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Compassion in Action

posted Dec 30, 2017, 12:50 PM by Zebs Wish   [ updated Dec 30, 2017, 1:15 PM ]
Compassion in action….I used to think that was such an overused and trite phrase. But tonight I saw it through the life of a rescued mule named Dove and it changed me.

Tonight, I sat in the darkness with two of the finest equine foster parents that I know and said goodbye to a little white mule named Dove. Her story flowed out like a river to show me what empathy is when it becomes a verb and how it creates concentric rings of compassion around you.

Five years ago, Zebs Wish was called to a property to remove 2 mini mules and a Shetland pony from a filthy and crowded farm. We needed transportation and assistance, so compassion took action on that frigid and wet winter day with volunteers from a neighboring rescue and a dog fence building non-profit came along to help. 
We brought the little white mule who was suffering from terrible slipper feet, breathing challenges and a shocking fear of hum

ans to our foster home that had dedicated themselves to housing our some of our most fragile rescues. Our foster mom named her Dove for her beautiful white coat and, despite the little mules fear of humans, she proceeded to take the next 5 years to help her find peace in this world. This expressed itself in HOURS upon HOURS of time in the pasture plying Dove to take small bits of apple out of her hand. She spent hours some days just quietly trying to get Dove to agree to have her lead rope attached so the farrier could attend to her awful feet.

Dove was never comfortable in a stall. Her fear of entrapment was so strong that she would stand in the rain and snow rather than subject herself to going ‘inside’ so there was an awning that needed to be built. The word was put out and our small army of volunteer dog fence builders showed up with our volunteers and in two days, created a warm dry awning that Dove used faithfully.

Then there is the farrier. A man named Chuck who we trust with all our hearts here to be compassion in action. Despite the challenges of working with equines that would rather kick your head off than have their feet touc

hed, this man NEVER waivers. He maintained the peace of the Buddha and the patience of Job in helping to correct years of hoof neglect.

There is the Reiki practitioner Sister who would come out each week to sit quietly with Dove and her pasture mate Ebony, offering nothing more than quiet healing and love. Compassion can be in its greatest form when simply giving without expectation.

Then there are the volunteers who heard that our foster momma was driving to Portland every day to spend hours tending to her own fragile mother after caring for a little white mule with rapidly declining health so they jumped in to offer a HUGE Christmas gift to her- These people were total strangers to her but rallied so close to Christmas to give her a farm-wide all hands on deck volunteer day offering their assistance cleaning and repairing and mucking and brushing. They came as strangers but left as friends. They had so much that they could have done on this last day before Christmas but they chose to come out and to show up with their compassion and muscles and hearts all in.

In light of knowing that Dove was to leave us soon, our attention turned to her constant companion; a 36-year-old horse named Ebony. We knew that her eyesight was failing and she relied on Dove to see for her- especially at night. She would be lost without her friend so we had to act fast. We picked up the phone and call

ed our friends at Sound Equine Options to ask if they might have an elderly horse that we could have step in when the time came- they not only agreed to help despite their very busy rescue needs but they offered to bring the horse over as well. They certainly have enough on their plates without ‘just one more thing’ but they offered our old girl a companion.

Tonight, Doves life ended with the most amazing closing of the compassion circle. I watched a little mule give her last act of trust to her foster momma by letting her attach that lead rope one last time. I witnessed our vets slowly and with great care, give her that last injection to help her failing heart finally rest. I watched tears fall through my own; Those of our foster parents who put their hearts and time and love into helping Dove feel valued in this life and those of our vets, neither who have met this little beautiful mule before. They shed tears too. What kind of incredible compassion is this to be the last ones to hold your beloved as they cross through the veil or to be the ones who can provide that last gift of relief? The most giving kind.

Holding hands with our foster parents over her little body as she slipped away I saw it all…….all the compassion- backed by action of every person who touched this little mule. All the people who didn’t simply sa

y “Poor thing, someone really should DO something”. These are the people that DID and that has made all the difference to THIS one.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. 


I woke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was a joy.

From all of us who strive in all of our ways to offer compassion in action-Thank you.

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