Marybeth Haines 


The Power of Pets

Marybeths Story:

It was the evening of October 20, 1971.  A happy couple was expecting their second born child in the coming hours.  Labour had begun and contractions were underway.  “You still have a long way to go” the doctor said.  “I’ll be back later”.  The symptoms my mother was experiencing did not match that prognosis however she figured that the doctor knows best.  No sooner did he leave that she received the message from her soon to be born daughter that NOW IS THE TIME!  And within a few short minutes, I had entered this world.

My childhood home was a hobby farm where I shared close connections with our farm animals.  My parents taught me to treat animals with respect and to treat them well. As time progressed, I grew closer to these friends I called pets.  Realizing that these loving creatures were not just animals.  I would see much more in them and would soon learn that they had many lessons to teach me.

As I grew from a toddler to a young child, there was something that I consistently felt was missing in my life. It was almost as if I had lost something and was searching desperately to find it back again. My family was loving and close.  Yet, I felt like I didn’t belong and was searching for purpose.

Moving forward to 1984, I had entered my teen years. On the afternoon of a beautiful Sunday, my father proposed to pack up a picnic lunch and enjoy some family time together.  We thought that to be a grand idea and proceeded to pack up.  The drive was great as we enjoyed time together.  Our destination was about an hour away.   We were almost there and then something happened that would change my life forever.

A van had proceeded through an intersection and had not seen that we were coming. My father however did see him and swerved to miss.   The van missed impact on the front of the car however made collision to the back passenger side where I was sitting.  BANG!  All I can remember is a huge jolt running through my entire body.  Everything hurt like a hard thrust against my entire being.  Within a few seconds the adrenaline rose for impact and then it was done.

My father pulled the car over and my parents immediately assessed the situation.  They made sure we were all safe and okay. There were no broken bones or bleeding. The gentleman who had hit us also stopped. The look on his face was one I will never forget.  His heart was broken for what he had done and he wanted to ensure we were all okay.  He proceeded with us to the police station. 

One of my father’s teachings was to always accept what has happened and choose to make the best situation possible from it.  And therefore, we followed his action that day and proceeded to the nearest car dealership where with some strong wire, our bumper was re-fastened temporarily and off we went on our picnic.

I don’t remember much else from that day but I do remember continuing on.  I also remember my body being in the moment as we had our family time together.  On a daily basis thereafter, I would have much pain, aches and hard time focusing.  Many school days were missed due to illness and separation anxiety from my parents became strongly apparent.  I was experiencing a transition through life in which I was searching for answers.

Medical tests were completed, nothing was found. Doctor’s diagnosis = stress.  There was no resolution and each day felt like a struggle. Finally, 3 years later a diagnosis was confirmed.  The impact from the car accident had altered my jaw joints and one of my meniscal discs was dislocated while the other remained stuck in place without recapture of movement.  Treatment began and I went through several years of rehabilitation.  From painful manual manipulations, wires to hold my mouth closed and wearing large yellow coloured appliances, my body began to feel better but my self-confidence continued to decrease.  

Remember how I mentioned earlier how at an early age, I was searching for purpose? I was continuing this search and it seemed much harder because of what I felt was an impediment to my appearance, speech and of course finding friends.  Throughout the years, I continued my therapy and searched for meaning of my existence. 

High school years passed and I remember my Guidance Counsellor asking me “What is it that you want to do?” for which I had no answer.  From a small child, teenager and now young adult…my quest for purpose still hadn’t been found.  My father often said “I’m 54 years old and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up”.  He passed away at the age of 58 and to that day, he had done his best with what he knew.  I do believe however he never found what it was that he truly wanted to do; his purpose in this lifetime.  He found true love, family and much more but there was a part of him that continued the search for his purpose until his dying day.

It took me to 40 years of living to realize, that I hadn’t found mine either.  I didn’t know my purpose of why I was here.  That void was not filled yet. Contd at Right...

Marybeth Haines is a Proud Member of Our WOW Directory 

Going back to my younger years, I reflect on a time that my pony Thunder and I went out in the back paddock to ride.  Until that day, I had never rode him independently and my father or sister was always there to guide us.  I was 13 years old and knew it was time to do this on my own.  I was frightened and fearful…I had never done this before.

One day, I decided, “today is the day!” and I brought Thunder into the barn, groomed him and got him all saddled up.  Together, we went out into the 25 acres of land that I called my ‘back yard’.

We began to walk for a while and I remember the sounds of the birds singing.  It was a peaceful day and the sun was shining warmly upon us.  I then decided the time was now!  Terrified as I was, I gave Thunder the command to begin galloping and then into a full run.  I gulped, gave the command and off we went.

It was AMAZING!  Picture if you will, the wind blowing through his mane and my hair.  We were connecting and I remembering thinking very loudly to myself ‘I did it!’…”We’re galloping!!”

All of a sudden, the saddle slipped and I flew off.  I remember hitting the ground and how much it hurt.  Being young, I was resilient and bounced back.  I had a few bumps and bruises but overall, physically I was okay.  What hurt the most was that I felt that I had failed and was actually afraid to get back up on Thunder to ride him back to the barn. 

Have you ever had something happen in life where you felt failure or blame towards yourself?  Something that was extremely hard for you to have to face and in order to heal, you needed to face it in the eye and do it over again?  

Thunder taught me how to do just that. You see, he taught me how to “get back up on the horse”.  You know that saying?  When life is tough, we need to get back up on the horse so we can face it to achieve our desired result.  

It wasn’t until I reached 42 years of living that I finally got it!  I’ve always known my purpose.  I was just afraid to face what it truly was.  The answers to my purpose were with me all along.  I was given messages, teachings and signs throughout my whole life.  I just wasn’t ready to ‘see’ them yet.  It was Thunder who helped me realize his lesson was still with me and to this day I thank him.

When the question comes into my mind of “What is it that you want to do when you grow up?”, I now answer, “I want to serve with LOVE” and I found how to do this through working with others in areas of healing.  Pets have been such an important part of my life that I decided I would work with animals and those who love them.  Purpose fulfilled!  Life is now being lived!

I share this story with you with intent that if you are searching for your purpose but are fearful of the outcome, that you too will “get back up on the horse” knowing that you are safe.  When we seek for answers, they are there.  We just need to be ready to receive them.  It was pets that brought me awareness to my answers.  What will bring you yours?

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