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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Birdie wonders if this is what Peter Pan went through

Not to make light of the situation, but when we rigged up our new electric lift for Birdie yesterday, it was a bit like watching Mary Martin fly on Broadway for the first time [I date myself and I don't care.]

The new lift can hold up to 1500#, so I might get up there with her too.

This labor of love is a real...labor of love, hope, determination and continual effort to remain positive, and still watch the animal in my charge and read her intentions and feelings.

With the new lift, the rising of Birdie is much smoother, less jerky than when we did it by hand, and it is very quick, allowing her more motivation and help to rise quicker. It also allows us to raise and lower her in our exercise regime, making her use her hind and hips. I am doing various massage and movement techniques I learned in massage school, and through my own physical therapist back in Minneapolis [the best one in the entire world, fyi] who helped me so much then on my own needs, and now has consulted with me on the phone to give advise. A generous person who works with animals and acupressure [acupuncture without needles] has given me guidance on certain points, and is even hoping to come up from out of state to guide me.

I'm relying a lot on intuition, feel [looking for hot spots] and on Birdie herself to help me understand when her expression means, "That hurts," versus, "I'm sick of this leave me alone".

We are on day seven. We hoist her twice daily. Our sessions are about 30 minutes now I'd say. She was making steady improvements, and clearly wants to get up, she still has the will. The biggest improvement is when we get her hind end up [her front is strong] she is doing it quickly, and in the therapy we are doing shifting her weight and such she is engaging her hips more, making her feet hold weight without the sling. This does not last but it is a huge step. I also lift her legs to mimic walking, turn her body so she must shift weight and I do reps with her back legs. We also got back braces for ourselves.

Back when I moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2002, the illustration market had crashed after 9/11. I was still able to hold on as a freelancer, but knew my jobs were dying too. I decided to enroll in massage school, with the hope of becoming an animal massage/healer. I took a grueling year of muscle/bone/healing study, learning the skeleton and muscles, and I did well, but it was intense. I decided to drop out after that year, I realized I had no desire to be a masseuse for humans [the school had no animal component]. No regrets. But here I am, attempting to be a physical therapist-healer-animal acupressurist. I am doing my best. Birdie knows.

I have shed tears a few times. Partly exhaustion both of my body and heart, it is fine to shed tears. They come at unplanned times. I try not to cry in front of Birdie. But this morning I admit as we were working on this beautiful creature, I just felt the tears come and later when we were done I had a good cry with her. Then I snapped out of it. Martyn is a God. The hope is the new lift will allow me to do it on my own, because this could go one for months.

It is simply part of my life now, my life with Birdie.

I am the caretaker. The one that can't rest. People will say, "You must get help!". I have help, his name is Martyn. While I appreciate the sentiment, this is my responsibility, this is the game without an end in sight and it is what it is. Any of us could be paralyzed at any moment....I know this after my riding accident and concussion. One moment, bang, your life and those around you can change. What do you do. You buck it up, and forge on. You take breaks, you take hot baths, eat good food, hug your friends and mate, lift your face to the sun, kick buckets when you are mad...and you don't stop. And if I need more help, I will ask.

This is something that is going to go on for some time. How it will resolve itself, nobody knows, no vet, no healer, no inner me knows that. I do know that my work with Birdie, while I was not expecting this, this is part of our path together. It is part of my covenant to her.

People have asked how to help. Donate. People were good to donate a week ago and that vet charge of $450 was covered. While our fund remains healthy, these are the types of situations that can drain the well. We spent about $1000 yesterday on the electric lift and a new power tool to help, and other items that went along with the hoist system for safety, so donations are appreciated. Someone donated a lift blanket with straps this week, and I bought one too, and another chipped in. Thank you. Your positive energy sent my way are really needed and appreciated not only for Birdie but for me and Martyn. I also have hung the prayer flags for her, and I intend to take out art I've made to help her-will it help? It is my intention it will. I have been opening the barn doors so she can see her sheep, and sun, and her nurse the Goose can get some sun and puddle-ice walking.

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