I Am A Mother

By Cindy Richards

My baby is dying. I'm a mother. I love my son. I will give my life for him, but I don't know what to do. He is so weak, when he tries to nurse I can barely feel his mouth as he tries to suckle. I try not to move around too much so that my body won't use any energy; I need all the nutrients I have to produce enough milk to keep him alive. I'm scared, I'm afraid.

My baby is dying. I didn't have a say in getting pregnant, it was forced on me. But why did everyone just leave me here all alone to fend for myself? The ground is hard dirt and rock here, it's hard to walk. We look up all the time hoping that the rain will come and form a puddle so we will have something to drink. But it never seems to come often enough, and then it disappears too quickly. I am terrified, I am alarmed.

My baby is dying. I can walk to the side of the area where I live and look past the dirt to see a large field with green grass growing tall. My mouth waters, my eyes form tears, I look at the green life that could save my child. I tried to get to it. I tried again, because my baby needed the grass, but I am too weak and my body is covered with cuts and scars form the barbed wire. I am panicky, I am inconsolable.

My baby is dying. He sleeps most of the day, he tries to get up but his long legs buckle underneath him he cannot stand. I lick his face, and his beautiful brown eyes look up at me not understanding why he has to suffer, why he has to die when he never got to live. I am distressed, I am unsettled.

My baby is dying. He will go today and then I will fall. I must stand and watch over him until he is gone, I am his mother. There is loud noise at the end of the field. A huge silver monster is moving across the dirt, but my baby is dying, I cannot run, I must stay and protect him if I can, I am his mother. I am anxious, I am suspicious.

My baby is dying. I have not seen people since they left me here a long time ago, now they come, but I cannot run. I weigh less than 600 pounds, I should weigh 1800. A man comes near me and strokes my side. His hand is soft, he tries to get me to move but I will not leave my son, he is still alive. Two men pick my baby up and take him to the silver monster, they carry him inside, I must follow, I am his mother. They close us in, it is dark, it smells, there have been other horses here. We are moving, it is hard to stand. I'm afraid I will fall on my baby. He is asleep on the floor. I'm glad he is sleeping so he is not scared. They must be taking us to die. I am resigned, I am ready.

My baby is dying. The door opens and the moonlight reflects off the pavement. The man pats my side again, his hand is reassuring. They help my baby get up and guide him behind me. We walk into a building, it smells clean. There are other horses. They whinny and nicker at me, they are not scared, they are at peace. We are taken in a big area, it is warm, there is soft bedding, my baby lays down. A lady comes in, she runs her hands all over me, her eyes are filled with tears. She brings me a bucket of water and lets me drink. There is hay and she pats me while I eat. She sits on the ground with my son and feeds him water. He drinks and drinks. I am unsettled, I am confused.

The door opens often and the lady brings small handfuls of delicious grain every time she comes in. The water is fresh and there is an endless supply. I wonder when she will take it away. There is always hay, she brings me a salt block and lets me lick. She cleans my wounds and picks the burs out of my mane. She sits with my son's head in her lap and lets him drink from a special bottle. He cannot stand to feed from me. I can hear him drinking, I can hear him breathing. Can I dream that he may live? I am hopeful, I am optimistic.

The lady brings other people with her and they all spend time with us. They bring food, apples, carrots, grain, and special treats. They rub my son's legs and help him to stand, and drink from me. I can feel his breath on my chest, I can feel him suck my milk, I can feel him getting strong. My baby sleeps in peace, I can feel him getting stronger. They take us out in the sunshine, but they do not leave us alone. There is more water here and green grass and the lady stays where I can see that she is here. They take us back inside and give us more grain. I am relaxing, I am at ease.

My stomach is full now, and I can drink whenever I want. My son is playful, he can run outside. He jumps and he plays and he rolls in the grass. We have a new friend, another mother and baby. They run with us in the field. My son loves his friend, they play all day. There is plenty to eat and drink. The lady is with us every day, our coats are starting to shine, my bones are becoming hidden by flesh. My son has grown in a very short time. He will be very big, he will be very gentle, he loves the lady, she says we can stay here forever. My son is young, he has forgotten our hardship, but I will not. I will remember and try to always protect him, I am a mother, he is my son. We are wanted, We are loved, We are at home.

Many people forget that there are horse dealers out there that care about horses. This story, based on a true rescue case in Michigan, happened when a horse dealer, O'Neil Muirhead, cared enough to get involved. The horses are now happily recovering at Wildwind Equestrian Center in South Lyon, Michigan. This beautiful Percheron cross mom and baby are named Calypso and O'Neil's Rescue.

About the author:

Cindy Richards is a freelance writer and a life-long animal lover who has worked as a wild animal trainer for television and film and as an animal rescuer all her life. She currently co-owns a horse farm in Michigan where a number of last chance horses make their home, and she helps children in a therapeutic riding program.