Living in the country means being surrounded by farms and the animals that live and work at them.There are thriving dairy farms full of Holstein or Jersey cows. There are fields of Angus cows bred and raised for beef. There are farms that raise hogs, goats and chickens. There are horse barns, whether for breeding or boarding. Every farm has a different story, a different objective, mission or aim. There are small hobby farms consisting of families or individuals with their small group of varying farm animals. Whatever the case may be, just as with domesticated cats and dogs, these animals also sometimes need saving too.
Pack Ethic was not going to stand by and NOT help when these creatures called out to us. Eric was raised on a farm and with his knowledge and our dedication to the health and comfort of any animal great or small, we knew that we could try and make our own little bit of difference here in this countryside.
We are too often saddened by the deplorable conditions that cows are kept in at some farms. Whether it is the baby calves who are ripped from their mothers and thrown into an auction house to be sold or the sad and insufficient standards of living for cows kept alive only for only human profit without seeing the gentle soil of the animal inside, it is a sad life for many. We try to help where we can and be there for those in need of TLC and a chance at freedom. We love our cows like our pets and they get all the love and attention that they deserve.
Meet Bullvye, the now retired Amish draft horse. This white Percheron Draft Horse lived twenty one years toiling in the fields of local Amish farmers. He was a faithful worker, performing his tasks without complaint or fail, accepting his fate as a hard working piece of machinery. Although he was fed and sheltered and greatly appreciated by his owner for his abilities, his work days are now over and the work has left him slightly broken. Eric, being the ever present beacon in our area for needy animals, each special one managing to find him and ask of him what they need, came across this aged noble warrior and there was an instant connection. From a long distance in the field,he could immediately see that here was a spirit that needed mending. Of course, as fate would have it, the Amish farmer was in a bind with the horse, as he was no longer able to work and so, was nothing more than an extra mouth to feed. Everything in the simple Amish life has to have a purpose and poor Bullvye had lost his. The farmer had been unable to sell him to anyone and was considering his seeming only other option...to end his life. The Amish man was struggling with the idea of staring this constant loyal work horse at the end of his gun barrel with the intent of pulling the trigger.Because Eric had shown such an interest in the horse, and the Amish man could undoubtedly tell that his intentions were pure and his horse skills seasoned, he eventually acquiesced to his retirement here with us. So, when Eric returned home from caring for other horses in a difficult situation also, he had a smile from ear to ear and you could just feel the glow radiating from him. He regaled me with the tale of this amazing horse and as I have become accustomed to doing...I sighed and smiled too, knowing that this was a good thing, this was meant to be and that is all that matters.
The twenty four hours that we had to wait to get him here was for Eric agonizing. Undoubtedly he could only think about Bullvye who was sequestered to a small yard that did not have grass and was littered with old lumber. He had also gotten into a patch of burrs and his mane and tail were a mess of knots. Bullvye was a throw away piece of farm equipment, cast aside to be forgotten. Little did he know though, he was about to be saved for ever after. Bullvye worked his whole life for his masters, but earned his freedom and peace by being noticed, broken down and sad by another warrior, a human warrior who saw in him...a lot of himself. Eric found a kindred spirit in this discarded worker, this spent spirit, the used up power that was once the unstoppable resolve of Bullvye. I couldn't believe the luck that Eric had managed to find this boy before he was removed from this earth and at long last, he came to join our herd.
To see Bullvye from even a distance is just awesome. He looks like a mythical creature, straight from the stuff of legends. Although I have met many horses throughout my life, I had never been up close and personal with one of his size. Eric had warned me about his broken spirit and told me I couldn't cry. Just like with dogs, you don't want to show this sad and forlorn energy to broken spirits, and instead try to offer them your positive energy and admiration instead to boost their confidence. Fortunately, the Amish man had someone spend long hours combing out his mane and tail to remove all of the burrs. Luckily, they were able to save enough of both to still act as protection from flies and biting insects. Lucky for me, I did not have to witness him in that mangled weighed down state. The Amish man said he could tell that it really bothered Eric and so he assigned a youth to take care of it before he left. I was impressed by the effort and grateful for Bullvye's sake. Nonetheless, it was obvious upon meeting him that he was, in a word, spent. His eyes drooped, his features drawn out and sad, and he flinched away from my first touch and later to my reaching hand when offering him a carrot, a treat too foreign for him to even take. He has bald spots on his muzzle where his bridle cut into him and indentations in his withers where the pulling harness weighed him down. Bullvye expects to have to work because that was his whole life, but in just twenty four hours he has tasted the sweetest grain, grazed in a field of grass and on the sweetest hay. He licked himself into a trance on the salt lick and has become part of a herd of other relaxed and confident horses, cows and goats. Bullvye is taking full advantage of everything in life that is good.
Today, Bullvye wears a tired expression on his face but this time from a full day of reaping the benefits of freedom - a freedom that he has never known. For this noble warrior, we aim to be his Valhalla - where he can lavish in the splendor of easy retired country living and bask in the warm glow of our tireless affections. For us, we get to see a spirit heal day after day for as long as he wants to be here. As it should be, I see one eye always firmly fixed on his savior...Bullvye's eye watching over Eric, knowing that the moment he saw him was the moment his life was saved.
Bullvye passed away gently in his old age, well fed, relaxed and happy just to be a horse. We feel honored to have given him a final view of love and freedom before he left this world.
We also stepped up to give some needy goats a place to live. Mother - Mabel and her two boys - Grady and Rudd were homeless and in need of a new place to call home. They were just babies and very scared. Mabel was clearly mistreated and it took a long time to earn her trust and respect.
Now, Grady and Rudd have been adopted and have found a great new home, while Mabel enjoys the company of our two latest rescues, Deva and Norah.
Deva is a sweet girl who was being neglected and kept inside a dirty barn. She was skinny and her hooves were long and unkempt. Now, after a Summer of good grazing, groceries and grooming, she is a gorgeous and confident girl.
Norah is a young girl who came to us horribly neglected and malnourished and showing signs of being abused. She has two big sisters to give her confidence and strength though so better days are ahead for her and her whole herd.
Fiona was a runt at a local pig farm that managed to survive her bigger tougher litter mates and when Eric saw her little scrappy spirit he convinced the farmer to let him take her home. She was raised in our home and thinks she is a dog. Fiona has the loyalty of a dog, following you around everywhere, asking for petting and belly rubs and grunting her approval loudly.
Jasmine was a feral cat like many running loose and wild in the country. We were able to trap her and gradually earn her trust and respect. She was the resident farm cat, hanging with her flock of chickens and cleaning herself on a hay bale, or having an adventure with her best friend Fiona the pig. She was a sweet and special girl and we loved her; sadly we lost Jasmine to a coyote attack when the intruder was killing one of our chickens and we she got involved to protect one of her flock.
DJ, Hercules and Cleo
JD.J is a shelter cat who was going to be euthanized because he is black and no one ever adopted him and he was too high energy and not being social with other cats. D.J quickly made himself one of the pack here. We also rescued two kittens who were found in a barn, the mother unfortunately also falling prey to something wild. Hercules and Cleo have made themselves right at home and D.J has also accepted his new family members.