Animals have always been a huge part of our lives.
My Will and Woobie (he died a few years ago...I still miss him) six years ago.
I thought that with not much planting going on in the garden, now would be a great time to reintroduce some of the animals on the farm.  Each has their own personality and their own story to share.  Each one has a different kind of love to give.  That's the best part about having so many animals is I feel like I am constantly surrounded by love.  Animals have this great ability to love unconditionally; they don't care if you have make-up on, or if you did your hair, they don't mind if the scale said that the ice cream you ate was a bad idea, or if you are disappointed or sad.  They have an uncanny ability to cheer me up, even on the hardest days...and there have been hard days, days where I want to cry until there are no more tears...and there have been great days where I want to shout from the mountain tops and share my joy.  All of these feelings, emotions, and moments are shared with my animals.  My "herd" is very special to me, and I love each animal!

We have so many animals, the herd consists of 45 chickens (at the moment), three dogs, six cats, a mini horse, a goat, and four rabbits.  They are all so different from each other.  Having a farm teaches you great responsibility and sacrifice.  The animals can't really feed themselves.  Each morning and night, the animals have to be fed, watered, groomed, walked, tucked in bed, and given lots of love.  Some require more time and effort than others, some need special care, and some can't wait to see you in the morning (that makes my day).  There are no days off.  We take care of animals twice a day every day of the week, on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Valentine's Day...you name the holiday, we are there.  Despite the challenges and time, having them is so rewarding.  They don't really say "thank you" for all the time spent, but a kiss from a horse, an excited dog, a rub from a cat all say thank you in a way.  They thank you with love and energy!

Zeus, 5 years ago...look at those brown eyes!
I thought that I should tell you about my very best friend, Zeus Maximus.  Zeus is a pug, a "farm pug" to be more specific.  I love everything about him.  He is calm and steady, and he snores!  He really, really, really snores!!!  Zeus was kind of my first baby, before I had real babies.  He has been by my side through all the ups and downs, through my dad's stroke and death, through all the joy and sometimes sadness that comes with being married (there are always ups and downs).  Zeus has helped to plant twelve gardens, herded our very first chickens, raised my kids and the other dogs as they came, and is always up for a good belly rub.  When I have a bad day, he knows.  I don't know how he knows, but he does.  He scoots up close and lays by my heart, as if to say, "everything is okay".

After twelve years of farm pug frolic, Zeus has become blind.  Pugs are notorious for having eye problems, and Zeus just happened to be prone to all kinds of eye problems.  He navigates the yard boldly without sight, and manages to visit the garden, the chickens, and the kids in the sand pile.  I look at him with awe!  He has this kind of blind faith and trust, that he can go anywhere as long as he follows my voice.  I can take him anywhere and we can navigate as long as I keep talking to him.  He still looks at me with his big brown eyes when I talk to him, even though he can't see me.  He is one of my heroes because of his strength to persevere despite the darkness around him.  He is beautiful to me!!!

He has turned gray.  He loves to lay in his bed and just be, and I love his sounds.  When he hears my voice, he dances!  Spinning circles and bouncing, as if to say, "I'm here".  He snuggles, and sleeps, and dreams.  In the summer he lays on the patio with his belly in the sun.  We tease him that he looks a bit like a suntanned pig!  His belly turns from pink to black as the summer goes on.  He loves warmth.  He loves the sun...even though his world is dark.  We call him "Zeubers" and "Pong" and he doesn't mind as long as we scratch his ears and whisper how we love him!

He is my baby...he always will be...I can't help but to love him!


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