposed to happen...
The humane treatment of animals continues to fall by the wayside, as people focus on making money, having a good time at the bar or buying the latest gadgets for entertainment.
Some dogs are left tied on chains at the end of a back yard, with the highlight of their day being suppertime. Dogs still have a pack mentality, and consider their humans to be their “pack.” They don’t understand why they are isolated day after lonely day from their pack, with a member only coming out at suppertime to give food and water, with no interaction, play time, stick chasing or love given.
Other dogs are dumped out on lonely, desolate country roads, to watch their loved ones speed away in a car. They run and try to keep up, knowing this is some kind of horrible mistake that their people are leaving without them, but they lose sight of the car and soon tire out. They wander around, still searching for those loved ones, lost in sadness and misunderstanding.
Who will provide supper tonight, where will the next meal come from? Why are cars blowing horns and why do people scream from porches?
Cats are dumped at unsuspecting farms, mothers and kittens alike. Farmers already have their own cats, they don’t need help in adding to the number of cats living at the barn. Why should that farmer take up an added burden of someone else’s drop-off-cats? Will the cats just automatically fit in, lapping free milk each morning from generous cows?
People are even “horse dumping” nowadays. Well, heck, they are dumping Grand Ma and their own kids, so the dumping of animals is not surprising.
The modern, disposable society abandons animals like rubbish in a sneaky, dark-time, despicable practice that no one sees except God. It’s quick and painless for everyone except the animal.
It is illegal under the law of the state of PA to dump animals, but that doesn’t prevent people from still doing it. People who engage in this practice do not have the slightest knowledge about the intelligence or emotional faculties of an animal, and do not think twice about the fate of that animal.
So I say, “Think twice...before you purchase an animal or obtain one for free.” It is at least a decade to 15 years of commitment, caring and medical attention, just like a kid.
Think twice before sticking a dog on a chain at the end of a yard, while you have a full belly and a soft, warm bed to sleep in.
While Phil Collins was singing about the plight of homeless people in that song, the same thoughts and principles can be applied to homeless, unwanted and dumped animals, who definitely feel hungry and cold, if not sad. Animals don’t dump people.
So think twice.
Hoping you will, to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”
1: Song: “Another Day in Paradise,” performed by Phil Collins. Album: “But Seriously”
2: "Old Joe," also in horse heaven now and finally reunited with his buddy Ironhead.