I’d like to tell you about a wonderful woman I sometimes work with called Gry. She works as a nurse in the community, as well as running a sheep farm with her husband. She also works with me now and then on animal welfare cases as a member of dyrevernnemnda – people from the area with experience with animals and an understanding of their welfare needs.
We were out together on a visit on Monday. I love having her there as she is very knowledgable and can talk to anybody. She also knows a whole lot more about sheep farming in the Arctic than I do!
The visit had gone well – always a relief, so as we drove away, I asked her if she’d like to go somewhere for coffee. Our options were limited. We wandered into the local hotel, but the bar was empty. We resisted running off with the Peach Schnapps and climbed back into the car.
Gry suggested we could buy a sandwich at the garage and go back to her barn and she would make coffee. Her barn is wonderful. They built it in 2016 and it has a living area that’s almost as big as my flat. They sleep there during lambing time so they can keep an eye out at night.
She took me in and I sat down at a big wooden table with a cosy red table cloth. As she made the coffee, I sat looking around at all the wonderful objects she has collected. This is an old waffle iron.
But there was one object that I didn’t recognise, and so I asked her about it. This, she told me, is an old gadget for separating out the milk from the cream. Those of us who are old enough to remember milk in a bottle on the doorstep will also remember that the cream is lighter than the milk, and so it rises to the top.
Gry told me that she works with dementia patients, and sometimes she brings them back to the barn. They see the old things and respond with pleasure.
She was at a museum with an old man. They had a milk separator there too, which they had taken apart.
It has seventeen separate components inside and they have to be fitted together correctly for it to function. Despite being often confused, the old man’s face lit up. He set to and in minutes had reassembled the separator, with everything in place.
Some days my job can be tough. Few things are more distressing than animal cruelty.
But then there are other days when everything goes right. And just now and then, I discover that alongside the animals, I am also working with some of the most warm-hearted people in the world.