by Jen Zak
On my first day of volunteering at the WINGS Programs I got to meet most of the horses and donkeys on the ranch. Of course, little Abby stood out the most. I have such a hard time remembering names and identifying who is who, but not Abby. Abby is special, and it is obvious by her physical appearance that her past may have not been an easy one. The description of how this beautiful dwarf mini-horse arrived versus her life now is the happy life I believe Abby was intended to have all along. Her new life includes being very well taken care of at the ranch, having friends to hang out with, and enjoying a healthy diet. Not only is Abby one of my favorites on the ranch, but she is also a favorite at all the events she attends.
Being an introvert, I didn’t think I would volunteer to go to events, or like going if I did go, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. I love going to events with the WINGS program and seeing the smiling faces of everyone who meets the horses. I know the personal joy I feel when I am around the horses, but I also get to see it on the faces of everyone who meets them, both children and adults. Attending these events has been such a positive and rewarding experience.
Hanging out with the mini-horses is one of my favorite volunteer activities at Wings, but I also feel grateful to be able to contribute to the needs of the ranch. I’ve been able to do a little bit of mucking, cleaning out flower beds, and other odds and ends when not attending events that help raise money for Wings. I didn’t realize how much goes into running the ranch or the continual everyday needs. I’m pretty sure I’m still only aware of a fraction of what actually happens to keep the animals healthy and the ranch running. I commend all those that do make it happen.
The dedication from the individuals that have been at the ranch for a while and work through the toughest conditions to meet the needs of each animal on the ranch is amazing. The roughest of snowstorms, the hottest of days, and the muddiest of grounds after a rain, the dedication and work from these individuals does not stop. The work is continual, and the dedication is endless. This makes me happy to be a volunteer and a team I want to be a part of.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.