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Rambo Update

First of all I would like to thank the many people who showed interest in Rambo’s story, I feel I must give this update to prove that in spite of what the  situation it’s never too late to try to save an animal. I have asked my husband and son every single day since I last saw Rambo what his progress was and it was always positive but I didn’t want to write anything until I had seen him with my own eyes. Due to the fact that I am not mobile plus the start of a new working season I was beginning to fret that maybe I wouldn’t see him for months but 2 days ago plans slotted into place and I got the chance to meet up again with our “old man”. I got off my son’s bike quicker than I had ever thought possible and charged off into the field of waist high grass and there he was, quite a way off with 2 of our other horses. We shouted his name and he began to approach us and my son said “shake the bag and see what happens”(we were armed with carrots and apples) I could not believe my eyes!He broke into a lopsided trot and as he got nearer I could see the transformation,not only could he move better but he positively shone in the sunlight.Gone was the dull and lifeless winter coat and in it’s place was the black sleek summer coat that gleamed with health,once again I cried of course but they were tears of joy and disbelief this time. We fed him and almost had to wrestle his head out of the bag at times and this was when I really noticed his eyes. They were alive and full of life,shining and full of mischief, Rambo was well and truly on his way to recovery,he still has a problem with his legs but he can definitely get himself where he wants to be, he still needs to pad out a little more but that will come in time but all in all his progress has been far better than I could ever have wished for.  After a while, when he had had his fill and had paid his respects to us he sauntered off to join the horses again, my heart was at peace and my mind at rest. This day we had 2 young girls with us, Justine and Claudelle, my son had met them quite by chance at the restaurant he works at and funnily enough they had read my first story about Rambo. They are here on a photography course from Canada and from what I have been told they have taken numerous shots of him already and soon their work will be shown in a local exhibition, I cannot wait to see the fruits of their work! Our “gentle old man’ will get his five minutes of well earned fame and I will be one of the proudest people present.                                                                                                       

Before I end this update, Susan, I have to tell you that yes, the 50 euros were taken but we paid willingly and I should also explain that Rambo had been loose on those hills for about 2 years so our hopes of ever seeing him again were dwindling daily.God bless the man who bothered to recapture him and God bless Rambo for accepting us again so willingly.     

Alaine

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A True, Love Story

Nineteen years ago my husband Andonis bought a magnificent horse,he was strong beyond belief,had a great character and was promptly named by myself, Rambo.We needed him to pull the carriage we then had and he did this tirelessly and gave us all he had to give,in return he was very well looked after loved by everyone who had the luck to meet him.

He made yearly appearances in the local festivals and I can still vividly remember young children following the horse procession and asking of each other “which one is Rambo?”Few people could ride him with ease  because of his strength and I have known experienced riders return to the farm with blistered and bruised hands,a result of having to hold the reins tight enough to check his pace.

In 1997 he miraculously survived our farm fire,thankfully he had had the strength to break free but not before he suffered severe face burns.My husband spent weeks taking care of the many goats that had suffered and of course our beloved Rambo.He did recover thankfully with little evidence left of what he had endured and over the following years he led a carriage free good life.Our gentle giant was in semi retirement and leading the good life.

In 2006 my husband was approached by a carriage owner in Mitilene who literally pleaded to buy Rambo,because of the horses capabilities and good name and the deal was done.The understanding was that whenever the new owner decided to sell,Rambo would return to our farm.

I now jump to October 2010,my son Theo had served his army time and had decided to fulfill his wish of finding Rambo and making sure that he was being cared for,he found out that Rambo had been sold to someone in Plomari and Theo then made yet another long trip to check up on him.My son returned heart broken,the new owner had decided Rambo was of no use anymore and had just set him loose in the hills ,an old man discarded and left to fend for himself,we were disgusted but determined to right the wrong that had been done!!!!!

A while later Theo returned to Plomari with a friend to try to find  Rambo and with the help of locals they searched all day in the hills but they had no luck and returned dejected and angry.Theo had let everyone know that we wanted him back and that should he be spotted he should be caught and we would collect him.By this time winter had set in and our minds were running riot with the cruel life Rambo would be enduring,we could not get him out of our minds and we could not settle.

After Xmas my son and husband decided to try again,they made the same long journey and once again enrolled the help of the locals to comb the hills of Plomari all to no avail.He was nowhere to be seen and yet people insisted Rambo had been spotted and was indeed alive.This time when Theo and his dad left Plomari they told everyone that 50euros would be paid to the person that found him,not a kings ransom I know but we could not afford more.

A date that will go down in the history of my family,27th March 2011,Theo received THE telephone message saying that Rambo had been caught and was awaiting collection.WE WERE ECSTATIC!!!!!!!!

Theo arranged for his friend who owned a truck to pick Rambo up and bring him home the next day,he was coming home at last to be where he belonged.

He arrived on the 28th March and I was kind of prepared by Theo of what I would see.Nothing in this world could have prepared me for what I saw!

The day after, I arrived at the farm full of hope,excitement and longing,what I met was devastating and heart rending,here were the standing remains of some animal that I was supposed to believe was Rambo .On the ride up to the farm I had clutched my son and admitted that I didn’t think I was ready to face up to what I would see but was told to be brave,another friend had advised that I expect the worst and anything else I would cope with.These were total understatements,I got off my son’s bike and collapsed onto a nearby gate,I am not afraid to admit that I shed tears of guilt,shame ,anger and utter disbelief,who in this world could do this to an animal that had deserved so much more??????

Rambo has twisted front legs,his bones are ready to burst through his skin in places,his fur is dull and lifeless but worst of all his eyes have no life,those eyes tell a story that he can never tell.But the spirit has not deserted him,he remembers our farm and he gladly led himself into his old stall and is acting as if he never left.Words fail me at this point because he should hate us for letting him go,letting him endure so much in his old age but all he is showing us is love.When I plucked up courage to get close to him that first day his head was held so low but when I whispered his name he gently rubbed his head against my chest and my son said”he certainley remembers you Mum”.My heart almost exploded at that moment,this gentle old man was showing some kind of forgiveness that a human could never show,he was just glad to be home and I have no way of knowing if he understands that this is where he will live out his days.

One week later I plucked up the courage to revisit,I had carrots in hand and I wondered if the same love would be there,I need not have worried,I called his name and he staggered over to the fence to greet me.His head was held a little higher and joy of joys,I saw his eyes and they were alive,there was a glimmer of that spark that used to be .He and I stood there for almost an hour,he nuzzled me from time to time and I whispered promises that I dearly wish he understood because they came from my heart.This old man is almost 40 years old,we know that his days are numbered,but at least he is among people who really love him and hopefully he will live out his days with dignity,peace and love.

Before I finish This Love Story,I must add that on the day that I revisited we collected a yearling from Mitilene harbour,a gift from Theo’s uncle and an absolutely beautiful young thing.She has never been tied in her life and is obviously timid of her new surroundings but guess who she has bonded with from the first moment ,yes,Rambo.Apparently she never leaves his side and I find this wonderful,she could never have a better guide and mentor and I hope they both gain something from their relationship.

I am realistic about Rambo,he is in a bad state and I do know that he is in pain and I do admit to myself that the day may come when we have to make the decision to end it all but I find comfort in the fact that he is finally amongst those that love him and he will not end his days in those lonely hills

Rambo,our gentle old man,welcome home!

Alaine