The Unwanted Horse Coalition says, “Tens of thousands of horses that could be classified as unwanted are being sent to processing facilities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico each year.”
Horses are taking a hit from this economy just as we are. I hear terrible stories these days about folks abandoning their horses at horse shows and leaving them at strangers’ barns and trailers.
A couple of days ago, I opened my inbox to an e-mail from a dad whose son had just read my middle grade novel, Chancey of the Maury River. He wrote to tell me that they had made a donation to the ASPCA Equine Rescue fund, in honor of Chancey.
My husband, Bubba, and I were standing in the front yard the other night, holding each other, looking up at the sky, and waiting for our old dog to finish her business. We got to talking about Albert, and how thankful we are for what he has done for our family. He kept my daughter safe, and he built up her confidence during those tough middle school years. He held our grief over the loss of my grammy two years ago. He gave me the story of Chancey, and, God love him, he even went to a book signing with me and ate clover from the hands of adoring children for two hours in ninety degree weather without once fidgeting. (He really likes clover and children.)
Horse care costs thousands of dollars a year; horses can live thirty years or more. Being responsible for the health and well-being of a horse means being committed to that horse for the long-term and finding a good home if we can no longer afford good care.
The money we’ve spent on Albert and his care has been returned to us one hundred fold in the things that really make a person rich: love, friendship, trust, loyalty. The animals in our lives deserve our full commitment and, before we bring them into our families, they deserve our thoughtful consideration about whether we can fulfill the responsibilities of a lifetime of love and care.