Amber Donkey: Last week was a very sad week here in the barn because we said good-bye to two of our good friends. I personally knew them both. First was Angel, a wonderful sheep and mother to Michael and Gabriel. And then there was Orion, a very handsome horse. Orion lived directly across from me and I spent many hours everyday with him. I knew him very well and we had many conversations over the years that I’ve been here. Orion was here long before I got here. But he was the first one to greet me when I walked in the door of our barn. The first thing he said to me was, “Wow! Look at your ears!” Evidently he had never seen a donkey before. And when I let out a loud bray right next to his stall, he almost jumped backward. Never before had he heard a sound like that! Orion was a guy with a lot of gumption and character. I adored him actually. Our friends are important to us. Friendships are as much a part of our lives as they are of yours. I’ve asked a few animals here if they wanted to talk about friends and a couple of them have asked to be included. The first one was Orion’s best friend TJ. TJ is blind and Orion was his eyes for him when they went outside together. They trusted one another and that is the greatest bond any two hearts can share.
TJ: (Quarter Horse gelding – mid20’s) I may not have been able to see my friend Orion, but I knew him at the level of his heart. I understood him probably more than anyone else. He was a beautiful soul and a great friend to me. I always felt safe when I was with him, even though I can’t see. He was solid, always letting me know he was there not just for me but WITH me. I needed him and he always showed up to answer that need. He understood that I just needed to know he was there with me. That’s all. But that is the greatest gift one being can give to another. Just being there, steady and solid and trustworthy. It is also true that he is no longer standing beside me. But before he left, he also understood that I have another friend now to help me. And he understood that I would always carry him within my heart. He didn’t need guidance where he was going. But we all know that someone was there to greet him on his journey. And I know that someday when its my turn to make that same travel, he will be there just as I always knew him to be when I couldn’t see but could only feel him there. For me, I almost have it easier than those who miss him because they can no longer see him. I never could see him, could only feel him, and know that I still can. Sometimes vision is an impediment to the ways of the heart.
Hero: (male cat with Spina Bifida) I was so thrilled to have had my most special friend Helen of Troy. Helen was a wonderful kitten who had spinal problems just like me. However, our condition kept neither of us from romping and playing and snuggling and cuddling together. She was not here for long with us but my heart will be forever filled with her laughter. Helen understood about having fun. She helped me to get to play more. She helped other people to see that although our bodies are different than “normal”, we still can enjoy life and be thankful for each other. I knew she wasn’t going to be here for long. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t the length of time we had together but the heart bond that we formed that truly mattered. She taught me to love life anew. What a gift her friendship was to me. I see people everyday here just plain ignore each other or be less than kind to one another sometimes. I feel their judgment that they carry. It is far more crippling to their souls than my condition is to my body. My body may not be as agile, but my heart is very fit. Helen helped me to better understand that. And now I can share the gifts she gave to me with everyone I meet, and she will still be touching them with her spirit, even though her body is no longer here. Friendship is the greatest need we have from our souls. And when freely given and shared, it is the most healing power of all. Be a friend, a true friend. And your heart will know the greatest healing of all.
To read more about the lives of Orion, Angel, and Helen of Troy, visit the Memorials Page on the Spring Farm CARES website. To read more about Amber, TJ, and the other barn animals of the farm, visit them on our Horses Page.