Sorry my blog is a little late this month! Life at the sanctuary is never slow!
This month has been a hard month for me. I recently lost my dear little rattie, Scar. Now many people will just be like "well it was only a rat...", but HE wasn't. No animal is only an animal to any of us here at Flicka. Each and every animal no matter how big or small means a great deal to all of us. So much so, that you will often see the staff carrying a slug or snail or caterpillar to safety; poorly pigeons and other wildlife are taken to the vet to be treated, rehabilitated and released. At Flicka we care about all life, every life is precious and no life is more important than another.
Now when I say we care, we care very deeply, each of the animals that cross our path are very important to us. Each one takes a little piece of us when they leave this world. It never gets easier. We carry on for all those who are still with us, even when we want to curl into a ball and not do it any more, the pain so real, so all consuming, we never feel we will be 'normal' again. And we never are, each one of these beautiful creatures changes us in life and death and we are never same.
Now when people say "oh, I'd love your job, you have the best job in the world..." I tend to think, you don't really understand my job! Now, I do agree, I do have the best job and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. However, the job is not easy in any aspect and the job is not a job, it is my life. It is a way of being, it is not a job. These animals are my family each and every one so special, so unique, my bond with each also unique.
Now my 'job' is hard in many ways:
Managing all this can be stressful and is always a challenge. But the absolute hardest part of my job is saying goodbye. It physically hurts to lose them; I am sobbing as I write this. We have lost so many and we will lose many more, because life is finite. Life is cruel, our beloved family has suffered so much and we can only hope they are able to find peace and happiness with us here at Flicka before they move on. It is hard to continue, but we must, we must for all that are here and all that will find their way to us.
When we lose a donkey the entire family feels the loss - the donkeys, the staff, we all feel a little piece of ourselves leave this world forever. When we talk about them to you wonderful people, who send such lovely comforting messages after we have announced a loss in our family, you must forgive us when we speak, as Judy would say 'from the neck up'. When we do this, we speak without letting our hearts get involved, we’ve all been there right? I often worry that I actually sound a little heartless when I do this... That couldn't be further from the truth, but you see I cannot let my heart get involved when I am speaking to you because it is too much, too much to endure and I would end up a crumpled blubbering mess. I still have over 100 animals that need me after all; so, we speak from the neck up, to ensure we make it through the day, giving every single animal the care, they deserve. Then when the day is done and the gates are closed, we grieve.
My job is not a job. My job is my life and the donkeys, ponies and mules are all my family.