Miss Moya, as we lovingly called our sassy girl, was a senior mule that we pulled from a kill lot in TN in December of 2020. There was something about her eyes and her story that just made us know she needed to come here. She was a skeleton when she was dropped off by her “family” to be sold for meat because they “couldn’t keep weight on her.” We knew when we pulled her that we may not have a lot of time with her and were ok with that, we just really wanted her to have a soft landing, a place where she could feel loved and cared for for the rest of her days.
After arriving from quarantine we had the vet out to see her. She was estimated to be 35-40 years old. Her teeth and hooves had been neglected for years. We dewormed her, had her teeth taken care of by our equine dentist and got her feet done. We were even introduced to an amazing man, Calvin, who helped us learn how to work with her and how to gain her trust.
Moya’s eyes were some of the gentlest I have ever seen. She had a softness to her that you could see she wanted to express, but never felt safe enough to. She would approach you but as soon as you went to touch her, she would pin her long ears back and turn completely away. I understood her boundaries and gave her her space, there was no need to push. She LOVED to eat and was given several soaked meals a day. Her excitement when she would see walking down the hill and her half bray/half neigh mule sound was one of the best sounds I have ever heard. I would give her her meal and then just sit there with her. She befriended our two donkeys, Pongo and Eeyore, and seemed to really enjoy their company. Little by little, we began to gain her trust. Eventually, about 4 or 5 months ago, I went to pet Moya and she did not turn and walk away. At first, it was only for like 30 seconds, then she seemed to realize what she was allowing and she walked away. The next time I came down she allowed me to pet her again, only this time for longer. After a few days of letting me pet her and then walking away, she finally realized she enjoyed the affection and allowed me to pet her and even finally brush her. Then the day came where she finally accepted a hug, I was so ecstatic.
Moya was doing so great and we were all so excited. Then, exactly one month ago today, I went out in the morning and saw her lying in her pasture. Her laying down in her pasture wasn’t abnormal, but for some reason, this time it didn’t feel right. I made my way towards her praying she would just pop up like she always did. She did lift her head and bray at me, but it seemed that she couldn’t fully get her body up. I called our team immediately and then went to try and help her up. In less than a half an hour, Calvin was here to try and help me get her up. We both tried with everything we had. We knew she wanted to get up. WE could tell she was dehydrated and weak so we made her a very soupy mash and propped her up so she could eat and drink water. Shortly after our vet was here. She listened to Moya’s heart and said her heart murmur was really loud and she was concerned her heart was giving out but since Moya didn’t seem to want to give up, we kept trying. The vet gave her some meds and we gave her some time. When she seemed to have regained her strength from our first attempts at getting her up, we all tried again. We did absolutely everything we could, but Moya’s body just could not stand up anymore. We, of course, would not allow her to suffer and made the painful decision to let her go peacefully with many of those that loved her surrounding her, telling here how loved she was and how missed she would be.
Miss Moya had a beautiful ceremony where she was laid to rest on the sanctuary, right outside of her pasture. She was adorned with flowers and sent off with a HUGE amount of love. We all miss her terribly but we are so grateful for the time that we got the honor of being her caretakers, guardians, and eventually, her friends.
To be honest, I never expected that day to be so hard. We knew when we pulled her that our time with her was likely limited and yet, she had such a will and zest for life that I began to wonder if we could potentially have years to shower her with the love she had deserved her whole life. As I sat there with her body and looked around at all of the tear filled eyes, I thought of all of the people that showed up for since she arrived here, and all of the people that came together that morning to help her get up. I thought of her amazing sponsor, who loves her all the way from VT, and who I am so grateful traveled all the way from VT to come and meet her while she was here. This mule was loved beyond measure in her last couple of years. As hard as it is, this is why we do what we do. This is true sanctuary. A mule that likely would have been trampled on a trailer to Mexico, and slaughtered when she got there, was instead surrounded by safety, love, and peace. That is what every being deserves and I am so so grateful that we got to provide that for her.
I would like to extend a very special thank you to her sponsor, you know who you are, who shares a great love for this mule with me. We will always be connected, thanks to Miss Moya.
And of course, Thank you to all of you for being a part of her story. Thank you for helping us to help her and thank you for loving her alongside us.
Your donation will help us cover her final vet bill, burial, and of course, help us help more animals like her.