I’m going to take a quick break from the Goat Diaries to wish Panda a Happy Birthday. Yesterday was her birthday. Unbelievably she is 17 this year. How does that happen!
Normally, I keep “family” birthdays private. I don’t expect people to celebrate with us as we mark another year with our horses. But so many people helped us out when Panda got sick in 2016 that I thought this was a good time for an update. Panda is 17 this year! She came so very close to not making it that is a real cause for celebrating.
She is doing so much better. The diarrhea is under control – finally. She is back in normal work as Ann’s guide. Hooray! Though in this brutally cold weather neither one of them has wanted to venture out.
Yesterday the temperatures had climbed to what felt like a tropical thirty degrees. Ann took Panda out for a long and much enjoyed birthday walk. When I visited with them afterwards, I asked Ann how Panda did. She had been cooped up for so many days would she be a wild thing bouncy around on the end of her lead? No, she was her usual focused, careful, eager self, making good decisions about avoiding the melting puddles that concealed ice underneath.
Back in her house I watched her retrieving her lead, one of her many favorite games. Ann drops the lead on the floor and Panda picks it up and hands it back to her. I had to laugh. She is as full of play as she was when I had her in training as a weanling. As I write that, I realize that’s not really true. She is, if anything, even more full of play than she was when she was little. Isn’t that a great thing to be able to write about somebody – horse or human.
Ann made a similar observation. She said Panda becomes more like herself all the time. I asked what she meant by that? What does being Panda mean?
Ann should really be the one writing this, but it means she is so very confident. She’s bold and she’s eager, and she’s comfortable in what she knows. Ann always smiles when she talks about Panda. I know a little about what she means. I got a hint of it all those years ago when I had her in training. I remember so clearly during one of our walks around the neighborhood thinking how nuanced the communication between us was becoming. I remember thinking that when Ann has been working with Panda for a few years they will be like one of those couples who complete each other’s thoughts. That’s definitely part of what being Panda means. It means being the other half of a partnership that brings you great joy.
Happy Birthday Panda!
I didn’t take any birthday photos yesterday. I should have. But here are three favorites: