Moving Forward, Baby Step by Baby Step
High winds and drifting snow, laid over the top of pure ice. That’s Western Montana in the winter. The mountains, the trees – it all looks so wonderful from the inside of a warm car. The beauty fades away quickly when the car door opens and the first steps are taken, but those first steps are necessary to get the job done. It’s being pretty self centered when those steps aren’t taken and the beings that are living outside don’t have a way to feel warmth or enjoy life.
This is the second week in the adventures of the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue, a once fully functioning and, on the surface, paradise for a lot of animals. The curtain fell away, however, and what was hidden wasn’t so pretty after all. I’m here to try to make it right, to find people who are willing to pull together and correct the wrongs. Those folks are here now, more are coming and a real rescue is underway.
With over night temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees and the high tomorrow never getting above 12, I would have to think that the people gathering around the animals are pretty dang devoted. Monday morning the horses start the first leg of their trip, going south about 150 miles. There they will get their feet trimmed, receive great hay, start wearing blankets and learn that humans know how to treat them right. The moving will take two day, the basic rehab will take two weeks, most of that spent learning how to walk without tripping over their long hooves.
Up at the sanctuary, a group of folks will arrive with a dart gun and a mess of trimming tools and medication, there to get the camel back on his feet. Both the camels will be gelded. One more overnight stay and the camels start their short trip to a new home somewhere here in Montana.
As will the bison – hairy beyond belief, I don’t think that forty below would bother them a bit, as long as they have hay.
Thursday the blind horse, the goats and sheep leave.
Monday, the llama experts arrive. I’m hoping for a car load of them because I can honestly say that I know absolutely nothing about llamas, nor does anyone else around here. Little did I realize that there are llama groups, llama associations, llama newsletters and all sorts of llama experts. They are gathering in the distance, filing out adoption papers, lining up transportation and preparing to descend on this herd with open arms. As frustrated as I was a few days ago, I am now believing that these llamas will all be transported to new homes and better lives. The first leave Tuesday. More will be leaving very soon, thanks to the vets who by law must take blood on each one before they can be transported.
Wednesday morning I’m meeting with Deb Greenough (google him), who has volunteered to come with a tilt table and trim the hooves of 31 head of cattle. This act itself almost brought me to tears. These guys look so pathetic and are in so much pain, even compared to me when I’m standing out there in 0 degree weather. Some of those cows have heavy, thick coats, some don’t. How they’ve lasted this long is beyond me.
The pigs, the chicken, the geese – all scheduled to leave.
It isn’t over yet. There is a ton of work to do, more plans to be made, more confusion, but it’s all coming together. The efforts of a lot of people, the money from a lot of pockets and the love of a lot of humans will bring a sense of peace to this herd.
In a few days we’ll have pictures of all the horses that are up for adoption, just like we did at Three Strikes. A little over 20 have already been placed, so around 60 more to go. As a slap to the face of the “Unwanted Horse” folks, these horses will be adopted quickly, proving once again that there are no “unwanted horses.” I know for a fact that there are no unwanted llamas or donkeys (they are all adopted), or cows or sheep or goats or pot belly pigs.
“May this herd be delivered from the hands of those who didn’t care into the hands of hundreds who will love and hold and provide.” It is that prayer that is being answered. It is that miracle for which I am truly grateful.
Habitat for Horses, Inc.
PO Box 213
Hitchcock, TX 77563
- Sanctuary Lost: Death in the Montana Mountains (rtfitch.wordpress.com)