My favorite saying is "they are old, not dead" and my favorite time of the day is our evening putting the barn to bed and letting the dogs free in the fields to be dogs. Those fields are magical, they are the fields of dreams, old animals become young, frightened animals become powerful and crippled animals become whole.
When senior Grammy arrived, her owner described her as a shy and retiring sheep. Her recently dead best friend was the leader and Grammy deferred to her. When Grammy came here, suddenly not only was she alone without her protector, but she was surrounded by 3 young and confident sheep, 2 mule headed and self serving donkeys, 2 horses who had over-learned the art of self actualization PLUS the odd llama, cat, and a whole herd of dogs. Quite an earth shattering experience for the old girl. And after awhile, Grammy has started to grow, she is becoming the experienced leader of the sheep, she is losing her fear and her hesitation around others much different than herself, she is finding her power and her value and she is becoming real because she has found herself in this world.
Gideon came here as an ancient, broken and used up pony. He is now the knight in shining armour who masquarades as the bandit of the barn. He is involved and actively participates in his life, he seeks out what he wants and he ponders and plots how to get it. Gideon is no longer ancient, he is not even old, he has power and he has value and he is king.
My most beloved little sheep, who arrived as victims of a human world, are victims no longer. They own their world, they move thru it with confidence and curiosity and a sense of entitlement. Those fields and that barn are their playgrounds, their personal place in the world that they own and wander thru in safety without fear.
And the dogs... how wonderful is it to see tonight, deaf and demented Moses grab a stick out of my hand and run away to play with it, to see Cole with his displaced fractured sacrum, jumping into the air in anticipation of our run, to feel Andy hit me from behind with both front feet in playful, excited abandon, and to see Bill, crippled and ancient as he is, literally knock over Tally in his rush to reach the field first.
There is magic out there somewhere, in those fields in the twilight eve, where the old become young, and the fearful become brave and the homeless find joy in a magical place where they belong.