Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.





Monday, August 26, 2019

I am no saint! And I don't whisper!


I get really uncomfortable on social media when followers refer to me as a "saint" due to my taking on needy animals. For the record, I have never, ever met a saint. And I am not close to being one, nor do I aspire to be. I just try to keep dancing, as fast as I can.

I also get cranky when I see other people referring to animal people as 'whisperers'. This is such an overused term and means little or nothing to an animal. Firstly, communicating with the animals needs no words, it is about intentions and responses to a given moment or encounter. In fact, Martyn sometimes calls me an Animal Yeller, when he hears me out in the barn screaming,

"Georgeeeee!" at the goat who is always in trouble somehow.

My lack of saintness was never more apparent this past Thursday night when I found old Matilda lying, alone, in a far corner of the field, away from the herd. I had wrapped her legs entirely to protect against flies, with vet wrap. The sprays just weren't working as well this year. I figured she had an abscess because she was tender on one hind foot. But I could not for the life of me find one, or even detect heat. I brought her into the stall for the night, worried she might not be able to get up in a far part of the field. And then it dawned on me that the vet wrap might be too tight. I had also been adding layers of it as the wrap slowly slid down over the day. When I took the wrap off, I was appalled to see raw ulcerated areas. I had caught it in time, but she was swollen at the hock on the sore leg. I had certain meds but the next morning I called my vet and she was able to send another equine vet out that day. I was so glad they could come. We dosed her with stronger antibiotics and did intravenous anti inflammatories. I do not do any of my own intra-vein work, always leave that to a vet.

The vet was very helpful and reassuring I was not the year's worst equine owner. But I did learn I made a mistake with the vet wrap. We shaved her legs and I am doing 3x a day topical with a silver mixture. She is eating well, and the swelling is gone. Plus I can just tell she feels so much better. We also did some blood work as she lost some weight since spring when she had come out of winter looking so good. She is going to be 26 so there could be many reasons for this. My vet returns Tuesday to give non equine rabies shots, and we'll reassess her.

But anyway, I did not whisper anything to her. In fact, I just apologized. I know that animals do not hold grudges nor did she judge me for my error. She has always liked it when I work on her, so our routine now to get her over this - and the sores are already looking good- is just one more way to seal our bond.


Seeing her in the field that way gave me pause. I am not one to do heroics to keep an old animal alive. But, I am here to try to make what life they have left a good one and a comfortable one, within reason. Matilda is going to be 26, and I am of course very fond of her. Seeing her alone in the field, I wondered if she was beginning her transition, as an animal will often separate from the herd in their waning days, I've seen this over and over in my work. I think she was just horribly uncomfortable from the swelling. I hope that is the case. I don't want that goodbye right now, even though it will happen. Hopefully her blood work is fine.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~