Susan arrived at 1 am after 16 hours drive from Arizona to Lake Tahoe. She had brought a special paste to draw out the infection in my hoof and packed it so I could travel comfortably. Then we got into the van and Pascal drove most of the way back to Arizona where we arrived at 5pm. Long, hot and despite driving with only two stops for food for the humans, the ride was safe but exhausting. Susan is very upset about my foot condition and when the vet, called in emergency arrived she confirmed the worse fears. My chance of loosing my hoof are 50% and if I do loose it they will have to Euthanise me due to the irrecuperable pain induced. If I do not loose my hoof there is 75% chance that I'll be lame all my life with chronic pain. But Pascal is steadfast on caring for me and tells me he'll pull me out of this terrible state. In any case I'm no longer able to go to Chile which puts the whole plan of our journey out of the question even if Pascal will certainly do the trip … in another form yet to be determined. Right now the urgency is to get me out of pain, healed and back into a quality of life enabling me to live a “normal” life. For the present Pascal will stay in Arizona and follow up my healing for at least a month. Then he'll go back to France to 'winter' and work on a plan to pursue his journey. He has started to work on a photo book of LongEars2Chile Book 1 and a PPT slide show. Me I'll need to find a new home to live and hopefully share in the life of children and a family.
News of my health will be posted regularly and you can keep up to date as I now have the time to write on a regular basis. Pascal meanwhile is a 'ranch hand' feeding, watering and doing daily tasks around the ranch mornings and evenings, in the heat of the day he is working on a means of raising money to help Dreamchaser. His analysis is that Dreamchaser requires LAND of it's own with facilities and the ability to produce feed. The organization and running of the place is sound, the fund raising adequate for it's activities and the long term perspectives are good to maintain the activity and the quality of the work being done. However, an investment of 1.2 million dollars would guarantee that Susan, the founder can retire while the Dreamchaser mission continues to be accomplished (http://www.dreamchaserpmu.org/). Anyone who reads this and can provide us with a contact who could help obtain a grant is invited to contact Pascal. When you see the reality of the work being done for horses, donkeys, lamas, goats, sheep, pigs … turtles, birds … as a rescue, you understand the need in our society for organizations like this that not only rescue animals, but educate people in the respect of animal lives, help people re-connect emotionally and psychologically (see lean on me program) through the use of animals.
Back to our journey.
Well the lesson we can communicate the PCT community and equine owners is that you DO NOT TAKE EQUINE (horses, mules or donkeys) on the trail unless:
1/ the animals have already extensive trail experience, even more than humans, animals require slow, long and progressive training
- to walk
- to carry loads
- to adapt to terrain that is difficult and on which they need to feed
- to cross specific difficulties in the terrain, particularly walking on snow, ice, in mud or on rocky mountain slopes. Animals will do well in all of these terrains but NEED to LEARN how to handle them. This takes time, as the mental and physical needs to adapt. Not something that can be done “on the trail”.
2/ you have proven experience in handling Equine and are able to diagnostic IN TIME major issues that can arise from working on a trail. Pascal here was counselled by many persons, some of which are considered authorities in the matter, and yet due to his own inexperience was not able to identify the major issue of my suffering feet.
3/ an animal that refuses, seems to falter, suffer or balks, is an animal TELLING you that something is “wrong”. This needs to be the cue to re-evaluating the situation and possibly stop whatever activity to fully understand the issues. There is NO second thoughts in animals. Only the HERE AND NOW.
So as the ICHING says about my condition : Hexagram 23, upper triagram “keeping still, the mountain” lower triagram “the receptive, earth”
“ The weight of the Mountain presses down upon a weak foundation of Earth:
- The Superior Person will use this time of oppression to attend to the needs of those less fortunate.
- Any action would be ill-timed.
- Stand fast.”
Pascal will need to hold on any decision, take care of me and stay aware of all that is going on around him to identify what is the real threat, issue, problem that he has to deal with.
While going to the doctor to get my $250 special orthopaedic hoof boots to try to help me save my feet, Pascal cried driving. He has re-connected with his emotional self during this part of his journey, one of his initial objectives. Now he needs to translate this so he expresses it … in music, craft or the written word …
Oh, did I tell you that the last day when we left the PCT, he loaded Jimmy with all of the heavy stuff and me with the lightest possible load to help me get off the mountain? It helped a lot but the trail was very hard at times, with steep and slippery downhills, sometimes real steps in stone that obliged us to “jump” from one step to the other. Anyhow he put for the first time I think the guitar on me, I slipped and crushed it on a rock … Pascal has to buy another instrument.
Want to help? Help finance my medical bills … a guitar, and most of all just keep in touch and support us in spirit.
The life is taking an interesting if unexpected turn, let's see how we deal with it, STAY with us for the NEXT CHAPTER.