The primary job at Habitat for Horses is taking care of the horses. First and foremost, beyond anything else, comes the welfare of each horse.
That might sound easy, but here’s a little bit about what is involved:
It means being ready, on a moments’ notice, to drive to a scene involving the worst forms of animal abuse and neglect. It means putting aside the pain of seeing horses and donkeys close to and past the door of death because there is a job to do, a job that involves measuring, recording, gathering evidence and preparation for a court case. It involves law enforcement, District Attorneys, court preparation, case presentation and hours of detail work.
It involves working closely with your fellow employees to calm, halter and load horses that have been beaten, starved, and treated with hatred. It means trying to find that point of trust just enough to let them know that change is here, that the bad is going away.
It involves being at the vet clinic at all hours of the day and night, of setting up IV bags, giving drugs, and perhaps listening to the doctor tell you why, no matter what is done, that the chances of survival are so very small. It means knowing that our vet will keep trying as long as there is any remote chance.
It means holding back the tears, not giving in to the negative. It means cradling a horse’s head in your lap at 3 in the morning, talking ever so softly, giving out the purest kind of love. Not part of the job, not necessary, but it’s something that you feel you must do, because it needs to be done.
It involves that overpowering surge of hope when the horse tries to sit up, when it nickers at the sight of a bit of hay, when you see that spark of life return.
It involves the sense of pure joy when, six months later, that once almost dead horse is healthy and full of energy, that it is part of the herd of horses in the barn, all strong and playful, waiting for their supper.
It means explaining to a potential adoptive home, as the family looks over the “Before” pictures, what the horse has been through. It means knowing when that it’s time for the horse to move on to its new home….
…even though it hurts to see it go…
… when a truck and trailer pull up to the barn and it’s time to load the horse….
…and someone says to you and your fellow employees, “You guys really are miracle workers.” You smile and nod your head in agreement.
You’re proud of that name, because that’s what you are.
When someone comments about the words on the back of your shirt and ask, “You’re a miracle worker? What does that mean?”
You respond, “I’m with Habitat for Horses. We save horses.”