Thumbelina, World's Smallest Living Horse
As a lifelong devotee of the terrier-sized eohippus and other Pleistocene fauna, I am thrilled at the fifth birthday of Thumbelina, a miniature horse saddled with dwarfism, a condition that dropped her adult height from 34 inches to just 15 and 1/2. Her breeders didn't expect the foal to survive, but she has done so with a will. Now Guinness has officially recognized her status as world's smallest horse and her family is scheduling appearances to raise money for children's charities. The plucky little thing is now a cossetted family pet that sleeps with the dogs and bosses the other animals around.
In our own home, all the animals defer with some evident tenderness to "It's", our cherished guinea pig with the crippled feet from being kept in too small a cage before we rescued her. She's our Tiny Tim; we named her "It's" after the Michael Palin character who introduces each episode of Monty Python after emerging in tatters from some unspeakable dungeon. When she takes her constitutional, the cats and the rabbits all let her coo and groom them as if they know she can't walk very well. I certainly understand the little horse's family and their tender attachment for the tiny creature who must wear prosthetic supports on her feet. This is why Walt Whitman said that animals do not moan about their condition.
The vulnerability of the best parts of this world brings tears, reminding me of the Tibetan admonition that if you want to be a Shambala warrior, and truly open your heart to the world as a boddhisatva would, the world will swell and break your heart. Those who profess hard-heartedness do so out of fear; the broken heart of the world, the child in Sudan squeezing a finger, the tortured soul in prison, the hopeful dog wagging its tail on its way to the death chamber, all these would call the cynics away from their bemused sarcasm and demand some kind of action.