Friday, November 12, 2010

The Importance of Friends

Jack meets new friend Smiley

We recently took in a horse named Blackjack, or Jack, as he prefers to be called. Jack is 35 yrs old and came to us when his person could no longer care for him. Jack has lived alone for the past 5 years since his other horse friend died. Jack has had quite a history and has always been very loved. But now he just needed a place to spend the rest of his days. He clearly has life left to live. He is very thin right now but we expect he can put on some weight with the new diet we have him on, specifically to meet his senior needs. The first night Jack was here, we could feel a sense of relief and peace from him. I asked him what he liked best about Spring Farm so far. He said, “I am enjoying listening to the horses breathing.”

It was such a profound statement. Such a simple thing, yet a pleasure he hadn’t known for a long time. Obviously being alone was the hardest thing for Jack. There are so many things we take for granted in our lives. Yet when they are missing, it can mean a world of difference to us.

Relationships are so important to our animal friends. They do not like to live alone. They do cherish their friends. And many times humans interfere with that process tremendously without even realizing or paying attention to their feelings and heart connections. This happens in the horse world a lot. As horses are moved from one barn to another, they lose contact with horse friends who are important to them. Frequently, we humans don’t even notice. But many times they miss their friends so much that they get depressed, can’t concentrate, and mourn their loss.

For Jack, the thing we could give him that made his life brighter, was the sound of the other horses breathing. In other words, we gave him the opportunity for friendship. As important to our animal friends as food, water, and shelter is companionship.