Sig was my favorite and best trail horse. I had him 32 years when he developed Cushings. After 2 years of Cushings care, one day when I went to the barn to take care of him he just looked at me and in his eyes I saw it was time to make a decision. I was not 'helping' him but prolonging his life for my feelings. Even though the meds 'helped' the Cushings, he was still in misery. He couldn't leave his stall or paddock and he'd stand at the stall door and just look at the hills. He came up to me as I opened the stall door, looked me in the eyes and put his head over my shoulder. In my mind I heard him say "please, it's time for me to go....". That day I called the vet.
The vet stood under the oak tree across the road from the barn from where Sig and I began our first trail ride of many. It took nearly 30 minutes to walk him a 100 feet. But as we walked, I had my hand on his neck and we 'talked'. He knew I loved him. And one day we'd meet again at that Rainbow Bridge. The closer we came to the oak, the more relaxed Sig became. We stopped under the tree.
The vet asked if I wanted his assistant to help. I said no. I had seen Sig delivered to the barn 30 years earlier. I'd be with him when he 'left'.
Sig watched the hills and then he looked at me. As his spirit left his body, he folded to the ground like he was lying down. I sat down with his and held his head in my lap. Sig took a deep breath, relaxed and I could feel his spirit leave his body. I looked up at the hill, in my mind's eye I saw Sig galloping up the hill trail. He stopped at the top, looked back at me, snored and suddenly the other 4 horses I had owned were with him. They all snored and suddenly disappeared. I've always believed that if a horse provides his life to me, the least I owe him is respect in caring for him. And then respect includes 'helping' him to the Rainbow Bridge.
We all hope a beloved animal will just decide 'themselves' -- die in their sleep on their own. But with modern medicine we can keep animals alive longer than before. But is it fair to the animal? An animal does not think 'tomorrow'. His tomorrow becomes the moment he is standing, eating.
He'll always be with you in memories, the breeze on your face and wating for you at the Rainbow Bridge.
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