Left to right: CJ, Carl, Cole, Lesley, Greyson, Aidan and the family dog, Thor PHOTOS: Tara Moore, Farm & Fir
CM: How do you now generally acquire the rescues? Lesley: We have acquired our equines from owner turn-ins, hoarding cases, partnering with other rescues, and from kill pens, where horses sit before they are sent over the border for slaughter. CM: Is there a rescue that is particularly memorable? Lesley: A giant Belgian draft mule that we named Sully. We pulled him from a kill pen in Pennsylvania. He was a plow mule and had worked for the Amish for 20+ years. It was clear he had just come out of work: his mane was roached, he was muscular, and had good body mass. I could see there was something wrong with his back right leg. We knew we had to immediately get the veterinarian, but Sully was very frightened. He would start shaking when we approached him and was clearly trau-
matized. The Amish field mules work in pairs; it is very likely he was on the same farm for his entire life and was deeply bonded to his plow teammates. I spent a day in his paddock with him just reading and letting him get comfortable with my presence, and put two gentle horses in the paddock right next to his for companionship. He calmed down enough to have our vet look at him. It turned out he had a severely fractured leg. We had to put him down that day. Our entire family was devastated, but especially our boys. Sully got his lucky break only to have it slip away. I remember talking to him as he passed and telling him what a good boy he was. The unfairness of it all really stuck with me. I called him The Giving Tree (after the kids book); he just gave and gave until nothing was left anymore. The next week we pulled our draft mule, Moses, out of the same pen in Sully’s honor.
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CM: With all the care you are giving, what do you enjoy for yourself in your “spare time”? Lesley: It’s sparse! (laughs) I love to do yoga. I used to be a yoga teacher and I crave the relaxation it brings me. I’m also an herbalist and I’m always fiddling with preparing herbs and coming up with protocols for friends or family members and even our four-legged guys too. CM: Favorite Quote? Lesley: “The purpose of life is to not be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson To meet the animals and to donate, visit bluemontsanctuary.com.