Story by Dr. Megan Palsa and Madeline Patton, with Jenny Good
AN ARTIST AND AN ANIMAL LOVER
Jenny Good’s art is a representation of how she views the world—she says it is who she is and not just something she does. She uses pieces that would not necessarily go together to create “something that can be asymmetrical, but balanced at the same time,” she said.
Because of her deep love of animals, Good said that she started playing with drawings, using old maps and old ephemera to add texture to her artwork. Her love of collage work really came alive when she started using photos of animals and old maps that are often indicative of where the animals live.
One of her pieces is a cow from Bastrop County. She used old maps and land surveys of the State of Texas from the 1940s. She likes to pull in something more personal that connects her art to the subject she’s working on, or to the people or land, and personalize it that way.
After looking at photos of the cow, she began to see the final product in her head. “The pieces kind of fell together while I was scanning images like old maps and old sky charts that they used for ship navigation,” she said. “I just start seeing the images of the animals in the shapes and colors within the maps. They just kind of come together. They piece themselves, and then I create.”
Although her artwork has been a main focus in her life, Good also has loved animals since she was a young child and often found comfort in the presence of her animal friends. She has been around horses for as long as she can remember. “Horses have been a part of my life since before I could walk. They’ve provided joy, adventure, solace, and hope. They represent every good thing in my life, as most of the animal kingdom does,” Good said.
A HORSE FULL OF LOVE
In 2007, as Good was struggling with various difficulties from her past, a couple from Brenham heard about her and wanted to help. They strongly believed in the power of the human-animal bond and decided to donate Indy, a 7-year old Medicine Hat paint horse, as a therapy horse for her. Good appreciated the gesture, as Indy helped her deal with her PTSD and childhood trauma. When the owners gave Indy to Good they told her that there’s nothing like a horse looking back at you with no judgment in their eyes—to accept you just as you are and where you are that moment in your life.
“Indy is 17 years-old now and their words still ring true,” Good said. “I can’t imagine life without him.”
For Good, Indy has always been much more than a pet. “He’s a gift. What makes Indy so special is that he’s a survivor, too. He’s also a clown and an instigator. He’s a lovable rogue. His antics make him appear much younger than his 17 years,” she said.
Before being placed with Good, Indy was in an accident that left him with a deep cut in his leg. He was brought to the Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital (LAH), and the couple from Brenham paid for his treatment and cared for him. Years later, Good brought him back to the LAH because of a severe infection that left his throat paralyzed.
Her local veterinarians had done all they could to help him; Good was told that he may starve to death because his whole throat was paralyzed and he couldn’t swallow. They told her to take Indy home and that his will to live would determine whether or not he would survive.
Good returned home where Indy would have to fend for himself.
“He’s voracious as far as never giving up. He had the will to live, but that wasn’t good enough for me,” she said. “It was too much of a struggle and I wasn’t OK with the prognosis that he’ll either starve to death or he’ll somehow make it through on his own. So, that’s when I took him back to Texas A&M.”
She was in awe as she drove up to the LAH.
“I knew that this was a place we would get help. This place made the difference between ‘just getting by’ and a full recovery,” Good said.
The veterinarians who worked with Indy assured Good that he would be in capable hands. The team included an equine endocrinologist who was his primary doctor. “They were so kind and reassuring to me that he was going to be safe, that people would be constantly checking on him, and I could feel OK leaving him,” she said.
Because his illness caused his throat to be paralyzed, he had lost a great deal of weight. However, the life-saving work of the veterinary team at Texas A&M helped him gain weight and improved his quality of life.
“To have a group that was concerned with improving his quality of life was so important. When I got him back home, I could see his old spark again,” Good said. “I knew that he was going to be OK. He just continued to put on weight. He got frisky again. And he’s been healthy ever since.”
Good is grateful for the veterinarians at the LAH.
“Indy is a gift to me that I rely on every day,” she says, “Texas A&M veterinarians protected that gift for me.”
Note: This story originally appeared in the 2019 Spring edition of CVM Today. Jenny Good’s art served as the cover image.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Interim Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216