It was a lovely cloudy morning as we headed into Noah's Ark. I was especially looking forward to this trip again as it has been 3 months since I last visited the sanctuary.
The last 3 months has passed by in a blur as my own 16 year old dog was battling canine cognitive dysfunction for quite a while, and it has gotten worse after his 2 major operations last year for cancer, and I had to juggle work commitments together with caring for him, which has proven to be an uphill task. I had to make the tough call of putting him to sleep last month as he was not getting any better and I wanted him to go in peace and without pain before his condition worsened.
After I took some time to heal and gotten over much of the grief, I knew JJ wanted me to continue to spread the love that I had to other animals. And with much expectancy I went to Noah's Ark, knowing full well my soul will be very much recharged again and I can spread my love to the many animals there.
Having volunteered with the horses in March this year during a Volunteer's Open House, the horses have left a deep imprint (or hoof print, if you may!) in my heart. Interacting with them gave me a sense of peace and deep calm, and grooming them gave me a chance to be up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
I loved horses since I was a child, but due to a lack of finances, was unable to take regular riding lessons to continue being with horses as much as I would like to. Noah's Ark's amazing work with rescuing these retired racehorses and riding school horses have allowed people like me who love horses to come and work with them in a way quite unlike any other stable.
|Horses get to roam free with the dogs.|
Because in Noah's Ark, there's one thing that is starkly lacking with many stables elsewhere, and that is freedom – something horses need and crave for. Without the pressure and stress of having to make top spot in a race, or having to take rider after rider on their backs at a riding school with, the horses returned to their most natural self. Watching them get turned out to graze and roll over their backs in the sand to relieve an itch was amazing and soul-fulfilling. They were happy, and it showed.
|Giving Cinzano a bath.|
And it's not just the horses, every animal that walked through the doors of Noah's Ark has been given a second chance in life. They know and cherish it. Dogs run free through green fields, cats receive tender loving care in their catteries, and even the monkeys got an upgrade to their enclosures recently! It was truly amazing knowing there are dedicated volunteers who dedicate their time, money and efforts into making sure the animals do not experience the same and often traumatic past they had.
This time round I connected more so with another horse named Chun Doong, also a retired ex racehorse, his name means Thunder in Korean. But what may have once been a name given by his ex owners to ensure a top spot in a race has given way to a sweet soul that stood by with his eyes closed in contentment for a long while as I stroked and scratched his chin. There and then I realized we have so much to learn from them-for enjoying a pleasurable given moment you have now in the present, despite your past.
When evening neared, we were given a chance to ride some of the horses leisurely. I jumped at the opportunity to pick up where I left off many months ago, and was much appreciative to the big boy Cinzano, a beautiful 16 hands high horse who allowed the very inexperienced me to be on his back. I have much to learn! But I am so ever grateful to my beautiful four-legged teachers for being gracious with me.
The skies soon darkened quickly and it was time to pack up and leave. Fun times always pass by in a whizz. We left for a sumptious dinner of crabs with great company, and everyone left feeling satisfied in body, soul and spirit.
Noah's Ark is and will continue to be a legacy, where God's creations can freely roam and are all given a second chance. I urge all who have never visited the Ark to drop by sometime. A word of caution though.. you may find yourself wanting to come back again and again, just like many of us!