Making the Decision to Send Your Friend Over the ‘Rainbow Bridge’
It's never easy making the decision regarding whether or not it's time for your friend to cross the 'Rainbow Bridge.'
I won't lie, letting one of your 'pets' go is one of the most emotional things you'll ever do. As an animal lover, I've had to do this more times than I'd like to think about. I'm not sure it's something that you ever get used to, but it's part of the deal. When you bring an animal into your life, whether it's a dog, cat, or in the case, a horse, you're responsible for their well-being for life. And sometimes, that means making the decision to say goodbye.
My sweet off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) came into my life in 2007, just a few short weeks after I was married. I lost my Dad two days before my wedding, so I was pretty fragile. I grew up with horses and we'd been looking for one for a while when my then-husband showed me an ad online for a horse named Under Pressure. Yes, he was named after a Bowie song. How cool is it that this former racehorse came with his own theme song? We decided to take a chance and have a look.
We found a horse that had been through a lot in his short life already. Let's just say he had a bit of an attitude as a result. He was listed for $5,000. The owner didn't blink when I offered $1,500. I wrote the check and it was a done deal. I recognized a bit of myself in him. We were both a little broken.
For over 15 years, that horse has listened to me rant, rave, praise, beg, you name it. He even led me to invent new and inventive cuss words. I can't tell you how many tears I've cried into his mane. He helped me through the death of my beloved father and dealing with life, family, career, and finally my divorce. I used to joke that he was my longest male relationship other than my Dad or that my ex never had to worry about finding me in a bar because I was always in the barn with my 'big black boyfriend that's hung like a horse. ' Crass, I know, but I think it's funny.
We've ridden in pretty much every arena around and have done a bit of back road trail riding, too. We've put in a lot of miles together. And tomorrow, I'll say goodbye. It's time.
We've been battling chronic colic and ulcers for several years now and earlier this week, I found him down, in pain, three nights out of five. After talking with my mom and our veterinarian, I know it's time to let him have the peace he deserves. He's been a real good boy. It's not fair for me to hold on to him because I'm afraid of not having him in my life.
However, even though tomorrow will be hard, I'm taking the day off to spoil him rotten. I want him to know how cherished he is and thank him for all he's taught me about forgiveness, gratitude, compromise, perseverance, living in the moment, hard work, empathy, courage, the joy of playing in a puddle, and love. You might think that sounds dramatic, but if you've ever had a relationship like ours, then you know.
I love you my 'sweet baby angel!' Until we meet again.