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42 days – day three

I’m sitting here at 11:22 pm on the night of day three of this fantastic sabbatical.  I’ve had a great day!  It’s been all about the animals today.  Which is mostly what my time off is supposed to be about.

After sleeping in a little this morning, I was up and playing with my rescue pup.  She’s getting more and more comfortable each and every day.  She’s still quite leery of noises and people, but slowly we’re making progress.  She has built herself up to exploring my front yard while she’s out on bathroom break.  This is huge if you’d seen her the day I grabbed her and pulled her from the street.  I can honestly say that I don’t believe I’ve ever had anyone or anything so attached to me in my life.  In the three weeks I’ve been involved in her life, she’s gone from cowering in the back of a small pet carrier, trembling and hiding her face in a towel, to wanting to constantly be at my side, walking, playing, cuddling… she’s even graduated herself to sleeping in my bed with me at night… yes, she did that all on her own with no encouragement from me.  But admittedly it has stuck.  I haven’t kicked her out of the bed yet.  It’s actually kind of sweet that one little soul wants to be so close.  So as for building her social skills with others, we’re still working on that, but as far as interacting with me… she has that part nailed.

I had planned to head to the stable today to also play with Dolly, my beautiful 1,100 lbs. quarter horse who also needs some socialization therapy.  A little before I left the house, Mom called me from work and asked that I take our 15 years old tabby cat, Abby to the vet and drop her off.  Apparently, Abby had experienced a bad episode and Mom was worried about her.  And, needless to say, I was a too.  So gladly I went by Mom’s, picked up Abby and took her on to her doctor visit.  Fortunately, everything checked out fine except being very tender in her back area.  The vet, also a certified small animal chiropractor, did some adjustments on her spine and let us know that she felt Abby had twisted it in some way and knocked it out of alignment causing it to become painful.  Imagine that, our family cat has her own chiropractor now…

Dolly
Dolly, June 2013

After I dropped Abby off at the vet I headed to the stable.  After some lunch with the owner of the stable, I headed out to the pasture to get my girl.  She was noticeably agitated and when I got her into the crossties I discovered that her right hind leg had some small cuts and gashes around her hock.  I imagine that’s pretty painful and was probably caused by Dolly’s bullish antics trying to lead the herd and establish hierarchy.  She’s known for this bossiness and occasional aggressive behavior out in the pasture.  So in light of this, I decided that longeing and desensitization work was the way to go for the day.  She did everything I asked, she had every reaction I expected her to, she corrected her reactions the way I wanted and she trusted me the way she needs to.  I could not have asked for a better session with her.  I spent about two hours walking with her, running her through task after task, testing her patience, throwing bean bags all around her and asking her to join up with me after standing alone at the opposite end of the arena.  She participated and performed like a dream.  In horse world you can never believe that the behavior of the horse on one day will ever be representative of how a horse’s behavior will be tomorrow or the next day, or the next. Dolly and bean bag But if today is any indication of the progress we’ve already made in the 9 months we’ve been working together, then I am extremely hopeful that this six weeks sabbatical will bring us to a place of tremendous growth and development.  I am so excited to see where and how this horse shapes up.  She’s an amazing creature already, I can only imagine what her potential really holds.

As for the rest of the day at the barn… I helped herd a stubborn sheep from one pasture to another.  This meant running back and forth across eleven acres of open land.  Who needs a gym when you can just chase a sheep for a half hour round and round and round.  I also dressed a wound on another horse which has left my hands coated in Blu-Kote.  I look like I’m transforming into a smurf.  I helped a couple of students get horses ready for a group lesson and then the owner told me to go get the new buckskin mare she calls Faith and ride her in the class.  So, naturally, I couldn’t turn down that offer.  Faith moves like a dream.  She’s big and beautiful with black tipped ears and a dorsal stripe to boot.  I had admired her a week or so ago when she arrived at the barn, but now I can honestly say that if I were at a point to add a second horse to my family, she might could be a top contender.  Her gaits are smooth, she does everything… you just give her the reins and she just goes, knowing exactly what to do.  I’m very impressed by her so I’ll be interested to see how her story unfolds at the barn.

I returned home a little later to my menagerie of creatures at home and had to run down the chore checklist with them.  My beautiful cats and this adorable pup complete my day… and my life.

Next up, bedtime.  Goodnight.

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