Faith has officially been a part of my life for 21 days now. We have had our ups together, and we have certainly had our downs. She has made me smile, she has made me laugh, and she's made me cry - a lot.
I have enjoyed every minute I have spent with her; the hours grooming her and wrapping her legs, the moments just leaning up against her stall wall watching her eat. She still puts a smile on my face when she sniffs every pocket on my jacket searching for the one the carrots are hidden in, and I smile just as much when she pins her ears back as she finishes the last one and learns the pockets are empty. I can now even laugh at the memories of wiping antibiotic paste out of my hair, repeatedly.
I have held her head in my arms while silent tears ran down my cheeks, upset that she was in pain and that she might stop fighting. I worry that I have made wrong choices along the way. I worry that I should have let her go long before the pain began, and then miraculously she pulls through and proves me wrong. I have worried that she wouldn't make it, afraid that I would fail in rehabbing her, afraid of saying goodbye.
I have talked openly about what I am willing to do for her when she stops fighting. I just pray that time doesn't come soon. I believe she has a future here, a real purpose in life, and I plan to do everything I can to allow her that freedom.
This past week has been a challenge. She started so strong and ended so weak. I now worry about the severe and debilitating conditions she may possibly have, looking for answers to her problems. Most are treatable, a few will severely limit her future, but none are pleasant. She has been through enough; she doesn't need any more.
Faith has taught me that things happen for a reason. She has showed me how honest "horse people" can come together and support one another. She has taught the community about the abundance of animal neglect. She has showed me that one horse, one struggle, and one story can make a difference.
When being interviewed by a reporter last week, I was asked if Faith seemed happy here and if I thought she had bonded with me. As the words were being spoken, Faith slowly picked her head up. She rested her chin on my shoulder, her nostril against my ear, and let out a big sigh. I didn't need to answer the question; she had done it for me.
No matter what the outcome is, no matter how long or short her stay is here, I am so very fortunate to have her in my life.