It is pretty safe to say that I am one of those dyed-in-the-wool cowgirls. There is this saying that once a girl falls in love with a horse, you can never take that out of her...and that would be me. I guess the same can be true about cats, dogs, and chickens, because I am a huge fan of those as well!
As a young girl, I never owned a horse. I had always wanted one, but it just wasn't in my parents price range. My high school friends, Jayne and DeeDee, both had horses, so on rare occasions I was sometimes able to ride with them.
Years passed, and finally when I was about 35 years old I was able to purchase my first horse. My husband at the time did not understand why on earth I would want such and expensive animal with feed, board payments, and hay to supply...it was not a cheap purchase! But he consented and I had a new friend.
This horse's name was Waco. He was a registered paint, and he was about five years old. I was told he was saddle broke and generally a pretty good horse. The man that owned him had to move out of state, and he needed to sell the horse and all that goes with it fast.
That horse was green broke, and so was I. Man did we learn some lessons together! I had to work hard to gain his trust, and to trust him in return. It was a long journey, but one that I will never regret. For about 6 years I worked with that horse. We had a few others as well, but Waco, he was my soul mate of a horse. Then the unthinkable happened. My husband had decided he wanted out. He was done. Did not want to be married anymore. I won't go into the details of it all, but what I will tell you is that the judge said, "the horses, trailer, and tack are marital property. Either you buy his half out, or you sell them." There I sat. The husband left, I got laid off (timing is great isn't it?) from my job, and our house was in foreclosure. I could not "buy out" his half of the horse property, so it all had to be sold.
Millions of things rolled through my head like a stone gaining ground as it rolled down a steep hill. Thoughts of my job that was getting cut, thoughts of my then husband that was leaving me, and thoughts of my daughters that would forever be affected by this choice assaulted me like a gale force wind. The best thing for a simple country cowgirl to clear her mind, is to go riding her horse of course. SO off I went trying to captivate as many rides as possible before the horses had to leave.
I collected my thoughts and hoisted myself firmly upon the horses back. I could feel each and every nerve of my body twitch with a sense of excitement mixed with trepidation. The horse...well the horse felt everything I felt as I sat upon his back. As horses do he decided he did not want to work in the round pen. One second I was sitting solidly upon his back and the next moment I sat solidly upon the sandy ground. The resounding "thud" I hit the ground with was like the life falling out of my world. I did not think about the fact that my horse tossed me to the earth, instead I thought about the analogy of my world being shaken asunder and my life falling apart.
There I sat upon the ground sobbing. Not caring anymore. The sandy ground of the round pen soaked my tears up like a thirsty sponge and I allowed it to. I sat there like an autumn leaf that had just spun to the ground-releasing all the pain and heartache into the earth-willing it to take it away from me.
With my head bent, wet with tears and runny nose I sat there and began to give up. I began to give up on my life, my broken marriage, my kids, my job.
What I didn't notice was that my horse was there noticing. He noticed me sitting there on the ground in the middle of the round pen. He saw my tears. Now I am not placing human emotion on a horse, but that horse seemed to know I was giving up. He made his way over to me and sniffed the top of my head. Slowly I looked up at that thousand pound beast tears streaming down my face and neck. That horse snorted softly and with determination he gently began to lick my cheek.
Now chances are he liked the taste of the salt in those tears, but I like to think he was telling me not to give up. I stood up and wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my face into the fur under his mane. Now that horse normally would have backed away and walked away but this time he stood as stone. He stood there with me for I don't know how long and let me drain my tears into his neck bobbing his head every now and then as if to say, "I know, I know..it's going to be okay."
Two months later he was gone. Sold to some old pals I had ridden with once upon a time and I moved away.
BUT the story doesn't end there.
I went to college, got a new job, found an apartment, and started over. My children began having children, and I became the coolest grandma ever! I began volunteering for the Salvation Army food pantry and the animal shelter. I learned how to co-pilot a plane, I took classes on anything I could-grant writing, marketing, how to self publish, photography 101...the list goes on and on!
And eventually, you guessed it, I got re-married.
Here comes the best part of my story.
Many conversations happen when you get re-married and one of those conversation revolved around my love of simple country things, and horses. I married a city boy from Milwaukee, so to him, horses, chickens, and vege gardens were all a foreign language!
About a year and a half into our marriage, James told me we were headed up north to visit our friends near the Oconto area. He said we would just stay over night for one night. I really did not want to go anywhere, but I packed an overnight bag and we headed out the door on a cold Saturday morning.
We arrived and James started unpacking the car. Now our friends had horses at the time, and James knew I loved them so he said, "Why don't you go say hi to the horses, I will unpack the car." "Well, that's odd?" I thought. "Typically we go in and say hello to our friends...not the horses."
So I plodded through the sticky snow to say hi to the horses. The first one up to the fence was a draft horse named Jo. He was a huge horse but as gentle as they come. I stroked his nose and looked beyond Jo and saw a horse that looked so much like my Waco had. I was surprised that our friends had gotten another horse. I called out to the Appaloosa that was next to him; both horses looked up at me.
It is hard to type about what happened next without a tear in the eye. The black and white horse came barreling over so quickly I thought he was going to go through the fencing! The sound of my voice triggered a full out run!
Yes, yes indeed, there in front of me was my horse that was once lost, Waco.
My husband James had found my horse. He had found my horse, and he had purchased him back for me!
Not only is that horse a keeper so is the husband!
You might be wondering, "Well that is a great story but what does that have to do with pet sitting?"
Here is the answer short and simple...
Pets and humans have a bond. My horse had been gone for over 6 years yet he knew exactly who I was. We had a bond that cannot be denied.
Pets are important parts of our family wheel. I understand how important that bond is between you and your family pet, and I care that your pet is content and feels safe while you are gone. Rest assured, I may not be a "whisperer" with animals, but I sure love to work with them!