" The Cate Factor",
When I think about Cate, I just smile, I feel happy, I feel proud of myself for all the things I have done, I feel absolutely confident in the things I do, I feel empowered and just content and amazingly positive.
Even though I had been out to the DSC for many years, a few times throughout the years long before I started to volunteer, and Cate had been working there for a while with donkeyboy Kyle, I didn't meet Cate until December when I started to volunteer. It makes me laugh now when I think of our earlier times together, we didn't really hit it off right from the start. I don't think she had the time of day for me and my not knowing a darn thing about the animals and their care, except that I loved them. She would tell me things to do and I would just look at her and not have a clue what she wanted me to do, but even back then she just made me do them, she explained them once to me and she sent me of to do the chore. We spent countless hours mucking out the straw covered darkside in the winter, filling up the mangers with hay, and her showing me how to groom and pick out feet, even though we had a training session, but it is so much different doing it then just watching somebody do it. She really never talked much to me, except for telling me what to do in a kind of an abrupt manner, and I really didn't care for her too much in the beginning. I remember attending a workshop for how to deal with the animals if they are not so cooperative and how to deal with behaviour issues, the workshop was open to the first 15 volunteers and when I showed up I totally felt out of place, because I was the only newbie there and all the other ones were volunteers who had been there for years, I think she changed her way towards me a little bit once she realized that I wasn't just some flighty once in a while volunteer that shows up whenever I have nothing better to do, but that I was totally dedicated and wanted to learn as much as I could as fast as I could. I remember working long and hard on the icy patch of hill where the donkeys would come into the barn to make it safe for them, sifting thru ashes for nails, because somebody burnt the wood without taking any nails or hinges of and we were using the ashes to melt down the ice on the hill. It took forever, but I didn't stop until it was done. That was the first time she was totally impressed with my hard work. lol....then she changed days and I really didn't see her for a while, not until we started working together on OPEN DAYS Wednesdays and I worked for her on Open Days on Sundays when she was the barn manager. As the Wednesday Open Days were slow in the beginning of the season we would have countless hours together just talking about the donkeys, their stories and their care and all the ongoing at the DSC. We never really talked much about anything else. Well we also shared the love for Juno, so Juno was a lot in our conversations and Cate would always try to get Juno to come close to her and along Juno's development of trust and confident it was Cate and only Cate who could halter her and do things with her. Juno still always being timid and shy and scared, but she would be with Cate anyhow. I think that's were I was getting a little bit into competition with Cate for the affection of Juno lol..just joking...I loved Juno long before I started volunteering.Cate had some advantages over me though, she was there more often, and so I always made sure at the end of my days I would spend some time with Juno, just as I had watched Cate do so many times before. And this past Sunday, on our last day working together, I got the "thumbs up" from Cate, as I was standing with Juno in the Garden Paddock brushing her. She was really happy about that, and it sure made my day. I have learnt so much from Cate, not just by her showing me, but by watching, her love and care for these animals was/is really inspiring. She has always shown me things, told me things and well pushed me out of the way a few times too for my own safety and we had a lot of fun and laughs and tears over the last few months. She really is an amazing person and I really can't thank her enough for all that she has done to and for me. I don't think I would have learnt half as much as I have if it wasn't for her little bossy way, she would always ask me if she was too bossy with me? and I always just laughed at her and said, I will let you know when it's too much. She always made sure I was ok and was having a great day and she would always find something for me to do that was new to me. I sure will miss those opportunities, but maybe it's now my turn to just go and ask for things I want to do, which is really not my way at all. We will see what will happen. I sure will take the advice and words of wisdom Cate gave me to heart and live by them, and I will continue to seek as much knowledge as possible to be the best volunteer I can be. And as much as I love doing chores, and I really do, I also love nothing more than to just hug a donkey once in a while and be still with them leaning against me and just hang out among them.
Oh Cate's good -bye present from the donkeys, well at least from one of them....a good kick in the side of the knee from ORLY, wow that left a mark and a nice muddy hoof print on her jeans. She will remember that one for a while.
I feel really happy about my decision to give her my favourite donkey as fare well present and for the words in my card. Nothing left unsaid and nothing said that shouldn't have been said. And her reaction was priceless and something I will carry with me forever.
( for anybody who thinks I am talking too much about her, well sorry....after all this is my daily diary and my way of dealing with my thoughts and well my way of keeping her beautiful spirit and her great inspiration alive in me. (SPOYIYDLI)