17 September

One Step: Save A Working Horse Today: Help Nancy Get Asher Home

by Jon Katz



Saving Asher

I am wary of the mushrooming movement to rescue animals sometimes, it can be an emotional tar pit that sucks people like me right in. There are many animals and people in need of saving. I believe the world will be truly be saved when people like me – and you – care for one person at a time, one animal at a time. And for Mother Earth in every way.

We do need to begin changing the situation in our world, where hostility and cruelty to animals and people is so widespread and unchallenged. Asher, a working horse in desperate need,  can help lead the way. So can Nancy Gallimore, who seeks to rescue Asher from the kill buyers who bought him and who needs some help.

“We must regain our conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty,” wrote Pope Francis in Laudato Si, his stirring encyclical.

I hear this call in my own life, so does Maria, we have been waiting for it for a long time.

Asher seems to be the start of something like that for me, hopefully for you.

There is so much need, it is very simple to simply shake my head and say I can’t handle it all, I will simply live my own life as best as I can. But like Pope Francis, I believe the world will be saved and our lives will be saved and our children’s futures will be saved in small steps, not just big ones.

And what else can we do?

Taken together, that could be a powerful revolution, one step at a time, one animal at a time, one person at a time. I have seen it happen several times on this blog with people and animals in need – with our farrier Ken Norman, with Joshua Rockwood and his farm, with George Forss and his book of photographs, with the Blue Star Equiculture sanctuary and the great work they do on behalf of animals and people.

People are good when given the chance. Here is another chance.

So today, and on a smaller scale, I’d like to use the blog for good another time and ask your help, this time for Asher, a beautiful old draft horse with a cloudy past. We know he has worked and had a collar on his neck, we don’t know much more than that. He is believed to be between 15 and 20 years of age. Nancy Gallimore lives in Oklahoma, she is a friend and a gifted writer and a beloved member of the Creative Group at Bedlam Farm. She is a passionate animal lover and occasional rescuer and notorious sucker for animals in need. (Check out her great blog for this and other stories) She has much integrity and a great heart.

It’s a familiar story to many of you, Asher has been plucked from the jaws of death, one hour a way from being loaded onto a  trailer from which there is no return. Nancy can’t walk away, she won’t let him get on that trailer. “I just couldn’t let him die,” she told me this afternoon, “I won’t.”

Nancy wrote on Facebook this morning about Asher, who was purchased by a kill buyer at a horse auction in Oklahoma, some people sent out an SOS to try and save him and she saw it. She found out where he was, called the feedlot, made an offer and has saved him, at least temporarily,  from being butchered. She is going through her own money quickly. As many of you know, more than 155,000 horses a year in America are loaded onto trailers and sent to Mexico or Canada, they are killed there by an awful process that involves nails being drilled into their heads.

It cost Nancy $850 to buy him from the kill buyers, he will need to be quarantined for 30 days at a cost of $370, he may need his teeth floated and will likely need several hundred dollars in veterinary  care. After his quarantine, she plans to bring him to her farm, if there are any issues she can’t handle Blue Star has offered to help.

We owe the horses a great deal, they helped build our world, and although many have forgotten them, they are calling out to us to honor their history and great work with us.

Horses in feedlots are almost always sick. Nancy needs between $1,500 and $2,000 to save Asher. I have no doubt there will be additional expenses, there always are with complex rescues. I’m glad that Nancy is working closely with Pamela Rickenbach of Blue Star. It is a blessed animal to have two such remarkable people watching over them, and they have connected with one another.

I know Nancy well, I have met her in Oklahoma and talked to her often. I am happy to vouch for her, she honest and good. She is concerned that every dollar goes either to Asher or to Blue Star to help them save other animals. The money cannot possibly end up in better hands. The people at Blue Star would starve themselves – and have –  before giving any animal less than what they need and deserve.

Nancy has decided to accept some help. It’s a lot of money for her. If there is any extra money left over from the contributions she receives, she will account for the money and turn it over to Blue Star. You can contribute to the Asher Fund using Nancy’s Paypal account, which is [email protected]. Or you can e-mail her at [email protected] if you would like to ask how to contribute to the Asher fund in a different way. Or you can contact her through her blog.

“I will want him to have a new name,” Nancy told me. “Asher is his feedlot name and that is his past. I will make sure he is never in danger again.” If you know Nancy, you know that is the way it will be.

This feels like a very good thing for me to do and be a part of. I do not care for my blog to be an animal rescue site, that is not the purpose or function of it. But sometimes we have to step outside of ourselves and the big and beautiful draft horses call out to us to be citizens of the world together, caring for one another and living in harmony.

I do not care to criticize the kill buyers or denounce the work they do, they are doing their jobs just as we all are. It is not work that I can do, but it is not for me to judge anyone who does it.  It is past time we started to learn how to love animals without hating people or judging them. You cannot, I believe, love animals and hate people. If  you are so inclined to help Nancy save Asher, that would be a meaningful thing to do.

Love is, for me, a civic and political act in our world, it overflows with small gestures of mutual care and concern. It makes itself felt in every single generous or caring word or deed on behalf of an animal, a person, on behalf of the earth. If you watch the news, or the rage and hostility that passes for political leadership in our world, then you know that love in social life – political, economic, cultural, environmental, animal – must be given value anew, must have value for us.

So I’m happy to take one of those small gestures of mutual care and help Nancy save Asher and bring him to his new and safe and loving home. Thanks for thinking about it.

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