Here is the first photo we took of Ethel, one of the sanctuary’s oldest residents. Today, she said her last goodbyes to her loving human and animal friends.
Ethel was one of the most abused, starved animals to ever join us, part of a herd of 150 animals who were fed one bale of hay every few days, just enough to keep most of them alive but suffering and living brutal lives always hungry and literally fighting for survival every time a few bites of food were dumped in their pen.
Already old, she was bone thin and exhausted from struggling to stay alive. She immediately joined our hospital herd and has lived there ever since.
Like many of the animals from that property, a lifetime of lacking minerals and calories led to teeth and bones that crumbled, and Ethel required a very serious, lifesaving dental and jaw surgery just a year after her rescue. We wavered, not sure that such an invasive surgery and recovery was in the best interest of such an old goat and the need to maintain a special diet going forward, but in hindsight, we are so glad we got these extra 4 years to smother her with love, food, treats, and to let her know what a kind, special being she was. And she responded with gratitude, sweetness and a gentle contentedness, she didn’t need to run circles or jump for joy to let us know how happy she was.
When we first opened as a sanctuary, we did a lot of rescuing, and we continued to for a long time, because the plight of farm animals is critical, emergent. They don’t have safe places even as much as dogs and cats. Our specialty was special needs animals, and you, our community never failed to respond with help of these dire rescue situations.
Now, we’ve hit a time where our whole focus needs to be the special needs of emerging situations for the animals already in our care, who’ve grown older and have new challenges that come with age. These “emergencies” are less flashy. Half of our herd now needs special food for their old teeth, so they can remain healthy. Chopping our hay has added nearly 3 hours to our daily workload, and pelleted feed has added $50 PER DAY to our budget.
We need monthly recurring donors more than ever
because it’s not just the immediate costs of the urgent help we provided to animals in horrible situations, but their continued care for a lifetime. A happy ending takes a long time and a lot of work. Happily ever after doesn’t end once the adrenaline of rescue is gone.
We are so glad that despite the difficulties of taking in a horribly abused old lady like Ethel and the medical care she needed, we were able to give her last five years the dignity, love and extraordinary beauty that every life deserves. Even her earthly body was treated with honor and grace once her spirit had left it.
We are heartbroken that it was time for our friend to leave us, but we know we changed her entire existence and what her experience on this planet became.
Please see our website to become a monthly sponsor, for just $5 per month, you can be a part of someone’s happily ever after. https://brokenshovels.com/donate/donate-form/