This Sunday I’m running the 7th annual Poplar Spring Run for the Animals 5k. It’s also my own seventh time I’ve run the race — the first one was just a couple of months after I started volunteering at the farm back in 2004.
As I did last year, this year I’m raising money through sponsorships. I hope that you’ll consider sponsoring me and supporting the farm for whatever you can afford using this big ol’ donate button:
This year I’m running in honor of two animals, both of whom are very close to my heart, reminding me often why I’m vegan and why I will never stop working toward educating others about animal rights.
First up is Amina. We adopted Amina, a bluetick coonhound, five years ago from Friends of Homeless Animals, a nearby no-kill shelter. She’d been found wandering in southwest Virginia seven months previous. She was probably a hunting dog (she has a small buckshot still under her skin on one of her hind legs) and was likely bred, as she has had a litter of puppies. After being picked up, Amina was taken to a shelter, and her time was almost up before a woman adopted her with the intention of finding a new home for her. After bouncing between foster homes and changing names a number of times, she wound up at FOHA, where we met her and instantly fell in love. After our first meeting with her, my wife and I talked it over and went to see her in her kennel run. We asked her through the cage door if she wanted to come home with us and she pawed at the door as if to say, “Of course!”
It’s been a great five years with Amina and all her goofy quirks. For a coonhound, she’s an unsually quiet dog, only barking four or five times in the entire time she’s been with us. She’s had a rough year this year, being diagnosed with very severe inflammatory bowel disease. She’s been on a steady dose of medications for the last month and as a side effect, her leg muscles have weakened quite a bit. It’s been touch-and-go trying to get her on the road to recovery fighting this severe intestinal disease and though she’s far from herself, we’re still hoping that she’ll recover and start to reverse some of these side effects that have set in. We love the girl deeply and have struggled watching her in various stages of discomfort during the onset of IBD (which took well over a year for the vets to successfully diagnose) and during the heavy medication that’s followed. Hopefully on Sunday she’ll be feeling good enough to join us at the race to meet some of the other dogs.
Secondly is Juniper, who I ran in honor of last year. I won’t recall Juniper’s entire story (read up in Poplar Spring’s newsletter or in Deb’s great post from last year), but in short: her family had to leave their farm and when they did, they simply left her behind. Juniper survived difficult weather on her own with only grass to eat for nine months before the neighbors finally called somebody about her. She’d developed a bad infection in her legs that forced her to walk on her front knees. Amazingly, when she came to the farm, she survived and showed quite an improvement in her health. Though she was never able to fully stretch her front legs out again because the muscles had atrophied, she was able to walk on them and loved her relaxed life at the farm.
She’s now 15 years old, making her the oldest goat or sheep ever at Poplar Spring, from what Terry tells me. She’s struggling with arthritis, but is still loving her treats and surprising everyone at the farm with her strength and amazing will to live.
Amina and Juniper are living reminders of how animals in dire straits can recover and live full lives. They’re perfect examples of distinct personalities that go against what everyone expects for their breed or species (have you ever heard of a silent coonhound? Or a goat that’s picky about food and won’t drink water if you’re looking at her?). They’re reminders that animals don’t exist for our use or taste. Let’s respect them and their lives.
Thanks for supporting Poplar Spring and the essential work they do.