And it begins.... hand me a rake, pitch fork, and a bale of hay!My first day as a intern at Woodstock Animal Sanctuary was cleaning and lots of it! Mark and I jumped in to lend a hand with the daily chores. We cleaned and prepared a stall for the arrival of two new sheep (more on these girls at a later date). We did poop patrol through the pig enclosure, cleaned out a pig stall, and cleaned and re-did a chicken coop.
|Walter and I at Woodstock Animal Sanctuary|
So, challenge number one, get wheelbarrow through the muddy pig enclosure full of poop without letting a pig dump it over. Yea, they think it's fun. Challenge number two if "Little Dude" (who isn't little at all) comes towards you MOVE. Challenge number three, get more comfortable with the pigs! Yea, it's a natural reaction to flinch when you hear squeals and grunts coming out of a 300-400lb being. Everyone has assured me the pigs are "Drama Queens". Being a Leo, I totally get it.
Ya know, all that talk about how dirty pigs are? Well, their "nests" are spotless, that is where they sleep. And I actually said out out loud today "Pig poop actually isn't bad". Seriously, easy clean-up and not much smell. Well, until the wheelbarrow is full. Just a little more info on "Little Dude", he just gets overwhelmed a bit, as he is almost blind and is deaf.
The next big job today, cleaning out one of the chicken coops. This involved, removing all the shavings, scraping cracks and the floor with a putty knife, sprinkling mite treatment down, and replacing the shavings. Pretty big task for the afternoon, but add to that a dozen chickens who are totally into your every move! We kept all the chickens out of the coop except one,"Tamulah". She kept trying to make a nest in our piles, and trying to get through the doors to the other areas. I loved having some time up close with the chickens today. One of my goals while here, is to get to know more about the birds.
When we wake-up there is no going back to sleep.
I found myself tearing up many times today for no obvious reason in the moment. But knowing that it is a culmination of moments. It is amazing to be here with these animals. For them to give us a chance. To be that human that that they can trust. That scratches that hard to reach place behind their horns. That stands with them in the moment, in complete peace. And all the while, realizing the horrible things that are happening to BILLIONS of other animals, in that same moment. And being very much aware of how much I have to learn, the doubt that can creep in.... and the "Yes" that is even louder - because they deserve better.