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October 22, 2018: Obligations

Yesterday, at breakfast, I was fantasizing about being a farm manager of a boarding/lesson facility. My musings centered on my acquiring a chunk of property, one with an eight and a ten stall barn. I told Pete that if I lucked into such a deal, that I’d turn the eight stall barn into a hay storage area. And I’d have four of my own riding/lesson horses and board six others.

I said to him that I wouldn’t have pensioners, which are older, retired horses on the premises. Pete then said something really astute, which was “pensioners are an obligation.” I said that I could not agree with him more – yes, we are obligated to take care of elder horses, dogs, goats, even chickens.

Pete doctoring Rainbow
Pete doctoring Rainbow

I continued to think long and hard about the term obligation, mainly in relation to animal care and upkeep. It is, at least in my mind, the height of irresponsibility to part company with elderly animals. They have done their job, whatever that job might be, and it is up to us do our job, which is to continue to care for them even if they are no longer money makers.

I then got to thinking about animals that are still doing their job, and that it is also our obligation to provide them with the best of care. I have days like today, when I really don’t feel up for cleaning up after ours or working with them. But I do it anyways, knowing that once I get going that I’ll enjoy being in their company. I also know that they enjoy being in my company. I also have days like today when my sense of obligation just kicks in. I have no other way of explaining why or how this is.

An example might suffice. Today was overcast, blustery, windy. But I got out and proceeded to interact with the animals like it was sunny and warm. I first took Raudi and Tinni out for a ride around the trail loop. Tinni got away from me at Jawbone junction and ran home. I kept going on Raudi and did the rest of the ride. I returned home, and as expected, he was standing by his pen gate, waiting for me to feed him. He presumed that he needed additional feed because he burnt calories in his gallop home. Much to my dismay, Ryder, who I had taken with us, was nowhere in sight.

I looked inside and outside. I could have just waited and hope she returned. But no, my sense of obligation in terms of our dog’s well-being was a motivator. I walked the trails, calling her name. My plan, if Ryder didn’t return home before me, was to then drive around the neighborhood and ask our neighbors if they saw her. I feared the worst, that she might have jumped in someone else’s car because she’s a very cute and friendly dog. I would after that, call the animal control center and also Jennifer Charvet, a local individual who all know reunites dogs and owners. And tomorrow, I’d begin posting signs.

Ryder returned home when I was out on the trail. She was up by the cabin gate. I was of course very glad to see her, which was why I told her repeatedly what a good dog she was.

I then did agility/Intrinzen work with Hrimmi and Tyra. I was by then just wanting to come inside and have a cup of tea. The motivator was again my horses’ well-being. They live in a small paddock and consequently get bored. It’s my obligation to them to be their home entertainment center.

Obligation, we owe it to all animals, domestic and wild, to put ourselves out there for them. And I know that Saint Francis would agree.

Next: 296. 10/23/18: What Really Matters

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