Show Your Horse You Care on Valentine’s Day

By Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, IAABC-Certified Horse Behavior Consultant as published on The Horse

“What do horses value, need, and desire most? Friends, forage, and freedom, of course!”

Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Valentine’s Day is an occasion for exchanging gifts and celebrating time with a special sweetheart, so be sure to give your equine valentine a gift he or she will truly appreciate.

What do horses value, need, and desire most? Friends, forage, and freedom, of course!1 Most horses have access to a warm blanket and clean stall, but stable management practices can restrict how much time a horse spends with other horses, how often and what type of food they eat, how much freedom they move about, and the activities in which they participate. Below are a few fun Valentine’s Day gift ideas that will help your horse meet her need for friends, forage, and freedom.

Friends—The “Perfect Date” Package

Horses are highly social and generally drawn to other horses. One gift suggestion is to set up the perfect date for your horse with an equine friend. If the date is with a familiar friend, they can be turned out together in a pasture or arena to socialize, and to spend time mutually grooming, playing, or simply grazing side-by-side. If the date is with a new equine acquaintance, to be safe, they should greet each other over a gate or barrier. Exercise caution when first introducing any horses and watch their body language carefully; some horses might kick, strike out, or bite. If your horse has not been properly socialized, or if meeting-up with another horse isn’t possible, then spending quality time with a trusted human friend would be a perfect backup date.

Forage—A “Be Mine” Fruit ‘N’ Feed Bowl

Most healthy horses love to eat! February 14 is also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, so express your love with the gift of grub. Many stabled horses are fed a narrow diet on a fixed schedule, but under natural free-ranging conditions, horses consume a varied diet and will graze for up to 20 hours a day. A slow-feed haynet is a gift that will stretch-out your horse’s feeding time and has lasting value.

Most horses also appreciate a tasty treat from time to time. They prefer nutritious, sweet-tasting feed, and tend to choose coconut and banana flavors over cinnamon and spearmint.2 Anyone with basic kitchen skills could whip up something special for an equine valentine, such as heart-shaped oat, molasses, and banana biscuits, or a “Be Mine” fruit ‘n’ feed bowl. To prepare the bowl, start with your horse’s regular feed or hay cubes, then mix in sliced bananas, apples, carrots, and strawberries—the distinctive Valentine’s Day ingredient. These treat recipes can be easily modified to meet dietary restrictions.

Freedom—The “Choose Your Activity” Gameboard

Freedom means being able to move without restraint or confinement, as well as having choice about how to spend time in different activities.3 A Valentine’s Day gift any horse would appreciate is extra turnout time, with an at-liberty to run, romp, and roll. Working horses might be especially grateful for the gift of freedom, since certain jobs can be a source of stress.4

For Valentine’s Day, I gave my horse a “Choose Your Activity” gameboard. The idea came from a scientific study in which horses learned to approach and touch symbols on a board to communicate their preference for wearing a blanket, or not; horses were more likely to choose to wear a blanket during cold, wet and windy weather.5 Using the same approach, my horse is learning to choose an activity by touching one of the symbol options. Learning to use the gameboard can take several weeks, but the positive reinforcement training is itself an enjoyable exercise. Activity symbols for “massage” and “carrot-stretches” are on my horse’s gameboard—what does your horse like to do?

Closing Remarks

If your current boarding facility doesn’t allow ad libitum access to friends, forage, and freedom, consider how you can give your horse the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift: Talk to you barn owner about making management practice changes, or even relocate to a different facility. However, if you’re already satisfied that your horse’s needs are met, why not open your heart and give back on Valentine’s Day by spending time a local equine rescue and sharing your love with horses in need?

http://www.thehorse.com/articles/38791/show-your-horse-you-care-on-valentines-day


People Are Killing Millions Of Donkeys Just For Their Skins

Story by as published on The Dodo

Warning: Graphic Content – What they’re used for is such a waste

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

For centuries, in rural cultures across the globe, one animal has been an important part of the family, helping to keep farms and villages running.

Not only do millions of people depend on donkeys for practical purposes — many donkeys are seen more and more as smart and loyal pets.

But this friendship between people and donkeys is increasingly threatened by a growing trade in something you’ve probably never even heard of: “ejiao,” (also known as “colla corii asini” or “donkey hide glue”) a kind of gelatin made from donkey skin — and demand for ejiao is killing literally millions of donkeys per year.

A new report from The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K. shows just how massive this emerging global trade really is. At least 1.8 million donkey skins are being traded each year — but it could be between 4 million and 10 million. The trade is difficult to track and until now hasn’t been studied at such a large scale.

“Our report reveals the shocking scale of this global trade and how it’s causing a chain of welfare issues for the donkeys at every step, from sourcing to transport and finally to slaughter,” Mike Baker, chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo in a statement.

“Ejiao is a medicine with ancient roots and has been promoted as a product worthy of emperors,” the report says, explaining that traditional herbalists in China claim that ejiao can increase libido, slow aging and prevent disease. But ejiao has not been recognized as having medicinal properties by western medicine.

dead-donkeysThis belief means that donkeys are becoming more valuable for their skins, and therefore harder for rural families to afford. Even the loyal donkeys families already have are at risk. It is becoming more common for donkeys to be stolen right out of a family’s yard and slaughtered for their skins.

While exports of donkey skins come from South America and Asia, the largest source is in Africa, where donkeys (many of them stolen) are rounded up in “donkey markets,” where they are often packed together and left without shelter from the hot sun and without food or water, while they await slaughter.

Often, after the skins are removed, the bodies of the donkeys are burned.

“The market is far worse than I expected,” said Alex Mayers, program manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, from a donkey market in Tanzania last week. “There are about 700 donkeys basically coming here to wait to die. There’s no food or water. The donkeys are very stressed. There are lots of signs of dehydration and hunger.”

But there is hope.

Some countries have already taken action and banned exports of donkey skins, making their donkeys much safer. This includes the African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, and Pakistan, in Asia.

The Donkey Sanctuary is calling for a stop to the trade of donkey skins worldwide, so that the damage already done to donkey populations and the people who depend on them can be assessed.

overview-mapIn particular, we urge other countries affected by this trade to follow the lead taken by Burkina Faso and Niger and ban the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins,” Suzi Cretney, public relations manager for The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo.

Cretney said that raising public awareness about where ejiao really comes from could help consumers make better choices.

“We are asking countries to follow the lead by Burkina Faso and Niger to end the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins because it could help thousands, if not millions of donkeys — their welfare, and their real value supporting people’s livelihoods is at risk,” Baker said.

“This has to stop,” Mayers said, standing by a pen packed with donkeys awaiting their fate. “This absolutely just has to stop.”

To get action alerts about how you can help save these donkeys, join the campaign.

Click (HERE) for video and graphic photos!

https://www.thedodo.com/donkey-skin-trade-2230693220.html

Feel Good Sunday: Clydesdales Help Purina Deliver Surprise to Horse Shelter in Need

Source: Purina Mills TV

“Annually, many Americans wait to see the ultimate and final “Big Game” of the year which just concluded in our own backyard, here, in Houston.  But also there are many who may not be football fans but annually look forward to the next installation of the heart tugging, mini-sagas put forth by Budweiser featuring the gentle giants of the equine world, the Clydesdales.  This year, the fans of horses were disappointed when Budweiser benched the ponies and went a totally different direction and suffered poor reviews on their attempt to document immigration history.  The result was a lose/lose on both-sides with Bud slipping in the ratings and the Clydesdales fans left without a horse fix, so we are here to help correct that oversight, today.

We issue a “tissue alert” in advance and would also like to add that we are not endorsing any one horse rescue but instead tipping our hats to all of the fine organizations out there filled with good folks who donate their time, their money and their lives to the effort of finding good forever homes and futures for equines in need.  There is no need to identify them as you already know who you are and we love each and everyone of you bright points of compassion, caring and love.  May you have a wonderful ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and never give up the good fight.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.

Under the Skin – Donkeys at Risk

Source: The Donkey Sanctuary

donkeys-at-risk

Right now, millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins – the gelatin in the hide being a key ingredient in the prized traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao (e-gee-yow).

A new report by The Donkey Sanctuary reveals the shocking scale of this global demand for donkey skins – a demand that is unsustainable, whilst simultaneously causing mass-scale suffering to donkeys and risking the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

Read here about the serious issues being faced and act now to add your voice to our campaign and help us curb this trade.

To learn more: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

Travel Spotlight: Meet the Wild Burros of Oatman, Arizona

by Shannon Cheesman as published on 10news.com

“Oatman’s burros are quite used to travelers and we found them to be very friendly…”

Oatman Wild BurrosOATMAN, Ariz. (KGTV) — It was just beyond a weathered ‘Welcome to Oatman, Arizona‘ sign that we saw them — the famous wild burros we heard were a staple in the old mining town along historic Route 66.

“There they are!” I proclaimed excitedly.

My husband smiled and slowed the car, then rolled down his window to get a better look. One of the wild burros came straight to the window and my husband, completely bemused, reached out his hand to pet the animal.

After a quick hello, the burro rejoined the rest of its group and we followed them in to town. And like every other tourist who stops in Oatman, we took plenty of pictures with the burros. It’s what you do.

Oatman’s burros are quite used to travelers and we found them to be very friendly, although once they discovered we didn’t have any feed (which can be purchased in town), they started to lose interest.

A local from nearby Bullhead City, Arizona, did, however, have some feed for the burros and they quickly circled him. “I come up here all the time,” he told us. “I love the burros.”

He did have one smart tip for us — don’t ever stand behind them (because they just might kick). They are wild, after all.

A hundred years ago, the ancestors of these wild burros were indispensable to miners who set up camp in Oatman — they hauled rock and ore, and carried essential supplies.

Oatman’s mining days are long gone nowadays, but burros have remained in the area and become quite the attraction.

According to the townsfolk, the burros come down from the hills in the morning, spend the day in town, and then head back in the evening.

If You Go

Oatman is located in Arizona’s Black Mountains and it’s quite a drive from San Diego — about 5 1/2 hours — so you’ll want to plan to spend at least a few days in the area to make it worth the trip.

Laughlin, Nevada, for example, is about 45 minutes away and offers reasonable hotel rates at the casinos. And for RVers, there are plenty of scenic spots to set up camp along the nearby Colorado River.

VIEW MAP

 

Oatman is a living, breathing town with shops, eateries and plenty of things to look at that take you back in time to the old mining days.

Stick around long enough during your stop and you just might catch a good old-fashioned shootout — ‘cowboys’ put on daily shows right on Main Street.

And you won’t want to miss the Oatman Hotel’s ‘Dollar Bill Bar’ — a saloon covered floor to ceiling in dollar bills. Visitors are invited to write a message on their own dollar bill and staple it to the wall. Digital Journalist Kari Van Horn with our sister station in Phoenix recently shared this backstory of the Dollar Bill Bar:
Back in the early 1900s, Oatman, Arizona was a tent city turned mining town located along Route 66. The Oatman Hotel, called the Drulin Hotel, was established in 1902 and served as a popular rest stop. Travelers would rest their feet at the Restaurant and Bar then try to catch some z’s in one of the famously haunted rooms. Guests share tales of playful spirits that find entertainment in raising glasses and lifting money off the bar at the saloon.
When the miners received their paychecks, they would write their name on a dollar and stick it on the wall. This served as a tab of sorts. If the patron needed extra cash to pay their tab during return visits, they would find their name on the wall and bring the dollar to their waitress.

The town also puts on some great events throughout the year, like the ‘Great Oatman Bed Race’ that’s coming up at the end of January and their annual July 4 ‘Egg Frying Contest.’

For more:

FUN FACT: Actors Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their honeymoon at the Oatman Hotel on March 18, 1939. You can see their honeymoon suite if you visit the hotel. Gable was fond of Oatman and often returned to play poker with the local miners.

Feel Good Sunday: MustangMedia 101 – Whose Home on the Range?

By Terri Farley

Helping Wild Horses and Burros

terri-farley1. KNOW THE FACTS

You’ll feel comfortable telling people what’s happening to wild horses and burros if you know what you’re talking about.

Check out these websites for news, statistics and resources. If you are working on a wild horse or burro report, these are good sites to visit.

American Wild Horse Preservation
The Cloud Foundation
Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, Equine & Neonatal Mustang Rescue
Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund
The Wild Horse Sanctuary
Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Wild Burro Protection League
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
Montgomery Creek Ranch

2. WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

Websites can’t cover every single news story about wild horses and burros, but you can create a Google alert for wild horses and burros. Here’s how.

Pay attention to these alerts to see where your voice is needed before the damage is done to your mustangs!

3. Forward this to those who care or need to be educated about wild horses:

Forward this to those who care or need to be educated about wild horses and burros:

ANNOUNCING MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley: Whose Home on the Range?

Bookmark and Share

Wild horses and burros can’t speak their own stories. Once, that didn’t matter, but now wild horses and burros suffer and die at human hands. We take their food, water and homes. A few people want wild horses and burros taken off public lands so corporations can earn money from the land’s minerals, oil and grazing. But most people love wildlife and wild places. They’re learning to stand up for wildlife because the Western public lands belong to all Americans! Our hearts lift at their rough power and beauty.

Knowing mustangs inspires me to tell their stories as well as I can, before they’re extinct.

MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley is my attempt to explain modern challenges facing wild horses and burros.

4. FOUR FILL-IN-THE-BLANK STEPS TO MAKE A LETTER-IN-WAITING

When you see an opportunity to comment about wild horses and burros online or in person, do it! For short Facebook or Twitter comments, use only Step One. For letters to editors, blogs, letters to government representatives, use all 4 steps.

STEP ONE: Make a statement and use BECAUSE to back it up.

EX:

“Wild horses and burros deserve freedom because laws have given them the right to roam public lands.”

or

“Wild horses and burros belong to all Americans and, because most American don’t believe in eating horsemeat, mustangs and burros shouldn’t go to slaughter.”

STEP TWO:

• Describe your personal connection to the issue in 2 – 3 sentences.

STEP THREE:

• Give 3 facts about the issue — 1 – 3 sentences

STEP FOUR:

• WHAT ACTION do you want people to take? – 1 sentence

That’s it! In 3 – 6 sentences, you will have explained why you want to live in a world with wild horses and burros.

You can keep that short document as a letter-in-waiting, but whatever you do — put your opinion out there!

You don’t have to be brave or brilliant; you just have to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Video: “Maybe Next Year”

“We post this video, today, knowing that New Years was two days ago but this small slice of equine/human goodness just came across our desk yesterday and we could not help but want to share it with you, straight away.  Although produced to sell a commercial product, it touches upon on a nerve that many of us have lived and feel tightly bonded to as strongly today as we did yesterday.

To all those who fight the good fight; never give up!

Oh, tissue alert.” ~ R.T.


A Personal Christmas Message from R.T. Fitch

by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder and president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We miss you Harley!”

Christmas is so very personal in multiple ways; it is a central book mark in our lives.  Bitter sweet is the flavor of the day but it is what we make of it that builds precious memories for the future.  It is key that we embrace the good moments with the knowledge that we are living a future memory that will bring us great joy and happiness as we age and look back at this journey that we call life.

With that thought in mind, I share with you a personal building block of happiness that I was allowed to experience only last year as I played Santa Claus along with some very fine people to thousands of children in a rural town in south central China.  It is an experience that none of us will ever forget as we passed out reflective safety wristbands and special hair clips to the small children of Nanba in 2015.  We brought our culture and traditions to a closed nation that is steeped in traditions of their own, we only hope that we gave them a moment of entertainment, fun and insight.  It truly was a highlight in all of our lives.

This passion and this love is what drives us forward with the advocacy.  It is not just the glow of the heart knowing that it is the right thing to do but it is also the awareness that your efforts could and will forever change the future lives of not only the horses and burros but future generations of humans who will be able to experience their beauty and grace due to your efforts.  That realization gives one not only great conviction but endearing warmth during this most special season.

It is my most sincere hope that you are living a very special memory that you shall cherish for the rest of your life.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, both 2 and 4 legged…we are so truly blessed.

Peace on.” ~ R.T.

LOSING THE WORLD’S POPULATION OF DONKEYS

Opinion by: Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Donkeys have long endured ridicule from people who have taken their quiet, kind nature for weakness. They make fun of their lovely voice and beautiful ears. They torment them, and work them to the bone, because the donkey doesn’t complain. The donkey wants to please, and finds even the smallest gesture of kindness a great gift.”

merrychristmasTaking Benny on public outings is a joyful experience. As this sweet young survivor of severe malnutrition, nuzzles a child or looks for approving rubs from adults, we are reminded of his beginnings two years ago. We are also reminded during these holy days that miracles are possible. Donkeys are often the among the most abused and misunderstood animals on earth. Little Benny was only three months old when TMR Rescue, Inc. rescued him along with the rest of his family who were all malnourished. The scene encountered on this emergency rescue was all too familiar to this large equine rescue located just outside Houston in Plantersville, TX. Marjorie Farabee, the equine manager at the ranch, learned of the starving family of five miniature donkeys in need of assistance, at 3 pm. By 5 pm they were on the road to make the two-hour trip to save them. A great deal of time had been lost because other organizations had been alerted for months that there was serious situation unfolding. Yet, not one of those organizations chose to follow up on the report. We were not notified until the actual day of the rescue.

recoveryGiven the unforgiving weather headed our way, and the fragility of a three-month old baby, we knew there wasn’t much time since the temperatures were expected to drop into the teens that night. As soon as the five were loaded on the trailer, Marjorie headed straight to Texas A & M veterinary hospital. It was clear from the condition of the baby that they all needed to be seen immediately. Little baby we named Benny, weighed only thirty-nine pounds and had the gravest prognosis. They gave him a twenty percent chance of survival. Then, overnight, his bladder burst reducing his already slim chances to a mere ten percent. It took combining allopathic and homeopathic medicine, plus the will of one baby donkey to survive for Benny to recover. His mother, aunt, father and brother were also in need of care. Sadly, his aunt miscarried a foal in

the days following the rescue, and his brother spent a week getting stickers removed from his mouth. All were malnourished and needed care for about a week. Benny’s stay was much, much longer with his life hanging by a thread for weeks. Today, we joyfully celebrate his determination to live and love for people everywhere we go. He is an inspiration. His story can be found under special stories on our website at http://www.tmrrescue.com.

Donkeys have long endured ridicule from people who have taken their quiet, kind nature for weakness. They make fun of their lovely voice and beautiful ears. They torment them, and work them to the bone, because the donkey doesn’t complain. The donkey wants to please, and finds even the smallest gesture of kindness a great gift. Yet, there is no question that the donkey played an enormous role in helping humankind to reach great distances to settle in new lands. Their strong backs were used to carry goods hundreds, even thousands of miles thus, establishing trade routes and civilization. Humankind owes these remarkable animals respect not ridicule.

For those of us who have come to know and understand the intelligent, inquisitive donkey, have been rewarded with a new perspective on the world. It is a world where slowing down to be in the moment is everything. These times of complete connection are like meditation. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons that donkey trekking in Europe and pack burro racing in CO are so popular. http://www.awayfromthecrowds.com/holidays/donkey-trekking-holidays/donkey-family-trail-5-days What a wonderful way to see the world! Traveling with a donkey companion who has memorized the way to the next station and will carry your supplies while providing complete companionship is rejuvenating and for many life changing. For pack burro racing the competitors are the burros who must have their human still attached to the lead rope when (if they decide to) cross the finish line. It is a high energy, physically challenging sport that has the burro’s temperament racing day to factor in which makes for a really fun afternoon of fans cheering on their racers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgrBhjRdqTw Clearly, we owe the humble donkey so much more than the harsh treatment they receive around the world.

Donkeys are often the brunt of irrational hatred. We see it in the USA where our wild burros are constantly targeted for removal and blamed for damages they have not caused. An entire propaganda language has been born to assist agencies like the BLM and Forest Service to zero out wild burros in the United States. This targeted elimination program uses language like over-populated, destructive, feral and exotic to further their cause of removing burros from their designated range lands. The truth of the matter is that our wild burros qualify as endangered by IUCN standards. The truth is that burros are critical to habitat restoration in desertified areas. The desertification is due to poor livestock management and short sighted management decisions made by the BLM. Burros, dig wells which sets up a cascade of life in the desert. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-unseen-ecology-of-the-wild-burro#/ Burros are also indigenous to the North American continent. https://awionline.org/content/wild-horses-native-north-american-wildlife The sad reality is that burros provide a scapegoat for the loss of western lands to overgrazing by livestock which outnumber burros 100 to one. And, as these powerful agencies close in our benign burros for removals, the actual activities decimating our western lands are increased and pushed through without oversight such as the peace trail through Black Mountain HMA which will unleash thousands of off road vehicles onto the fragile desert lands the burros call home. With all of the pressures facing these remarkable animals, the future for donkeys is becoming increasingly uncertain.

China is presently responsible for slaughtering four million donkeys a year for traditional medicinal products made from their skin. There are three components in all Chinese medicine and ejiao is one of them. https://tcmwiki.com/wiki/e-jiao Because of this, donkey skins (ejiao) are the new rhino horn, and just like the rhino, the Chinese demand is unsustainable. Already, countries in Africa are seeing their donkey populations drop at such an alarming rate that the poor who rely on them for survival cannot afford to buy one. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3930644/Decimation-donkeys-4MILLION-animals-slaughtered- year-make-Chinese-miracle-youth-serum.html Villagers are also having to keep the donkeys that are in their possession closely watched to protect them from poachers who roam the countryside looking for donkeys which they slaughter and skin. So, in an act of desperation, villagers have built areas where they can be guarded from poachers inside the perimeters of their villages. South America is also seeing a spike in donkeys being stolen and found slaughtered. The Chinese are sending agents all over the world in search of donkeys to meet their demand. It is clear that this demand will place the world’s population of donkeys in the critically endangered category within a decade if efforts are not made internationally to curb the export of donkeys to China.

The Chinese appetite for donkey skins has risen to such a degree that a worldwide crisis is unfolding for donkey populations around the world. To get a perspective on how unsustainable the demand is in China a look at numbers will help bring this into perspective. In the United States the population of donkeys is estimated to be between 250,000 and 400,000. Our wild burro population ranges between 4,000 to 10,000 total on all BLM public lands. They are already in trouble. The Chinese demand is for ten million donkeys a year. Currently, they are able to provide four million donkeys a year. Clearly, at this rate, our population of donkeys in the United States would be wiped out in a few months. We cannot allow this to happen in the States. Yet, weekly, there has been a clear increase of our donkeys being exported to Mexico for slaughter. The alarm bells should be ringing.

josephandmaryWorldwide the population of donkeys is estimated to be forty million donkeys. With Chinese demand as high as it is, a future with donkeys in it is not looking good. We need to make a stand to protect these wonderful animals before their population is in true crisis. In a future plagued by climate change, donkeys may be the salvation of pastoralists living under harsh conditions. Their footprint is light; their energy needs are meager. Because of their gentle nature, donkeys are the preferred working animal of women who live in the harshest conditions and who need them the most to survive.

At this time of year, it brings to mind the role donkeys played in history. In particular, I am thinking of one donkey chosen by a family to help them travel to Bethlehem. With each sweet step this humble, donkey carried Mary with great care to a stable. This donkey witnessed the birth of Jesus.

Feel Good Sunday: Rescue at The Rainbow Bridge

Author Unkown

rainbow-bridge-v4

Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before.  But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross  over, the happier he would be.

But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.

You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

“Watch, and see” said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

“What happened?”

“That was a rescuer.” The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work.  They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge.

“I think I like rescuers,” said the first animal.

“So does GOD,” was the reply.