By, Guest Blogger, Mary Novick, Xerox Social Service Leave recipient

Mary Novick

As part of my paid leave under the Social Service Leave Program, I’ve volunteered my time at Cracker Box Palace.  Cracker Box Palace is a no-kill farm animal rescue organization that is focused on the rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and sanctuary for large farm animals that are victims of cruelty or abandonment, or surrendered when owners are unable to provide for them.  But thirteen days into my leave what started out as a beautiful winter day quickly turned into a nightmare. 

I knew Devon for two years.  He was a beautiful 17 hands high, dark bay thoroughbred in his mid teens. Once he was no longer sound for riding, due to his chronic hoof problems and minimal treatment, his owner moved out of state and left him with a relative who could not afford the care Devon needed.  So Devon was surrendered to Cracker Box in December 2010.

Despite all efforts  to make him comfortable – new shoes, feed, bedding, supplements –  his pain continued to the point that on day 13 of my leave he could no longer get up.  So the decision was made to have him euthanized.  I sat out in the paddock with Devon on this beautiful winter day, his head on my legs, rubbing his face and feeding him gingersnap cookies. I tried to talk to him in between all of my tears for the hour before the vets arrived. 

Devon is gone now, no longer in any pain and I’m back in the office at Cracker Box.  With my experience with Devon, some may wonder why I came back on day 14. I came back because I believe in the mission and vision of Cracker Box Palace.   Losing Devon was heartbreaking but I have witnessed some recoveries that are nothing short of miracles.  I’ve seen the weakest animals rebound with proper medical attention, feeding and most importantly the love they receive from the staff. 

I have never met a more devoted or compassionate group of people.  Their dedication, passion, selflessness is contagious. I can only hope that my time here helps Cracker Box get one step closer to their vision for growing the programs and services they provide to the community they serve. 

To learn more about Cracker Box Palace’s mission, please visit http://www.crackerboxpalace.org/