Illness and Happiness: They can co-exist

Maya and Chaco

Maya is ever the teacher. When I began rehabbing senior horses over 10 years ago it began with addressing physical needs, which in turn helped the emotional needs of the horse. I wasn’t as aware of the emotional needs of a horse when I first started, but each horse that came to me opened my eyes a little further to the emotional lives of horses. Soon the emotional well-being had equal value to their physical well-being when I went about rehabbing a senior horse.

With Maya, it strikes me, this juxtaposition: she was sick and she was happy. Those two things can co-exist. On a physical level, she deteriorated over the long-term. On an emotional level, she hit the jackpot when she became instant friends with my other senior horse.

I understand why people euthanize animals when they do, and why the previous owner was going to euthanize her. Taking care of a sick horse is no easy task, and that’s an understatement. I would never do it, unless I was called by God to do it. Then it’s all hands on deck, which was my experience with Maya. I couldn’t solve her physical health issues before she died, but I could give her an environment where she was happy.

In my ideal world I would be able to give her both emotional and physical well-being. But we don’t live in an ideal world. In fact, it can be rather messy at times. It’s in those moments of mess where I ask myself, what do I have to offer? All I had was myself and the little oasis for retired senior horses free to come and go as they pleased. For Maya, that is what she wanted. Her instant bond with my other horse, Chaco carried her right through to the end. On an emotional level for her, I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

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