There lies the cursor blinking upon a blank page. My anxiety builds and I see nothing but the vision of her in my mind. Emotions run deep and questions of apprehension and guilt fill the unused spaces in my mind.
I do not take such decisions lightly, nor am I a person who is known for walking away. Loyalty and a commitment forever is very much a part of who I am, all too often at my own expense. So, it is with much difficulty I write this piece today.
After much thought and countless efforts, I have decided to return Sadie Lou to the rescue where I adopted her from. I have come to accept that this is by no means a fault of Sadie, this is who she is. Somewhere, somehow it is my believe from knowing her the past 19 months that she became a victim, all too often, whose only choice was to recluse into a world of her own.
Repeated Trauma will do that. There comes a time, when it becomes one too many times being a victim, one too many times her heart has been broken and her trust betrayed. Something I am all too familiar with myself. Sadie was often a mirror of my place in the world, when our paths crossed. That is why she chose me. She knew I would understand her and accept her for who she is.
It is true, there have been those moments where Sadie came out of the solitary life that so perfectly guarded her. It is true, she made efforts, she progressed forward in several ways. There have been moments where she allowed herself to enjoy receiving love. Even at times ask for more. To allow herself the enjoyment of very subtle play, as I would stroke her head, soaking up the love she had given herself permission to express. It was nothing short of a miracle. My hopes would soar in those moments.
But those moments were moments. Despite the progress she has made since the time she entered my world, she continues to reside in a world of her own. Primarily, she dissociates from her surroundings and those around her. Living in a state of fear and flight is an everyday occurrence. One never knows when her state of ‘flight’ will occur. Things she has been exposed to daily for 19 months can trigger a state of complete fear and to turn and run is her usual response. Exercises we have done countless times, can go from calm to run in a matter of seconds. Luckily, I have not been hurt, or for that matter, nor has she.
However, I recently had some guests out to the barn and there was an incident where people did get hurt. Although, it was partly my fault. I became too comfortable with Sadie and had expectations and felt she was ready for such interaction. She was not and she ran. It resulted in an unfortunate accident.
Granted, an accident around horses can happen to any of us. True. But, it is different with Sadie. It is highly unpredictable. Almost explosive like. Because she is so introverted, it can be difficult to see the signs. She never really is safe. Even though, I am more than comfortable around her, and I have come to be able to read most of her body language, it is a continued effort to tread ever so softly around her, the moment she slips into a state of apprehension and fear.
Quite frankly, I don’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t have to be that way around Jay. I have not had to live like that around other horses that have come from rescue’s, or been abused. And there are countless Mule people and trainers I have spoke with that have been able to get abused Mules to the point where they trust again, where unpredictable ‘flight’ is no longer their escape. Where dissociation is no longer a choice.
I just do not want to live anymore with an animal that still continues to run from me, when I enter her stall, or place my gentle hand on her, or come up to her with a halter, or when I have guests out. So, yes, it does reside in what what I had hoped for and am lacking with Sadie. I gave it my all, and I ignored my intuition, over and over again. She is not safe, screamed out my intuition. She will never be what I am seeking.
I have tried it all, short of spending hundreds of dollars in sending her away to a trainer. It is my believe that Sadie would be better off with someone, or someplace where the expectations of her are not so high. After all, we cannot change anyone 100%. They can come as far as they are comfortable and the rest is no longer up to us. We may be willing, but it takes two to be willing in a relationship. I believe Sadie is as far as she can go. I had hopes we could one day be on the trail together. That I would be able to ride her and we could both enjoy a world beyond the barn life. That is just not possible with her. Trust will always be an issue with her. It is not fair to Sadie to ask her to be something or give something she is not capable of giving.
No! It is not just about riding. It is about safety. It is about receiving love, it is about returning love and trust that is given.
If you have ever worked with Autistic children, you would understand Sadie. If you have ever worked with abused children who never fully recover, you will understand Sadie. I do not blame her. I have NO regrets of having her in my life. I have no ill feelings whatsoever that she is a Mule! I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I will miss her dearly. If she did not have a safe home to go to, I would NEVER release her. She has reached her limit when it comes to abuse. She deserves to live only in a world with love and safety.
I love her dearly and truly believe it is in her best interest, as well as mine. It is extremely difficult for me to give up, and I have been hanging on and making further attempts to reach a goal, that Sadie has no interest in reaching. I have made bargains, reached acceptance, squandered away at wrenching guilt, felt incredible sadness and ignored my intuitive voice within, for many months, simply to please everyone else and to avoid having Sadie feel anything less then she deserves.
But, what I have ignored is my own feelings, my own happiness, which I all too often do in relationships. I keep trying and trying and trying, hoping and hoping. Wanting desires that I am willing to sacrifice my own happiness for theirs. It is a habitual pattern in my life, for I place little value on my own life and happiness, over the happiness of others. I then suffer deeply. A result of my own choices.
I can no longer do it. I can no longer make excuses for my own happiness. I hope Sadie will understand, as I have given her that acceptance. It is not her lack of desire to love another that I will remember of her, but that I was so honored to experience what love she so reluctantly was able to give.
So, I begin with saying my goodbyes to her, and wish the best for her and wish blessings upon a path I too am not accustomed to choosing. Daring to seek out my own happiness in so many ways. I am fortunate that I had the blessing to have her in my life, along this journey of learning to understand the value of my own life and my own happiness.
Sadie was able to teach me that.
May the Angels guard over you dear Sadie Lou.
By Diana Wanamaker
Copyright June 22, 2016
All Rights Reserved