January 2018 Culture Message

He didn’t know it, but we were the best friend that he had ever had. “Tower” was untouchable, but not because he was bad, or wild, or aggressive, but rather because he had never had a friend. I don’t mean that in a sophomoric or even an ethereal way…quite frankly, he had been abused…not once or twice, but rather had sustained decades of violence, isolation, and neglect. He lived a life shrouded in the selfishness of others, not knowing safety, loyalty, or unconditional love or caring. The tragedy and betrayal of his existence filled me with a deep sorrow that completely washed over me, leaving a visceral and inescapable simultaneous flood of seething heat and frigid cold. The vice that clamped my heart traveled up into my throat, and no amount of swallowing would allow relief from what had been a shattered life.

Individuals who are new to our lifesaving work seldom understand the underpinnings of rescue or the life and death challenges that we must courageously tackle and solve. Our pristine and well manicured grounds coupled with the gold standard of care that we provide for our treasured residents can give the illusion of ease, perhaps even comfort and prosperity. The behind the curtain…or rather “behind the gate” reality is a tremendous groundswell of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, relentless high standards…and faith. Faith in doing the right work, and faith that in doing the work we will realize our vision for the horses we humbly serve…and faith that we will have a solid and unyielding platform in which to save and serve for a great many years to come.

Mira is a palpable reminder of why Red Bucket was founded, why our special organization exists, and why we will continue to put our heads down and ensure the work is done…and pull our chin up to create the vision and opportunity of continuing our meaningful and necessary work. Mira’s lifetime of suffering seems at times to rival her benevolence, forgiveness, and gratitude. While she requires around the clock observation and care, our entire team seems to be deeply concerned about her progress and depending upon the inclination, is somewhere between fingers crossed and knees bent. We are holding our collective breath, rooting for her and hoping fervently that we can spend many days and years ahead making her safe, comfortable, and happy to be alive. Mira has captured the minds and hearts of our community and awakened both a clarity and commitment. Tower and Mira are daily reminders of why we can never stop our lifesaving work.

UC Davis recently published a study which reported that upwards of 70% of equine rescues will fold within the first three years. While the statistics are staggering, those of us who do the work understand just how difficult it really is. By this, I do not only refer to the enormous and daunting difficulty of fundraising enough in which to properly care for the lives entrusted to us, but also the physical toll and emotional battery that accompanies the responsibility of rescue. Red Bucket has a strong core value set in gratitude; gratitude for all those who contribute to our lifesaving work, the great many team members who serve so selflessly, and the horses, mules, and donkeys who truly provide the trusted privilege of service.

January marks the beginning of our tenth year, during this next milestone year, we will very intentionally lay out the building blocks of strengthening our ability to continue our deeply meaningful work and forge strategic initiatives that will secure a sustainable future. We are committed and renewed in our dedication to developing Red Bucket to be poised to make an impactful footprint in equine welfare. We are truly grateful for the privilege to serve Tower, Mira, and all of the precious lives that we have saved and served. We know that there are many other desperate and suffering equines that we have not yet met, but who are waiting for us to rescue them. We are coming.

This Culture Message is dedicated to Tower, Mira, and all those who we are privileged to serve. A special and heartfelt thanks to each and every Red Bucket Team Member…our work is possible because of you.