Never in a zillion years could I ever have imagined what happened today. It’s something more than I could dream up. Waiting in my mailbox, I found my past and my future, mingled together among the junk mail and bills.
If you’re lost already, you had better stop now and read my blog post called “The Heart Doesn’t Forget“.
Today, I received 2 large envelopes from the Arabian Horse Registry. One was Knight’s registration papers and the other was Ziggy’s. In that moment, I was filled with a flood of emotion and I became a wee bit overwhelmed. Never would I think this possible, yet it happened. Sitting side by side in my mailbox, was my past and my future. The papers of the horse that was my salvation, my rock and my best friend for 13 years were gently creased into the papers of the horse that brought me back to life. Losing Knight all of those years ago was devastating and it took 15 years for me to get over it. Just when I started to heal and I let a new horse in my life, Knight came back home to me.
I’ve tried to sit here and write about what it was like the day that I brought him home and each time, I find myself deleting everything that I wanted to say. It’s so hard to go back to what I felt but to sum it up as shortly as I can, when I first saw a photo of what Knight looks like now, I vomited. I always remembered him as the young, chubby and stunning black stallion. What I found a few weeks ago was worse than a nightmare. The horse that I loved more than life itself, was just a shell of what he used to be. Where glistening blue-black hair used to shine, large patches of grey hair and bald spots stood. Where muscle and fat were abundant, I could now count every single rib that he had. His backbone protruded, his eyes were both infected and he had a large, open wound that was so infected, proud flesh had already set in. Knight was in such bad shape, his back legs would fold as he tried to stand. I never could have prepared myself for any of that…
Knight is receiving the very best of care. He stays in a nice stall, with thick, cushy shavings atop a rubber-matted floor. He’s always laid down to sleep and seeing him stretch out in his shavings gives me hope. He has all the Brome hay that he can eat, he’s fed Equine Senior 2x a day by the barn staff and 1x a day by me. He’s on ProBios (a probiotic) to help with his digestion and he gets a gallon baggie of alfalfa pellets in the evening when I go see him. We wash his eyes out with a sponge soaked in warm water, he gets brushed and then we do 10 minutes of hydrotherapy before we doctor his front leg. Once we’re done with that, we take a walk to the back of the barn so Knight can stand under the shade of the tree while he eats grass. For the past 3 days, he’s got to go out in the pasture with me and the boys and he’s really enjoyed that. He gets hugs, kisses, carrots, peppermints, apples and horse treats every day.
The vet came out and sedated Knight and found that his teeth were in horrible condition. He had a large infection from where his teeth were puncturing the upper and lower arcade of his mouth. His teeth were floated but because they were so bad, we will likely have to re-do it in a few months. A fecal test showed he had worms so the sample was sent off for further testing. He was wormed, received antibiotics and his wound was checked out. It will be months before we know if we can reverse the damage that’s already been done.
We have a very, very tough road ahead of us and I don’t know that I can save him. It’s horrible to think that way but each day I wake up, I wonder if Knight woke up, too. Tonight on the way home from the barn, Paris told me that we needed a miracle and that God had a lot of work to do. I said, “Yes. We need God, prayers, miracles and angels.”. Paris said, “And faith, Mom. Don’t forget faith.”. My 9-year-old is wise beyond his age.
Me and the boys have talked about the possibility that we can’t save Knight, that he may be too far gone. For now, we will ignore what is staring us in the face. Instead, we are planning the celebration that we will have next June 7th when Knight will turn 29 and Paris will turn 10. There will be a huge to-do, party hats, carrot cake and one girl who will smile to herself knowing just how far she’s come.
**The photos below have been edited. They were taken on July 31st, 2013 by my friend and very talented photographer, Jennifer Hague of FixYourImages Photography and by her amazing boyfriend, Aaron Starr (individual photo credits are below each photo). These photos weren’t meant for the public, they were taken so I would have a photo to remember our last days together. For my benefit, Jennifer did some amazing editing and she worked hard to make Knight look how I’d like to remember him. Thank you to my friend Jennifer and to her lucky man Aaron for capturing the love between a girl and her horse. Your gift is something that I will treasure for a lifetime.**
Tonight, a cancer survivor and single-mother of 2 daughters, will put a bowl in her microwave to warm water to give her 8-month-old granddaughter a bath. The Topeka mother hasn’t had the best of luck but because she is blessed to be able to wake up each day and be cancer-free, she carries on about her day filled with anticipation and excitement. Just one year ago, Linda didn’t know if she would be alive today. Despite all of the things that would get the typical person “down”, Linda carries on with her head held high and with a smile on her face.
In March of 2011, Linda was met with the fact that her 16-year-old daughter was pregnant. Sadly, she didn’t have much time to process the news because in April of that very same year, she found herself in the emergency room and in receipt of devastating news. An ache in her side was determined to be caused by a large mass on her right ovary. After numerous doctors visits, she finally ended up at KU Cancer Center. By June, Linda had her first surgery.
Because of the very aggressive form of Ovarian cancer she had, Linda had to go through 8-hour long chemotherapy treatments, 5 days a week. By October of last year, Linda had her last surgery and was told that she was “cancer free”. To hear those words, well, I just can’t imagine what that would feel like. I sit here with my pretty comfortable life and I try to put myself in that situation and I just can’t. I could never dream of fighting cancer and frankly, I doubt I could.
By January of 2012, Linda was released to return to work on a “part-time” basis. She went back to “full-time” this February. Things have been pretty rough because while chemo saved her life, it also caused havoc on her body. Over the past few months Linda has missed work quite a bit due to residual effects of her chemo. Unfortunately, Linda has no sick or vacation time remaining because she used it all up during her bout with cancer. Any missed time she has results in a loss of wages and income. Being that she’s a single mom and is raising daughters that are 12 and 17, a grandchild and a rescued dog (hence the fact that I am writing this story), you can imagine that any loss of income is detrimental to her ability to provide a good life for herself and her family.
So, why the story, Darath? Well, why not? Earlier this year, Linda’s gas was turned off because she couldn’t afford the bill. The utility company had been working with her as much as they could over the course of time that she had no income but eventually, resources ran out and her promises became broken. Kansas Gas Service is owed $410 before they will re-connect Linda’s service. Linda has never complained about this and the information was only made known when she asked for help for her rescued pup who showed some behavioral issues. Yes, this woman who is completely down on her luck did not dump her dog, drop it at the shelter or find some reason to dispose of it. Instead, she asked for help in getting training for the pup so she could keep it. He’s a member of her family, after all. She is completely ready and willing to take on her responsibility as a pet owner. Hallelujah!!
My goal is to use the ChipIn we have created and to raise the $410 to have her gas turned back on. I will make sure the money is paid directly to Kansas Gas Service so she will receive absolutely no cash. Of course, donations over and above that will not be turned away. If you would like to donate gift cards or other goods/services, please comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get in touch with you and provide an address for anything you would like to send to Linda or her family.
If you’d like to donate to help Linda and her family, please visit http://familyonfeet.chipin.com/help-a-family-get-back-on-their-feet. For more information, please contact me directly via email at email@example.com.
I must reiterate the fact that Linda has not asked for anything besides help with her pooch. A close friend of mine and I would like to do this as a reminder to Linda that she is loved, appreciated and that she is not fighting this alone.