Today there is a hole in my heart. Though it feels as big as a mountain, it must just be a tiny pinprick.
Many years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Scamp, Bella, and Zorro. I immediately took a liking to them all but especially Scamp. I didn’t realize that donkeys could smile or hug until I met her. I’ve spent almost every Sunday over these years spending a little time with her (there are lots of animals to see and tend to here), giving her treats, pets, and hugs.
She was always separated at eating time because of her deteriorating teeth.In June of 2016, she wasn’t eating well, so I sat with her in her pen coaxing her to eat. I think that’s when we really started bonding.
She started hugging me back at one point. She really leaned into them, like I do when I hug my loved ones. I’m not sure I can give it justice by trying to describe the feeling of elation hugging her gave me.
Over the summer, we played a concert at the farm and my favorite part, by far, was watching Scamp go through the crowd of friends and family and nuzzle them. “Treats? Anyone have treats? Ok, I’ll settle for a hug.” I definitely forgot the lyrics at least once while watching her. A few months back, I discovered that she liked having the inside of her furry ears scratched. She’d stop mid-bite and lean into it. She was magical to me.
Over the last few weeks, she stopped eating. For good. No matter how anyone tried to help her eat, she was done. She passed on Friday night.
Volunteering at an animal sanctuary is a delight as much as it is a challenge. These lucky animals get to live out their best lives under Debra’s, the staff’s, and volunteer’s care. But the price for those who dedicate their time and hearts is that the animals live here until they pass. Losing any animal hurts. Losing one who you feel utterly connected to is devastating. This lyric helps fit that place for me.
“but i guess that this is the price
that we pay for the privilege
of living for even a day
in a world with so many things
worth believing in”
– ani difranco
I was lucky that I was able to say goodbye to her, albeit through the sheet she was wrapped in. I got to touch her nose one last time and give her one last hug. My tears haven’t stopped flowing yet but they will and I’ll move on. But I’ll carry that tiny hole in my heart with me always.
Safe travels, Scamp. You are loved.
* If you are interested in learning more about Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary, please visit http://www.winslowfarm.com. Visitors are welcome to comes and meet the animals and donations are always appreciated. Hope to see you there sometime. *