by Joanna Lucas (Peaceful Prairie)
FAIR USE NOTICE
Two years ago today, Celeste sang for the first time. It was New Year’s Day 2005. We had brought her gifts of grapes, which she had received and consumed enthusiastically, practically drinking the grapes off the stems like wine, eyes closed, head thrown back, mouth open to receive the nectar (and to demand more). She loved treats, she loved company, she loved stimulation, she loved novelty and, as we learned that day, she loved music.
Celeste spent her short life a cripple. Hunched over, unable to use her hind legs, she sat up, on her good days, like a dog with a hump on her back. On her bad days, she just lay on one side and didn’t get up at all. Rescued from a family hog farm the day before she was scheduled for slaughter, she arrived at the sanctuary with a broken back, and she never walked more than a few steps at a time, although she did move around her safe world, her barn, by dragging her crippled hind legs from place to place, and busied herself with rearranging the straw bales, the blankets, the feed bags and, occasionally, her barn mate, Ponza.
Once in a while, she got up and walked around proper, on all fours but, as her condition worsened, she limited her activity to sitting up to greet visitors. And then, towards the end, she spent most of her time lying on her side. There were many days when the only question was: “is it time?” Every time, the answer was: “No”. Not our answer. Hers. She didn’t want to be “put out out of her misery” – it wasn’t misery to her, it was her life. And it was fierce with meaning to her.
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