I was asked to write about my experience at Beaver Creek. To start off, my name is Jordan and I am a Sheridan College student, currently graduating Animal Care. For my 2 week placement I decided to go local and volunteer my time at BCFS.
I was initially very hesitant, I’ve worked at farms and rescues for livestock before so the idea that I’d be mucking stalls most of the time didn’t bother me. Most of my adult life, I had been petrified of horses. I’d had lectures on horse anatomy, behaviour and genetics, so I understood the scientific aspect of them, but they just seemed so big and unpredictable that I would rather do anything else than work around these giant beasts with hooves that could break bones and deliver powerful kicks.
Then I met Splash.
I was nervous, of course, trying to hide it so as not to make a fool of myself in front of Megan. I offered her my hand to smell, talking in a low voice. She was blind, having had surgery to remove her eyes long ago, so I expected her to spook in her stall. Even though she had no eyes to set on me, she looked ever so kindly at me and snuffled at my hand for treats. I smiled after a minute, my fears immediately dissipating. They weren’t so bad after all.
Over the two weeks, I grew even more fond of Splash, Heidi and Chevy, the three horses currently residing in the rescue.
Heidi watched from a distance as I mucked the pasture. I eventually learned she loved scratches behind the left ear the best and would lean her little head as hard as it could go into my hand.
Splash would check in on me while I was in the pasture, coming up to me every time she heard the squeaking of the wheelbarrow as I pushed it to the next spot. She demanded pets, which I gave her, and she would rest her head gently on my shoulder for a few moments as if to calm me down before trotting away. She was gentle and sweet, an old soul if I ever saw one.
Chevy was nosy and childish, but always careful with me. He seemed to hold as still as he possibly could while I groomed him, glancing back at me every time he shifted his stance. Although he was pushy when it comes to treats, Megan would come over and push him away if he was being a brat and stealing treats from little Heidi. Eventually I mustered up the nerve to be less cautious with him and shove him away when he was being silly, which gained some measure of respect.
Elsa the goat was a little brat, but even through her near constant headbutting I loved her all the same. She was constantly trying to get me to loosen up and play with her, which was funny if not a little painful.
Cecil, Ziggy and Mickey were my constant helpers and companions, following me everywhere with wagging tails and happy faces. Even Ziggy, who at first was more than reluctant to accept me, was all too happy to take treats and even let me pet him a little!
My time at BCFS helped me understand the animals there beyond the textbooks and lecture notes, and gave me a sense of community in my short time there. Although I won’t be logging quite as many hours as I did these past weeks, I will happily be returning to help out when I’m needed.
I would like to thank the BCFS volunteers, as well as Leisa at The Ass Menagerie Sanctuary, for making this the highlight of my school year.