I have finally settled into the passenger seat for what will be a relaxing drive home. My body is tired and my skin has a mixed layer of sunscreen, dirt and sweat. My mind begins to drift off as I reflect on the days events as a volunteer at PPS.
My responsibilities today were to muck the soiled straw from the barns, clean up the scattered cow pies from the yards and give kisses, hugs and belly rubs to whomever of my furry and feathered friends would allow it.
Shortly after our arrival as we entered and parked the car, I am greeted by Tommy, a mixed Collie who is blind in one eye and Bluto a newly acquired dog who also has visual challenges, especially at night when he becomes the self proclaimed protector of all the residence at PPS while barking at unsuspecting empty barrels.
On the perimeter of the property I see Chris doing his usual chores, but at the same time always being available to snuggle with one of the animals as they cross paths. I find Michele tending to the elderly and/or injured animals who reside in the house turned rehab center.
Behind the house I greet Junior an old friend, who acknowledges me with a friendly grunt. Back outside Laurel, the lone swan appears to be floating on top of the nearby pond. The goats have all gathered together and are heading out to pasture to lie in the tall grass under the hot sun. The geese, chickens and turkeys are roaming freely, as the Beatrice flies from atop one barn to the next.
As I gather cow pies, a small but curious sheep, named Bijou accompanies me around the yard. His poor ears tattered and torn from the ID tags he had to endure years earlier. As I approach the barn to begin mucking, I discover Elmer, Jelly Bean, Chelsea and Cinder, the resident Pot Bellied pigs snorting while they dream what I hope are pleasant dreams now that they are at PPS. The back barnyard reveals some astonishing and of course unnatural growth in the sanctuary’s pigs that were originally meant for the slaughterhouse, but now are soaking in their favorite mud pool.
Petee, a Jerusalem Donkey comes to pay me a visit during one of my breaks. His coat is thick and soft, and his long ears twitch backwards and forwards again and again, as I leisurely stroke him before he goes back to his stroll of the yard once again. As Petee starts to bray, Michele, who apparently speaks his language, quickly exits the house and knowing just what to do, leads him out to join Daisy, Justice and Sherman grazing in the pasture. These two full sized steers and a cow together with Petee will later join us in the barnyard to watch the sunset and munch on alfalfa, and where as night falls, I distract Petee with belly rubs, so that Chris can clean his hooves.
Oh what a splendid day this has been. I always look forward to my return and the opportunity to see the critters, relish in their scents, give a belly rub or two and experience the ambiance of PPS once again. There seems to always be something more to accomplish, but when the day finally comes to a close and I'm on my way home, I always leave with a feeling of contentment and a sense of inspiration from my day with the proprietors Chris and Michele.