Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When An Animal Heals A Soul

We live on a farm.
I call it a farm but in regards to the real farms around us, we are a joke. 
We don't grow food for the masses. 
In fact, we grow very little food. 
What we really are is a hobby farm. 
We have animals that are a hobby, or pets. 
We have goats, but don't breed them or get milk or meat from them. 
We recently got chickens just for the eggs. 
We don't have a rooster, so we won't have any more chicks unless we buy them. 
We have pets. 
And one of our pets weighs about 1200 pounds. 

Our farm used to hold many animals. 
Back in the day when it was a new homestead our property housed...
guinea hens 

We always thought it would be fun to get a pony. 
My dad grew up here and had many animals around, including horses. 
He's retired now and the thought of seeing his granddaughters riding a pony around the same lands that he rode on were quite exciting for him. 
And we have a pony. 
We just wish it had arrived under different circumstances. 

Zoe was diagnosed with leukemia when she was five years old. 
Her sister was not yet two. 
She endured much pain and tears and uncertainty during her treatments. 
She didn't understand why she had to get needle sticks and sedation and why her hair was falling out in clumps. 
She had trouble walking. 
She broke her ankle. 
She started to look like someone else's child on top of all of the steroids she was taking. 

When your child is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the Make A Wish Foundation steps in to put a smile on the face of your baby. 
To try to return a bit of light into the darkness that has surrounded your family. 
Zoe's 4th birthday was a horse themed party. 
She had wanted a horse for a while. 
So when Make A Wish came and sat in our living room they asked her for two wishes. 
Two wishes in case the #1 wish couldn't be granted. 
Her #1 wish- a pony. 
Her #2 wish- a trip to Ireland to see castles. 
Both wishes were pretty big requests for our local chapter to grant. 
But the #1 wish arrived on a hot summer's day in August of 2011.

A local family owned our pony and her name was Lucky.
She wasn't being ridden much anymore and they had heard about Zoe and wanted to donate her. 
We met the pony before she officially came to us. 
We went to her stable and Zoe rode her. 
The family (a childless couple who really took to our girl) helped Make A Wish buy all of the appropriate stuff that a pony would need. 

The day Zoe's pony arrived was a day I have etched into my brain. 
So many people came...friends from near and far, family, nurses, the guy who helped put electricity in our barn for the pony, the local news, the high school boy who had owned the pony first. 
Zoe named her Buttercup Luck. 
And Buttercup Luck was the healing she needed. 
She forgot about the chemo and the nausea. 
She forgot she was sick. 
On that day she was just the luckiest little girl in this whole vast world. 
She had just gotten a pony. 

Part 4 (final post) in a series titled "Pets" I'll be doing. 


  1. I have heard pieces of the story before but am so glad that you posted the whole thing here. It made me cry both sad tears (Zoe was so sick) and happy tears (her face while she pet the horse). So blessed to be able to follow this post up by reading about Zoe winning contests for her writing and performing in piano recitals!

  2. Meant to be. Thanks for your post, Jen.