I write this in honor of our beloved paint horse, friend and herd member, Sadie.
She was laid to rest in the green grass by her favorite west pasture, the one with the hill where she liked to stand and overlook the ranch.
My heart aches and the tears come in waves.
Sadie told us, in her own way, that her quality of life was no longer there. The longtime laminitis and arthritic medications and treatments were only helping so much…she was still in pain.
She could no longer walk or stand comfortably on four hooves, which is everything for a horse’s well-being.
Her human or “owner” as some would say, had to make the toughest decision there is when responsible for an older furry family member. The heartbreaking decision of when it’s time to cease their pain so they may be at peace.
Circled around Sadie, we shared our favorites memories and laughed and cried. I said my goodbye and the hardest part was looking into her eyes, stroking her mane and feeling her soft muzzle as she gently nibbled carrots out of my hand.
I had to look away as the vet compassionately went through the process.
After, I could tell she was at peace. The physical pain was gone. Her spirit had soared on. The other horses knew it too and so did the ranch dogs Namo and Layla, who sat quietly beside us.
Sadie had a huge heart and loved young people. She was very independent and taught people to do things their own way. To express themselves and not be afraid to stand out and be a “horse of a different color”, as she was. To always follow our heart and not the status quo.
She was a wonderful teacher, wise friend and beloved member of Beyond the Arena and Unbridled Retreats.
Through tears, I asked the vet “Why don’t we get more time with our animals? Why did nature set it up so animals live shorter lives than us?”
She looked at me with empathetic eyes and said “It’s because they teach us to live in the moment. To cherish everything we’ve got, right here, right now.”
She is right.
I don’t know where I’d be without animals in my life. Maybe you can relate.
Animals enrich our lives in so many ways. They effortlessly bring us joy and know when we are sad. No words are needed. They intuitively know. They sense our pain, our happiness and everything in between. They teach us about unconditional love, relationships, responsibility and play. They are our companions, friends and confidants.
I’m grateful for the sacred time I had with Sadie and to witness the difference she made in people’s lives. She especially loved teens and they loved her right back. Kindred spirits in every way. I weep when I think too much about the girls that I have yet to share this news with. She left hoofprints on many people’s hearts. She is and will forever be deeply missed.
In this moment, I’m overcome by how precious life truly is. That we’ve got to live and love as much as we can. To cherish those around us and let go of our petty worries and drama. Life is about being in the moment. Appreciating what we have here and now. That’s what Sadie taught me and was what she shared with every life she touched.
I feel raw, open, sad, loving. My heart goes out to everyone and everything. We are all connected; humans, animals, nature and beyond. We are not alone.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to a beloved animal? I don’t think there’s any way around the raw hurt of it. Only through it. Please share in the comments below if any of this resonates for you, it’d mean a lot to me to hear from you.