Friday, April 29, 2011

Preparing to Say Goodbye

It's sadly part of owning horses, the decision to say goodbye.  It's something we have had to do before and it is something we will have to do again. 


We don't take the decision lightly.  We discuss, we discuss some more, we discuss further.  With each discussion pieces of our heart break as we move towards our decision and closure.

As it is with Bear, our rescue Belgian who came to us skin and bones, in such poor health that he wasn't supposed to last through the winter.  We were the third party to rescue him, the other two parties failing miserably when it came to feeding him.

If there is one thing this family can do well, it's put on weight.  So Bear gained weight and for the last five years we've adored this sweet, kind hearted Belgian.  He rebounded and a few years ago was in good enough shape that I was able to ride him (at a walk) around our place.

The funny thing about that short ride.  I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, Bear or I.  There is saying about giving a horse a job.  One could see how proud Bear was after our little ride.  Like a peacock, he strutted around the pasture when I turned him back out.  He was waiting at the gate the next day, as if asking, "Can we do it again?"  I wish I would have taken him up on the offer.

Bear gets along with everybody but I think his best friend was my former horse Cisco, who we lost to colic last year.  After Cisco was put down I brought Bear out to say Goodbye.  The look of pain and sadness in his eyes as he raised his head after smelling Cisco - my husband also saw it.  That look tore at our already broken hearts and we knew we weren't the only one that night who had lost somebody special.  

But the weight will no longer stay on, no matter what we feed nor how much.  At an estimated age of late twenties, the teeth are no longer plentiful and the mind is becoming confused.  With each time Bear lays down in the pasture it's now a major effort to get back up.  It's a long process to watch him struggle back to his feet.  His step is now unsteady as he wobbles around the pasture.

And so the clock ticks and time moves closer to when we will have to make the calls that will change the rhythm of our barn. 

One thing is for sure. They don't make many as sweet as Bear.


  1. Aww, that totally made me tear up. It is such a tough decision, but when they have trouble getting up, it's time.
    Love that ride you gave him. That's a great story and I believe horses love to feel needed again. Obviously Bear is a very special horse and lucky to have you as his owner(s).
    Sending a big hug your way and one for Bear too.

  2. I cryed as I read this. I am so sorry you have to do this but he lived the best years of his life with you and your family and his horse buddies . Its a hard thing to do but sometimes it's for the best so they can leave us with some dignaty ! Both you and him were very lucky to have found one another a bond that will always be remembered ! Sending hugs to you and Bear !

  3. I'm so, so glad that Bear got to live with you and your husband. It sounds like he had some very hard times before that. I always enjoy reading about him on your blog - he looks just like a cuddly, sweet bear. You've always done the best thing for him and will continue to do so. I'm so thankful there are people like you who give good homes to horses like Bear.

  4. A really tough sad decision. How wonderful that Bear was able to enjoy his last years as part of your family and how wonderful you were able to enjoy him.

  5. I cried too, especially reading about him and Cisco. Sorry this hard decision is approaching. It is the toughest part of loving animals. :( I'll be thinking of you all.

  6. I'm sorry, it is the most difficult thing of sharing our hearts with our animals. May you find peace and comfort.

  7. Oh this made me cry! It is the WORST part of owning a horse, or any animal as far as that goes. I have an older horse too, and I know that someday, this decision will be one that I will have to make! My heart is with you!

  8. I dread so much having to make this decision someday. Bear looks like a wonderful horse and clearly an important member of your family. My thoughts are with you.

  9. Awwww. So sad for you :(

    Bear is beautiful and he looks like such a special character, too.


  10. Dear sweet Bear. Safe journeys, loved one.

  11. Im so sorry. I no the feeling of losing a beloved friend. My heart breaks for you . He will be with his friends on Rainbow Bridge. He will never be skinny or in pain again.

  12. Looks like my previous comment didn't post. So very sorry, what a sweet beautiful Bear. Lucky to have found you. We make these terribly hard decisions, out of pure love. Sending you healing thoughts.